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Proposed Park Will Have Interactive Fountain and Flood Protections

By Heather Holland | October 2, 2013 12:45pm | Updated on October 2, 2013 5:30pm
 Murray Hill Park will feature an interactive water fountain and plenty of tree cover.
Renderings of New Murray Hill Park
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MURRAY HILL — The developer of two luxury rental towers near the East River has revealed plans for  the park it plans to build on the same block — complete with an interactive fountain and special trees and systems that can handle flooding from another storm.

JDS Development Group is planning a privately owned public park at 626 First Ave. and East 36th Street, the developer told Community Board 6 during a recent public meeting.

“This is a space that we’re giving to the community, and we want to make sure that the community has its needs [met] by the design,” said Michael Stern, managing partner of JDS Development.

The proposed park is a requirement for the zoning approvals of the two rental buildings, according to the City Planning Commission.

With its crisscrossing limestone and granite paths, the park will be anchored by the fountain at its center, inspired by land formations and movements, said Kate Orff, partner of Scape/Landscape Architecture, whose team designed the 38,000-square-foot open space.

The plan is to create a stony border around the fountain for extra seating, and switches that let park users turn the water features on and off.

“It’s not a playground, but it can be playful,” Orff said. “It can be something that is engaging for residents, but also for children.”

When a committee member asked how management would keep people from sleeping in the park, which would be open 24 hours a day, Stern assured community members that the development's security workers would monitor the park at all times.

“We’re going to own these building for a long time and we’re going to run a top-notch facility at the end of the day,” Stern said.

Because of the park’s proximity to the East River, it will feature flood protections including elevated edges and an underground system that can capture and filter stormwater.

The plantings there will include metasequoia and red maple, which can survive even if doused with saltwater, Orff said.

JDS Development hopes to submit the proposal and design to the City Planning Commission in January 2014, and if it’s approved, the park will be completed by the time the two new rental buildings open in early 2016.

The residential towers will reach 40 and 49 stories with 800 units in all.