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16 Feb 2018
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New York’s Newest Developments Are Finding Their Home in the Outer Boroughs

Manhattan may be the top destination for new development in New York City, but the outer boroughs are starting to catch up, and fast. In data just released for the year 2017, the vast majority of the top developments by square footage that were newly submitted for regulatory approval were from the outer boroughs. In fact, of the top ten, only one was located in Manhattan, with two each located in the Bronx and Queens, and a whopping five located in Brooklyn.[1]

Beyond just the number of projects, the square footage totals are also completely lopsided towards the outer boroughs. Manhattan’s single project works out to 167,701 square feet whereas Brooklyn’s top project alone totals 411,320 square feet.[2] Moreover, the bulk of these projects are for residential and mixed use development. This will serve to increase the already large population disparity that currently favors the outer boroughs, especially Brooklyn and Queens, over the already hyper-dense Manhattan. As the population of these boroughs continues to increase the local economy in these areas will also increase, further drawing ever more investment and thus further pushing even more development into the outer boroughs.

We can already see this virtuous cycle starting to take hold. In Downtown Brooklyn, Alloy Development’s proposed project for 80 Flatbush, which was facing daunting regulatory hurdles because of neighborhood opposition, has been revised ahead of its public review by the city to ensure a more positive reception. The new version of the proposal, whose first iteration was unveiled last spring, will bring “900 apartments, two schools, office space, retail, and more.”[3] With this revision, the project becomes much more likely to attain approval and become a new economic draw for Brooklyn.

Further East, the Willets Point redevelopment plan, a project that had originally been put on hold because of a court ruling against the proposed development’s shopping mall, is now back on track. The de Blasio administration, the Related Companies, and the New York Mets have come to an agreement on the central points of the megaproject, agreeing on the creation of 1,100 affordable apartments for low and moderate-income residents and the elimination of the mall from the proposal.[4] Given that the inclusion of a shopping mall on land zoned for a park was the project’s main impediment, and that the de Blasio administration has a stated goal of increasing affordable housing, this development, like 80 Flatbush, is also likely to become an economic draw, this time for Queens.

[1] Small, Eddie. (Feb. 9, 2018) “The top 10 biggest real estate projects coming to NYC.” The Real Deal New York. Available at: https://therealdeal.com/2018/02/09/the-top-10-biggest-real-estate-projects-coming-to-nyc-9. Accessed on: Feb. 13, 2018.

[2] Id.

[3] Plitt, Amy. (Feb. 13, 2018) “New looks, details for massive Downtown Brooklyn development ahead of ULURP.” Curbed New York. Available at: https://ny.curbed.com/2018/2/13/17004820/downtown-brooklyn-alloy-development-80-flatbush-avenue-changes. Accessed on: Feb. 13, 2018.

[4] Warerkar, Tanay. (Feb. 5, 2018) “Willets Point megaproject in Queens is back on, with a focus on affordable housing.” Curbed New York. Available at: https://ny.curbed.com/2018/2/5/16974964/willets-point-queens-citi-field-restart. Accessed on: Feb. 13, 2018.

09 Feb 2018
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New York’s Hudson Yards Development Gains Were Snatched from the Jaws of Olympic Defeat

This week marks the official start of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The Olympics give their host city the chance to achieve substantial economic advancement and notoriety. New York has never been the host to an Olympic games, but in 2004 the administration of Mayor Bloomberg attempted and failed in a bid to host the 2012 summer Olympics. Strangely and unexpectedly, this planning for the Olympics without the actual costs of holding the games has led New York to achieve the development goals set out in the Olympic proposal, remaking multiple parts of the city, some still in progress. The largest development New York gained through the process is the Hudson Yards.[1]

It was the bid for the summer Olympics that finally gave the city government the impetus to push through the needed reforms that would eventually create the Hudson Yards as the hub of economic activity that it is today. As part of its Olympic bid, the city proposed a massive rezoning of the far west side, opening up the area to new investment in commercial development projects. Though the bid was lost, the rezoning idea remained. In 2005 the proposal—with the exception of an Olympic/football stadium–was passed into law. Now, thirteen years later, we can see the result. Commercial development has flourished in the area.[2]

