127 Fulton Street was an early participant in the program
As more than two years of street work wraps up on the main shopping stretch of Fulton Street, a new revitalization program will soon refurbish some of the street’s historic architecture.
This month, the city Economic Development Corporation (EDC), together with the Department of City Planning and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development, is kicking off implementation of its “Fulton Nassau Crossroads” façade-improvement initiative to restore the beauty this major downtown corridor. The project follows roadway and sidewalk infrastructure and repaving work that spanned Broadway to Gold Street, now helping local property owners perform short-term upgrades to their buildings.
Read more about this voluntary program on the EDC Fulton Nassau Crossroads website.
Fulton Nassau Crossroads is an innovative program to revamp building frontages that line six blocks of Fulton as far east as Water Street, and those on Nassau Street from Spruce to Maiden Lane. Backed by federal funds (via the LMDC) and led by EDC’s construction manager Hudson Meridian, the program began rolling out to local merchants and building owners in early 2009.
Direct contact with decision-makers allowed project managers to develop a “wish list” of improvements culled from landlord and tenant feedback, as experts surveyed structures and materials at the various properties.
“Lower Manhattan’s commercial district continues to undergo a remarkable revitalization with investments in new streetscapes and infrastructure,” said Deputy Mayor Robert Lieber. “The storefront improvements that are part of the Fulton Nassau Crossroads project are critical to ensuring that downtown remains an attractive place in which to do business.”
What is perhaps most notable about the program is the design and engineering consultation offered at no cost to participants -- simplifying the process and minimizing costs for building owners. The EDC’s team has designed the program to be as user-friendly as possible, with off-site design and materials fabrication to help minimize construction on Fulton and Nassau. Permits and construction contracts also will be procured and held by the EDC team, further streamlining the process.
For the approximately 150 storefronts and 80 buildings eligible to participate, the program offers three tiers of potential improvements. The first and most minimal tier is for basic storefront improvements. Up to $15,000 is available for basic construction assistance (up to $45,000 for larger storefronts), which includes replacing signs and security gates.
Even more improvements are involved with Tier II, for which $60,000 to $150,000 is available to participants that match $1 of their own investment for every $2 from the Crossroads program. For it, landlords are encouraged to improve, replace or repair storefront windows, lighting, entrances, and other significant storefront elements.
With up to $200,000 available to those investing $1 for every $2 in public funding, Tier III involves full façade restoration. This work could include repair or replacement of everything from windows and curtain walls, to cast-iron façades, to cornices and parapets.
The program quickly gained speed, with more than 70 applications -- nearly 50 percent of eligible stores -- already filed, and nearly 90 percent approved so far. Most have applied for Tier I assistance, and more than a dozen Tiers II and III applications filed or anticipated soon.
One major Tier III project soon to be underway is façade restoration at 127 Fulton Street, an historic, former commercial building that was recently converted to luxury “green” loft condominiums. It serves as a small-scale example of how exceptional, historic architecture can be restored to its original grandeur through public-private partnership.
In addition to the LMDC and the federal Housing and Urban Development, several Crossroads partners have been vital to the program’s successful launch. The Alliance for Downtown New York, the local Business Improvement District, has been key to linking building owners with project managers. Community Board 1 and various elected officials also have worked with the EDC on outreach and other coordination.
“With unique and historic architectural features, Fulton and Nassau Streets have long formed an attractive commercial corridor -- and today they have been largely rebuilt and reactivated, ensuring that Lower Manhattan’s business and retail center remains vibrant as major investments continue in the neighborhood,” said Lieber.