Oct. 1, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
A new set of renderings show the proposed layout and uses for TF Cornerstone’s Long Island City Innovation Center, the large and controversial project put forth by the city at 44th Drive.
The renderings and plans, presented at a Community Board 2 meeting last week, show how the 1.1 acres of open space within the project site could be divvied up, and provide a look into how other uses within the site, spanning 1.75 million square feet, will be spread out.
A triangular lawn, for instance, is imagined just off the end of 44th Drive and curving north toward the waterfront as it spreads in size. The lawn, which slopes downward to the water like most of open space as part of a resilient waterfront design, has a wooden stage at its lowest corner for performances and other events.
On the other side of the lawn are a set of stairs leading directly into Anable Cove, where people will be able to get down at the water’s level.
Grassy areas and plantings will continue to sprawl to the north, separated by walkways at different elevations on either side.
At the northern edge of the site, a pier will be build out into the water where park goers can walk through or lounge.
Also immediately at end of 44th Drive is a sizable plaza just before the lawn, which developers say could be used to set up for events like farmers markets and the like.
The plaza also connects to an indoor public atrium directly across from the green space, which is enclosed during the winter and can open up during warmer months. The atrium, designed to look like a gathering space, comes with several seating areas.
The city and developers says the open space layout comes after receiving feedback from the community on how best to design the area.
Signe Nielsen, founding principal at Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, said common threads that came up in a community visioning meeting were passive recreation spaces and for an open space that felt natural with access to the waterfront.
“It’s to create a space that to the greatest extent possible is flexible and allows many different uses for many ages, groups, and different kinds of people,” she said.
The open space, like other details of the project, are still being worked out. The inlet heading toward the former Water’s Edge Restaurant space, for example, will have some vehicular access, but is mainly intended to be a shared pedestrian and cyclist space.
The old restaurant space, additionally, could become another restaurant or major event space, the developers said.
Some parallel parking and two-way bike lanes will also run along 44th Drive, which will be narrowed to provide for larger sidewalks.
There will also be internal loading docks within the proposed buildings to handle maintenance, deliveries, and other truck uses. A total of about 90 parking garage spaces, additionally, will be added as part of the project.
The Long Island City Innovation Center project is mainly comprised of two buildings that will house office, industrial, and residential space. The waterfront tower, planned to rise 56 stories, will hold the office component, which includes a job training center and incubator spaces.
The inland tower, expected to rise 40 stories, will hold the industrial space, to be leased out to companies specializing in light industry and technology.
Both towers will house more than 1,000 residential units, of which 25 percent would be affordable.
Next to the inland tower will be a school, currently expected to seat 536 middle school students.
The renderings and site layouts come as the project, which requires rezoning and other changes to be built, is entering its public review stages. A public scoping meeting on the project’s environmental impact, for instance, was held last month, with a comment section extended to 5 p.m. on Oct. 19.
The project is expected to be certified and enter the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, requiring community board and city council review, in the first half of 2019.