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NYCEDC Wins Award For Restoration of Battrey Maritime Building

New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced that the Battery Maritime Building (BMB) has won the 2007 Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) MASterwork Award for Best Commercial Restoration. The award was presented to NYCEDC for the work on the façade of the landmark building over the last several years to prepare the building for future use.

“The façade restoration and stabilization of the Battery Maritime Building is a starting point for the adaptive reuse of a building that occupies a unique place in both the geography and the history of Lower Manhattan,” said NYCEDC President Robert C. Lieber. “With its elaborate exterior materials and vibrant colors, the architectural elements of the building inspire future use. The City’s vision for this property is a plan that will result in both economic benefits for the City, and a public amenity that residents and visitors can enjoy. We are proud the MAS recognized the efforts NYCEDC led to begin the next chapter in the building’s story-book history.”

The City has invested nearly $60 million over the last five years to stabilize the building and return the building’s exterior to its original architectural expression. The NYCEDC team included construction manager Tishman Construction Corporation of New York and architect Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, civil engineer Robert Silman Associates, P.C. and marine engineers Han Padron Associates P.C. The restoration entailed restoring the exterior cladding and adding a protective zinc coating and an industrial paint system to the reinstalled cladding to increase longevity. Replica cast iron and steel elements replaced irreparable or missing pieces. Decorative ceramic tiles were stripped and cleaned and damaged tiles were replaced. A new roof was also installed, and a restored skylight now illuminates the once-dark waiting room. The loggia’s immense Guastavino tile vault ceiling, damaged by structural failure of the street façade columns, has been restored and re-supported. The new paint scheme is an exact recreation of the building’s original 1908 colors.

Designed by architectural firm Walker & Morris and constructed of cast and wrought iron, the Battery Maritime Building is one of the last remaining Beaux Arts-style ferry terminals of the early twentieth century. Constructed in 1908, the BMB was anticipated to be a bustling transportation center, connecting Brooklyn ferry service to elevated trains, buses, and Manhattan roads. However, soon after its completion, ferry traffic dwindled as the bridge and subway systems expanded. The BMB closed in 1938 and was subsequently used primarily for storage and office space. In 1967, the City designated the building as a landmark, and it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

"This year's MASterwork Award jury was impressed by the thorough and exacting restoration of the building's façade," said MAS Chairman Philip Howard. "It is noteworthy because so much effort was taken to replicate items that had been destroyed and because the paint scheme used is an exact recreation of the building's original 1908 colors. The overall project is a fine example of adaptive reuse that all New Yorkers can be proud of."

Launched in 2001 to recognize the best of the city’s new architecture and design, the MASterwork Awards are organized annually by the MAS and sponsored by Helaba, an international commercial bank. The four awards presented this year are for projects completed in 2006. The other winners are The Hearst Tower (Best New Building), Fifth Avenue Plaza of the General Motors Building (Best Privately Owned Public Space) and Fairway Market in Red Hook (Best Neighborhood Catalyst).

Nominations are reviewed by a distinguished committee which included Helena Rose Durst, assistant vice president of The Durst Organization; Jonathan Marvel, partner in Rogers Marvel Architects; Mohsen Mostafavi, dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Planning at Cornell University; Susan Rodriguez, partner in Polshek and Partners; and Billie Tsien, partner in Tod Williams Billie Tsien and Associates.

NYCEDC issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to redevelop the BMB into a vibrant public space. The goal of the RFP is to identify a developer to restore public use to the building’s second floor waiting hall and create a unique waterfront destination. Uses may include retail, restaurant and event space. Along with new interior development, the building will continue to serve as a gateway to Governors Island. The BMB is a part of the East River Waterfront Plan and the New York Harbor District, which includes Whitehall Ferry Terminal, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and Governors Island. A developer will be selected in the near future.

New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities.


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Contact Info

Janel Patterson 212-312-3523