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6 crucial ways New York City’s landscape will change in 2018

What to expect from NYC’s towers, transit, parks, and more in the coming year

Max Touhey

Curbed NY has spent the past few weeks reflecting on what 2017 brought to the city, from its blockbusters sales to its best new architecture, its newest landmarks to the institutions that threw in the towel, and how the city reacted to big issues like wealth inequality, homelessness, and an ailing public transit system.

Now, with New Year’s behind us, it’s time to look toward what 2018 will bring. This coming year will serve up no shortage of milestones in the projects that are defining 21st-century New York City: From the construction of the west rail yard platform that will lay ground for the second half of Hudson Yards to the opening of 3 World Trade Center, 2018 will see a steady march of progress. It will also lay bare the circles of power that impinge on that progress. (Those fixes to the subway cannot wait.)

Here now, what New Yorkers can expect to play out across the built environment in 2018.


Megaprojects

It’ll be a big year for Essex Crossing, where some of the former SPURA site’s first public amenities will open for business. In 2018, expect the first phase of the Market Line, the new Essex Street Market, Trader Joe’s, Target, NYU Langone’s Joan H. and Preston Robert Tisch Center, bowling alley Splitsville, and Regal Cinemas to roll out the welcome mat.

The new year will also see the rentals of The Rollins, named for jazz legend Sonny Rollins, hit the market in January; 115 Delancey Street will unveil its rentals this spring or summer; and the senior center at 175 Delancey Street will debut.

Waterline Square
Field Condition

Construction will continue into the new year on the 92-apartment affordable building for seniors at 140 Essex Street, and will kick off on the office and market rate condo building at 202 Broome Street, as well as on the office and mixed income rental building at 180 Broome Street.

On the Upper West Side, the three rental and condo buildings of Waterline Square, designed by Richard Meier, Rafael Viñoly, and Kohn Pedersen Fox, have topped out and are in the process of courting buyers. Closings are expected to start in late 2018, meaning move-ins will follow.

Come spring, construction will start on Cipriani’s 28,000-square-foot food market at Two Waterline Square. Work here, as well as on the mini-megaproject as a whole, is expected to wrap in 2019.

Will everything move forward according to plan in 2018 at the Domino Sugar Refinery? The decision by Two Trees to tap Practice for Architecture and Urbanism to revamp the original design for the project’s landmark refinery building came out of left field in 2017, so who’s to say whether it’s immune to further shake-ups?

What we do know is that its second new-construction building, an office and rental tower at 260 Kent Avenue designed by COOKFOX, is due to top out at 42 stories this year. Domino will also debut its 11-acre park this summer—details on that can be found below.

The forward progress at Hudson Yards will march on into 2018, with work finally starting on the platform that will cover the megaproject’s second half on the west rail yards (stretching between 30th to 33rd streets from Eleventh to Twelfth avenues). This year will also bring a topping-out at 88 stories for 15 Hudson Yards, the site’s first residential building to launch sales, as well as a construction kick-off on 30 Hudson Yards’s sky-high observation deck.

The platform over the west rail yards will begin to be installed in 2018.
Max Touhey

As for openings, 2018 will see the office building at 55 Hudson Yards open its doors to tenants like Arosa Capital Management and Cooley LLP. Also expect to see landscaping appear at the public square and gardens surrounding Thomas Heatherwick’s Vessel, now topped out.

Transit

After the disaster of a year that 2017 was for New York City’s public transit, 2018 couldn’t possibly be worse—or could it? The typically tight-lipped MTA did not return a request for comment about its course of action in 2018, but here’s what we know: In late July, MTA chairman Joe Lhota announced an $836 million emergency action plan aimed at addressing both immediate and long-term issues with the subway.

That action plan concentrated in part on things like fixing 1,300 signals most in need of maintenance between the time of the plan’s release and the end of 2018, more regularly cleaning the tracks, and increasing the numbers of cars on trains when possible. That plan, however, is threatened by the city’s lack of fiscal commitment to the agency (which, lest we forget, is controlled by Governor Cuomo in Albany.) The state and city are still sparring over who will commit what to fixing the subway, but one thing’s for certain—those fixes need to happen, and soon.

Another big story this year will be the coming L train shutdown: Now that the MTA and the DOT have released mitigation plans, the next year will be all about implementing those changes, including improvements to bike infrastructure near the Williamsburg bridge, and creating protected bike lanes on 13th Street.

Preservation

In late October, architecture firm Snøhetta announced it had been tapped to reimagine Philip Johnson’s iconic postmodern skyscraper at 550 Madison Avenue as a contemporary office space with a newly transparent podium. The renovation announcement became a rallying call for preservationists across the spectrum who banded together to seek protections for the building.

