Tag archives for: transportation
Developer Larry Silverstein is said to have offered a way to to build and pay for a facility in back of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Guess what’s in it for him.
On Tuesday, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Patrick Foye told a Crain’s Breakfast Forum about an idea proposed by developer Larry Silverstein to build and pay for a much-needed Manhattan bus garage. Mr. Foye called it “interesting, provocative,” but he offered no details.
A source said the idea, floated during last year’s leadership transition at the Port Authority from Christopher Ward to Mr. Foye, involves developing a site on West 39th Street and Dyer Avenue used most recently by Mercedes-Benz by the service road that funnels traffic to and from the Lincoln Tunnel just southwest of the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Mr. Silverstein, who has a long-term letter of intent with the owner to develop that building, proposed constructing a bus garage capped by a residential tower.
Unanswered questions include how big the tower would have to be to generate sufficient income to finance the construction of the garage, and whether anyone would want to live on top of a bus garage in the heavily trafficked area. It also remains to be seen how much the Port Authority would pay.
Certainly, the idea of the Port Authority doing business again with Silverstein Properties presents political hurdles given the two entities’ complex relationship at the World Trade Center site. The developer declined to comment for this article.
On the plus side, a bus garage-cum-residential complex would solve a number of thorny logistical problems for the agency, which abandoned a bus garage development for lack of funds.
Because there’s no room inside the bus station and nowhere else to park, hundreds of New Jersey Transit buses return empty to the Garden State after dropping off morning commuters in Manhattan. They come back to the city to pick up passengers in the afternoon. A bus garage nearby would cut down on trans-Hudson River traffic, reduce air pollution and save money on fuel.
Part of the savings could be used by the Port Authority to lower terminal fees for short-haul intercity buses, including discount carriers that are under fire for using city sidewalks to load and unload passengers. Bus companies that use the terminal have already threatened to leave because they pay millions of dollars in rent and say free curbside parking for their competitors is unfair.
State legislation would actually allow the city to issue permits for private buses to pick up on the sidewalk. A bus garage could open space at the bus station for discount carriers like Megabus.com, which has a permit to use West 41st Street just outside the bus station as a depot.
“You could get more buses into the terminal,” the source said. “But you’d have to ban them from these sidewalk pickups.”
The insider called Mr. Silverstein’s idea “intriguing,” but it may be a pipe dream.
Mr. Foye would say only that he’s looking at fixing the problem. “It’s a serious question under serious review,” he said.
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Christopher Ward, Developer Larry Silverstein, Larry Silverstein, Lincoln Tunnel, Megabus, new jersey transit, Patrick Foye, port authority bus, Port Authority Bus Terminal, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Silverstein Properties, transportation, travel, World Trade Center, WTC
Architect and Battery Park City resident Jordan Gruzen speaking at Community Board 1’s full board meeting on March 27, in opposition to the NYPD’s planned barricades and street closures around the W.T.C.
Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Jordan Gruzen, partner in the award-winning firm of Gruzen Samton Architects, doesn’t often make an appearance at Community Board 1 meetings, but he felt strongly enough about the N.Y.P.D.’s proposed World Trade Center security plan to show up at C.B. 1’s full board meeting on March 27 to speak against the plan.
Gruzen is co-chair of New York New Visions, a coalition of 21 architecture, planning and design organizations that first met a week after 9/11 in a pro bono effort to address the issues surrounding the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. At the Community Board meeting, Gruzen said he was speaking on behalf of New York New Visions.
“We are very concerned that the World Trade Center plan that has taken thousands of hours of individuals’ input to make it a vital, beautiful and fabulous urban place that people visit from all around the world, not be spoiled,” he said.
He referenced the Police Headquarters plaza, which his firm designed, and called conditions there “atrocious.” After 9/11 it was barricaded and blocked off from vehicle access.
“It’s a vital piece of the city that’s been allowed to fall into disrepair and we don’t want that to happen to the World Trade Center. There’s too much thought [put into it] and it’s too central to our culture and to our city’s vitality.”
In a telephone conversation after the Community Board meeting, Gruzen elaborated.
He said that for years, the members of New York New Visions had been privy to the plans for the World Trade Center site and had played an important role in formulating them. “We were treated as trusted confidantes who would put our best minds at it,” he said, “and we had some of the best names in the New York professional offices – notable architects who have a lot of integrity. At this point, we’ve been pushed aside and told [by the N.Y.P.D.] ‘it’s our decision. It’s our decision alone.’”
Gruzen said that New York New Visions concurred with Community Board 1, which has drafted a resolution spelling out the ways in which the proposed security plan would create unacceptable logistic problems for residents and businesses in the World Trade Center vicinity.
There would be checkpoints around a “superblock” and streets connecting the World Trade Center site with the rest of Manhattan would be essentially closed to traffic.
