Author Archives: Chris Colabella

Planned Renovations to Westchester County Bridges Announced

On July 24th, Governor Cuomo announced a new, $115 million infrastructure project is already underway in Westchester County to renovate multiple bridges, Route 907W and Ravensdale bridge, in addition to other parts of the surrounding area. 

The project is met with some optimism following earlier reports on slower progress toward needed bridge repairs nationwide. The targeted locations see a great deal of flooding during inclement weather and these updates’ ultimate aim is to mitigate these issues, making these areas safer and more resilient to storms, erosion, and other wear and tear. 

“This project will ease travel and enhance safety in one of the Hudson’s Valley’s busiest corridors,” the Governor said, adding that it would address “chronic flooding that has tormented drivers in the area for decades.” 

He reiterated the state’s commitment to “building a transportation network that meets the demands of the 21st Century, facilitating economic growth and improving quality of life, and these projects will significantly advance our efforts.”

Which Bridges Are Going to Be Renovated, and What Will be Done With Them?

Overall, the project will repurpose one culvert, renovate one bridge, and finally replace four others in total. The project also involves addressing drainage issues and reworking nearby/adjacent roads that easily flood. 

Two of the bridges to be replaced are situated near the culvert. Altogether, this leg of the project focuses on the areas of East Lincoln Ave over the Hutchinson River Parkway, Hutchinson River between Pelham and Mount Vernon, and the culvert itself. A temporary bridge will be built in the summer to redirect traffic while construction takes place. 

The Parkway’s stormwater system will be replaced, with floodwalls also installed. The culvert will be repurposed to direct heavy precipitation to Pelham Lake. 

The other two bridges that will be replaced go over Saw Mill River Parkway over Saw Mill River in Pleasantville. The current plan is to elevate the bridges based on the next 100 years of flood projections. About 1.3 miles of new roadway will then direct the flow of water to prevent erosion and other forms of degradation. Lane closures will take place to accommodate both ongoing traffic and construction. 

The sole bridge that will only be seeing upgrades instead of full replacements is US Route 1 over Mamaroneck River in Mamaroneck.

Other updates include updating bridge approaches and nearby intersections, with many quality-of-life updates to pedestrian areas, including updated curb ramps, barriers, bridge railings, crosswalks and signals, and sidewalks. All are expected to be ADA compliant. 

What Is the Timetable for These Renovations?

Governor Cuomo has stated that these projects are now underway, but this is largely the prep stage. The current situation, which will continue through the summer, involves utility work, field preparation, and surveying. 

Part of this will include assembling the temporary bridge in the East Lincoln and Hutchinson River area. Full construction is expected to begin in the Fall and is slated to wrap up in Autumn of 2022. 

A two-year scope for the various labors involved would not be unusual, especially with the current expectation that ongoing traffic is expected to continue in the area even as construction takes place.

MacArthur Airport Terminal to Undergo Remodel

After our most recent article on the latest LaGuardia Airport project, MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma on Long Island has begun one of its first major renovations of the year. It is one of two scheduled thus far, and it is expected to wrap up quicker than it began. 

Serving roughly two million passengers per year and in operation since the 1940’s (previously named Islip Airport), MacArthur has seen several rehabilitation projects over the years. Still, its Western Terminal has not been touched or updated in just over three decades. 

That began to change mid-July, kicking off a project that entered its planning stages in January of this year and only opened construction bids later that March. Four months later and work has begun in earnest.

What Are the Details of the Full MacArthur Airport Terminal Project?

The $8.6 million project at MacArthur Airport seeks to completely refurbish the West Terminal apron, known otherwise as a flight line, tarmac, or ramp. It serves as the parking, loading, and boarding area for all aircraft on the field. 

The rehabilitation and renovation were due. With concrete, the general life expectancy for a typical driveway is roughly 25 to 35 years with regular wear and tear. In those cases, consider the weight of regular cars and trucks coming and going. For concrete roads, the life extends a little longer, to about 40 years, and an airport apron might see more comparable traffic to this. After a 34 year wait, the federal funding for this project came through probably sooner than expected. 

