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Urban Development eNews Archive FY2002

 Enews ------ November 2002 ------ Issue 17


"If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people."
- Chinese Proverb

To GSA's Federal and Community Partners:

This regular ENews highlights some of GSA's projects and activities across the country, especially those that suggest how GSA projects and properties can bring multiple returns to communities and our clients. We welcome your feedback and input. Your good ideas will help others. Thanks for your support!

REGIONAL NEWS-------------------- SITES & DESIGNS

New Leased Complex is Key to Downtown Ogden

On October 24, GSA's Rocky Mountain Region dedicated the new Twin Rivers Complex in Ogden, Utah, for the Internal Revenue Service. IRS Deputy Commissioner Bob Wenzel and Mayor Matthew Godfrey joined in the open house. This leased complex will bring 1,200 employees to the central business district and is at the forefront of downtown revitalization. As reported in a previous Enews, GSA's project manager received the 'key to the city' for working to make the project right for IRS and right for the community. As a result of close collaboration between GSA, the developer, and local stakeholders (in fact, the source selection team included a City representative), the complex incorporates urban design features that create a better environment for IRS -- and a more effective catalyst for nearby development. Partly as a result of this positive momentum, a second IRS facility is planned for completion next year on an adjacent site; it will bring an additional 1,000 workers to the neighborhood. As Larry Trujillo, GSA's Regional Administrator put it, "We are to spend taxpayers' dollars wisely. But value can be measured in many different ways, including being a good member of the community." Contact: Tammy Eatough, 303-236-1770 x234.

GSA Dedicates New Courthouse in Youngstown

On October 22, GSA Administrator Stephen Perry and U.S. Senator George Voinovic were on hand to dedicate the new U.S. Courthouse in downtown Youngstown, Ohio. The three-story structure, designed by Robert A.M. Stern, was completed a month ahead of schedule and is a noteworthy addition to downtown http://www.ramsa.com/courthouses.htm. GSA's Great Lakes Region and its design team collaborated with local stakeholders at two community workshops to help shape the project - before, during, and after construction. During design, the architect created usable public spaces by terracing difficult outside areas and strategically designing interiors for shared use. During construction, GSA's contractor, the Dick Corporation donated materials to the Youngstown School District to bring student-made murals to the site-including one that is being displayed in the completed building. GSA also developed an agreement with the adjacent YMCA whereby the organization's visitors may use a portion of the site for parking, in exchange for their maintenance and management of that area. These features make the building an even more valuable addition to downtown, and a great case to learn from. Contact: Pam Wilczynski, (312) 353-2496.

San Diego Architect Selection, With Community Perspective

On August 13th, GSA's Pacific Rim Region met with more than two-dozen hopeful design firms, each interested in designing the new U.S. courthouse in downtown San Diego. Since the project has raised some local concerns about the demolition of a historic building, GSA's project team sought an innovative way to address remaining concerns about urban design and context while maintaining the necessary control over design decisions. Working with the city's Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC), GSA included the CCDC's vision for the area in the building's 'design program', which outlines the project's goals for prospective designers. In this first stage of the Design Excellence architect selection process, designers submitted portfolios and were short-listed based, in part, on their response to the design program and other criteria. In the second stage of the process, a selected short list of six architects visited the site on October 8th, met with the Mayor of San Diego's appointed 'Community Committee' for the project, and toured the site together. The designers reported that the community's input was extremely helpful in understanding the site's context and in shaping their approach. As of this writing, the architects are preparing design narratives that describe their vision for the project and preparing for interviews with GSA's A/E Evaluation Board. GSA's evaluation board will make a decision and announce the selected designer later this year. Contact: Mario Ramirez, (415) 522-3158.

A Model Site Acquisition in Rockford

GSA's Great Lakes Region and the City of Rockford, Illinois, are collaborating to select a site for a new federal courthouse downtown. In what may become a model for future projects, the City of Rockford has given its approval to enter into an agreement under which the City will act on behalf of GSA to assemble a brownfield site that will also support local economic development goals. Through the Brownfields Revitalization and Environmental Restoration Act of 2001, the City will be able to access funds for any remediation activities that might be necessary in connection with the project. The site is expected to be approved by GSA's Regional Administrator and announced later this year. Contact Ed Kanne, (312) 353-3299.