“The taxi drivers have said this isn’t going to work,” Gruzen said. “Lower Manhattan won’t be serviced the way it should be. There will be backups. I think the N.Y.P.D. is trying to be very responsible. I think they feel an obligation to the country and to the world. But the way they’ve interpreted that responsibility is having a consequence.”
Gruzen said that the members of New York New Visions did not have enough information at this point to make specific recommendations as to what should be done. “We need all the facts and we need to be treated as insiders,” he said. “We have been, for 10 years. Lately it’s been more and more difficult to access information and data, so one naturally draws the conclusion that the game is being played by the strictest and most extreme rules. That might be O.K. or it might not be. I don’t think we have the answer. All we’re saying is that with something as serious as this, we ask for a citizens’ design board to participate and be trusted and be allowed to at least express ourselves and hopefully find solutions that might lead to a ‘reasonable’ amount of risk in a high security area.”
Community Board 1 has a similar agenda. “We’ve asked for the creation of a citizens’ advisory committee so that we can work with [the N.Y.P.D.] as the study is being done to make sure that they consider the things that concern us,” said Michael Levine, director of planning and land use for Community Board 1. “If we wait for publication of the final draft Environmental Impact Statement, we have no idea what they will consider. They could ignore everything we’ve said.”
C.B. 1 chairman Julie Menin concurred. “Technically, we don’t have a right to block the plan but I think we’ve been able to show at Community Board 1 for many years that when we have an idea, and we make a lot of noise, we can get things done,” she said. “This is our time. Now is our time to try to change the plan.”
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Design is complex. There is little that is more complex to design than a home, however fundamental issues offer an architect a starting point; where is the sun? How do we capture it in winter, how do we exclude it in summer?
The thin allotments that dominate Melbourne’s northern suburbs often provide indomitable constraints to solar access and therefore require the production of unorthodox ideas to overcome these constraints and convert them into opportunities.
The site faces north therefore relegating the backyard, the family’s primary outdoor space, to shadow throughout the year. In the 90s a two storey extension was added reducing solar access even further while creating deep dark space within the house. A family of five wished to create a long-term home, which could meet the requirements of three small children and their slow transformation into young adults over the years.
Rather than repeating past mistakes and extending from the rear in a new configuration, the proposal was to build a new structure on the rear boundary, the southern edge of the block, upon the footprint of what had been, until now, the back yard. The new structure faces the sun, the pure cantilevered box above acts as the passive solar eave, cutting out summer sun, while letting winter sun flood in.
Following the decision to build at the rear of the block a ubiquitous modern box was first imagined. Soon it seemed necessary to pursue the opportunity to activate this new, once shaded, now sunny facade. A seat along the new northern facade? Perhaps a series of steps like the Scalinata della Trinità dei Monti? But how does one lounge in the sun on steps. Perhaps a slope instead …. And the hill house evolved/emerged.
The new structure faces the original house. The backyard is now the centre of the house activated by the built form around it. Beyond solar gain, the benefit of the new structure being in the backyard is that it borrows landscaping from its neighbours’ gardens. The high windows about the entertainment cabinetry and the dining area are enveloped in trees. Internally one gets the sense that Hill House is enveloped by bush rather than part of the suburban mix.
Along one boundary a 2m high fence was created, but unlike most houses the Hill House has a one metre wide fence; a corridor lowered into the site to achieve head height. This in turn creates a lowered dining area. One rises into the living space. The change in floor level creates a bench seat for the Maynard designed ZERO WASTE TABLE.
Front Street no longer provides the main entry to the home. Family now enters via the side lane. The original house, now private dormitory spaces, no longer has a typical relationship to the N#@$%k street’s “front” door. The original house, as with most narrow blocks throughout Melbourne, demanded that visitors walked a long corridor past bedrooms to the living area. Stolen quick glances into dark private spaces always occurred along the journey. At the Hill House the entry is reorientated. The kitchen, the nerve centre, the hub of the house, is the new greeting point. Beyond is the park. Adjacent is the living space, the yard and the “kids’ house” beyond.
The old house is converted into “the kids’ house”. The old house is as it once was. The rear of the simple masonry structure, though spatially connected, is not reoriented, a face is deliberately not applied. It is left honest and robust. With a restrained piece of “street art” to be applied.
Andrew Maynard Architects was established in 2002 following Andrew’s receipt of the grand prize in the Asia Pacific Design Awards for his Design Pod. The core principles in the establishment of AMA was a balance between built projects and broad polemical design studies. This is demonstrated in AMA’s highly crafted built work and socio-politically based concepts both of which have been widely published and have garnered global recognition.