Other benefits to the City flowing from the Olympic bid is that we now have  the exceedingly popular Hudson Yards extension of the 7 train, allowing, for the first time, subway access west of 8th avenue in Midtown Manhattan.[3] Further, part of the Olympic proposal was a doubling of the size of the Javits Center to serve as a hub for indoor sports. The project was revived by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2016 and three firms have already been selected to bid on a $1 billion expansion plan for the complex, and start of construction is imminent.[4] Without the push of an Olympic bid, the Hudson Yards, a multi-billion driver of development and economic growth, simply might not have come into existence.

[1] Plitt, Amy. (Feb. 1, 2018) “New York’s unrealized Olympic dreams, mapped.” Curbed New York. Available at: https://ny.curbed.com/maps/winter-olympics-2018-nyc2012-bid-hudson-yards. Accessed on: Feb. 7, 2018.

[2] Williams, Keith. (Dec. 13, 2016) “The evolution of Hudson Yards: from “Death Avenue” to NYC’s most advanced neighborhood.” Curbed New York. Available at: https://ny.curbed.com/2016/12/13/13933084/hudson-yards-new-york-history-manhattan . Accessed on: Feb. 7, 2018.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

31 Jan 2018
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Two Towers in the South Bronx

A new development is on the horizon for the South Bronx. Treetop Development announced its plans for a $160 million project, which will include two mixed residential buildings located on Gerard Avenue.

Originally the development was going to be a 12-story residential building, but Treetop changed the plans to include one 11-story and one 14-story building on the site. The 11-story development at 414 Gerard Avenue will become a mixed residential building with approximately 134 units, consisting of 92,000 square feet and 4,271 square feet for commercial space. The second tower located across the street at 445 Gerard Avenue will include around 300 residential units[1] and include a 20,000 square foot “fresh food market.”[2]

Treetop explains that: “[their] philosophy is to identify emerging neighborhoods and create signature residential properties that cater to professional – and creative – class renters who face difficulties in finding high-quality, market-rate housing they can afford.”[3] Treetop is staying true to its philosophy as it commits to offer a combination of affordable and market-rate units.

Treetop states that the company “continuously seek[s] new and challenging projects that are redefining design standards and enhancing our communities, because, after all, change is good.”[4] What change will the new developments have in the South Bronx? The building is set to have a variety of luxury amenities including roof decks, fitness centers and a yoga room, a pet spa, and entertainment rooms. The development will also provide co-working spaces, which has the potential to attract a number of young entrepreneurs who are moving away from traditional offices. The new development should be completed within 18 to 24 months. For renderings of the new development click here.

What else is in store for the South Bronx? The New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development are planning a new project on the Harlem River with S9 Architects to develop 1,045 residential units of affordable housing. The complex will also include 60,000 square feet of commercial and amenity space for the community, such as an outside theater, public plaza, shops, and the Universal Hip-Hop Museum. This new development by the city is set to create around 915 jobs for the construction and 100 jobs for the commercial space.[5]


[1] Small, Eddie. (Jan. 16, 2018) “Treetop changes plans for two-building South Bronx project.” The Real Deal. Available at: https://therealdeal.com/2018/01/16/treetop-changes-plans-for-south-bronx-resi-complex/. Accessed on Jan. 31, 2018.

[2] Warerkar, Tanay. (Jan. 18, 2018) “Massive 400-unit Mott Haven rental will bring pet spa, co-working to South Bronx.” Curbed New York. Available at: https://ny.curbed.com/2018/1/18/16898724/south-bronx-mott-haven-rentals-renderings. Accessed on Jan. 31, 2018.

[3] Trettop Development. Profile. Available at: http://www.treetopdev.com/profile/#landing. Accessed on Jan. 31, 2018.

[4] Trettop Development. Profile. Available at: http://www.treetopdev.com/profile/#challenge. Accessed on Jan. 31, 2018.

