City taps architect firm to create plan for Sunnyside Yard development: report

Photo courtesy of Jim Henderson/Wikipedia Commons

The city has chosen architect firm PAU to come up with a plan to develop the 180-acre Sunnyside Yard, a project Mayor Bill de Blasio has said could produce up to 24,000 housing units.

In February, the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) produced a study to determine the feasibility of building a deck over the yard, which is owned by the MTA and Amtrak. According to the EDC, the project could cost between $16 and $19 billion.

Crain’s New York reported on March 29 that architect Vishaan Chakrabarti and his team won a request for proposals issued by the city in November to create the plan. The city and PAU did not confirm the deal to the outlet.

The EDC proposed last February several different test cases that would focus on developing a mostly residential project, a “live/work/play” project or making it a “destination” project with mostly mixed-use development.

Rendering courtesy of EDC
Rendering courtesy of EDC

The residential option would create between 18,000 and 24,000 units of housing. About 5,400 to 7,200 of those units would be considered affordable housing. According to the test case, 13 to 19 schools would also be built on the property if that option was chosen.

The second test case would contain office space, retail, 10 to 14 schools but less housing. The third option would create no office space but would contain 16,000 to 22,000 units of housing, 600,000 to 800,000 square feet of neighborhood retail and 10 to 14 schools.

The study found that decking and construction is feasible in 80 to 85 percent of the yard and 15 to 20 percent, primarily over the Main Line, is infeasible. Areas of the yard that are “cost prohibitive” or infeasible could become parks, roads or open spaces.

According to the study, the project could take 15 years to develop, when Mayor de Blasio is no longer in office. The work to come up with a design plan could take up to two years and according to Crain’s, the city has argued that it’s crucial to have blueprints before Amtrak begins constructing a new High Speed Rail Facility in Sunnyside Yard to accommodate new trains.

EDC and Amtrak have agreed to a plan that will allow the city to build above this new facility.

“We remain on track with the original schedule for this project,” a spokesman for the EDC told Crain’s. “We continue to work closely with Amtrak, and we will also engage community stakeholders before beginning any master-planning process.”

More from Around New York