When plans surfaced last March for a rezoning of the Financial District that would allow property owners to bring in retail tenants to the underutilized public plazas and walkways at the base of their buildings, it was met with mixed reviews. While some felt it would increase foot traffic and create a more vibrant street presence, others thoughts it would result in a loss of public space, but a gain for developers. These concerns may be a moot point, however, as Crain’s brings news today that the plan could be “upended by federal flood regulations being applied to more areas of the city since Superstorm Sandy.”
Water Street POPS
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.