The block of Beekman Street between William and Nassau Streets in Downtown Manhattan has for a long time had that half-abandoned look you find in many dying cities, with parking lots being the predominant land use amid stately older buildings that managed to survive the wrecking ball.
That is changing, thanks to a continuing desire of people to do live, work, shop and recreate downtown. Both of the parking lots you see in the photo above are being converted to uses for people. The smaller lot at the left is at the southwest corner of William and Beekman Streets. This week, all the cars were booted and workers began dismantling the metal car-lifts that the parking lot had been using.
I haven’t been able to figure out what’s going on here, but the workers also removed the parking lot’s sign as you can see in the right of the photo, indicating that something new is coming in here and we’re hopefully not just looking at a fancier parking lot. Does anyone know what’s going to be built at this site?
Across the street, construction is underway for what will be a 75-story mixed-use tower being built by Forest City Ratner and designed by Frank Gehry. It will have about 70 floors of apartments, five floors for a school and ground floor retail space. Think of the acres of woodland or farms that will not become culs-de-sac because of this tower, and you can see why an environmentalist should support tall buildings in Manhattan even as neighbors say it is “destroying the neighborhood.” I posted the picture below on the Wired New York forum (scroll to end) back in October when the first indications that construction was starting on the long-discussed tower. The construction has continued and now the site is a big dirt pit awaiting pile driving.