The developers behind a tech office complex that is being created in DUMBO buildings formerly owned by the Jehovah's Witnesses are planning to add a sidewalk plaza out front. DUMBO Heights owners LIVWRK and Kushner Companies, owned by Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, have already gotten the city to bump out the sidewalk from 15 to 30 feet wide, though they did it without consulting the local community board. Whoops!
The pedestrian plaza will be rolled out as part of the city's Street Seats program, in which the city Transportation Department provides the signage and street transformation, and the developers who apply are on the hook for maintenance and design of the actual plaza.
Manuel Mansylla of the design firm Fantastica told the Wall Street Journal that Kushner and co. are going for an "adult playground" vibe. When the plaza opens up late this summer, office drones will get to lunch facing and breathing in the sweet ambrosia of car traffic on the foot of the Manhattan Bridge, which bounds the two-block stretch of Sands Street on one end, and a Brooklyn Bridge on-ramp lining the other.
"I think we all need these spaces in between our desks and our beds," Mansylla told the Journal. "I think they are sort of like buffer zones."
2,500 workers are expected to arrive at the complex by fall. Lest any corporate executives fear that the plaza might foster lunchtime lollygagging or discussion of working conditions between laborers across the industry, LIVWRK CEO Asher Abehsera told the paper the aim is to extend the office outdoors by creating "a continuation of a collaborative environment without having to stay at their desks." Sounds about right.
A rendering of the plaza shows it dotted with square benches with planters in the middle, as well as a bike lane running down Sands Street. It's not clear whether the addition of the lane is wishful thinking or the DOT is actually considering it—the DOT didn't immediately respond to a comment request. A Kushner Companies spokesman said the plaza is supposed to include charging stations.
According to DNAinfo, the benches are supposed to stay open 24 hours a day, from March through December.