NYC’s first multi-family geothermal project tops out in Coney Island

May 25, 2023

Images courtesy of LCOR

New York City’s first multi-family geothermal project has topped out in Coney Island. The residential development at 1515 Surf Avenue will include 463 apartments, of which 139 will be designated as affordable. The building’s geothermal system will use the Earth to heat and cool the property and power its water systems, eliminating the need for equipment that would run on fossil fuels.

Developed by LCOR and designed by STUDIO V Architecture, the 16-story building contains 11,000 square feet of ground floor retail space and more than 20,000 square feet of state-of-the-art amenities.

LCOR filed plans for the project in December 2020. The building is located on the grounds of famed Coney Island restaurant Gargiulo’s parking lot. Louis Russo, the owner of Gargiulo’s, agreed to a 99-year ground lease for the space in early 2020.

The developer worked with Ecosave USA on the design and installation of the geothermal system, which is expected to reduce 1515 Surf Avenue’s carbon emissions by over 60 percent.

The system at 1515 Surf Avenue includes wells installed deep underground that use the Earth’s ambient temperature to heat or cool liquids, according to a press release. That energy is then sent throughout the building through pipes and pumps, and uses excess heat as an additional energy source that is then used to heat the building’s pool and hot water.

“1515 Surf proved that high-rise buildings can be built above geothermal well fields, and through its efficient full electrification and the usage of renewable green energy we can run zero carbon buildings today,” Marcelo Rouco, CEO of Ecosave USA, said.

Residential amenities include an outdoor pool with expansive views of the Coney Island beach and boardwalk, a landscaped courtyard, a state-of-the-art fitness center, an indoor basketball and handball court, flexible co-working spaces, multiple lounges, and on-site parking. Leasing is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2024.

The building is about a block from the beach, the historic Riegelmann boardwalk and the neighborhood’s amusement district, and public transportation at the Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue Station where the D, F, N, and Q subway lines are accessible.

1515 Surf Avenue joins a growing roster of buildings that are being designed with geothermal systems to help the city reach its total carbon neutrality goal by 2040. A citywide ban on gas hookups for new buildings under seven stories took effect this year, with the ban taking effect for taller buildings in 2027.

The Coney Island project will boast the largest active geothermal system in the city’s history when completed next year, until Greenpoint’s 1 Java Street wraps up in 2025. Developed by Lendlease and designed by Marvel, 1 Java Street includes over 830 rental units across five buildings. The project will be the largest all-electric multi-family geothermal project in the state.

Another major net-zero project coming to New York is Arverne East, a sustainable, mixed-use development project in Far Rockaway. Planned for an over 100-acre oceanfront site that has been vacant for 40 years, Arverne East includes 1,650 apartments, with a majority of them affordable, a nature preserve, and several sustainability measures. Upon completion, the development will be one of the most sustainable of its kind in the country.

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