$1 Billion Silvercup West Gets CB2 Green-light

Long Island CIty is probably getting a new development by the Queensboro Bridge.  Last week, LEESER Architecture released a rendering for an alternative design for Silvercup Studios West, a development that was thought to be on an indefinite hiatus.  (According to the site’s final environmental impact statement: “Project construction would begin in 2006, and be completed in 2009, a total construction period of approximately three years.")  The planned project - in general terms - has an allocated $1 billion budget, and recently won the support of Queens’ Community Board 2.  Current plans implement 8 sound stages, as well as some office and retail space, cultural venues, and roughly 1,000 residential units, of which ~20% would be affordable, and a public esplanade.

LEESER Architecture’s recent rendering, distinguished by a rounded and glassy U-shape - definitely less conventional than the rest of the waterfront - hasn't yet been called the final design.  Still, it actually appears to be a modification of a previous, more conservative rendering that showed a complex of several towers with trellised facades.  Incorporating that layout, LEESER’s annex would physically join the buildings in a more polished, curvaceous way.

But even with CB 2’s approval, the development will still need to wait before it breaks ground; as it is, the proposed site is the current home of a New York Power Authority generating station, a pile of rock salt owned by the Department of Sanitation, and a century-old, designated landmark of the erstwhile New York Architectural Terra-Cotta Works.  In both renderings, the low-rise building appears to be preserved, but with a Silvercup logo on its water-facing facade.  Of course, before any of those facilities move, the Department of Planning has to sign off on the plan.  Until that happens, the 8 year old plan will have to sit on the backburner.