August 10th - August 16th, 2013
One Hudson Square Landmarked
August 7 - When most people think about New York City landmarks they don't think about gray industrial buildings like One Hudson Square, according to Crain's New York. They think about sumptuous brownstone mansions or world-famous skyscrapers. And that's what makes the decision Tuesday by the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate the hulking building at the corner of Canal and Varick streets as a landmark special. And while the building has an architectural pedigree and handsome lines, the reason for its new status has that the massive brick loft building is being celebrated as an exemplar of industrial architecture in a neighborhood still dominated by aging factory buildings, most now converted to offices. The 1 million-square-foot building was completed in 1930 on a triangular-shaped lot at the mouth of the Holland Tunnel, which had opened just three years earlier. The unusual site gives the 18-story structure a dramatic prow. The commission was eager to preserve One Hudson Square not only as a remarkable work of industrial architecture but also because the Hudson Square neighborhood had recently been rezoned, which could have put economic pressure on the building's owners, Trinity Real Estate, the real estate arm of Trinity Church downtown, to possibly redevelop or replace the building. Still, Trinity, which owns more than a dozen buildings in the neighborhood -- land deeded to the church by Queen Anne in 1705 as a farm -- welcomed the landmarking of the property. Trinity, renamed the property One Hudson Square following a multimillion-dollar renovation a decade ago, that turned the old printing plant into a class-A office building. Tenants today include New York Magazine, ad agency Omnicom, Getty Images and the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Seaport Firms Plan for Boats at the New Pier 17
August 14 - The Howard Hughes Corp., has submitted a plan for the maritime usage of Pier 17 to City Councilmember Margaret Chin and to City Council's Land Use Division, reported the Downtown Express. On March 8, 2012, when Hughes first showed its plans for a new shopping mall on Pier 17 to Community Board 1's Seaport Committee, the renderings depicted a flat-roofed, glass-enclosed structure with no boats in sight. On March 20, 2013, Howard Hughes, which has a long-term lease at the Seaport, went before City Council with its plan, the last stage in the ULURP process. By then, ships had been included. City Council approved the ULURP application, but required that Hughes submit a docking plan for the pier by June 30, 2013. It arrived on schedule. The new plan has a notch on the east side of the pier, which the plan shows could contain one gangway for a boat. Vessels would not be permitted to enter the notch. On the south side of the pier, the plan shows a floating dock for New York Water Taxi, like the one now there. SHoP Architects, which designed the new Pier 17 shopping mall for Howard Hughes, did not comment on the revised plan. It is now being considered by City Council's Land Use Division, which will submit its comments to The Howard Hughes Corp. and to the City Planning Commission, which must approve the proposal.
Remembering a Zealous Advocate of Lower Manhattan
August 14 - When the ribbon is cut next year to open Lower Manhattan's new subway hub at the Fulton Center, one figure will be conspicuously absent from the crowd: Elizabeth H. Berger, the president of the Downtown Alliance, who died on Aug. 5, at 53, after a decade with pancreatic cancer. Her advocacy of Lower Manhattan was so zealous that even close friends were fooled into believing her remission might never end. There were few projects she did not influence, according to the New York Times. These included the Fulton Center, over the juncture of nine subway lines at Broadway and Fulton Street, which was criticized for its generous public space and $1.4 billion price tag. Ms. Berger expressed no such reservations. Typical of her approach, Ms. Berger saw things from both regional and local perspectives. Her belief in downtown as a round-the-clock community began with her own household. When the presidency of the Downtown Alliance, which runs the Lower Manhattan business improvement district, opened in 2007, Ms. Berger campaigned for the job with brio. The board was won over. "She broke the mold," said Janno Lieber, the president of World Trade Center Properties, a Koch administration alumnus and a board member. "She was a community activist who actually valued business."
Aging Palm Trees in Winter Garden Being Chopped Down and Replaced
August 14 - The 16 soaring palm trees in Brookfield Place's expansiveWinter Garden atrium have finally outgrown their home, according to DNAinfo.com. Brookfield is cutting down the trees -- planted in 2002, when the Winter Garden reopened a year after the Sept. 11 attacks -- because they have grown too tall for the 10-story glass-enclosed space, the company said. "The palms are being removed as they have exceeded their normal indoor life, which is generally 10 years," Brookfield said in a statement. "Our landscape architects at John Mini Distinctive Landscapes have determined that the palms have achieved the maximum height under the Winter Garden's glass ceiling and have begun to show signs of curvature and twisting." New, smaller palm trees will replace the old ones between Aug. 19 and 23, Brookfield said. As of Wednesday, eight of the 16 trees had already been been taken down. The work is done at night, when the complex is closed.
1 Chase Manhattan Plaza Hits Market
August 16 - JPMorgan Chase has put up for sale its one-time headquarters, the 60-story landmark office tower 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza in Lower Manhattan, reported Crain's New York. A spokeswoman for the bank, the nation's second largest, confirmed that the tower, which houses 2.2 million square feet of office space, is being marketed to potential buyers. She said the bank currently occupies most of the building but would vacate the bulk of that space after the sale. Built in the early 1960s by the bank when the legendary David Rockefeller was its chief executive, the Skidmore Owings & Merrill-designed building became a sleek symbol of its owner. At the time, it was also a reaffirmation of downtown's place as the nation's financial capitol. The property, which would come largely vacant, could fetch $1 billion or more, making it one of the largest commercial office deals in the neighborhood in recent years. It also ranks as one of the most architecturally prominent properties to hit the auction block some time.