Wednesday, June 8, 2011
By now, you likely know what's coming very soon to Astor Place — a Fumihiko Maki-designed 430,000-square-foot tower at the site of the former Cooper Union engineering building (You can refresh your memory here.)
Last night, representatives from the developer, Edward Minskoff, and the construction company, Sciame, shared demolition plans with 50-some community members at the soon-to-be demolished 51 Astor Place.
There were several presentations... the thing will be "black glass with black granite and silver fins." A construction rep talked about how safe the site will be... as well as signage, drainage, curb cuts, Zzzzzzz....
Now to what you want to know about:
Demolition begins on July 1. The reps said the entire duration of the project is 17 months.
Actually, you won't see any wrecking balls lined up starting on July 1. First. There will be roughly 40 days of abatement, to rid the place of fun things like vermin and asbestos. The construction rep assured the audience that all this will be done to the letter of the law with the utmost safety features in place. He described it as a "controlled process."
After that! A round of inspections. Then workers will commence with a 50-day-long "surgical demolition." So the actual demolition portion should commence sometime in mid-August. Workers will encase the site, and use small machines to methodically remove floor by floor... The demolition truck staging will take place on Third Avenue at Astor...
Early on, a discussion on the hours of the demolition site nearly turned the meeting into a melee. The construction hours are the city-established 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There will be an occasional need to work on weekends, and the crew will have special DOB-issued permits for that.
"A lot of people live around here, and we're not going to be able to sleep for two years," said one resident in the back of the auditorium.
Reps tried to soldier on with the presentation, but a few persistent residents weren't having it.
"We don't care about the project."
"Answer our questions."
"This is propaganda."
"We don't care what it looks like."
Another resident mentioned a lawsuit to stop the project.
The presentation continued. Two of the more-vocal attendees eventually wandered out early.
A few other factoids:
• The plaza area roughly where the Film Academy Cafe is now calls for an Alexander Calder sculpture, most likely one titled "Giant Critter." (CB3 will review the plaza plans in July. More on that meeting when the date is available.)
• The building is 183 feet tall.
• The building will include space for retail and educational use on the lower levels; office space on the upper floors.
• There are no retail tenants yet. The retail space will reflect the needs of the office tenants.
• The developers have had talks with NYU and Cooper Union about leasing the educational space.
And here's what the building looks like from the Fourth Avenue side... (Note that the Cube remains on Astor Place...)
More on all this later...
Bonus! Photo of the first-floor men's room at 51 Astor Place...
Previously on EV Grieve:
East Village — the new Midtown?