Less than 30 days later, the Landmarks Preservation Commission agreed to calendar the former Sony and AT&T headquarters for consideration as a New York City landmark (and anyone who follows the Landmarks Commission knows that haste is not its specialty.) The tower is currently awaiting a hearing that has yet to be scheduled but will more than likely happen this year.

Union Square’s former P.C. Richard & Son will sprout this glassy tech-centric building if the city has its way.
Rendering via NYCEDC

Near Union Square, another preservation battle is raging over the so-called Silicon Alley area. Greenwich and East Villagers have been pushing for height protections and affordable housing requirements in the area for years, but the fight has been renewed by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s announcement of a new tech hub at the former P.C. Richard & Son site on East 14th Street.

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation wants height restrictions in the area that would limit buildings to between 80 to 145 feet, and would have incentives for creating affordable housing. To date, the area’s Community Board 3 has passed a resolution supporting GVSHP’s proposed zoning protections, following CB2’s lead in 2015.

The city is on track to release a rezoning application for the tech hub early this year. The city is alleging that the hub will have no adverse environmental impact on the area, a measure that would help it bypass the Environmental Impact Statement that comes as a precursor to the labyrinthine land-use review procedure. GVSHP, of course, disputes this. Bypassing the EIS would help the city fast-track the tech hub’s final approval.

Rezonings

The De Blasio administration will continue its tear to rezone parts of the city, and first up this year is Jerome Avenue in The Bronx. The rezoning is poised to affect 92 blocks along the thoroughfare and create about 4,000 new apartments, 1,500 of which will be affordable.

The proposal has won the approval of the various Bronx community boards it will affect (4, 5, and 7), along with the approval of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, with some stipulations. The rezoning is now in the public review phase, with the City Planning Commission (CPC) expected to vote on—and likely approve—the measure in January, paving the way for full City Council approval.

The proposed rezoning of Gowanus will take steps forward in 2018.
Max Touhey

The canal-straddling neighborhood of Gowanus is no stranger to talk of rezoning; between 2013 and 2015, neighborhood residents and City Councilman Brad Lander created the Bridging Gowanus framework that would prioritize neighborhood concerns for a future rezoning. That framework is now being considered by DCP, which launched its study for Gowanus’s rezoning in October 2016. The agency is aiming to release its rezoning framework to the public early this year.

Meanwhile, the NYC Economic Development Corporation is moving forward with its proposal to rezone Inwood. The rezoning proposal calls for the creation of new apartments in the neighborhood—just 200 have been built in the last two decades—as well as measures to preserve the affordability of apartments aging out of regulatory agreements. The rezoning is expected to enter the land-use review procedure in mid-January, with hearings and votes in front of Inwood’s community board, Borough President Brewer, CPC, and City Council to follow.

Skyline

This past year was a big one for One Vanderbilt. The second half of 2017 finally saw the 1,401 -foot office building go vertical and its rise will continue in 2018. By the end of this year, the SL Green-developed building is expected to reach 39 stories with concrete on deck through the 35th floor, and curtain wall installed up to the 12th floor. It’s expected to top out in February 2020.

3 World Trade Center

The Rogers Stirk Harbour + Parnters-designed 3 World Trade Center will officially open in the spring, making it the fourth building to be completed on the new World Trade Center campus. The 2.5 million-square-foot building topped out at 1,079 feet back in 2016, and has been courting tenants in the interim. Advertising media company GroupM has signed on as one of the building’s major tenants, taking 700,000 square feet of office space.

Extell and SMI USA’s Central Park Tower will continue to make its skyward ascent to 1,550 feet throughout 2018, though the ultra-luxury condo building won’t top out until the following year. However, the building’s 179 condos are due to hit the market this year. Whether they’ll have public listings, or be marketed more exclusively like the condos of 220 Central Park South (which we have yet to see listings for) remains to be seen. The developers aren’t yet ready to release asking prices, but assume they’ll be astronomical.

What 2018 holds for JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group’s 111 West 57th Street is unclear, given the legal troubles it faced in 2017, but here’s what we know: A flurry of filings with the Department of Buildings in the middle of last year indicate that the project has every intention of moving upward in 2018. This past year brought news that some of the building’s 60 condos have quietly entered contract, so expect more news from the city’s skinniest skyscraper in the next 12 months.

