, Tue, September 11, 2018
Image courtesy of Michael Vadon’s Flickr
In 2010, Lower Manhattan was still deeply scarred by the attacks of 9-11. With much of the neighborhood under construction, a high vacancy rate, and few full-time residents, walking around the area, especially outside business hours, often felt like walking through a ghost town. It was, in many respects, a neighborhood in waiting.
Since 2011, which marked the opening of the 9/11 Memorial—and the symbolic end of the neighborhood’s long period of recovery from the 9/11 attacks—Lower Manhattan has undergone a transformation that is difficult to ignore. New businesses have opened, new residential developments have launched, the vacancy rate has drastically declined, and in many respects, an entirely new neighborhood has taken shape.
The dawn of a new Downtown
6sqft recently covered the controversial proposal by the Alliance for Downtown New York (ADNY), the Department of City Planning (DCP), and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), to change zoning laws to allow property owners in the Water Street Subdistrict of lower Manhattan–at One New York Plaza, for example–to bring in retail tenants like restaurants and clothing stores in exchange for making improvements and upgrades to the public plazas and arcades adjacent to their buildings. Crains reports that the City Council passed a bill Tuesday that would allow the Financial District landlords to convert the public corridors in front of 20 buildings in the Water Street corridor to retail shops.
The public corridors, which cover ten blocks, were created when the Water Street buildings that abut them were built. Building developers agreed to create the public arcades and walkways in exchange for more buildable square footage.
Whether you consider them “dead-end” corridors devoid of street life or nifty urban shortcuts (or just convenient rain shelters), the city’s covered public walkways and arcades are finding themselves in something of a spotlight, reports the Wall Street Journal.
This recent focus is on the covered walkways that run alongside skyscrapers in the Water Street corridor in lower Manhattan. A proposed zoning change, which would affect property owners in the Water Street Subdistrict, would allow retail to open up shop in these arcades.
Find out why some object to new retail additions