Andrew Maynard Architects explores architecture of enthusiasm – AMA treats each project as a unique challenge, offering unique possibilities and prides itself in experimentation. All of AMA’s designs are concept rich, left of centre and sustainability conscious; styles and singular themes are avoided. AMA specializes in ideas rather than building type, whether the project be a house in Fitzroy, a library in Japan, a protest shelter in Tasmania, a plywood bicycle or a suburb eating robot. Andrew Maynard Architects continues to be published in many prestigious international journals such as Mark Magazine [Amsterdam], Architectural Record [US], Architectural Review [London], Monument. Houses A + T [Spain], Architecture Australia, Wallpaper [London] and Pol Oxygen. AMA’s conceptual and built work has been exhibited in New York, Budapest, Melbourne, Sydney, Osaka, Milan, Sao Paulo, Tokyo and more.
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Below: Part of the Teachers Village construction site, a project in Newark designed with education in mind.
NEWARK — Work has begun on an education-centered community featuring three charter schools and affordable housing for teachers in the city’s decayed downtown, with much of the design work done by the noted architect Richard Meier. The development, called Teachers Village, is expected to cost $149 million when it is completed two years from now. It will consist of eight low-rise buildings clustered around the intersection of William and Halsey Streets, in Newark’s Four Corners historic district. As such, Mr. Meier has designed buildings to reflect the historical nature of the area.
Teachers Village is receiving millions of dollars in government subsidies in various forms, with $14.2 million being provided in equity by the developers. Two of the buildings, together about 134,000 square feet, will be leased to the charter schools and day care while offering retail space on the ground floor. The other six buildings, totaling about 289,000 square feet, will contain as many as 220 rental apartments for teachers with retail space on the ground floor.
Teachers Village received its final approval at the city level in March 2011, but did not break ground until last month with a ceremony that included Mayor Cory A. Booker, Gov. Chris Christie and several private developers and investors.
Mayor Booker, who has shepherded the project from its first presentation in 2010, was not available for comment and referred a reporter to a news release: “Teachers Village shows that when Newark dreams big and makes ambitious plans, we can achieve development projects that meet the highest standards for innovation and excellence. While the global economy is struggling, we in Newark have fought to create transformative change that will lead to educational, economic, and social gains for our citizens.”
While the project seems to have the city’s unqualified support, some residents have protested the inclusion of the charter schools instead of traditional public schools, and others have said they felt left out of the planning process and disliked the project’s reliance on large public subsidies.
Ron Beit, a managing member of the lead developer, the RBH Group of Manhattan, said, “We were very committed to the point that you needed to create this community overnight.” Other partners include the billionaire investor Nicolas Berggruen; the private equity giant Frederick Iseman; the financier Warren Lichtenstein and his firm, Steel Partners Holdings; and the short-term commercial lender BRT Realty Trust.
Teachers Village is the first step of a development project by the same developers that will entail building or rehabilitating 15 million square feet of space, including several skyscrapers, on 32 parcels of land downtown.
The school spaces have been leased to two established Newark charter schools, Team Academy and Discovery Charter School, and a new charter, Great Oaks Charter School. The schools, with a charter school that abuts the site, are expected to accommodate about 1,360 children.
They and their families are potential customers for the stores that will occupy the 64,000 square feet of retail space being built, Mr. Beit said. So are the residents of the 220 apartments, which are not restricted to teachers, he said.
The residences in Teachers Village will be marketed toward Newark educators in charter schools, traditional public schools, private schools and universities, Mr. Beit said. About 40 studio apartments must be kept affordable according to government requirements, but Mr. Beit said the public subsidies involved in the project will enable developers to keep all their prices low — about $700 a month for a studio; $1,000 to $1,100 for a one-bedroom; and $1,400 for a two-bedroom apartment, he said.
“Our vision for Newark is really sort of a middle-income utopia, very much like how Queens and the outer boroughs have succeeded tremendously with their retail,” said Mr. Beit, who is working with Jacobs Enterprises of Clifton, N.J., to build the retail space.
He said the larger downtown development, which is to have a wide range of rental apartments and condominiums, both subsidized and market rate, may eventually draw more upscale retailers and affluent residents attracted by Mr. Meier, who is known for buildings like the Getty Center in Los Angeles.
Mr. Meier, who designed five of Teachers Village’s eight buildings — the others were done by a local architect, Mikesell & Associates, and KSS Architects of Princeton — also spent a significant amount of time working on the streetscapes in the plan. He said he expected to work on the master plan for the larger project beyond Teachers Village, also in the historic district.
“We spent a lot of time with the local landmarks commission to make sure that the designs were historically contextual,” Mr. Meier said, “and to ensure the neighborhood was true to its historic roots, while at the same time ensuring that the community has a unique distinction and quality suggestive of the new chapter commencing in this neighborhood.”
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architecture, arts, BRT Realty Trust, business, David McFadden, design, Gov. Chris Christie, KSS Architects, Mayor Cory A. Booker, Mikesell & Associates, Real Estate, Richard Meier, Steel Partners Holdings, Teachers Village, transportation