[5] Beeche, Jordan. (Jan. 17, 2018) “New Renderings Revealed for 1,045-Unit Bronx Point Complex, South Bronx.” YIMBY New York. Available at: https://newyorkyimby.com/2018/01/new-rendering-revealed-for-1045-unit-bronx-point-complex-south-bronx.html. Accessed on Jan. 31, 2018.

24 Jan 2018
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Adding Amazon’s Headquarters to the New York Skyline

Amazon, founded by Jeff Bezos, is quickly becoming one of the most innovative, equipped and powerful companies in the world. Amazon has not only conquered the e-commerce market, but is now expanding its presence with brick-and-mortar stores, including Amazon Go – a high tech grocery store that uses smartphone apps and AI technology to track your purchase without having to stand in line to check out.[1]

Amazon is now looking for the ideal location to develop its new headquarters and narrowed it down to 20 out of 238 cities as finalists. The cities include:

Atlanta   Austin   Boston   Chicago   Columbus, Ohio   Dallas

Denver   Indianapolis   Los Angeles   Miami   Montgomery County

Nashville   Newark   New York   Northern Virginia   Philadelphia

Pittsburg   Raleigh   Toronto   Washington

Why are cities eager to become the next location for Amazon’s headquarters? Amazon will “invest $5 billion in development and create up to 500,000 jobs”.[2] Local governments and businesses in each city have pitched their ideas and even sent gifts (which were returned) to Amazon. A source from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Matthew Gardner, explained to the New York Times that “[i]f you ask any mayor, they’ll say their first job is to bring good jobs to the city … [a]nd Amazon is promising to bring a lot of jobs.”[3]

So what attracts Amazon to New York? Amazon’s ideal city will have a diverse population greater than 1 million, easy access to airports, good transit, business oriented, and close to schools (in hopes of inspiring a future generation of employees). Although many of the cities proposed tax breaks as an incentive, such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who pitched a $5 billion tax credit, New York did not. Instead Mayor Bill de Blasio focused on New York’s talented population, international standing and expansive transit system (albeit its current issues and delays). New York has the “largest tech talent pool, with 300,000 workers” which exceeds both San Francisco and San Jose.[4] The Mayor explained, “We win it based on the talent of our workers and the incredible diversity of industries in this town. Those are the strengths you can’t buy with tax breaks.”[5] The city proposed that the headquarters could be based in Lower Manhattan, the West Side, Long Island City, or the Brooklyn Tech Triangle. 8.5 million diverse people live throughout the boroughs and the city is home to 105 “institutions of higher learning”.[6] But will this be enough to outbid the other 19 cities? We will have to wait and see.

 


[1] Amazon Go. Frequently Asked Questions. Available at: https://www.amazon.com/b?node=16008589011. Accessed on Jan. 24, 2018.

[2] Thompson, Elaine. (Jan. 18, 2018) “Where Amazon May Build Its New Headquarters.” New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/technology/cities-amazon-headquarters.html. Accessed on Jan. 24, 2018.

[3] Bowles, Nellie. (Sept. 25, 2017) “For Cities Wooing Amazon’s New Headquarters, Nothing Is Too Strange.” New York Times.Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/25/technology/wooing-amazon-second-headquarters.html.  Accessed on Jan. 24, 2018.

[4] Bagli, Charles B. (Oct. 18, 2017) “In Amazon Bid, New York Brags About, Well, Everything.” Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/18/nyregion/in-amazon-bid-new-york-brags-about-well-everything.html  Accessed on Jan. 24, 2018.

[5] Ib.

[6] Op. Cit. n.2.

17 Jan 2018
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Noteworthy Luxury Developments in New York City

Luxury residential buildings are adding to the New York skyline as development and construction stay strong for 2018. The Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group predict that there will be roughly 4,000 to 5,000 new apartments in NYC for 2018.[1] These residential units will mostly be condos, rather than co-ops. Currently there is a higher demand for condos as buyers prefer their flexibility and ownership structure. Foreign buyers also have a better chance of purchasing condos as co-ops typically do not permit units being purchased as pieds-à-terre.[2]

520 West 28th Street

520 West 28th Street has received plenty of attention along the Chelsea High Line. Architect Zaha Hadid has designed the innovative and modern building to have plenty of natural light for every unit. “The building’s elegant hand-rubbed metal façade is driven by one continuous line, which loops its way skywards. These dynamic curves create a distinctive chevron pattern that embraces interlacing levels, maximizing privacy and security between residences.”[3] Amenities for this new luxury condo include a pool situated under a skylight, private IMAX theatre, fitness center, secured parking and private spa.

