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Massive Climate Research Center Planned for Governors Island, Rezoning Now Included

A speculative but exceedingly ambitious plan is pressing for air time in New York City.
September 22, 2020, 5am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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New York City
Richard Cavalleri

The nonprofit Trust for Governors Island released a proposal earlier this month to rezone the island, to make way for a new climate research center that could total as much as four or five million square feet of new development, according to an article by Michael Kimmelman.

The Trust for Governors Island enlisted West 8 and WXY to create renderings to create a master plan for the aspirational rezoning proposal, which first made news in even more speculative form about a year ago. Kimmelman  gets the skinny on the big plans for the island:

According to Clare Newman, the president and chief executive officer of the trust, the prospective climate center would offer public programs, offices for green tech companies and architecture and engineering firms, and be anchored by a university or research institute that would build and pay for its part of the campus.

As noted by Kimmelman, the plan for the climate research center is only the latest in grand economic development ideas for Governors Island. "This time there’s not even a specific tenant in mind, just a desire to attract one. Still, change starts somewhere. The current rezoning proposal begins a city land use review process starting next month."

According to Kimmelman, the uncertainty in the economy might be a challenges and an opportunity for the grand proposal, citing the history of some of New York City's most renowned institutions. "Rockefeller Center broke ground at the start of the Depression; Lincoln Center, when thousands of New Yorkers were fleeing to the suburbs. The obvious precedent to the Governors Island proposal, the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island, was hatched during the last recession."

Full Story:
Published on Thursday, September 17, 2020 in The New York Times
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