Track changes! College walks back its shimmery vision for D’town building • Brooklyn Paper

Track changes! College walks back its shimmery vision for D’town building

After: NYU wants to transform the gritty MTA offices at 370 Jay St. into a research facility by 2016. This rendering shows what would be the Center for Urban Science and Progress — the school’s latest program in Downtown Brooklyn.

Everything that glitters is not silicon.

New York University is taking over the city-owned former New York City Transit Authority headquarters that has stood mostly vacant above the Jay Street–MetroTech subway station for two decades. The school and the city announced the move back in 2012, including in the promotional material a flashy rendering of the building overhauled to look like a crystal fortress. A June 26 announcement came with further details on who is moving into the building, but also a new mock-up that showed none of the glass-and-steel glitz of the previous one. A spokesman for the college said the original, rolled out to great fanfare in partnership with Mayor Bloomberg, was never meant to be taken seriously.

“The rendering released in 2012 was aspirational, but it wasn’t a plan,” said Philip Lentz, director of public affairs for New York University. “Today, we have a plan that lays out what the building will look like and how it will be used when the renovations are completed in 2017.”

The new design calls for restoring the current limestone-and-steel facade, and install new windows, plumbing, and electrical systems, according to the school. The renovations are meant to make the structure a hub for hands-on technology, a school spokeswoman.

After: The new design has none of the shiny features of the last one.
Mitchell Giurgola Architects

“Applied science, technology, and engineering are among our fastest growing academic areas and the new 370 Jay St. — in the heart of a thriving tech corridor — will be an environment conducive to inspiration and innovation in those fields,” said Lynne Brown, a spokeswoman for the university.

The restored building will house the university’s Center for Urban Science and Progress, the engineering school’s tech business incubators, and classrooms for various programs, according to a school statement. The ground floor of the building will be converted into retail space, the school said.

The 14-story building on Jay Street between Willoughby and Johnson streets served as the transit agency’s headquarters from 1951, when it was built, until 1990. The agency continued to maintain operations in the structure, including its cash-handling facilities, until 2006, but it has sat mostly empty since then.

University officials said they hope to start construction next year and be finished by 2017.

Mid-rise tech: Engineering students will soon occupy the 14-story building.
Mitchell Giurgola Architects

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.

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