20 East End Avenue

The firm leading the project is Robert A.M. Stern Architects, infamous for its work in New York such as 15 Central Park West for Zeckendorf Development and 30 Park Place (Residences at the Four Seasons Hotel) for Silverstein Properties. This new development is in New York’s noteworthy developments list as Stern is known for “perfecting a craft and embracing lessons learned through rigorous research and study of the neighborhood’s connect and history … Stern creates buildings that fit seamlessly with their surroundings and give the impression they’ve been there forever.”[4] This Upper East Side condo will have 43 units ranging from 2 to 6 bedrooms, in addition to 2 private town homes. Amenities will include valet parking, 24 hour doorman, library, junior lounge, fitness center and spa, wine cellar and game room. The condo is near a variety of high end stores, schools, public transportation and multiple parks such as Carl Schurz Park.

70 Vestry in Tribeca

This new 14-story luxury residential building, also designed by Robert A.M. Stern and Daniel Romualdez, is Tribeca’s new waterfront gem. The building’s façade is made of limestone and the large windows provide excellent views onto the waterfront for its 46 condos. The luxury building will provide amenities such as a spa, lounge, and a children’s playroom. This building is in high demand and is “poised to hatter pricing records when closings begin next year, 70 Vestry has shown that high design, water views, and thoughtful amenities resonate with buyers at the highest price points.”[5]


[1] King, W.B. (Jan. 2018) “new Construction and Development.” The Cooperator. Available at: https://cooperator.com/article/new-construction-development/full#cut. Accessed on Jan. 17, 2018.

[2] See, Guzov, LLC (Aug, 18, 2017) “A Pied-a-Terre Tax?” Available at: http://guzovllc.com/pied-terre-tax/.

[3] 520 West 28th. “Architecture.” Available at: https://www.520w28.com/architecture. Accessed on Jan. 17, 2018.

[4] No. 20 East End Avenue. “Architect”. Available at: https://20eastend.com/architect. Accessed on Jan. 17, 2018.

[5] Op. Cit. n1.

10 Jan 2018
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Property Developments in 2018

What development projects are on the horizon for New York City? New buildings are going up all around the city. Despite the influx of residential and office buildings, developers are continuing to invest in future New York real estate.

The Real Deal put together a list of the top ten real estate projects coming to New York City for 2018.[1] In first place is the Richman Group’s East Harlem nineteen story building, located at 201 East 125th Street. The space will include 404 residential units (roughly 421,000 square feet), along with 61,000 square feet for commercial use and 491 square feet for the community.[2] Who are the architects for the biggest NYC real estate development of 2018? S9 Architects, who are also the architects for the New York Wheel on Staten Island[3] and Dock 72. Brooklyn (awarded for excellence in design),[4] which are both currently under construction.

Staying true to the trend of luxury properties, Uri Chaitchik of Casco Development’s twenty-story residential building landed fourth on the Real Deal’s list.[5] 540 West 21st Street, situated next to the High Line, is 172,000 square feet and will include 38 units, a swimming pool, space for art galleries and other commercial use. This new development not only has an ideal location with luxury amenities, but it will also become a prominent art attraction. The art dealer David Zwirner, known for his galleries in New York and London, is opening a new gallery in Casco’s new development, but in a “separate structure”.[6]

Last on the list is 531 Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village. Gemini Investments, based in Hong Kong, purchased the single story building at 531 Sixth Avenue and its four-story neighbor at 539. The new residential development can expand to about 60,000 square feet (space mostly accumulated by air rights).[7]

Another development to look out for this year is the landmark protected Domino Sugar Refinery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Developer Two Trees Management and Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU) are designing a large office complex with public space on the ground floor that will include shops and eateries. The design plans have repeatedly changed due to the building’s original design. For instance the level of the windows did not line up with the floors of the office spaces. “The 19th century structure becomes a freestanding ruin, its unglassed windows resembling the stacked arches of an ancient Roman aqueduct.”[8] PAU’s remedy? A “rectangular glass building topped by a barrel vault, which sits within, but doesn’t touch the existing walls.”[9] Although this project may encounter future obstacles, the former refinery will finally be transformed into a functional landmark.