GSA Brings Neighborhood Together in Downtown Atlanta

Early this summer, GSA's Southeast Sunbelt Regions convened an urban design workshop that brought more than 70 people together to discuss the public spaces at two GSA buildings and the surrounding neighborhood. GSA is beginning the design process for major renovation projects at the Martin Luther King Federal Building and the Richard B. Russell Courthouse, representing investment of more than $50 million. The buildings are adjacent to a planned multi-modal transit center and several public works projects, in a neighborhood on the edge of the business district that raises some concerns about cleanliness, comfort, and perceived safety. At the workshop, stakeholders discussed the neighborhood; the design of public spaces at both buildings; and how the GSA projects and other planned developments can support one another. Participants evaluated existing conditions and brainstormed short and long-term changes. Among the groups in attendance were representatives from GSA, the U.S. Courts, Georgia DOT, Central Atlanta Progress, the City of Atlanta, the Fulton County Arts Council, and the nearby Atlanta Downtown Neighborhood Association. Follow-up data gathering included interviews with the above groups as well as the nearby CNN Center, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and the U.S. Marshals. Together, the team is developing the body of knowledge and relationships needed to assist GSA's design teams and set the stage for further collaboration with local partners. Contact: Michelle Price, (404) 331-4248, or Robert McCabe (404) 331-1653

REGIONAL NEWS------------------COLLABORATION WITH CLIENTS & COMMUNITIES

Partners Help to Beautify the Loop

In mid-June, GSA's Great Lakes Region, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Greencorps Chicago teamed up to create a beautiful new community garden on GSA property in the South Loop. Greencorps, a city program that trains people to be landscapers, furnished the tools, energetic volunteers, and a great deal of spirit. Julia Plumb, of the Openlands Project (http://www.openlands.org/), designed the garden to encourage the use of native plants among area residents. These sustainable plantings provide food and shelter for wildlife, reduce soil erosion and stormwater runoff, and decrease air pollution because they don't require the use of fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, or gas-powered lawn equipment. At the hands of the volunteers, deteriorated trees, shrubs, and vines gave way to Nodding Pink Onion, Blazing Star, Spiderwort, Columbine, Shootingstar, Little Blue Stem, and other native plants. GSA and EPA funded the project from their recycling programs, which sell wastepaper and aluminum cans generated by tenants and visitors to nearby federal buildings. GSA will maintain the 1,800 square-foot garden through its existing landscaping contracts. Contact: Marianne Kaiser, (312) 353-3632.

International Facility Management Association (IFMA) Honors GSA in Boston

In June, GSA's New England Region was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Award of Excellence competition by the Boston Chapter of IFMA. Thomas Mailander, Director of GSA's Property Management Division, accepted the award on behalf of GSA. This award, for "Partnering with the Community", recognized GSA for several security design charrettes that brought together facilities management, urban planners, landscape architects, and building architects to enhance security in ways that are sensitive to a building's architecture and urban context. Contact: Maryanne Beatty, (202) 501-0768.

GSA and Atlanta Downtown Improvement District (ADID) Renew Formal Agreement

GSA's Southeast Sunbelt Region and ADID have renewed their services agreement for an additional year, beginning July 1, 2002. The agreement provides ADID's Ambassador Force safety guide services to all federal employees in Downtown Atlanta. The service is tailored to the needs of GSA clients. Beyond the contract, the agreement is encouraging teamwork on neighborhood issues and helping downtown leaders to view federal agencies as an important constituency. Contact: Teressia Blair, (404) 331-7775.

Historic Building Will Continue to Serve Joplin Community

In late May, GSA's Heartland Regional Administrator Brad Scott and Congressman Roy Blunt were on hand in downtown Joplin, Missouri, to turn over the keys to the Durward G. Hall Federal Building to a local homeless services provider. John Joines, Chief Executive Officer of the Economic Security Corporation of Southwest Area (ESC) gladly accepted. The no-cost transfer was made possible after GSA determined that the building was no longer needed by the federal government and began discussions with community representatives and the Congressman's office. ESC's mission (http://www.economicsecuritycorp.org/) is to help eliminate the causes and conditions of poverty, provide coordination and creation of resources, partner with other organizations, and promote self-sufficiency for low-income people. The building will soon begin its new life assisting them in this mission. As GSA's Regional Administrator Brad Scott put it, "The Hall Building will carry-on its history of public service to the people of Southwest Missouri." Contact: Jim Ogden, (816) 926-5211.