About $3.3 million of the budget is from the Airport Capital Improvement Grant from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration), with the rest coming out of the Supplemental Discretionary Grant from the 2018 Fiscal Year Omnibus Bill HR 1645.

MacArthur Terminal: What It Will Take to Finish

The first part of the project has already begun. This initial goal has been to first remove all 28,000 square yards (the equivalent of 252,000 square feet) of concrete from the existing tarmac, which is not yet complete. The ease with which this can be done is determined by the depth of the concrete itself. Depending on the size and weight of the aircraft serviced at that terminal, it can range from 5- to 6-inches and up. 

Once the old concrete is fully dismantled and removed, new concrete will be laid, treated, and painted for designating aircraft parking and movement. 

Another major factor may involve removing and replacing lighting fixtures during the process. 

While awaiting the completion of this project might mean a tighter set of arrivals and departures from the MacArthur airport, the delay will not be too long. Reports suggest that the Western Terminal will be open again, and the airport apron refreshed, in roughly four months, by the end of Autumn 2020 at the latest. 

Morningside Heights Mixed-Use Development to Begin Construction

With multiple construction firms resuming and launching new projects in the New York City area according to new health guidelines, L+M Developments Partners and Lendlease‘s joint venture in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City will at last break ground, with demolition wrapping up in early June 2020. 

The mixed-use development is on the site of the Union Theological Seminary, with news of plans breaking as far back as 2018. It will, like many structures in the Morningside Heights area, be part of Ivy League school Columbia University’s sprawling campus. As such, while mixed-use often implies residential and retail combined into one building, this one will focus on residential and academic facilities — a change from earlier reports in 2018 that specified the building would mix residential and “community” space

Recent News on the 100 Claremont Avenue Project

Reported back in June of 2020, L+M and Lendlease sought and obtained $250 million in financing through global investment management firm Barings. In early July, the firms went on to confirm that they were closing further construction financing and were eager to move on to the next phase of construction. 

What Will the Finished Morningside Heights Development Offer?

The finished structure will be part of the already-existing nondenominational seminary onsite, which has been serving the community since as early as 1928. Robert A.M. Stern Architects replaced SLCE Architects. The new building’s design will cover 354,000 square feet of new space, spanning upwards of 42 stories of residences and academic spaces. The academic portions of the mixed-use building will include:

  • 54,000 square feet of academic space.
  • New, modern classrooms and office spaces.  
  • Faculty-only apartments.

On the residential side, the finished project will feature:

  • 300,000 square feet of residential space.
  • 165 condominiums, which will range from one to four-bedroom units. As yet, no data suggests these would be open to all or strictly for students. 
  • Construction firms are pledging to meet the U.S. Green Building Council standards for LEED Gold Certification as well as V2 of the WELL Building Standard.

Construction is expected to wrap up in spring of 2023. This promises several years of ongoing work for any laborers that are attached to the project. The one risk, for those citing COVID-19 and second-wave concerns, would be a potential second shutdown of non-essential construction, unless residential construction across the board is waived as many in the metro area have been demanding, because none of the units in this project are designated for low-income housing. 

$2 Billion Mixed-Use Project Unveiled in Astoria

In the last week, a major plan was unveiled that revealed how a five-block expanse of the Astoria/Long Island City area would be transformed into a sprawling mixed-use development. 

A joint venture from development firms Kaufman Astoria Studios, Silverstein Properties and Bedrock Real Estate Partners, the project is slated for a space (identified as a part of 35th Avenue that runs between 37th Street and Northern Boulevard) made up entirely of small factory spaces and parking lots. 

Dubbed mixed-use, which usually inspires a vision of high-rise buildings with residents above and retail below, the image this group of developers has presented to the public is essentially its own community, with 2.7 million square feet of space to build it. 

Its name: Innovation QNS. 

What Are the Details of the Full Innovation QNS Project?

