These Five Fab NYC Buildings Just Scooped Up Best Development Awards For The State

Best In Show. Buildings these days are doing a lot more than offering shelter and making their investors money.

By Jeff Vasishta April 6, 2017
Beekman Hotel and Residencies. Image courtesy of Beekman.

Innovation, sustainability and helping the neighborhood. Yes, there are people that judge buildings on more than how much money they’ll make their owners. Those people are the Urban Land Institute New York, an offshoot of the D.C.-based nonprofit research group for real estate professionals. They have been busy analyzing new buildings in NY state based on the aforementioned criteria. Out of 50 submissions, five New York buildings became winners in their second annual awards for excellence in development.

Related: Why Medical Office Buildings May Find Themselves On Life Support

Here are the winning NYC buildings:

Hotel Development

The Beekman Hotel and Residences

Architect: GKV Architects

Designers: MBDS (Hotel Interior Design), Thomas Juul-Hansen (Residential Interior Design)

There’s nothing modest about the price—$500 a night, but then the conversion is, in places breathtaking. Here are the highlights:

  • A stunning 9-storey atrium that is airy, glamorous and probably extremely costly.
  • A French restaurant, Augustine, run by Keith McNally and another eatery, Fowler and Wells run by Tom Colicchio.
  • An adjacent residential tower which houses mechanicals for the Tower as well as 67 homes. Good for the restaurant  biz and wonderful for preserving the hotel’s architecture with unseemly cables pipes ducts and more.

Related: The High Line Goes High Concept With Solar Carve Tower

Excellence in Institutional Development

The Kathleen Grimm School for Leadership and Sustainability at Sandy Ground, Rossville

Owner/Developer: New York City School Construction Authority

Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

A school that’s greener than an Irish field of wheatgrass, the Kathleen Grimm elementary school, named after the late deputy chancellor, is proud to be the city’s first “net zero” education facility. Opened in 2015 it features a wind turbine, geothermal heating and cooling along with solar panels to power the 68,000 – square foot building. Even the students chip in to the energy production, pedaling stationary bikes in the gym with their wattage displayed on a screen. A roof top greenhouse educated children on how to grows fruits and vegetables.

Excellence in Office Development

51 Astor Place, East Village

Owner/Developer: Edward J. Minskoff Equities Inc.

Architects: Fumihiko Maki and Associates, Adamson Associates International, Thomas Balsley Associates

12 storey’s and 400,000-square feet of earth lovin’ tree huggin’ environmental goodness. This urban building has not just one but two green roofs. Inside is a public plaza and retail.

Excellence in Housing Development

Navy Green, Wallabout

Developers: Dunn Development Corp., L+M Development Partners, Inc., IMPACCT Brooklyn

Architects: FXFOWLE Architects, Curtis+Ginsberg Architects, Architecture in Formation, Rader+Crews Landscape Architecture

This property may have been built on a former federal prison across from the Brooklyn Navy but once inside, you’ll be in no hurry to leave. The the eco-friendly Navy Green project occupies almost a full city block with a mix of 433 affordable and market-rate apartments in four buildings and 23 single-family townhouses organized around a 32,000-square-foot common courtyard with a playground and big grassy lawn. Throw retail into the mix and residents will be begging for extended sentences.

Excellence in Civic Space

The Hills on Governors Island

Owner/Developer: Trust for Governors Island

Architect: West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture

The hills on Governor’s Island consist of former buildings which were demolished, mixed with general fill, pumice, earth and presumably topped with copious amounts of grass seed and plants, to rise seventy feet into the air. Green and resplendent with a scenic Lower Manhattan views.

Governor’s Island was once a rarely visited and desolate. Now it’s welcoming to tourists, bikers and picnickers. Not a bad way to dispose of construction debris.

Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.
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