22 April 2010

NY’s Battery Park City, Visionaire Awarded

Epoch Times

NEW YORK—Awards for great urban spaces and excellence were announced at the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Real Estate Summit in Boston last Friday. Ten outstanding developments from the Americas were selected as winners of the ULI’s Awards for Excellence: The Americas Competition.

New York City’s Visionaire grabbed a spot in the top 10—the development in Battery Park City being one of several residential enterprises to make the cut. The 35-story Visionaire—combining 247 residences, an organic and local food market, and a 44,000-square foot maintenance facility—has achieved LEED-Platinum certification through the use of geothermal wells, photovoltaic solar panels, an on-site blackwater treatment plant, and a natural gas-fired microturbine.

The developers were the Albanese Organization & Starwood Capital. The Albanese Organization has been involved in several projects around Battery City, including the Solaire, the country’s first LEED-certified building.

The Visionaire and Solaire are part of a larger Battery Park development, which won the ULI’s Heritage Award.

The Battery Park City Master Plan, adopted in 1979 by developers Battery Park City Authority, has facilitated the private development of 9.3 million square feet of commercial space, 7.2 million square feet of residential space, and nearly 36 acres of open space in lower Manhattan. The park is a “model for successful large-scale planning efforts and marking a positive shift away from the urban renewal mindset of the time,” ULI’s press release said.

ULI says the Heritage Award is not an annual award, but is bestowed periodically to developments that have demonstrated industry excellence and made substantial contributions to the greater community's well-being for at least 25 years.

The only development outside of the United States to be given an Award for Excellence is a huge open-air mixed-use complex in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Andares features a 197-store shopping center, nine apartment towers, two office buildings, and a luxury hotel. It was one of the largest private investments in Mexico in 2009 and was developed by Desarrolladora Mexicana de Inmuebles S.A.
Great Urban Spaces Awarded

Detroit’s Campus Martius Park, a 2.5-acre thriving green space created from a desolate downtown parcel, has received national recognition as the first-ever winner of the ULI Amanda Burden Urban Open Space Award. The award for the park, unique in a city more often characterized by hardship than success, was based on a competition to recognize an outstanding example of a public open space that has catalyzed the transformation of the surrounding community, the ULI release said.

The park hosts an ice skating rink, moveable seating, and serves as an entertainment venue. The space attracts more than 2 million visitors year-round, and has catalyzed an estimated $700 million of adjacent development, including street level cafes, retail shops, and the new 1 million-square foot Compuware World Headquarters, ULI said.

The Urban Open Space Award was given out for the first time, after an initiative by Amanda Burden, chair of the New York City Planning Commission, director of the New York Department of City Planning, and 2009 laureate of the ULI J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionaries in Urban Development. With her $100,000 prize money from the award last year, Burden pledged to use the money for the Urban Open Space Award.

“What makes Campus Martius Park work so well is that quite simply, it’s a place where people want to spend time,” Burden said in a press release. “As a result, it’s a magnet for investment. That’s the definition of a successful urban open space.”

Campus Martius Park was chosen over 87 other entries throughout the United States.
Other Urban Open Space Finalists:

• Bremen Street Park, Boston, Massachusetts (Brown, Richardson & Rowe, Inc./Massport) Bremen Street Park replaced a Park ‘n Fly lot, reuniting a neighborhood in East Boston that was formerly divided by an airport and highway. The 18.5-acre rectilinear park provides significant public space accessible to mass transit in a diverse, low-income neighborhood.

• Falls Park on the Reedy, Greenville, South Carolina, (City of Greenville). Reclaimed riverfront land once used by textile mills, Falls Park on the Reedy is a 26-acre park that straddles the Reedy River in downtown Greenville. The park—responsible for accelerating private development in the city’s historic West End—features a curving pedestrian suspension bridge that overlooks the natural falls.

