Long Island City’s newest luxury condominium has been a local landmark for the past 100 years. The Powerhouse Condominiums, which welcomed its first residents in August 2008, gives new life to the old Penn Station powerhouse, which once provided electricity for the trains stopping in New York’s Penn Station, and to the old Schwartz Chemical factory building.
Zigmond Brach and CGS Developers of Brooklyn, NY, re-evaluated their original plans to level the historic structure, originally attributed to McKim, Mead and White, due to the tremendous community support for repurposing the existing building. The development is planned in three phases. The first phase, which cost in excess of $100 million, includes 177 units in the original section of the building. Apartments range in size from 500 sq. ft. studios to 1,500 sq. ft., three bedroom units, and are priced from $500,000 to $2 million. Located just one block from the waterfront, the 11-story, 288,000 sq. ft. development will house almost 500 units, plus a fitness center, roof deck with private cabanas, spa and Aqua Grotto, a water-oriented social space, when it is completed in 2013.
Karl Fischer, a New York City-based architectural firm, was commissioned to transform the rough industrial spaces into contemporary residences with dramatic views of the Manhattan skyline. The architect retained the original tall arched windows, blending rough industrial chic with a modern contemporary look. A four-story glass and steel structure was designed to replace the original hopper, and four glass and metal towers constructed on the footprints of the original smokestacks, feature apartments with unique double-height living rooms and spectacular panoramic views.
The architect’s transformation of the old property’s image was assisted by the specification of aluminum composite panels. The lightweight material gives the building a modern look while contrasting and complementing the existing masonry. Alcoa Architectural Products’ Reynobond ACM material, in Copper Penny and Vancouver Copper colors, was selected to blend with the brick’s color and give the project a bit of glitter.
The Riverside Group of Windsor, Ontario, Canada, fabricated the project’s 37,000 sq. ft. of 4mm-thick, FR-cored Reynobond material wall panels, with Island International Industries Inc. of Calverton, NY, handling their installation. The Copper Penny-finished panels were installed on all facades, including the mechanical bulkheads and stair towers, while the Copper Penny-finished panels were installed on the lower three floors of the north elevation courtyard. The ACM was installed using Riverside’s R4-300 attachment system. Riverside fabricated the pans at its plant and shipped them to the island, where they manufactured the framing components and installed the pans on the completed frames, creating a fully assembled unitized panel with glazing, eliminating field work and accelerating the installation process. A construction company under the umbrella of CGS Developers of Brooklyn served as the general contractor.
Powerhouse Condominiums photography by Denisimo Photography, Sayville, NY