The new district is presently zoned for manufacturing, so before any leg of the project starts, rezoning will have to be approved. One can speculate that the metro area’s continuing demand for housing and the ongoing trending toward mixed-use structures should mean there is little delay on this front. The developers cite a number of plans for the area:

  • 2.2 million square feet of the full 2.7 million will be devoted to residential space. 
  • Most new buildings will range between 10 and 26 stories. 
  • 2,700 apartments are to be built, with 700 reserved for low-income housing. This means that should COVID-19 or any similar issues lead to another shutdown, the project will likely remain essential and mean continuing work. 
  • Retail and office spaces are to be constructed, making up 192,000 square feet and 235,000 square feet respectively.
  • An 80,000 square foot grammar school will also be among many new features. 
  • A 90,000 square foot community center will take up a portion of the remaining square footage, and developers report that part of the leftover space will be available at below-market rent to non-profit organizations based in the community, startups, and artisans. 

The project as a whole has involved the local community in much of its planning stages and proposes that it will not force local residents out, and most small businesses will be relocating into the district. 

What Kinds of Jobs Will Innovation QNS Create? 

Innovation QNS is projected to create 5,400 new jobs, with 3,700 of them expected to be in construction alone. The other 1,700 are expected to be permanent jobs that will remain once the final bricks are laid and the new location is fully inhabited. 

The full scope of the plan covers 8.5 acres, to be converted into residential, retail and office spaces, and educational and community centers, plus all the surrounding infrastructure, and that’s all to be built after demolition. The initial groundbreaking is projected for 2023 and is expected to take at least ten years to finish. In the meantime, further planning and bidding are to be expected. 

Lighthouse Point in Staten Island to Resume Construction

Another major housing project in New York City has already shown signs of resuming construction after much delay. The site for Lighthouse Point has been shuttered and still for some months now, even before the COVID-19 outbreak, but signs of life have begun to emerge as Triangle Equities oversees a safe return to work for the laborers involved. 

The real estate development firm is known for its approach to urban development that includes public-private partnerships, targeting underdeveloped and high-potential opportunities, and creative financing. 

Their philosophy can be seen in its plans for the $250 million dollar Lighthouse Point, set in the empty United States Lighthouse Complex on Staten Island, a historic landmark that is to be revitalized into a functional, mixed-use property with retail and residential space, including affordable housing options. 

What Led to Construction Delays for Lighthouse Point?

Given the project’s status as essential construction because of its affordable housing offerings, Lighthouse Point saw little in the way of delay due to the coronavirus, as many construction endeavors did. Its troubles came much earlier than that, on two fronts:

  1. One came from a partial stop-work order due to what sources called “inadequate guardrails” and “housekeeping” at the location.
  2. Another came from the project’s contractor, Hollister Construction Services, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September of 2019. 

Triangle Equities would report by December that they were on the verge of hiring a new contractor, and have since done so in the months since.

Lighthouse Point: What Will the Finished Project Look Like?

Triangle Equities outlines the development of Lighthouse Point in two phases. The first, which was estimated to complete last year but may still be in the works, would address:

  • Over 60,000 square feet of retail space 
  • A residential tower containing 115 apartments, twenty percent of which would be designated affordable housing 
  • A parking structure with 300 spaces 

Phase II, set to commence this year, will:

  • Construct more parking for an additional 100 cars
  • Add another  23,000 square feet of retail, restaurant, and office space 
  • Build a 175-room hotel and event space 

It is possible that the aforementioned delays halted the full completion of Phase I. Since Lighthouse Point remained designated as essential for its housing options, it stands to reason that the residential portion of the project is still underway. 

What Remains to Be Finished?

Phase II will be ready to kick off soon. With a projected completion in the summer of 2021, and more delays than anyone is likely to care for, this remains to be seen. In early June, the DOB reported that people were on site to make repairs to fencing, sidewalks, and to adjust other violations found during a previous inspection. Spokespeople for Triangle Equities reported that their new contractor would be taking care of the final preparations for safety and readiness but declined to reveal a new schedule for completion or details about their newly hired contractor. Announcements may follow in the near future. 

ODA’s Bevel in LIC Wraps Construction

ODA Architecture’s luxury building designs dot major cities all over the world. With an emphasis on the people that will live in their structures and integration between nature and manmade, the firm’s residential designs represent the standard to which many Long Island and NYC locals want when it comes to sustainability and environmental friendliness. 

