Monthly Archives: October 2020

Swarthmore College Dining Hall Project Underway

Right now, college students who are on campuses across the country have been told to adhere to social distancing and follow other safety precautions. Dining options are modified for students protection, as well.

But as Swarthmore College students follow those rules this fall, the  Swarthmore College Sharples Dining Hall Addition & Community Commons project is building with its eye on a return to eating and socializing in a communal space.

The project will add 40,000 square feet to the dining hall, in an attempt to meet the needs of a growing student population and more dining options. It will also create a communal space for staff and students to relax and socialize. Construction is underway.

Demolition of the Phi Psi building at 5 Sharples Lane is complete, and the excavation for the basement space is underway.  The design aims to be a net-zero building. When completed, that basement can be the location for  a geothermal exchange plant to service the entire campus, which would allow the college to act toward its goal of transitioning away from the use of fossil fuels for heating and cooling campus buildings.

Phase 1 of this two-phased project, the completion of the dining hall addition, is expected to be done in June 2022. The entire project has an anticipated completion date of August 2023.

Islanders New Home Arena at Belmont Park Tops Out

An ongoing development reported by CIS Leads, the Belmont Arena — now renamed the UBS Arena in Belmont Park — is to be the new home for the New York Islanders, and this Saturday reached a major milestone nearly a year since its last major update. The 19,000-seat arena, said to be the centerpiece of the Belmont Park Redevelopment Project, topped out — or, “topped off,” as Gov. Cuomo and others present chose to call it. 

With a ceremonial placing of the highest beam by Empire State Development Board chair Steven M. Cohen and Acting Commissioner Eric Gertler joined NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky, the UBS Arena has reached its full height, and with more to go. 

The Main Details on UBS Arena and the Belmont Park Redevelopment Project, as They Stand Today

In the year since CIS Leads reported on the start of the then-named Belmont Arena Project, far more details have come to light regarding the development and its amenities. In fact, the most detail that could be reported in September of 2019 was its capacity, as well as the promise for retail and office spaces in the surrounding park. Updated information includes:

  • A large, luxurious entertainment hub. Slated at 17,000 capacity for NHL games and 19,000 for concerts, UBS Arena is built for hockey and music. The site boasts that the finished structure will be a seamless merging of “boutique hospitality” and “live entertainment” that includes VIP suites and clubs, eight bars with a view of the ice and stage, and two outdoor terraces, among other features. 
  • About 350,000 square feet of retail and food. Over the entire complex, visitors will find a swathe of options, from experiential retail and food options to a larger retail village. 
  • A 210,000 square foot hotel, details to be disclosed later. Likely part of a later phase of the full redevelopment project, little is known about the hotels’ amenities or the overall size, but many praise this as the piece that will complete the complex as the sports and entertainment hub of the area. 
  • The first new, full-time LIRR train station in nearly half a century. One of the latest revelations is that the Long Island Rail Road would be constructing a new connection, the Elmont stop, the first in almost fifty years, which will drive more shoppers and sports and music fans to the area without the need to arrange accommodations. 

As Phase I continues, locals and job seekers can look to continuing, steady progress and more details as they emerge. 

What Remains to Be Done Before the UBS Arena Is Completed?

Developers are expecting to have the roof complete by December. UBS Arena is looking to open its doors in the Fall of 2021, just in time for the 2021-2022 NHL Season, and sources suggest that at least 60 concerts have already been booked for the venue. Despite two months of delay at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York, developers are confident that they will finish on time. 

The project itself has already created over 10,000 construction jobs, and since the completion of the arena is only the first phase of several, that promises further work to come for perhaps several years, and that’s to say nothing of the thousands of local jobs that Belmont Park is predicted to bring once the final bricks are laid. 

Former Bayonne Catholic School To Become Luxury Apartments

The pandemic and its economic impact have created another challenge for Catholic schools struggling to stay open. Just this year, at least 19 New Jersey Catholic schools closed, and at least another five were folded into nearby schools. Buildings left empty by closings are not new for the Catholic schools, which have been battling falling enrollment and funding issues for years. 

Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in Bayonne has sat unused since the school closed in 2008. Now developers plan to convert the school into a luxury apartment building within walking distance of the light rail.

The 99-year-old building at the corner of East 22nd Street and Church Lane will retain the original Roman revival-style façade as the interior is turned into 30 loft apartments, from studios to two-bedroom units. Plans for the building also include a gym, rooftop terrace, and garage.

The target date for the $15-20 million project is third quarter 2021, but that is contingent upon approvals. As of earlier this week, the site plan application had yet to be filed with the town planning board. Developers still plan to complete construction and start leasing apartments in late 2023.

Peekskill Affordable Housing Development Advances After September Groundbreaking

In the city of Peekskill in Westchester County, one of the latest initiatives in Governor Cuomo’s Five-Year Affordable Housing Plan through New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) has broken ground in recent weeks and begun to take shape. The $51 million affordable housing development on 645 Main Street is one of several projects involved in Peekskill’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, making it one of many cities to benefit from the state grant program in recent years. The new apartments and additional parking will be centrally located in the community and aims to have an eco-friendly bend. 

What Makes the 645 Main Street Project Eco-Friendly? 

“Every New Yorker deserves a safe, decent and affordable place to call home,” said Governor Cuomo when he announced construction. “This new, energy-efficient development builds upon our continued strategic investments in downtowns throughout the state and will provide more than 80 brand-new, affordable apartments for families and the community.” Energy efficiency plays a huge role in making any residence more affordable by saving residents on utility costs. 

The 645 Main Street units are going to include: 

  • High-quality air conditioning and heating systems in apartments that are well-insulated are safer and cheaper to run. 
  • Efficient appliances in the kitchen and low-flow plumbing save energy and water use. 
  • Finally, photovoltaic solar panels will be installed on the roof can further offset costs by allowing the building to make some of its own energy. 

It appears that most of the eco-friendly amenities are centered around saving on utility costs. This is further aided because one of the larger energy eaters will be communal: The building will have communal laundry facilities. Additionally, tenants will benefit from permanent, tax-exempt climate bonds that are figured into the building’s budget. The project is certified by the International Climate Bonds Initiative, which funds efforts to lower New York’s carbon footprint. 

What Else Can People Expect of the 645 Main Street Affordable Housing Complex? 

With architects at L&M Design and construction helmed by Wilder Balter Partners Inc., pricing on the apartments will aim toward incomes that are at 40-80 percent of the area median income or below (which puts a one-bedroom apartment at about $900). 

Senior Living and Luxury Apartments Coming in Montgomery County, PA

Site work continues in Bala Cynwyd, PA, where the historic Lees Shoddy Mill makes way for a modern senior living facility on the 4.8-acre site. A six-story, 84-unit, 96-bed apartment building will take the place of the former mill built in the 1800s.

The apartment building will include various amenities such as libraries, a fitness center, a computer space, rehabilitative and memory services and a small park for community use. There will also be 68 parking spaces. 

Continued delays leave the target date for vertical construction unknown.

Elsewhere in Montgomery County, construction has yet to begin on a five-story building of luxury apartments in Lansdale. The $35-40 million project on a four-acre site will include 205 units and various amenities. A creek will run around the building and parking lot. Completion is expected by April 2022.