(older July article)
Details Unveiled for Studio Project
Silvercup Studios in the Long Island City district of Queens, the largest independent television and film production complex in the Northeast, will add an additional 2.2 million sq. ft. of space in a new location on the East River, pending New York City Council approval and a public hearing expected around Labor Day.
The $1 billion Silvercup West development will be located on 6 acres of abandoned land directly south of the Queensborough Bridge. It will consist of a 500-ft.-high commercial tower and two residential towers measuring 526 ft. and 588 ft. in height that together will contain 1,000 units. A base structure would link the residential towers and house eight soundstages, a catering facility for up to 8,000 people, and 100,000 sq. ft. of cultural space.
The owners picked London-based Richard Rogers Partnership - which also designed the new Jacob K. Javits Convention Center expansion on Manhattan's West Side and a master plan for an East River park esplanade - as architect for the development.
At a breakfast event about the project in Manhattan sponsored by the Building Trades Employers' Association and New York Construction, Silvercup CEO Alan Suna said the design incorporates aesthetic choices to blend the towers into the area, including how exoskeleton cross-bracing on the façades echoes the steel beams on the bridge.
The design places the site's "ugly" features, such as docking bays and three levels of parking for 1,400 cars, on the inside of the complex. In addition, the city's Department of Transportation agreed to move existing de-icing facilities that stand south of the site away from the waterfront in order to allow public access to the river.
The design calls for a public promenade, lined with 70,000 sq. ft. of retail on all sides, as well as open space north of the bridge. In a nod to the property's industrial past, the team will restore the 19th-Century Architectural Terra Cotta Co. office building on the site and install a kiln spire statue on the promenade.
Silvercup has already tapped Tishman Construction of New York as construction manager. Preliminary site work is scheduled to begin in early 2008, with completion expected in 2012. Construction of the new facilities at Silvercup West is expected to generate 2,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs in the neighborhood.
The new studios will be the company's third location. Originally founded in 1983 on the site of the Silvercup Bakery, the company has two facilities in Queens with 400,000 sq. ft. of studios on 18 soundstages, offering space to TV shows such as HBO's "The Sopranos".
Suna said Silvercup has offered the cultural space in the planned base structure to Queens-based arts institutions such as the Isamu Noguchi Garden Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park.
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