Another JDS project, Brooklyn’s first supertall skyscraper at 9 Dekalb, is expected to make major progress in the coming year. Foundation work for the 1,066-foot building will wrap up this year, and the tower will begin to make its dent on Brooklyn’s skyline.

Natural landscapes

Williamsburg’s Bushwick Inlet Park is far from being complete, but the city is making strides to deliver on its promise for the 28-acre park. In October, Mayor de Blasio pledged $17.5 million towards advancing two of the park sites the city has acquired but not yet developed. That means that in 2018 the city will start designing, with the input of the community, the parcel at 50 Kent Avenue. The site, formerly home to the Brooklyn Flea, is currently being remediated by National Grid.

The Parks Department will also start looking into what steps it will need to take to remediate the former site of a CitiStorage warehouse that burned down in a seven-alarm blaze in January 2015. Once remediated, the 11-acre site will account for nearly half of the 28-acre park.

Renderings courtesy Two Trees Management

New Yorkers will have a new waterfront park to enjoy this summer. Domino Park, part of the Domino Sugar Refinery redevelopment, is poised to open by early summer, bringing two Bocce courts, a flexible turf field, a volleyball court, a dog run, and public open space to South Williamsburg. The six-acre park is designed by James Corner Field Operations and, much like the firm’s High Line, will weave its way through the 11-acre Domino megaproject site.

Moving south, Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 3 will open in the summer, wrapping up the six pier-to-park conversions at BBP. But that doesn’t mean Brooklyn Bridge Park is complete: Construction on Pier 2 Uplands is poised to kick of in the fall, and will bring 3.4 acres of parkland to the former site of the wildly popular pop-up pool by 2020.

The final piece of Brooklyn Bridge Park, a two-acre plaza under the Brooklyn Bridge, finally has a conceptual design and is in the fundraising stage. It’s still TBD when work will kick off here, but it will bring a place for seasonal markets, concerts, and a temporary ice rink to the Dumbo waterfront.

Over in Manhattan, the Parks Department is at work advancing the design for the East River Greenway that will cover a significant portion along the island’s east side. Mayor de Blaiso’s commitment of over $200 million in 2017 allowed design work to begin on the section between East 53rd and East 61st streets. In 2018, design work will begin on the section between East 125th and East 132nd streets.

Ongoing work on several sections of the greenway will be completed in 2018, including the areas stretching from East 88th to East 90th streets and East 124th to East 125th streets. This year will also see work start on the rehab of Pier 42 (finally!), the completion of work on Sutton Place Park in the summer, and the unveiling of East River Park’s synthetic turf soccer field and running track come the fall.

Governors Island
Max Touhey

Governors Island won’t see much in the way of construction this year, but it’ll make small and meaningful advances towards becoming a year-round destination for New Yorkers. For starters, the island will remain open from May through October 31, an expanded schedule it first tried out in 2017.

The Trust For Governors Island is busy seeking tenants for the island’s historic buildings, a big task it believes will help the island to become a year-round destination. Though vendors are TBD at this point, the organization courting everything from food purveyors to nonprofits. The island will see some expanded food options in 2018 from north to south, including the return of Island Oyster. It’ll also get some new entertainment perks (think things like last year’s ziplining near Liggett Terrace) that the trust will announce in the coming months.

Meanwhile, over on Staten Island, Freshkills Park is coming into focus as the Parks Department continues work on North Park, the 21-acre section of parkland on the old Fresh Kills Landfill site. The Parks Department will also continue designing its South Park (not that South Park) with the goal of completing its design in 2019. That space will include three multi-purpose fields and trails, car and pedestrian access, connections to the Owl Hollow Soccer Fields, parking, and a public restroom and plaza.

Hudson Yards

, New York, NY 10013

High Line

btwn Gansevoort & W 34th St, New York, NY 10011 (212) 500-6035 Visit Website

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge, , NY 10038

Bushwick Inlet Park

Kent Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211 Visit Website

One Vanderbilt

1 Vanderbilt Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10017 Visit Website

Central Park

, Manhattan, NY Visit Website

Governors Island

, Manhattan, NY 11231

Brooklyn Bridge Park

334 Furman Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 Visit Website

Hudson Yards

30th Street, New York, NY

Sony

550 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10022 Visit Website

3 World Trade Center

175 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007

World Trade Center

, Manhattan, NY

Webster Hall

125 East 11th Street, Manhattan, NY 10003 Visit Website

Union Square

, Manhattan, NY 10003

220 Central Park South

220 Central Park South, New York, NY

Freshkills Park

, Staten Island, NY 10314 Visit Website

55 Hudson Yards

55 Hudson Yards, New York, NY 10001
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