REGIONAL NEWS-----------------------ACTIVE PUBLIC BUILDINGS

Chicago Volunteers Make Oktoberfest Wunderbar an der Federal Plaza

Thousands of Chicagoans recently gathered on the plaza at Chicago's Kluzinsky Federal Building for the annual Oktoberfest celebration. During the four-day event, 23 associates from GSA's Great Lakes Region helped to raise more than $40,000 for area children. The raffle of the 2002 Mini Cooper certainly helped. And the plaza did its duty as well. The Oktoberfest has been sponsored for more than a decade by a nearby restaurant, as a fundraiser for Horizons for Youth, a non-profit organization that provides mentoring, scholarship and enrichment opportunities for Chicago youth. This wonderful event suggests a festive way for GSA associates - and facilities - to volunteer their resources. Contact: Diana George, (312) 886-9509.

Iron Chef...Federal?!

Well, thankfully, no. But in early July, the Food Network's Iron Chef (Chinese) Chen Kenichi locked spatulas with local chefs on the plaza at GSA's Ronald Reagan Building in Washington DC. Challenging the formidable Chen were Daniel Pochron and Martial Noguier of Jordan's, a popular restaurant on the building's first floor. The battle kicked off Live! On Woodrow Wilson Plaza, a summer series of free performances, made possible through partnerships with top arts organizations. Just completing its second year, the series went on to feature more than 60 events, from world music and magic, to fashion and comedy. Highlights included DC's Hip Hop Theatre Festival, featuring poets from HBO's Def Poetry show, and Grammy Award Nominee and local guitar wizard Bill Kirchen, made possible by the Washington Area Music Association (WAMA). GSA's National Capital Region manages this most active of public buildings, with daytime and nighttime events throughout the year. For more information, visit www.itcdc.com or call (202) 312-1300. (For fans of the Iron Chef: Chef Chen's theme ingredient was pork, while Pochron and Noguier worked with blue crab. Although our challengers were edged out by a point, our hats are off to them for helping to challenge notions about the public activities that can happen in GSA public spaces.)

Lovebugs, Others, to Move to New Orleans Custom House

As recently reported in the Times-Picayune, the U.S. Custom House in New Orleans will be getting thousands of interesting new tenants late next year. Through a lease agreement reached with GSA's Greater Southwest Region, a portion of the building's first floor will become home to the Audubon Nature Institute's Insectarium, the latest addition to the Institute's family of museums and other New Orleans attractions that include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, and the Audubon Louisiana Nature Center. Federal agencies will continue to occupy the rest of the National Historic Landmark. The $16 million Insectarium will teach visitors about exotic insects, such as sunburst diving beetles, white-spotted assassin bugs, and robust camel crickets, as well as those that may be all too familiar (mosquitoes, cockroaches, and termites). And Lovebugs too. Exhibits will include "Butterflies in Flight", with more than 25 species, an interactive theatre, and...a cooking show. Upon opening in the fall of 2003, it will be the country's largest freestanding museum dedicated to insects and their relatives. Audubon estimates annual visitation at 428,000 persons with an economic impact of $54 million. This magnificent historic building will get more exposure to the public and, under provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act, revenue from this 'outlease' will be devoted to further GSA preservation activities. Contact: Catalina Farrer, (504) 589-6094 x106. (Admittedly, the Insectarium is an unusual client for a federal building. So, where did such an idea come from? See below.)

Alexander Hamilton Custom House Hosts Time "Person of the Year at 75"

This past summer, the historic Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at Bowling Green in New York City hosted the launch of TIME magazine's 75-year retrospective, "TIME Person of the Year at 75." The exhibit included a chronology of TIME Person of the Year covers, along with commentary from the original issues of TIME and contemporary perspectives; historic photographs, original artifacts, and artwork that capture the spirit of the period; and a video illustrating the selection process. The exhibit was in the famous rotunda of the 1907 building, designed by the renowned Cass Gilbert and considered by many to be the country's finest example of Beaux-Arts architecture. The exhibit will travel to different cities across the country over the next few years (http://www.time.com/time/poy75/). Contact: Renee Miscione, (212) 264-0424. (Note: Since 1994, the Custom House has been home to the George Gustav Heye Center of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. It was on a visit to this New York facility that officials with the New Orleans Audubon Institute got the idea (above) to approach GSA about the Custom House in their city.)

