Back in 2013, Kushner Companies, RFR Realty, and LIVWRK acquired, for $375 million from the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the five-building, 1.25-million square-foot commercial complex at 55 and 81 Prospect Street, 117 Adams Street, 77 Sands Street, and 175 Pearl Street. The developers have since converted the collection of mid-rise buildings into offices and retail space, dubbed DUMBO Heights. The developers are now constructing a two-block-long public plaza along Sands Street between Adams and Jay streets, according to the Wall Street Journal. The plaza will extend the 15-foot-wide sidewalk by 15 feet. It will include public artwork, seating, and planters. La Fantástica is behind the design, and the Dumbo Improvement District is associated with the project. Current office tenants in the complex including WeWork Cos., Etsy Inc., Frog Design, Alexis Bittar Inc., and retail tenants include Randolph Beer, fitness center Shadowbox, Row House, Bluestone Lane Coffee, and Dig Inn. Roughly 350,000 square feet of commercial space remains vacant, according to Real Estate Weekly.
In 2014, Savanna acquired, for $28 million, the three-story commercial building at 141 Willoughby Street, in Downtown Brooklyn. Then in August of 2015, the developer submitted filings to rezone the property in order to build a 44-story, 270-unit mixed-use tower. The city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) is now underway, with the latest step resulting in Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee disapproving the rezoning, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports. The project itself has grown slightly since initially being filed. Proposed at the latest hearing was a 49-story, 270-unit mixed-use building. Eighty-one of the units would rent at below-market rates. The base of the building would feature two stories (plus the cellar) of retail, followed by seven stories of office space. Morris Adjmi Architects is designing. The latest step in ULURP is merely a recommendation. The proposal will now go before the entire Community Board 2. If the rezoning is granted, Savanna would also acquire from the city, for $4.8 million, a small, triangular park located to the north of the site. It has 47,718 square feet of development rights and would permanently remain as a park.
In September of 2015, construction was underway on the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church planned on the eastern end of the also-under-construction, one-acre Liberty Park, located on the southern end of the World Trade Center complex, in the Financial District. Now, construction on the rest of Liberty Park, which is elevated 25 feet above street level, is nearly complete, DNAinfo reports. The new park will feature landscaped greenery, plantings, seating and benches, and a 300-foot-long “Living Wall” along its northern base wall. Opening is expected some time this summer. As for the church, being designed by Santiago Calatrava (who also designed the World Trade Center Transportation Hub), construction is expected to last into 2017. The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey is behind the project.
The ongoing transformation of Long Island City is astounding. In the decade between 2006 and 2015, more than 8,600 housing units have been completed in the area, with well over 22,000 more on the way. Between 2012 and 2015, prices for prime development sites have jumped by 269 percent. As the neighborhood rapidly transitions from commercial/industrial to high-density residential, the local street grid, characterized by odd angles, must undergo a significant transformation. The city government began to address this need in 2010, when Jackson Avenue, the area’s principal thoroughfare, was upgraded with a green median, while a small triangular park was created at the intersection of 27th Street, Hunter Street, and 43rd Avenue.
A significant chunk of new public park space on the southern end of Governors Island is expected to open on July 18, a few months after the island officially opens for the summer season, Curbed NY reports. The latest park addition is called The Hills, and features the 25-foot-tall Grassy Hill, the 40-foot-tall Slide Hill, the 40-foot-tall Discovery Hill, and the 70-foot-tall Outlook Hill. Work is quickly wrapping up on The Hills, as seen in photos in a Curbed NY article. Once opened, it will join the recently constructed Liggett Terrace, the Play Lawn, and Hammock Grove, which will put the amount of parkland on Governors Island to around 150 acres. West 8 designed the 30-acre park, and the Trust for Governors Island its development.