Monday, June 1, 2015

Redeveloped Pier 57 to Become Google's SuperPier

As New Yorkers' minds turn toward the waterfront for the season, construction is underway at the foot of West 15th Street for an enormous market at the once neglected pier Pier 57, which developers RXR and YoungWoo have rechristened as SuperPier. The ambitious plan involves renovating the existing 560,000 square foot building that encompasses the entire pier and turning it into an urban mall. The conversion includes a public marketplace on the lower floor and state-of-the-art office space on the upper floor. Google has signed a letter of intent to take 250,000 of the project's 300,000 square feet of office space.  

Plans also call for 3.5 acres of rooftop open space and a 115-slip marina, along with the installation of re-purposed shipping containers stacked three to four stories high, which will serve as retail space for a collection of tenants.

SuperPier will bring thousands of visitors to the colossal industrial relic, and with its neighbor The High Line, will give Hudson River Park a major shot in the arm.

The Google deal is the latest expansion by the tech giant, which bought the 2.9 million-square-foot office building at 111 Eighth Avenue several years ago, and now extends into the Chelsea Market, and 85 10th Avenue.

Malls and buildings made out of shipping containers aren't really anything new. What is new about the latest shipping container mall coming to the city: it will be at Pier 57, where the development plan from Youngwoo & Associates is finally in motion.

The developer will set up shipping containers as stores for about 60 retailers. Each store can rent a shipping container for $3,000/mo. until the rest of P57 - as the pier's makeover is now known - opens in spring 2015, when the Incuboxes will rise in price to $5,500/month.

The project also includes the creation of about 100,000 square feet of public space at on the property's roof. The Tribeca Film Festival will use the roof as an outdoor theater, a major part of the firm’s proposal for the site.

The Tribeca  Film Festival will establish a permanent outdoor venue on the roof of the pier, offering a mix of film, music and arts-based programming and promoting cultural connections between New York’s artistic community and the general public. In addition to hosting parts of the annual film festival itself, the P57 “Sky Park” will be the year-round backdrop for a variety of exhibitions and performances to educate entertain and inspire independent artists and audiences alike.

The redevelopment will generate much-needed revenue for the Hudson River Park at a time when it is searching for money to renovate the neighboring Pier 40, which needs up to $125 million of renovation work to refurbish its wood pilings. Plans have been floated for that pier, too, including adding office, residential or hotel space to the existing sports fields.

The project also calls for a 90,000 square-feet “Contemporary Culture Center” on the ground floor, envisioned as a unique mix of auction, exhibition, gallery and entertainment space centered on the contemporary arts. Seasonal docks will be provided for kayaks, canoes and other small craft.

Youngwoo & Associates recently developed a Chelsea condominium tower with a car elevator that allows owners to bring their vehicles up to their doors and, during the recession, they snapped up AIG’s art-deco headquarters downtown.

The Marine and Aviation building at West 15th Street has served many different functions over the years. Opened in 1952 after an epic feat of engineering, the pier was designed to be fireproof, immune to erosion, and practically indestructible. It served as a Grace Line shipping terminal and cargo warehouse until the 1960s, when it was transformed into an MTA bus depot.

In 2003, this enormous shell was abandoned by the city, only to gain infamy during the 2004 Republican National Convention, when it was used as a jail for thousands of protestors. 

The redevelopment project won unanimous approval from the City Council back in 2013, after having successfully negotiated the city's public review process.

Conversion of the pier, a National Historic Registry structure, is estimated to cost more than $400 million.

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