In Long Island City, one of their latest ventures, the Rabsky Bevel LIC at 42-20 27th Street, is in the process of laying its last bricks, representing a little over four years of labor to bring ODA’s vision to life. 

What Was the Timeline for this Project?

Developed for the residential development firm, the Rabsky Group, the story of Bevel LIC began some years ago when initial plans were revealed in 2016 for a smaller structure than what it ultimately became, first approved as a 99-unit, mixed-use building that would eventually grow to 202 units. It was originally slated for completion in 2018. 

News of this project did not often break, save for when things went wrong, including an incident in 2017 where a floor collapse injured six laborers. By the end of 2019, construction had advanced far enough that the owners began to lease apartments, and full completion has likely been awaiting the full reopening of construction after the first outbreak of COVID-19 shut down all but non-essential projects. In early June, work finally began to wrap up, with the final touches forthcoming in the coming weeks. 

Bevel LIC at a Glance

As before, the finished Bevel LIC represents a much larger building than its initial plans had hoped for. With 99 units and 15 stories, it was intended as a mixed-use building that would include retail space on the ground floor and residential space in the upper floors. 

The finished project would be far grander, but it appears that retail space has been replaced with tenants-only luxury amenities. 

Features include: 

  • 18 stories, with 202 residential units, ranging from studios to two-bedrooms, priced from $2,400 to $4,200 per month
  • Wooden floors and floor-to-ceiling windows in units, with interiors by Durukan Design.
  • A courtyard with full landscaping
  • Amenities like bicycle storage, a children’s room, cinema, fitness center, and a private library

New York’s LaGuardia Airport Update Nearing Completion

Among essential construction projects that have continued to chug along throughout the pandemic, the redesign of LaGuardia’s Terminal B has managed to remain on schedule with few delays, thanks in part to lower traffic, and is now complete. Part of a larger revitalization plan for the airport launched in 2015 by Gov. Cuomo, the arrivals and departures hall was unveiled last week, giving travelers a picture of what the future holds in store for LaGuardia as a whole when the final bricks are in place sometime in 2021. 

The finish line, though still a year away, reflects years of effort to update and improve the airport, once openly criticized for its lack of cleanliness and desperate need of a facelift.  

What Has Been the Timeline for LaGuardia’s Transformation?

Plans for a full rebuild were around as early as 2010, when Christopher Ward, director of the Port Authority, brought in consultants to look into fully demolishing and rebuilding the entire site to something modern and up to date. The proposed project would cost about $2.5 billion, and proposals would continue in the coming years. 

The initial plan included bringing in a private company to fund the operation. Still, in 2015, Governor Cuomo announced the state would be overseeing this project, which had an original budget of $4 billion but has now grown to almost $8 billion. Phase One began in 2016. Private airlines started to invest in 2017, in time for Phase Two to begin. 

Each stage of construction has been gradual, with multiple changes, including moving the entire facility approximately 600 feet closer to the Grand Central Parkway, an eco-friendly build, and new parking garages. The only major parts of the airport that do not appear to have needed changing were the runways. 

LaGuarida Airport and Terminal B: A Picture of Progress

LaGuardia’s Terminal B and its plans and progress have been an ongoing part of the project since at least 2011, starting with a complete demolition during Phase One. With its recent reopening, we have a clearer idea of what the new and final LaGuardia will resemble as a whole:

  • Once viewed as small and cramped, the new terminal provides a spacious airport—incidentally safer for social distancing. The new terminal gives us a preview of this with four stories and about 850,000 square feet of space.
  • With 16 security lanes, 75 check-in kiosks and at least 5 additional gates, there is more room for travelers to get where they need to go quickly and safely. 
  • Multiple new dining and retail spaces are available with far more space than they were allotted before, with famous New York City brands like Tony + Benny’s Authentic Brooklyn Pizza, Think Coffee, Eli’s Essentials by Eli Zabar, and more awaiting new customers. 

