BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
The city has chosen an architect for the approximately $19 billion project to develop Sunnyside Yard, which Mayor Bill de Blasio has said could include up to 24,000 housing units.
Earlier this week, Crain’s reported that architect Vishaan Chakrabarti would develop de Blasio’s vision for the 180-acre Sunnyside Yard, which currently acts as a trainyard and is owned by Amtrak.
The city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) released a $2.5 million Sunnyside Yard feasibility study last year that evaluated the viability of decking over the active rail and facilities at the site.
The 206-page study detailed possible scenarios that proposed between 14,000 and 24,000 housing units, as many as 5,300 parking spots, anywhere from 500,000 to 900,000 square feet of retail space and up to 19 new schools and community facilities, all of which would be built above the yard.
The plans also include an additional 31 to 52 acres that would be utilized as open space and, possibly, the creation of a new Long Island Rail Road station. The number of affordable housing units would range from 4,200 to 7,200.
Although Amtrak operates 142 of the site’s acres and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority owns 31 acres, the city owns the air rights above the acreage. The Queens Tribune reached out to Chakrabarti for comment, but did not get a response by press time.
According to the EDC’s study, the project could take up to 15 years to develop and would, therefore, be completed after de Blasio left office.
However, the city is aiming to have a blueprint for the development before Amtrak begins work on its new high-speed rail facility in Sunnyside Yard.
“We remain on track with the original schedule for this project,” a spokesman for the NYCEDC said in a statement issued to Crain’s. “We continue to work closely with Amtrak, and we will also engage community stakeholders before beginning any master-planning process.”
Last year, the city submitted a formal proposal to house Amazon’s second headquarters at the Sunnyside Yard and, earlier this year, Amazon announced that New York City is one of the locations that the company is eying.
Amazon is searching for approximately 500,000 square feet of commercial space—and for the accommodation of up to eight million square feet of commercial space for 50,000 jobs within a 15-minute radius. The company also wants to ensure that its headquarters is in close proximity to public transportation, highways and airports.
Chakrabarti’s firm PAU is currently responsible for The Domino Sugar Refinery in Brooklyn. Its plans are to create a crystalline barrel-vaulted structure that conforms to the American Round Arch Style to maintain the appearance of the building with historical integrity, celebrate the refinery as the “jewel in the crown” of the site plan and inhabit the landmark as a framework.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400, ext. 144, firstname.lastname@example.org or @reporter_ariel.