NEW YORK CITY-A request for qualifications alert has gone out signaling the first step in a process to create a master plan for the High Line restoration, which is expected to provide for more than one million sf of new residential and commercial development in the West Chelsea area. The city and advocacy group Friends of the High Line have jointly began a process to select the design team which will create a master plan for former railway's conversion to public open space.
The pair has advertised for groups of architects, landscape architects, urban designers, engineers, horticulturists and other professionals form teams and submit written applications by an April 1 deadline. According to a project timeline, a team is expected to be selected late in the summer. Due to the expansive nature of the project, the RFQ requires a team be headed by an expert in on of the three principle areas of expertise required for the project: architecture, landscape architecture and urban design. Additional areas of expertise include engineering, public art, lighting, horticulture, recreation, New York City building codes and cost estimating.
Last year, special zoning was proposed for the area surrounding the High Line, an elevated steel railroad structure built in the 1930s, but not in use since 1980. The proposed Special West Chelsea District encompasses the areas of West 17th and 30th streets between 10th and 11th avenues. The zoning provides that any new construction closest to the High Line will be governed by special controls that restrict height and setbacks.
In 1999, neighborhood residents founded FHL with the mission of converting the structure to an elevated public space. However, few hurdles still remain before that can become a reality. Earlier this year, a state appeals court paved the way for the demolition of the High Line; however, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has gone in the record as being in favor of preserving the structure.