215 Park Avenue South, 1901
New York, NY 10003
212 962 6307

77 Water Street

New York, NY


Office Lobby, Retail, Public Space


Sage Realty


Civil Engineering: Langan
MEP Design: Cosentini Associates
Structural Design: LERA
Surveying: Fehringer
Landscape: SiteWorks


Public Space: 5,100 SF
Interior: 51,000 SF


On Hold

Lower Manhattan is home to dozens of vast open plazas, often windswept with little to no programming or furniture. These buildings took advantage of a zoning bonus allowed them to build more floor area in exchange for providing a privately-owned public space or “POPS,” however the stipulations in the zoning text did not always require these spaces to be particularly inviting. The City has recently begun offering incentives to upgrade these spaces. On Water Street specifically, building owners are allowed to enclose open arcades at the base of the building for retail uses in exchange for upgrading open space to new standards for POPS which aim to make the spaces much more user friendly. PAU was engaged by Sage Realty to work on one of the first projects to utilize this new legislation.

The arcade infill and conversion to retail space was designed to be respectful of the existing midcentury architecture and utilized a glass storefront offset from the original columns creating a gap differentiating between the new and old. The tenant lobby was shifted up to the mezzanine level to free up additional space at the ground floor. As the project lies within a coastal flood zone, upgrading the building’s flood resiliency standards is an integral part of the project. A flood glass storefront system, designed to FEMA dry floodproofing standards, is being developed to provide a transparent, water resistant barrier around the building’s perimeter at sidewalk level.

The building’s plaza is being redesigned to include a performance and entertainment space that could be programmed in collaboration with community organizations to offer a range of day and nighttime activities throughout the year. Designed for flexibility, the plaza features a fountain flush with the surrounding pavers that can be turned off and converted to a stage for a range of activities. Custom multipurpose light poles throughout the space will serve as a welcoming beacon to the community and serve as an armature that contributes to the adaptability of the space; for example, they could be utilized to accommodate a screen for movies. The team coordinated with DOT to raise the adjacent underutilized street to be flush with the plaza level, to make a more seamless connection between the POPS and the neighboring sidewalk, further increasing the size of the space and making the site more accessible.

Currently the area is quiet at night, places to eat after working hours or to visit on the weekends are few and far between. Sage Realty hopes that through this effort, they can help enliven the neighborhood while improving the building’s climate resiliency.

Scheme A: Max Retail

Scheme B: Grand Lobby