Each two-family unit includes two separate entrances—one for owners and the other for tenants. This attached structure includes four two-family units, with eight entrances. (Arverne by the Sea LLC)

Each two-family unit includes two separate entrances—one for owners and the other for tenants. This attached structure includes four two-family units, with eight entrances. (Arverne by the Sea LLC)

The boardwalk dune preserve the day after Sandy. It took the initial hit of the Sandy storm surge and dissipated its energy as the water moved inland. The sloped roofs and angled orientation of the two-family residential homes are in the background. (© Peter David Cavaluzzi FAIA-Perkins Eastman)

The boardwalk dune preserve the day after Sandy. It took the initial hit of the Sandy storm surge and dissipated its energy as the water moved inland. The sloped roofs and angled orientation of the two-family residential homes are in the background. (© Peter David Cavaluzzi FAIA-Perkins Eastman)

The only way to reach the Far Rockaway area of the New York City borough of Queens after Hurricane Sandy made landfall was by bicycle. The crystal blue sky and bright, warm sunshine belied the unprecedented destruction that had punished the area days earlier. I remember seeing a dirty stormwater line well above my head on everything around me. I rode along the debris-strewn roadways, past the procession of emergency vehicles, and braced myself for what was certain to be the destruction of my firm’s oceanfront neighborhood project sitting in the bull’s-eye of Sandy’s furor. But as I approached I could see that the sloping rooftops set against the bright blue sky were still standing tall.

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The overall approach of the Perkins Eastman large-scale design practice is to extend and enhance what is already there. The designs for Arverne by the Sea reflect this approach: our design solution was a natural interpretation and evolution of Arverne’s unique sense of place. The most obvious evolution is how architecture and public spaces are designed together to complement the existing beachfront environment. Arverne by the Sea incorporates resilient design elements that were specifically intended to protect against hurricanes and flooding. Our firm’s resilient design strategies are integrated into the overall site and placed such that they virtually disappear.

The primary resilient design strategy addressed the 120-acre (49 ha) site, which was raised with six to eight feet (1.8 to 2.4 m) of fill in order to take the entire development out of the floodplain. The first floor of each house was then raised another three feet (1 m) to provide further protection. These strategies are barely noticeable except from inside the main living space, where the views of the oceanfront are significantly enhanced as a result of the raising of the floor. Next, the street network is skewed at a 45-degree angle to help avoid the direct impact of winds coming from the ocean. Angling the streets also affords views to the ocean and the existing transit station. Finally, along the beachfront one finds an enhanced dune buffer and a boardwalk that create the setting while absorbing the initial onslaught of a storm surge.

The Dunes neighborhood is the most recently developed and includes 270 two-family homes (540 total units) and a site reserved for a new school. (Arverne by the Sea LLC)

The Dunes neighborhood is the most recently developed and includes 270 two-family homes (540 total units) and a site reserved for a new school. (Arverne by the Sea LLC)

Resilient design features are also woven into the architectural design of the two-family homes that constitute the fabric of the neighborhoods. Inspired by the Sea Ranch, a renowned planned community in Sonoma County, California, that features gently angled roof profiles and a natural feel, Arverne by the Sea’s relaxed, modern architecture feels as if it belongs at the beach: the skyline and changing roof surfaces deflect winds while they act as a folded plate to reduce uplift on the rooftops, and the exterior facades have storm-rated windows that maximize views while withstanding wind pressure. Every aspect of the architectural design was carefully considered—right down to the color palette of the durable HardiPlank exterior sheathing, trellises, and rooftop decks. The goal was to create an iconic beachfront atmosphere and lifestyle within New York City for the long term.

Arverne by the Sea continues to be one of the most successful large-scale redevelopments in the history of New York City. Like most ambitious large-scale projects, Arverne by the Sea went through many years of grandiose visions only to fall victim to the changing patterns of the New York City real estate market. The fastest and most resilient way of using this untapped beachfront setting was to extend and complement the oceanfront environment and to enhance the site by incorporating the existing subway line to connect to the beachfront. The design of the residential and mixed-use facilities provides views, deflects strong winds, and restores a pedestrian beachfront atmosphere with human-scaled materials and architectural features—while it seeks to create one of the most resilient waterfront urban renewal areas in the United States.

For more information on Arverne by the Sea, including videos, photos, site plans, and financial information, visit ULI Case Studies at www.uli.org/casestudies.

Peter David Cavaluzzi, a current fellow of the ULI Rose Center for Public Leadership, is a principal and board director of Perkins Eastman. He was design principal for Arverne by the Sea. He also is a member of ULI’s Transit Oriented Development Council.

Project Information

DEVELOPMENT TIMELINE
Year
Development RFP issued 2000
Arverne by the Sea LLC selected as developer 2001
Planning started 2002
EIS certified 2003
Site purchased 2004
Construction started 2004
Phase I completed 2006
Phase II completed 2007
Transit plaza opened 2010
Super Stop & Shop opened 2010
YMCA opened 2014
Expected project completion 2017
RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOODS
For-sale units Rental units Total units Status
Ocean Breeze 256 mid-rise condos 0 256 Sold out
Palmer’s Landing 121 two-family homes 121 242 Sold out
The Sands 46 two-family homes 46 92 Sold out
The Breakers 133 two-family homes 133 266 Sold out
The Dunes 270 two-family homes 270 540 Selling
The Tides 900 mid-rise condos 0 900 Future
Total 1,726 units 570 2,296
OTHER USES/AMENTITIES
Size
Retail transit plaza 21,600 sq ft
Super Stop & Shop 55,000 sq ft
YMCA/community center 44,000 sq ft
School 350-student capacity
DEVELOPMENT COST INFORMATION
Site acquisition cost $8,500,000
Site improvement costs
Excavating/grading $8,500,000
Sewer/water/drainage $54,000,000
Paving/curbs/sidewalks $16,000,000
Landscaping/irrigation $11,000,000
Fees/general conditions $3,850,000
Total $93,350,000
Construction costs
Residential buildings $705,000,000
Retail buildings $21,600,000
Other uses/amenities $28,000,000
Total $754,600,000
Soft costs
Architecture/engineering $11,000,000
Project management/marketing $30,000,000
Legal/accounting $7,500,000
Taxes/insurance $25,000,000
Construction interest and fees $35,000,000
Other $5,000,000
Total $113,500,000
Total estimated development costs at completion $969,950,000
Total estimated development cost to date $678,335,000