The finished space is light and stylish, with floor-to-ceiling windows letting the sun in from every angle and mid-century modern touches to the decor, reflecting years of design, development, and labor. 

What Remains to Be Finished? 

Two significant points reconstruction still remain, as well as multiple other finishing touches. Partnering with Delta Airlines, Terminal C’s renovation is still underway and due to finish in 2021. The Western Concourse, which will house American Airlines, remains a part of Terminal B that is also not yet finished, and slated for a 2021 opening. Seventeen additional gates are also reported to be on their way. The vision of a finished LaGuardia airport appears to be a wide-open space, elbow room, and ease of access while traveling. Laborers continue to work diligently to bring the entire project in on time and under budget.

Developers Seek Funding for Archer Towers Project, Continuing Trend in Multi-Family and Affordable Housing Expansions

In Mid-May, the first discussions of a new residential structure to come in the Jamaica neighborhood of Queens were heard. BRP Companies expressed an interest in financing Archer Towers, a high-rise multi-family complex, and in the weeks since has listed it as one of their ongoing projects. They shall be partnering with investment firm JLL Capital Markets in order to secure funding to the tune of about $286 million. A previously completed building in the area includes the Crossing, a mixed-use structure directly across from the Jamaica Terminal. 

What Is the Basic Plan Behind the Archer Towers Project? 

Just a few blocks away from its neighbor, the Crossing, Archer Towers will also be a mixed-use project, combining residential and retail spaces within a single structure. Locals can conveniently do all their shopping within steps of their home, or skip to mass transit at the nearby terminal. Many residential projects with a similar intent have been cropping up over the last few years, with many neighborhoods favoring the mixed-use model. 

Other features and amenities (which by themselves will take up about 20,000 square feet)  include: 

  • Archer Towers will include 24 stories of space, comprising 540,000 square feet.
  • The residential spaces will be rentals with 424 market-rate units and then an additional 181 for mixed-income households. Phase II, to begin in 2021, promises another 400+ apartments, including 120 affordable housing units.
  • For fitness and wellness, residents will have an outdoor rooftop, a landscaped backyard space, a basketball court, and a yoga studio. 
  • For recreation, residents will have access to a lounge, a playroom for children, a pet spa, and a movie screening room. 

What Does the Road to Completion Look Like?

Demolition on the previous properties on the lot was completed in 2019. Even with delays related to COVID-19, the project was deemed essential, possibly thanks to its leanings toward affordable housing. Delays may continue because of the current effects of the epidemic, even as construction across the state begins to reopen.

Studio V Architecture is behind the design of the building, and early renderings have revealed sleek, modern aesthetics. Without any released data on the pricing for finished apartments, it is clear that more details are forthcoming, including the level of luxury the finished project will feature. 

With 24 stories to raise and then fill, and in the span of two phases, however, the Archer Towers project is promising multiple years of upcoming work for contractors and construction firms associated with it.

New Commercial Development Revealed in Meatpacking District, Manhattan, Proposals Under Review

With nearly 7,000 active building permits in the New York City area, and more to come as construction begins to resume fully, many are looking to projects delayed to provide needed+

36jobs for a population of laborers eager to get back to work. 

The latest among the newer projects is a set of proposals helmed by Tavros Capital Management and BKSK Architects, with a plan to renovate a row of buildings in the Gansevoort Historic District in Manhattan, better known as the Meatpacking District. 

Given the historical status of the area, much care will be given to preserving much of the area’s original architectural appeal, but the aim is to fully restore the exterior facades and construct new commercial office spaces. The current proposals are under review by New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, with these proceedings expected to finish up in early June.

What Is Known About the Structures to be Renovated?

People passing through the area might recognize the old row houses along the corner of 14th Street and 9th Avenue, the precise locations being 44 to 54 Ninth Avenue and 351 to 355 West 14th Street, all of which were constructed in the early-to-mid-1800s. Painted white, their original exteriors stuccoed over, they stand in somewhat stark contrast to the taller, traditionally-still-brick buildings around them. Retail and restaurant spaces occupy the street and basement levels, with residences taking the upper floors, a prototypical example of the mixed-use features that have grown not just popular but also essential in New York construction of late. 