[1] Small, Eddie. (Jan. 8, 2018) “The Top 10 Biggest Real Estate Projects Coming to NYC.” The Real Deal. Available at: https://therealdeal.com/2018/01/08/the-top-10-biggest-real-estate-projects-coming-to-nyc-8/. Accessed on Jan. 10, 2018.

[2] Ib.

[3] S9 Architecture. (2018) “The New York Wheel.” Available at: http://s9architecture.com/the-new-york-wheel/. Accessed on Jan. 10, 2018.

[4] S9 Architecture. (2018) “Dock 72. Brooklyn.” Available at: http://s9architecture.com/work/#/dock-72/. Accessed on Jan. 10, 2018.

[5] Op. Cit. n1.

[6] Pogrebin, Robin. (Jan. 8, 2018) “A Mega-Dealer Expands: David Zwirner Plans a New Art Gallery.” New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/08/arts/design/david-zwirner-expands-in-chelsea.html. Accessed on Jan. 10, 2018.

[7] Putzier, Konrad. (June 3, 2016). “Hong Kong Company Pays $53M for Chelsea Development Site.” Available at: https://therealdeal.com/2016/06/03/hong-kong-company-pays-53m-for-chelsea-development-site/. Accessed on Jan. 10, 2018.

[8] Davidson, Justin. (Oct. 3, 2017) “New Plans for the Domino Sugar Complex, Revealed.” Available at: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/10/first-look-at-vishaan-chakrabartis-plan-for-domino-sugar.html?utm_source=tw&utm_medium=s3&utm_campaign=sharebutton-t. Accessed on Jan. 10, 2018.

[9] Ib.

03 Jan 2018
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Innovative Development Solutions for 2018

New York City’s population is predicted to reach over 9 million by 2050. What measures can be taken to accommodate the influx of people while continuing to combat climate change and the rising sea levels? New York Magazine interviewed architects asking them how they would improve the city. Popular suggestions include designing parks above ground, creating multi-dimensional sidewalks, increasing community space, and implementing solutions to protect residents from natural disasters.[1]  

What’s in store for the architect firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who took part in designing the High Line? Partner Charles Renfro would like to see more green in New York’s skyline. Renfro explains that rooftop parks and gardens will “absorb summer heat and storm water … and resist flooding”.[2] Not only will this be an aesthetically pleasing addition to new developments, but it will help combat effects of climate change. Architect Rafael Viñoly also wishes to build upwards and construct three-dimensional vertical sidewalks to create more space and decrease congestion on the ground.

Oana Stanescu and Dong-Ping Wong, from the firm Family of New York, want new developments, which are typically luxury residential skyscrapers, to be required to create community space in their buildings.[3] Community living in luxury buildings has been a popular trend. Many residential developments are now designed with community kitchens, gardens and activity rooms, but what if the whole city could benefit from these new additions to the city?  It could be a practical way to fill up unused space and even generate additional income for the building.

Architect David Rockwell put forth the idea of a “cultural Airbnb” to rent out empty store fronts for temporary public performances, special events and the like. “The city could offer incentives to landlords to make these storefronts available on a temporary basis … If we can get a meal or hotel room or car on demand, why not a public space?”[4] This would significantly decrease the number of empty storefronts and incentivize greater use of empty buildings. As many new developments and storefront sit idle, it is essential to encourage residents and developers to use all of the city in order to accommodate the growing population.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which damaged 305,000 homes, architect Bjarke Ingels designed the “Big U”, an initiative to rebuild communities and apply reinforcement measures to protect residents from future disasters. Ingels’ U design aims to create a barrier along a ten mile stretch in NYC that is most susceptible to rising sea levels and flooding. In contrast, architect Mark Foster Gage asserts that if the city drains and builds dams in the East River it would protect Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens in addition to providing greater space for food production and construction for a growing population.[5]

Multiple projects are on the horizon for 2018 and developers are unfettered by obstacles as they look for solutions to help New York City grow.


