Call to Reimagine Historic Buildings on Governors Island


The Trust for Governors Island yesterday put out a call for proposals for what will be one of the biggest adaptive reuse projects in the country, the redevelopment of 19th and early 20th century historic buildings on Governors Island. The parklike 92-acre historic district on the island, just off the waterfront of Brooklyn in the East River, has views of Manhattan and Brooklyn and has in recent years become a popular summertime destination with outdoor arts projects, after the military turned it over to the City. Historic buildings include a 400,000-square-foot barracks and administrative building designed by McKim, Mead & White in 1929, according to The Wall Street Journal. Ideas for single or multiple buildings could be commercial, educational, cultural or mixed use; residential development and casinos are not allowed. A pre-bid conference and site visit take place Dec. 19. Proposals are due March 14. Above, a rendering of plans already in the works for remaking the arrival area, Soissons Landing. Already under way is a $260 million infrastructure project to stabilize the buildings and upgrade the docks, electronics, telecom, drinking water system, and seawall and storm systems on the island. The remaking of Soissons Landing and creation of Liggett Terrace, pictured below, are part of the infrastructure project. The terrace is a six-acre plaza that will feature outdoor seating, public art, water and seasonal plantings. Phase I, designed by landscape architects West 8, includes new trees and ball fields, and will be completed in 2013. “Governors Island is the centerpiece of our Administration’s transformation of the City’s waterfront,” noted Mayor Bloomberg in the press release. The island is already home to a public high school and an artist studio program. “The release of this request for proposals process provides a tremendous chance to bring new life to historic buildings,” said Stephanie Meeks, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Luckily, the island’s historic buildings were not damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Above, the yellow house in the Nolan Park section of Governors Island.
Governors Island Proposals Sought [WSJ]
Renderings Via Trust for Governors Island
Photo by ronon44