The new owners of the massive East Village residential complex now known as StuyTown plan to spend over $10 million to install 10,000 solar panels on 56 buildings in the complex, the Wall Street Journal reports. Blackstone Group and Canadian investment firm Ivanhoé Cambridge bought the storied complex for $5.3 billion in October 2015. As 6sqft previously reported, the solar investment is part of an effort by Blackstone, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, to generate energy cost savings in its global commercial real estate portfolio. The panels will provide enough power for about 1,000 apartments each year–about nine percent of the units in the 80-acre complex–which Blackstone says will triple Manhattan’s solar power generating capacity and make it the largest private multifamily solar installation in the U.S.
A self-driving vehicle, photo via GM
General Motors will bring a fleet of self-driving cars to a 5-square-mile section of lower Manhattan early next year, becoming the first company to deploy autonomous cars in New York City. As the Wall Street Journal learned, in partnership with driverless-car developer Cruise Automation, GM’s testing will include an engineer in the driver’s seat to monitor the performance and a second person in the passenger seat. In May, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state began accepting applications from companies interested in autonomous technologies in New York. GM and Cruise’s planned testing will become the first time Level 4 autonomous vehicles will be tested in NYC, getting a head start on making the Big Apple a hub for self-driving cars.
Image courtesy of NYC Train Sign via Instagram
New York City life got easier when we could see live data on when the next subway train would arrive via signs on platforms, in stations and on our mobile phones. Now a Brooklyn-based startup called NYC Train Sign has created a way to display that data in our homes and businesses (h/t Curbed). In an interesting evolution of the wall clock, the company’s flagship product is an artfully-designed countdown clock that displays real-time MTA data for trains in both directions for any train stop you choose. You can add a customized text slide, logo and real-time weather updates, too.
Anyone trawling through apartment listings may have noticed the upsurge of virtually staged apartment photos. The technique has proven to be a cost-effective and speedy alternative to traditional methods of staging vacant units. For those of you not fully warmed-up to the computer-aided technique, your reservations are understandable. Photos are the most important element to viewing listings online and we’ve all seen unappealing virtually-staged photos with disproportionate furnishings and unrealistic treatments. However, over the years, the realism produced by virtual staging companies has vastly improved—to the point many of the images are indecipherable from real photographs.
In New York City, Hasten is one of the companies leading the way in producing life-like listings furnished remotely through renderers and computer programs. We had a quick chat with Hasten’s CEO, Aleksandr Lanin, to get the scoop on virtual staging and its price and time advantages over traditional methods.
City Airbus. Image: Airbus
If you’re stuck in city traffic, you’ll appreciate this news: Airbus helicopters has just announced that it has completed its first full-scale testing on the propulsion system of the company’s CityAirbus demonstrator, Designboom reports. The vehicle in question is a a multi-passenger, self-piloted electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle made for urban air mobility–in essence, a flying taxi.
Rendering of the facility during different weather, via THIRD NATURE
Due to a combination of population growth, car dependency and climate change, coastal cities across the country face growing issues with flooding, parking and lack of green space. As a solution, Danish architecture firm THIRD NATURE designed a 3-in-1 facility that stacks a water reservoir, parking facility, and urban space on top of each other (h/t ArchDaily). The project, called POP-UP, combines a large water reservoir with a parking garage that can move up and down as the reservoir fills and empties with water. Embracing the Archimedes principle of flotation, POP-UP works like a “piece of cork in a glass of water,” allowing the parking structure to correspond to the weight of the displaced water.
Graphic via Citymapper
With subway disruptions and delays becoming a part of daily life in New York City, even lifelong New Yorkers sometimes have trouble finding alternative routes when their F train switches to a different line. Thankfully, there’s now an app that aims to make commuting in NYC a little less confusing. Citymapper, a transportation software start-up based in the UK, uses artificial intelligence to recommend new routes in response to MTA alert statuses. As CityLab reported, the app’s “bot” reads the complicated message from the authority and uses the relevant information to offer a clearer route change to avoid the problem.
The Shed courtesy of Diller Scofidio +Renfro, via The New York Times
Construction of The Shed, a six-level flexible structure that can adapt to different art forms and technologies, continues to progress where the High Line meets Hudson Yards. While the building, an independent non-profit cultural organization, has an expected opening date of 2019, the massive eight-million-pound structure can now slide along the High Line for five minutes on a half-dozen exposed steel wheels that measure six-feet in diameter (h/t NY Times). The Shed, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in collaboration with Rockwell Group, features a movable shell on rails that sits over the fixed base of the building, allowing for it to change size depending on the type of event.
Photos courtesy of Stuyvesant Town
“Think of us as a 1947 Cadillac retrofitted with a Tesla engine,” says Marynia Kruk, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village‘s Community Affairs Manager. Though the 80-acre residential complex’s 110 red brick, cruciform-shaped buildings were constructed 70 years ago this month, their imposing facades are hiding an intense network of systems that, since 2011, have allowed the development to reduce its on-site carbon emissions by 6.8 percent, equal to over 17 million pounds of coal saved. To put this in perspective, that’s roughly the same savings as 3,000 drivers deciding to bike or take the train for an entire year or planting a forest of 400,000 trees.
This massive sustainability push, along with new ownership (Blackstone Group and Canadian investment firm Ivanhoe Cambridge bought the complex for $5.3 billion in October 2015), updated amenities, and an affordable housing commitment, is driving Manhattan’s largest apartment complex into the future, and 6sqft recently got the inside scoop from CEO and General Manager Rick Hayduk and Tom Feeney, Vice President of Maintenance Operations, who is spearheading the green initiative.
Image via Radius Displays
Real New Yorkers will do anything they can to avoid the chaos of Times Square, but debuting in less than a week is a technological marvel that might draw even the most Midtown-adverse out of their Uptown or Downtown havens. As CityRealty first reports, Radius Displays, a leading digital sign producer, has plans to introduce a massive 3-D video display in the ad-drenched stretch this month. The billboard, which they are billing as “unlike anything else in Times Square, or indeed the world,” will not only span an impressive 2,600-square-feet but be made up of thousands of individual panels capable of creating mind-boggling Inception-like effects.