While only vague massing studies have previously been seen regarding the redevelopment of Greenpoint’s waterfront, we now have some concrete renderings from the apparent master plan, dubbed ‘Greenpoint Landing’. The Greenpoint Lumber Yard is being redeveloped by the Park Tower Group, who–as the Observer notes–are working with Handel Architects to create a vision for the revitalized neighborhood.
Handel’s website gives a great description of the plan, which is said to include 4.2 million square feet of mixed-use development. The project is expected to provide over 4,000 new units of housing in addition to a mix of retail and public parks. With 11 new buildings and 20% of the future housing set aside as affordable, the scale of the project is quite large. Perhaps most exciting is the project’s integration with a marina, which could provide part of the new backbone this waterfront neighborhood so badly needs.
In terms of criticism, the project put forth looks appropriate in scale, although the design is quite bland. Some have noticed many of the new projects along the East River look like they belong in Miami rather than New York (specifically East Coast Long Island City), and this project is no exception; the rendered facades are entirely glass, with little variation. The overall scope of ‘Greenpoint Landing’ makes the project look impressive for sheer size, but in terms of architecture, there is little that is appealing. ‘Greenpoint Landing’ may fail to create a vision that is particularly dazzling, but it certainly isn’t a bad proposal–just slightly boring.
Representing a key link in the redevelopment of the waterfront, ‘Greenpoint Landing’ is only one among several huge sites involved in the redevelopment of the East River. Spanning from the new Brooklyn Bridge Park all the way to Hunter’s Point, ‘Greenpoint Landing’ is but another piece in a massive puzzle, and the vision proposed is certainly adequate enough to give the proposal ‘acceptable filler’ status. Part of the balance in revitalization will be choosing whether to maintain Greenpoint as a neighborhood or turn it into a destination, and Handel’s plan certainly seems to prefer the former.
Not every new project in New York needs something iconic or outstanding, especially if it is to blend into the fabric of an existing neighborhood. Given the Greenpoint waterfront is essentially undeveloped, there is no fabric to blend into–while sheer size is unnecessary for ‘wow’ factor, Handel could have proposed something more creative. The development is very similar to the towers at Northside Piers (to the South), and isn’t a large departure from the towers at East Coast LIC either. In the end, dotting the Greenpoint waterfront with 40-story (~500 foot) towers will prove beneficial to redevelopment.. it would just be nice if it was done with some flair.
The Observer reports that the first of the project’s buildings could begin rising this year. Given the stirring of development all along Brooklyn’s waterfront (Northside Piers and the Domino redevelopment first come to mind), this wouldn’t be surprising. What is clear is that final build-out will take much longer than that, and that this area of Greenpoint’s waterfront will be in transition for quite some time.