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Rendering of St. John's Terminal redevelopment credit of COOKFOX Architects Rendering of St. John's Terminal redevelopment credit of COOKFOX Architects
One year ago, the City Council approved the redevelopment of the St. John’s Terminal at 550 Washington Street. The immense two-million-square-foot project entails the construction of five high-rises to hold 1,586 apartments (30% at below market rate prices), new office space, a hotel, and approximately 400,000 square feet of retail.
The master plan will be by far the largest single offering of sheer space in the West Village-Hudson Square area. To ensure the vision is approved and realized, its developers, Atlas Capital and Westbrook Partners, agreed to pay the Hudson River Park Trust $100 million for 200,000 square feet of development rights formerly locked away at nearby Pier 40. The monies will go towards fixing the pier’s piles and roof.
550-Washington-Street-03 St. John's Terminal Building with West Houston Street traveling beneath (COOKFOX)
The always eco-conscious office of COOKFOX is responsible for the redevelopment’s design. A new batch of renderings published on their website offers new looks (inside and out) at the industrially-inspired and nature-oriented scheme. The firm says, “The proposed buildings will interpret the design economy of New York’s early icons, with massing assembled around finely sculpted towers, detailed with geometrically rigorous setbacks and planted terraces.”
Unlike the glass-skinned condos of Richard Meier’s Perry West several blocks north, these buildings will pay homage to Hudson Square’s factories and printing press buildings. They will be enclosed in solid masonry construction with deeply inset industrial multi-sash windows. Together, with their garden-terraced silhouettes, set to soar up to 40 stories high, the plan conveys a sort of bold, biblical monumentality unseen on the waterfront since the original World Trade Center, Barclay-Vesey Building and the Starrett-Lehigh Building.
Section drawing
550 Washington Street Site plan
COOKFOX leads the city in the popular trend that is focused on occupant health and connections to nature. As we’ve seen in recent years, providing private and communal outdoor space has become paramount to any respectable new development. Last year we spoke with COOKFOX Partner Brandon Specketer about their environmentally-responsive and ecologically-integrated projects such as 550 Vanderbilt in Brooklyn. Coined as biophilic design, the theory touts that providing a connection to nature can reduce stress, improve our well-being, expedite healing, and enhance creativity and clarity of thought.
St John Terminal Uncovered West Houston Street (View west down Clarkson Street (COOKFOX))
550 washigton street (COOKFOX)
The buildings are sculpted to maximize views and the number of outdoor areas. “The planted roofs and terraces will provide direct connections to the natural world, and expansive views will blur the boundaries between interior and exterior,” says the page. Unlike the monolithic building that exists today, the ghosts of pre-existing streets will be woven into the project and West Houston will be uncovered. Previous plans bridged over Houston with a High-Line-inspired span that would have held a new public garden. A through-block driveway parallel to Charlton Street will further break up the plan's massing and offer another visual connection to the river for pedestrians.
5550-Washington-Street-03 Driveway where Charlton Street would run (COOKFOX)
550-Washington (COOKFOX)
A diverse mix of housing will be part of the plan with 30 percent of all units being permanently affordable, including a building made just for seniors. Renderings show light-filled interiors with oversized windows and wide ledges. There will be day-lit corridors and other common spaces that are to further enhance connections to natural cycles of light, weather and seasons.
CookFox) Rendering of senior housing unit (CookFox)
550 Washington Street-03 (CookFox)
Work at the site was to begin this year, but demolition permits have yet to be filed. A recent permit details the decommissioning of a space occupied by Verizon however. In September, the New York Post reported that Oxford Properties, the Toronto-based partner in Hudson Yards, beat out the likes of Vornado Realty Trust, RXR, and Brookfield to win the right to develop the office and retail components of the plan. The buyers can redevelop 1.3 million square-feet of the plan which cannot have "big box" stores and must include a grocery store.
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