This is the final installment of the Omnibus Friday Roundup. We will continue to share information about news, events, and other items of interest with our readers, but will be experimenting with more efficient ways to deliver that content. Expect to see a few more posts in our Forum throughout the week, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for quick links to additional event listings and news items. But first, read on for one last Omnibus Roundup:
BOOSTING MANUFACTURING IN INDUSTRY CITY
A partnership of three real estate companies is seeking to purchase a stake in Sunset Park’s Industry City with plans to turn its sixteen buildings into the next industrial hit along the Brooklyn waterfront. With tenants such as MakerBot, a 3-D printer maker, already leasing space in the complex, the partnership sees the same potential in Industry City leveraged in the revitalization of the Brooklyn Navy Yard and nearby Brooklyn Army Terminal as small manufacturing hubs. The partnership has named Andrew Kimball, who stepped down as CEO of the Navy Yard in June, as the intended chief executive of the property, charged with populating Industry City with an ecosystem of creators.
The city’s artists gained some much needed affordable studio space Tuesday with the opening of Spaceworks LIC, rehearsal spaces in Long Island City to be rented at hourly and below-market rates. The new center is the first of five pilot projects by Spaceworks, an independent, non-profit developer launched by the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs with the goal of creating affordable workspace for artists. For more on Spaceworks’ process of identifying and designing spaces, check out our discussion with Executive Director Paul Parkhill from last November.
In the City’s ongoing attempts to move along its future vision for Willets Point, Queens, known as the Iron Triangle for its unique ecosystem of auto body shops, tenants in the redevelopment zone have been offered payment equal to a year’s rent at their current location if they vacate the area by November. Representatives of a group of the shops say the payment is appreciated, but shopowners have yet to identify another location where they can recreate their business district, making relocation in the time frame pushed by the City unlikely. For more, take a look at Nicole Salazar’s 2012 UO piece on the businesses and workers of the Iron Triangle and the controversy over its redevelopment.
Forest City Ratner, the developer of the gargantuan Atlantic Yards project and Barclays Center in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, announced its intention to sell up to 80% of the remaining portion of Atlantic Yards yet to be constructed, which includes 14 residential buildings containing 6,000 apartments. The firm seeks to use the funds generated by the sale, expected to be as much as $800 million, to spur the build out of the rest of the project, the completion date for which has been repeatedly pushed back.
ALL THE OPEN DATA
Chris Whong recently took on the challenge of creating a visualization of all data released by the City of New York. While many graphics and interactive animations exist that display distinct sets of data released by the City under its open data program, a comprehensive look at all of these sets provides a unique perspective on the types and amounts of data related to different sectors, as well as click-through access to the raw data for those that want to dive deeper.
INCENTIVIZING AND FUNDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING
A new report by City Councilman Brad Lander’s office asserts that the City’s inclusionary zoning incentive, which permits developers to build more units than allowed under a property’s zoning designation if they make at least 20% of the total units affordable, has failed to produce enough units to begin to quench the city’s need for affordable housing. Lander’s report is paired with a white paper from the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, which calls on the City to require the creation of affordable units in new developments rather than just incentivize it. The City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, now under new leadership following the departure of Commissioner Matthew Wambua, claims that the incentive program has been picking up alongside a strengthening economy.
The New York City Housing Authority has tweaked its plans to solicit proposals for the development of market-rate housing on public land in eight of its Manhattan developments this week. Instead of soliciting actual plans, NYCHA is now seeking suggestions for the developments by November 17th, in the final days of the Bloomberg Administration. The move has been interpreted as a step back in response to heavy criticism from both the public and elected officials alike.
SANDY REBUILDING STRATEGY
On Monday the federal Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, led by Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, released a report detailing 69 recommendations for mitigating harm and damage in future emergencies. Proposals range from bolstering communication networks to allow for functionality if the power grid fails to cutting red tape that inhibits the flow of aid to affected communities. Donovan announced the Task Force’s findings alongside Mayor Bloomberg in Greenpoint (video above), where the wastewater treatment plant remained online through the storm. Despite this small victory, the neighborhood is one of many still discovering ways Sandy left its mark: many trees across the city, if they stood through the storm, have been heavily damaged or killed from the inundation of saltwater brought by the storm surge, now made clear by barren limbs during the usually verdant spring and summer. Tree removal and replacement costs add more to the already staggering rebuilding costs.
EVENTS and STUFF TO DO
BATTLE OF BROOKLYN DAY
Head over to Green-Wood Cemetery on Sunday for a celebration of the Battle of Brooklyn: the first battle of the American Revolution fought after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Engage with the often paved-over history of the borough through a commemoration ceremony, reenactments, and trolley tours on hallowed ground where the battle took place.
The International Center of Photography and the Museum of the City of New York have partnered to create Rising Waters: Photographs of Hurricane Sandy, an exhibit of 100 photographs selected from 5,000 entries to an open call for submissions on view from August 24th through September 29th in Building 19 on Governors Island. Elastic City will also host Lose, Loss, Lost, a walk exploring the Rockaway Peninsula through experiencing, sharing, or invoking personal loss. The walk, to be held tomorrow and August 31st, will be led by Eve Mosher, whose High Water Line project was featured in Juliet Helmke’s UO piece on eco-visualization.
If you are feeling wistful with summer coming to a close, embrace your nostalgia this Sunday with a ride on World War I-era subway cars from Grand Central to Van Cortland Park in the Bronx with the New York Transit Museum. Once in the park, visitors will have a three hour vacation to explore and picnic before heading back to the city.
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The views expressed here are those of the authors only and do not reflect the position of The Architectural League of New York.