Water Street POPS Upgrading Study

 HR&A studied the economic potential of improved privately owned public spaces in Lower Manhattan.

HR&A teamed with Beyer Blinder Belle Architects (BBB) to develop concepts for the improvement of privately owned public spaces, or POPS, along Lower Manhattan’s Water Street. POPS are spaces that are provided and maintained by a private developer or company for public use in exchange for zoning relief. Due to the large quantity of office building stock and its key location between the East River waterfront and the Financial District’s core, Water Street’s competitiveness and brand as a commercial corridor is crucially important to Lower Manhattan’s future.

Water Street’s commercial corridor is characterized by inconsistent and underused retail that is set back from the street.  HR&A worked with New York City Economic Development Corporation and New York City Department of City Planning to develop strategies that use POPS to incentivize private investment in retail and the public realm throughout the Water Street Corridor. HR&A analyzed the retail and restaurant offerings around Water Street, and devised a high-level, stabilized-year cash flow model for new retail space at several POPS to inform a financially viable plan. HR&A also estimated the additional value generated by the proposed upgrades for commercial property owners.  With an overly wide street and underused public spaces, Water Street also has one of the largest concentrations of POPS in New York City. See the full presentation here.