[1] Swanson, Carl. (Dec. 28, 2017) “9 Top Architects Share Their Dream Projects to Improve (or Save) New York City.” New York Magazine. Available at: http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/12/architect-plans-new-york-city.html. Accessed on Jan. 3, 2018.

[2] Ib.

[3] Ib.

[4] Ib.

[5] Ib.

20 Dec 2017
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668 Feet High on the Upper West Side

A unique new development, by SJP Properties in collaboration with Mitsui Fudosan America, located at 200 Amsterdam Avenue on the Upper West Side will be the neighborhood’s tallest building reaching 668 feet, amounting to 55 stories. The site, which was formerly the Lincoln Square Synagogue, was purchased by SJP Properties in 2015 for $275 million. Earlier this year developers faced “stiff opposition from local residents”[1] as the neighborhood group, the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development, filed a zoning challenge with the Department of Building. The group argued that the developers’ plans did not comply with zoning codes as they purchased neighboring air rights and that the height of the building was inappropriate. SJP acquired roughly 100,000 square feet of adjacent land, which technically under zoning regulations permits the building to reach up to 70 stories.

After a halt in construction due to the zoning challenges, the DOB permitted SJP to continue its construction in September 2017. SJP had to re-file their proposal and address certain issues that were brought up by the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development, such as Open Space requirements. The developers, wanting to mend the tension in the neighborhood, stated:

“Following a thorough review and audit of our application for 200 Amsterdam, the New York City Department of Buildings has determined the zoning for the site is valid and that the building’s design complies with the zoning in all aspects … We look forward to delivering a world-class building, and working closely with the local neighborhood and community officials throughout the construction process.”[2]

So what is in store for the former synagogue? The development will be a luxury condo building and will be completed by 2020. Exteriors will be designed by Elkus Manfredi, a Boston firm that typically does commercial rather than residential work, and the interiors will be designed by CetraRuddy, a New York firm who is also designing the new Lincoln Square Synagogue. The exterior of the building will be made of mostly glass, creating an abundance of natural light for all 112 apartments. The building is conveniently located near transportation and will attract more buyers to the Upper West Side. Extell is also in the process of developing a skyscraper a couple of blocks away from 200 Amsterdam – the two projects may be in competition with one another as to which building will be the tallest on the Upper West Side.

Access visual renderings of the new designs here.

[1] Warerkar, Tanay. (May 16, 2017) “Upper West Side’s Tallest Proposed Tower faces Stiff Local Opposition.” Curbed New York. Available at: https://ny.curbed.com/2017/5/16/15649362/200-amsterdam-avenue-upper-west-side-challenge. Accessed on Dec. 20, 2017.

[2] Walker, Ameena. (Sept. 27, 2017) “Upper West Side’s Forthcoming Tallest Tower can Move Forward.” Curbed New York. Available at: https://ny.curbed.com/2017/9/27/16371704/upper-west-side-amsterdam-avenue-skyscraper-construction.  Accessed on Dec. 20, 2017.

16 Nov 2017
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New Developments in International Waters

As developers in New York City continue to design new buildings that are environmentally friendly and produce less greenhouse emissions, other innovators have decided to use international waters as a building ground. The Seasteading Institute, founded by engineer and political economic theorist, Patri Friedman, and technology entrepreneur and investor, Peter Thiel, is implementing start-up societies in international waters.

What is seasteading? The term was coined in 1998 by the engineer Wayne Gramlich who defined it as “Home-steading on the High Seas”[1] – essentially cities that float. The Seasteading Institute, made of a diverse team of biologists, engineers, researchers and maritime attorneys, sets out to create these cities to “host profitable aquaculture farms, floating healthcare, medical research islands, and sustainable energy powerhouses.”[2] Why the sea? To create a new dynamic in society where there is a separation between government and land. After centuries of war regarding land, advocates argue that by taking out one variable (land), then the other (conflict) will dissipate.