The plans that Tavros and BKSK have in mind for the area include the following: 

  1. Restoration of the exterior to reflect the block’s storied past. This will include a slate roof and facade with red brick.
  2. New windows with aluminum casing for improved insulation and better energy savings throughout the buildings.
  3. New street-level awnings for wider curb appeal and a unified look.
  4. Redesigned retail spaces. This will include exposed brick support beams and skylights.

Restoration, however, is only part of the project. Will New Construction Also Take Place? 

Along with the restoration of the main buildings, Tavros Capital Management and BKSK Architects also propose the construction of a new office space behind these buildings to fill in the remaining gap. Contrasting the classical brick facades of the row houses and even the surrounding buildings, this nine-story structure will emphasize metal rather than brick. However, its interiors will carry the exposed brick supports and skylights of the rest of the complex. Reports suggest it will top out at around 210 feet above street level. It will also feature new balconies and a private terrace on the top floor and a courtyard area. 

With the proposals still under review by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, there are no details regarding when construction would commence or how long it would take — something that is likely to be better predicted by whatever construction companies are tapped to complete the project. The mixture of both interior and exterior restorations, plus an entirely new structure to raise promises a variety of smaller projects to complete as part of the whole, and steady work for the lucky firms that land them. Pending approval, the opening for bids should be soon to follow, because while many permits are active, still more are ready to appear. 

For more information on this project, and other projects, contact CIS Leads.

Gowanus Station Water Treatment Facility, Some Changes and Further Delay

Part of a much larger initiative by New York to clean up local waterways, the old Gowanus Station in Brooklyn, and its adjacent canal have been the subject of some controversy and proposed change in recent and even distant years. The latest, though this is a project still several years old, has to do with the construction of a water treatment facility where the Gowanus Station building was once prominent. 

Many issues were added to the list of possible checklist items to finish this long-lived project from multiple EPA studies to new undertakings like tunnels and the preservation of Gowanus Station’s original brick facade. Despite well-documented knowledge of the canal’s polluted state and a need for ongoing cleanup efforts, the historical landmark status of certain buildings in the surrounding area, but not this one, has drawn ire from residents. 

This leaves the project in a constant state of further development, and the different jobs involved that would ultimately complete the new facility continue to evolve. 

Gowanus Canal and Gowanus Station: Still Cleaning Up

The new water treatment facility is part of an effort to clean New York City’s waterways and move away from an outdated combined sewer overflow (CSO) system that flushes most wastewater into NYC’s nearby rivers and coastlines. Gowanus Canal is one such site where the effects of this antiquated system are apparent to the point of being notorious

While other buildings in the Gowanus area are slated for historical landmark status as symbols of the area’s industrial history, Gowanus Station narrowly missed being saved itself and was instead taken by the city of New York through eminent domain. 

Some concessions were made between locals, the EPA, and the New York City once the 234 Butler St. building was slated for demolition, with the promise that the original bricks from the facade would be used. In March, just before construction and much of the city shut down due to the COVID-19 epidemic, the city attempted to go back on this promise and replace the facade with faux-aged bricks in order to save on costs and time. 

Nearly everyone at every level disliked this. In late April, federal authorities, including the EPA, stepped in to state that the original plan would be kept: the original bricks from Gowanus Station must be used to construct the new corner facade. The new building in question is going to hold one of the two tanks that aim to stop sewage from entering the Gowanus Canal. 

What Remains to Be Done on the Water Treatment Facility?

As essential construction work continues and some non-essential projects continue as an exception, the water treatment facility near the canal means ongoing work for local construction firms and tradespeople for another nine years. 

For now, a major concern remains the preservation of the historic Gowanus Station in what ways it can be. The city wished to nix the use of the original bricks due to time and money concerns, and this in itself promises a sizable workload for those that can work with and maintain the integrity of vintage brick. 

They call this a facade for a reason, though: it will sit outside just a part of all the new equipment and housing for a water treatment facility that may be Gowanus Canal’s only hope of getting cleaner and staying clean.