• Herald and Greeley Square Parks, New York, New York (34th Street Partnership) Once desolate and dangerous, Herald and Greeley Square Parks in New York City have been recently renovated, becoming a haven for the neighborhood’s residents, visitors, and workers. The well-shaded triangular pocket parks feature movable seating flanked by raised flower beds, creating protected public space in one of the busiest and most urbanized locales in the world.

• Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, Washington (Seattle Art Museum) The nine-acre Olympic Sculpture Park has reclaimed Seattle’s waterfront for its residents, whose access had been restricted by rail lines and a highway. The z-shaped topography rises above the existing infrastructure, providing access to a restored beach designed for ecological education and serving as a home for the Seattle Art Museum’s sculpture collection. With more than 1.5 million visitors in three years, this green space has become a vibrant, year-round gathering place.

• Schenley Plaza, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy) Schenley Plaza has transformed an overgrown parking lot into a five-acre green space in Pittsburgh’s Oakland Civic and Cultural District. The urban square—which features a large lawn, multiple gardens, and a carousel—is designed to erase divisions in the community and improve circulation among the nearby university campuses, offices, and residential neighborhoods.

The 2010 Awards of Excellence Winners are (developers in parentheses):

• Andares, Guadalajara, Mexico (Desarrolladora Mexicana de Inmuebles S.A.) Andares, one of the largest private investments in Mexico in 2009, is an open-air mixed-use complex that features a 197-store shopping center, nine apartment towers, two office buildings, and a luxury hotel.

• Bethel Commercial Center, Chicago, Illinois (Bethel New Life) Located in a low-income neighborhood on the west side of Chicago, Bethel Commercial Center is a mixed-use transit center equipped with retail space, employment offices, a bank, and a day care center, allowing residents to drop off and pick up children and get to and from work, all without the use of a car.

• Columbia Heights, Washington, D.C. (The Government of the District of Columbia) Arising from a city-led initiative to revitalize a neighborhood destroyed in the riots following Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Columbia Heights features 1.2 million square feet of new development, including more than 600 housing units, 650,000 square feet of large-format and community retail, and refurbished cultural and public spaces.

• Foundry Square, San Francisco, California (Wilson Meany Sullivan) Foundry Square is a four-building, 1.6-million-square-foot commercial development in San Francisco’s Transbay District that revitalizes an area that historically lacked pedestrian street life and significant public open space.

• LA Live, Los Angeles, California (AEG) The $2.5 billion LA Live is a 5-million-square-foot entertainment district in downtown Los Angeles, creating a 24-hour destination and sparking further private development in a formerly underdeveloped area of the city.

• Madison at 14th Apartments, Oakland, California (Affordable Housing Associates) The product of a complex and successful public-private financing scheme, Madison at 14th Apartments provides 79 affordable units for families and former foster youth in Oakland, California.

• Sundance Square, Fort Worth apartments, Texas (Sundance Square Management) The culmination of a 25-year development process, Sundance Square is a 38-block mixed-use district in the heart of Fort Worth that has used pedestrian-friendly design to regenerate the downtown and stem suburban flight.

• Thin Flats, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Onion Flats) Certified LEED for Homes Platinum, Thin Flats is an eight-unit infill development in north Philadelphia that uses solar hot water heating, green roofing, and rainwater harvesting to reduce energy consumption by an estimated 50 percent.

• Vancouver Convention Centre West, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (BC Pavilion Corporation) Knitted into the urban fabric of Vancouver’s downtown core, the 1.2-million-square-foot Vancouver Convention Centre West establishes an important link the city’s park system, connecting to the existing harbor greenbelt with a major civic plaza and a six-acre living roof—one of the largest in Canada.

• The Visionaire, New York, New York (Albanese Organization & Starwood Capital) The 35-story Visionaire—combining 247 residences, an organic and local food market, and a 44,000-square-foot maintenance facility—has achieved LEED-Platinum certification through the use of geothermal wells, photovoltaic solar panels, an on-site blackwater treatment plant, and a natural gas-fired microturbine.

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