Downtown's Changing Cityscape: Here's What's Opening When

By Irene Plagianos on March 12, 2014 6:55am 

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 Dozens of construction projects will transform Lower Manhattan over the next four years.
Construction Projects Transforming Lower Manhattan
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DOWNTOWN — Lower Manhattan is on the rise.

With more than 70 construction projects currently underway — including soaring residential towers, hundreds of hotel rooms, major commercial spaces and a revitalized waterfront — a new Downtown cityscape is taking shape, all in the next four years.

“We’ve come a long way Downtown, and we’ve arrived at a very exciting moment,” said Jessica Lappin, president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, the organization that manages the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District and promotes the neighborhood south of Chambers Street.

“This is a unique place," Lappin continued. "We’re now seeing so many pieces — some projects that have been in the making for a decade — all coming online in the next few years.”

Since 9/11, the growth of Downtown — including more than $30 billion in public and private investments — has brought more residents, tourists and businesses to the neighborhood.

There have been plenty of hurdles along the way, including the 2008 financial crisis that derailed funding for several major projects and Hurricane Sandy, which inundated Lower Manhattan with floodwater.

But the next few years will finally transform an “era of promise to an era of fulfillment,” according to the Downtown Alliance’s 2013 Year in Review report.

Here's what to expect Downtown in the next four years:

(Map Key: Yellow = Residential; Green = Hotel; Red = Office; Blue = Transportation; Purple = Shops/Dining/Culture)

Luxury Living

Lower Manhattan is already the city’s fastest growing residential neighborhood, and new construction will keep up the pace.

Twenty-four apartment buildings, with an additional 3,100 units, are set to open their doors Downtown by 2017, according to the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center.

The bulk of the new residences are slated to open in the next two years: 12 residential towers, mostly luxury offerings, will launch in 2014, followed by nine more buildings in 2015, according to the agency, which tracks construction Downtown.

In 2016, developer Larry Silverstein’s 30 Park Place is slated to claim the title of Lower Manhattan’s tallest residential tower. The 937-foot building will house a 185-room Four Seasons hotel, topped by 157 luxury condos.

Another soaring upscale condo tower, at 56 Leonard St., will also be making a mark on Lower Manhattan's skyline. The 145-unit, 60-story building — which has been likened to a Jenga tower — is expected to become the tallest building in TriBeCa when it opens in 2015.

Taking Tourism to New Heights

Adding to the influx of people Downtown, a new slate of hotels is also on the way. Fourteen hotels, with about 3,000 rooms, are set to open south of Canal Street by 2017, according to the LMCCC. Nine of those buildings are readying for a 2014 completion, with four more are slated to open in 2015.

According to the Downtown Alliance, the number of hotels below Chambers Street will rise dramatically by 2016. There are currently 18 hotels with 4,100 rooms below Chambers Street — and by 2016 there will be an additional 2,137 rooms in 13 new hotels.

One of those new hotels, a 52-story building at 99 Washington St., just steps from the World Trade Center, is set to become the world’s tallest Holiday Inn when it opens in April 2014.

Working, Shopping, Eating — And Getting There

New commercial centers and transportation hubs are also in the works Downtown.

Several of the World Trade Center buildings, Brookfield Place’s new restaurants and shops, the Fulton Center’s massive transit and retail hub are all expected to open before 2016.

At the World Trade Center site, One World Trade Center is finally slated to open to tenants beginning in November 2014. About 55 percent of the building is leased, with Conde Nast as its anchor tenant. For visitors to the country’s tallest building, the observation deck, from floors 100 to 102, is scheduled to open in early 2015. In April 2014, visitors to the WTC complex will be able to head to the long-delayed 9/11 Memorial Museum.

The much-anticipated Santiago Calatrava-designed World Trade Center Transportation Hub is slated to be complete in 2015. The center will house a PATH station — which already has one platform open — as well as 350,000 square feet of retail at Westfield World Trade Center. The hub will also connect an estimated 200,000 travelers to 10 subway lines each day.

The hub will have underground connections to the Fulton Center, which will bring together five subway stations and is expected to open its 63,000 square feet of retail and commercial space by June 2014.

To the west, the WTC hub connects to Brookfield Place, the former World Financial Center, where 200,000 square feet of retail shops and eateries are slated to begin opening by early 2015.

Also under construction is the South Ferry Station on the 1 line, which has been closed since Hurricane Sandy and is slated to reopen in about three years. The MTA reopened the old, decommissioned South Ferry platform in April 2013, to aid straphangers while repairs are made to the newer, renovated station, which originally opened in 2009.

On the Waterfront

Much of Downtown's new development is concentrated on the waterfront — including new opportunities for dining, shopping and recreation.

A revamped Pier A, on the west side of Battery Park, is slated to open by May 2014. The pier will feature a 40,000-square-foot restaurant complex in the historic harbor house that will include a beer garden, oyster bar, 100-seat fine-dining restaurant, catering hall, outdoor promenade, music venue and gallery space.

At the South Street Seaport, a revitalized Pier 17 will launch with a host of shops and outdoor public space in 2016. The multi-million-dollar overhaul, which recently began, will tear down the outdated mall to build a sleek, glass structure filled with high-end stores and restaurants. Plans include 74,800 square feet of public space, a 1.5-acre roof deck and an amphitheater for outdoor concerts and events.

Across New York Harbor, Governors Island is working toward its long-planned transformation into a 24/7 destination. Starting in May, the island will be open to the public seven days a week. A day spa, an international student campus and an expanded arts center are slated to move in by 2015, and more private tenants, along with more park space, are on the way by 2017.

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