In this issue:
· The Bronx is Up With a New Mixed-Use Development
· Jewish Braille Institute Reveals NY Headquarters
· Three Becomes One for New Housing in Brooklyn Historic District
· Green Design to Revitalize New Brunswick
· The Beacon Shines Once Again

The Bronx is Up With a New Mixed-Use Development

Fordham Place.


The recently opened Fordham Place, designed by GreenbergFarrow, is the first new mixed-use development in the Bronx in more than 15 years and the first Class A office building to be built in the borough in over 20 years. The 276,475-square-foot retail and office complex, developed by Acadia Realty Trust and its partner PA Associates, is located opposite Fordham University. Maintaining and reusing as much of the existing structure as possible, the design adds a total of approximately 90,000 square feet to the property’s first six floors. Other upgrades include an expanded cellar, and the relocation of the loading dock, which was replaced by a two- to five-story glass structure serving as an entrance to the upper-level retailers.

Jewish Braille Institute Reveals NY Headquarters

JBI International.

Fink & Platt Architects

JBI International, established in 1931 as the non-profit Jewish Braille Institute that provides blind and visually impaired readers with literature in audio, large print, and Braille, has recently opened a 20,000-square-foot facility in midtown Manhattan. Designed by Fink & Platt Architects, the new JBI Library includes a complete renovation of the organization’s existing 17,500-square-foot, seven-story building, a two-story, 2,500-square-foot addition, and a new curtain wall and storefront to replace the failing masonry façade. The library includes a digital recording studio, post-production and circulation departments, high-efficiency archival media storage, executive offices, meeting rooms, staff lounge, roof garden, and tenant rental space. Fink & Platt established a strong visual identity for the space through color, materials, and graphics. Graphic design firm Whitehouse & Company created a Braille map for the lobby and custom wallpaper that communicate the mission of the organization. The project was partially funded by the NYC Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).

Three Becomes One for New Housing in Brooklyn Historic District

Old Fulton Street Apartments.

Fifield Piaker Elman Architects

Three adjoining Greek Revival commercial structures built from 1836-1839 in Brooklyn’s Fulton Ferry Historic District in Dumbo will be transformed into a 15-unit apartment building with retail on the ground floor. Designed by Fifield Piaker Elman Architects for Northside Development, the buildings’ façades will be restored. Internally, the units will be united by replacing the original structural columns and floor joists with a new steel frame allowing for clear spans between bearing walls. The new brick rear façade will feature punched window openings with double-hung windows compatible with the historic front façade. The penthouse addition, which will be set back, has a sloped upper façade so that it will be barely visible from the street, and won’t detract from the building’s architectural character. The Landmarks Preservation Commission has approved the plans for the buildings, and the project is scheduled to be completed in early 2010.

Green Design to Revitalize New Brunswick

Hiram Square Condominium.

Tarantino Architect

Lawrence and Sharon Tarantino, of NJ-based Tarantino Architect, have teamed with the owners of the Frog and The Peach Restaurant at Hiram Square in downtown New Brunswick to design and develop a multi-unit, sustainable residential condominium adjoining the restaurant. The restaurateurs, Jim Black and Betsy Alger, have a background in environmental design and horticulture, which may account for the fact that the project contains a green roof for growing herbs for the restaurant and beehives for honey production. Other green features include renewable solar energy collection, geothermal heat systems, recycled building materials, on-site wind power and a solar veil. The one- and two-bedroom units will contain private green spaces with outdoor accessibility, radiant heating, sustainable interior finishes, and renewable materials. Green amenities include Smart Car Zip Car service, and culinary amenities include a “Take Home Chef.” The project is part of the vision for revitalizing New Brunswick and the riverfront, and aspires to be the first residential project in the city to receive a LEED-Platinum certification.

The Beacon Shines Once Again
Following a seven-month, $16 million restoration, the 2,800-seat landmark Beacon Theatre on the Upper West Side reopened this month. The 1927 theater was designed by architect Walter Ahlschlager in a mix of styles including Greek, Roman, Renaissance, and Rococo. Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners headed-up the comprehensive restoration project that focused on all historic interior public spaces, backstage, and back-of-house areas, and was based on extensive research and on-site examination of original, decorative painting techniques. Restoration elements range from historic finishes in the lobbies, to custom patterned carpet based on the original designs, and the original 30-foot-high Venetian-inspired chandelier. Over the course of the restoration process, more than 1,000 artisans, craftsmen, and tradesmen worked on the project.