The idea of seasteading gained traction over the years, which led to the current collaboration between the Seasteading Institute and French Polynesia to create the first prototype. Not only is the idea innovative, but they will be funding parts of the project through an initial coin offering. The Seasteading Institute signed a Memorandum of Understanding with French Polynesia to develop a floating city off Tahiti and are expected to begin development in early 2018. For the city to be in a special economic zone, the memorandum set out the following requirements:

  • Conduct a study of the economic impact [the] endeavor would have on French Polynesians,
  • Prepare an environmental framework report and integration plan to require that [the] floating islands are a positive contribution to the environment, and
  • Conduct legal research and prepare a legal framework for the innovative Seazone, a legal regime incorporating the best practices of over 4000 Special Economic Zones around the world. [3]

These floating cities need to be designed in shallow calm waters that are safe with “seafaring culture”.[4] Governments also need to be willing to relinquish a certain amount of autonomy for these cities to be in special economic zones. The idea of seasteading is to incentivize innovation and combat climate change (particularly rising sea levels). Will seasteading be the future of development? We will have to wait and see how the first floating city off Tahiti evolves. Experts believe it can be a viable solution on a small scale, but it is unrealistic to expect a mass exodus of people moving from land to sea in the near future.

[1] Quirk, J. (Aug, 23, 2017) “Milestones of Seasteading.” The Seasteading Institute. Available at: https://www.seasteading.org/2017/08/milestones-of-seasteading/. Accessed on Nov. 15, 2017.

[2]The Seasteading Institute. “About”. Available at: https://www.seasteading.org/about/. Accessed on Nov. 15, 2017.

[3] The Seasteading Institute. “Floating City Project.” Available at: https://www.seasteading.org/floating-city-project/. Accessed on Nov. 15, 2017.

[4] Op. Cit. n1.

19 Oct 2017
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The Road to New Development in the South Bronx

All the boroughs of New York have seen rapid development over the past year, and finally the large vacant plot of land owned by the City in the Bronx will be transformed to benefit the borough. L+M Development Partners’ plan to turn the property on the waterfront into a 1,045 unit housing complex featuring the Universal Hip-Hop Museum was approved on Tuesday, October 17, 2017. L+M is partnering with Type A Projects, a certified woman-owned business enterprise, to “transform a long-vacant site into a dynamic mixed-sue development, and active connection to the waterfront and a world-class cultural destination.

The development, called Bronx Point, is located on the Harlem River in the South Bronx next to the Mill Pond Park. The development will not only benefit the community with more housing units, 600 which will be affordable housing for tenants who meet the income threshold, but it will also provide public spaces for the borough. The space will include the long awaited “Universal Hip-Hop Museum, a state-of-the-art movie theater, a food hall incubator for local business, and educational spaces and programming for BronxWorks, CityScience and the Billion Oyster Project [an ecosystem restoration project].”

The project is split up into two phases. Phase I is set to be completed by 2022, which will consist of the affordable housing units and public amenities. Phase II will include the rest of the housing and more public and commercial spaces. The Universal Hip-Hop Museum is the most anticipated development at Bronx Point. The museum sets to preserve the history and culture of hip-hop in its birthplace – the Bronx – and be an attraction for locals and tourists around the globe. The museum was initially going to be set up in the General Post Office, but after plans fell through L+M Development successfully bid on the project as they looked for a “cultural anchor” on their new site.

The area of Bronx Point is vastly changing. The General Post Office is set to undergo redevelopment by new owners Young Woo & Associates who purchased the building in 2014 for $19 million. They will be transforming the Post Office into a large venue for retail and dining, similar to the Chelsea Market. The building’s “13 iconic Depression-era murals” are interior landmarks which the development company will have to incorporate into their new vision. The murals were created by Ben and Bernarda Bryson Shahn in the 1930s and are set to be restored and preserved. The developers and construction company, Hollister Construction Services, have been careful of protecting the building’s historical presence. The area will eventually see enormous growth and therefore the City Council has approved to implement a new school and to do work on current public spaces such as the Franz Siegel Park.

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