Take a tour inside the under-construction Empire Stores in Dumbo, Brooklyn

The Empire Stores' facade. (Henry Melcher / AN)

The Empire Stores’ facade. (Henry Melcher / AN)

Over the weekend,  AN joined an Open House New York on a tour of the under-construction Empire Stores warehouse in Dumbo, Brooklyn. The old coffee bean warehouse was built in the 1870s, but has been sitting empty along the East River for decades. By next fall, though, the Empire Stores will have been transformed with all the Brooklyn-type fixings you’d expect. Yes, there is an artisanal Brooklyn market featuring local purveyors. And office space for tech and creative companies. And cafes, restaurants, and beer gardens. Included in the mix is also a rooftop public park and a museum focused on New York City‘s waterfront.

Continue reading after the jump.

Shanghai talks: How to avoid homogenous skylines

Shanghai sunrise, before the construction of the Shanghai Tower. (Jose Maria Cuellar via flickr)

Shanghai sunrise, before the construction of the Shanghai Tower. (Jose Maria Cuellar via flickr)

In September, The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat invited me to serve as the special media correspondent for their Shanghai symposium, entitled “Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism.”

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Long-vacant grain silos in Chicago up for auction, future uncertain

One of Chicago‘s most visible rust-belt remnants is up for sale, just in time for its cameo in the Transformers 4 movie. The derelict Santa Fe grain elevator has been a favorite hangout for squatters, graffiti artists and ruin-porn enthusiasts since 1977, when a fire and explosion ended 70 years of industrial history there.

Continue reading after the jump.

Greenbuild 2014 heads to New Orleans on October 22–24

Greenbuild 2010. (Charles & Hudson / Flickr)

Greenbuild 2010. (Charles & Hudson / Flickr)

Greenbuild 2014, the country’s largest conference and expo on sustainable building and design, will be held at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. This year’s conference, which runs from October 22–24, is themed “Leadership Jazz” and is expected to draw 23,000 attendees and 600 exhibitors from around the country.

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Michigan Avenue’s newest high-rise by bKL Architecture is under construction

from left: Charles Becker, Becker Ventures; Dan Raleigh, Partners Group (USA)Inc.; Carrie Meghie, Becker Ventures; John Buck, The John Buck Company; Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago; Michael Glandt, Fifth Third Bank; Mark Degner, Partners Group (USA Inc.; and Scott Egarian, Partners Group (Donna Binbek)

from left: Charles Becker, Becker Ventures; Dan Raleigh, Partners Group (USA)Inc.; Carrie Meghie, Becker Ventures; John Buck, The John Buck Company; Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago; Michael Glandt, Fifth Third Bank; Mark Degner and Scott Egarian, Partners Group (USA)Inc. (Photo: Donna Binbek)

Last year AN broke news of plans for the first residential high-rise on Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue in decades. Last Friday, James McHugh Construction Company and Pepper Construction Company broke ground on the 41-story tower at 200 N. Michigan Ave., which is expected to be complete in mid-2016.

Continue reading after the jump.

Cook County mulls options for long-abandoned, beaux-arts hospital in Chicago

(Courtesy Chicago Architecture Foundation)

(Courtesy Chicago Architecture Foundation)

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle briefly took the lectern at the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) Tuesday night to welcome presentations on the future of an infamous white elephant structure on the city’s near West Side: the old Cook County Hospital building. “We believe that this building has inherent value,” Preckwinkle said, “and that a thoughtful process like this can help unlock that value.” Read More

Beer, Shakespeare, and hip hop take over a vacant lot in Downtown Louisville

ReSurfaced, a pop-up festival occupying a vacant lot in downtown Louisville. (Urban Design Studio)

ReSurfaced, a pop-up festival occupying a vacant lot in downtown Louisville. (Urban Design Studio via Flickr)

What can you do with a vacant lot? Urban activists in Louisville have set out to show just how much with an ongoing pop-up festival of sorts at 615-621 West Main Street, an empty plot of land in the heart of downtown where REX‘s Museum Plaza skyscraper was once set to rise.

Continue reading after the jump.

Buffalo breaks ground on largest solar panel facility in the Western Hemisphere

A model of SolarCity's plant.  (New York Governor's Office)

A model of SolarCity’s plant. (New York Governor’s Office)

Manufacturing is returning to Buffalo, New York in a big way. In late September, SolarCity broke ground on a 1.2-million-square-foot solar panel manufacturing plant that will be the biggest facility of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. The company, which Elon Musk chairs, is investing $5 billion into the project that will rise on the site of a former Republic Steel factory. When fully operational, the panels produced at the factory are expected to generate one gigawatt of energy, that’s roughly enough power to power 145,000 homes.

Continue reading after the jump.

Talking tall buildings in Shanghai

In September the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) gathered high-minded designers, developers and engineers for a conference in Shanghai. CTBUH, which often partners with AN on conferences, including our own Facades+ events, invited me to serve as a special media correspondent for the conference, held September 16–19. I spent most of the time conducting video interviews with the symposium guests, which we’ll post here on the AN blog as they become available. For now, here’ a quick overview of the topics discussed.

Continue reading after the jump.

Milwaukee breaks ground on new 32-story tower complex

Northwestern Mutual's updated Milwaukee headquarters, which broke ground in late August, include a new 32-story tower designed by Pickard Chilton. (Courtesy Pickard Chilton)

Northwestern Mutual’s updated Milwaukee headquarters, which broke ground in late August, include a new 32-story tower designed by Pickard Chilton. (Courtesy Pickard Chilton)

Construction has begun on the latest addition to Milwaukee’s lakefront skyline, a sleek curving tower from Pickard Chilton. Gilbane Building Co. and C.G. Schmidt broke ground in August on the new 32-story headquarters of insurance giant Northwestern Mutual. Read More

Pedal to the metal at Los Angeles’ Union Station

Development, Urbanism, West
Thursday, September 18, 2014
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Proposed new east entrance to Union Station (Grimshaw/Gruen/Metro)

Proposed new east portal to Union Station (Grimshaw/Gruen/Metro)

After refining their master plan over the last several months, Metro, Grimshaw, and Gruen are ready, as Metro Deputy Executive Officer for Countywide Planning Jenna Hornstock put it, to “put the pedal to the metal.” They’re asking the Metro Planning and Programming Committee to approve several recommendations (PDF) to begin the implementation of their Union Station Master Plan, including the development of a Program Environmental Impact Report. Yesterday they presented to the committee, and a vote is expected at the next gathering on October 15.

Continue reading after the jump.

Los Angeles Convention Center releases competition shortlist

Aerial View of LA's Convention Center and Staples Center (LA Convention Center)

Aerial View of LA’s Convention Center and Staples Center (LA Convention Center)

The Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering’s competition for a $350 million expansion and renovation of the LA Convention Center has been narrowed down to three final teams. And they are: AC Martin/LMN, Gensler/Lehrer Architects, and HMC/Populous. According to the project’s Task Order Solicitation (PDF), the teams will each receive $200,000 to “develop and present conceptual designs,” including models, renderings, plans, cost estimates, phasing plans, etc. Designs are due on December 8.

Continue reading after the jump.

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