New England Associates Support Historic Neighborhood Program in Boston

In June, GSA New England Region associates Frank Saviano, Ivan Lopez, and Dan Corria welcomed students from the Madison Park High School of Roxbury, Massachusetts, to the downtown Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Federal Building. As participants in Boston's Historic Neighborhoods Program, students learn the history of urban neighborhoods. The program also focused on professional opportunities available within the federal government in the fields of design, construction management, and computer-aided design. Students saw a presentation on the new Springfield (Massachusetts) U.S. Courthouse and the government's role in working with the community throughout the project. Contact: Frank Saviano, (617) 565-5494.

More Good News from Syracuse

In a previous Enews, we reported on the long-running success of the summertime 'Parties in the Plaza', at the James M. Hanley Federal Building in Syracuse NY. Just completing its twenty-first year, the event brings several thousand attendees to weekly evening concerts in the summertime - it has become a community institution and the main source of funding for the UpDowntowners, the 501(c)3 that runs it (http://www.partyintheplaza.com/). The group, which promotes downtown business, social and cultural activities, holds annual grant lotteries to distribute the proceeds it raises from these popular weekly events. Over the years, the group has given out more than $1 million in grants to local charities. In the latest round of grants, this past May, the group gave out 16 grants to local organizations totaling nearly $50,000. Among the recipients this year were the Iroquois Chapter of the Sierra Club who is using the funds to install 20 bike racks around downtown; the YMCA, who will use the money to renovate two residence rooms; the National Kidney Foundation of Central New York who is kidney failure screenings for downtown workers; and even a charitable organization within the Hanley Building itself. To keep the music going year round, the building's Teddy Bear Child Care Center got a grant to purchase a new piano. Even after twenty years, this event continues to grow as an example of the multiple returns that partnerships can bring to the areas on, around, and within GSA properties. Contact: Renee Miscione, (212) 264-0424.

NATIONAL NEWS

GSA and IDA Come Together in Boston

In early October, GSA's Urban Development officers attended the International Downtown Association's (http://www.ida-downtown.org/) annual conference in Boston MA. With more than 700 attendees representing hundreds of communities, the meeting was a unique opportunity for GSA's Urban Development officers to learn the names, faces, and issues facing local partners in GSA communities. GSA also met with the IDA leadership who are excited to work more closely with GSA to address the needs of client agencies and their constituents throughout the country. Contact: Frank Giblin, (202) 501-1856.

Rocky Mountain Region Building a Network

On October 22nd, GSA's Rocky Mountain Region held Urban Development training in Lakewood CO for more than 60 regional associates, representing realty specialists, project managers, and portfolio managers. Janet Preisser, Tammy Eatough, and Beth Merill lead two sessions that covered the benefits of community collaboration, various GSA projects that have succeeded in getting multiple returns for clients and communities, and the resources available to succeed. Marilee Utter, President of Citiventure Associates provided the private sector perspective, discussing government's role in the market and the increasing value that the private sector is placing on the quality of a property's surroundings. John Anderson, principle of AndersonMasonDale, former head of the AIA, and designer of the recently completed U.S. Courthouse in Denver discussed the role of architects in helping to shape communities. Frank Giblin, from GSA's Office of the Chief Architect, provided a national overview of GSA's national Urban Development program, highlighted projects from around the country, and noted the importance of regional and national networks to share good ideas. Contact: Janet Preisser, (303) 236-7131 x248.

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Want to find out more?

We file each ENews on our website at http://www.gsa.gov/goodneighbor. While you're there, you can check out other publications and the policies, partners, and local GSA contacts that can help GSA to be a good neighbor in your community.

[Please email questions, comments, & contributions -- as well as mailing list additions and deletions -- to Frank Giblin at frank.giblin@gsa.gov.]

"When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong."


- Richard (Bucky) Buckminster Fuller

 

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Enews ------ April 2002 ------ Issue 16

"The fountain is my speech. The tulips are my speech. The grass and trees are my speech."
-George T. Delacorte
City Hall Plaza dedication,
New York City

 

To Our Federal and Community Partners:

This regular ENews highlights some of GSA's projects and activities across the country, especially those that suggest how GSA projects and properties can bring multiple returns to a community. As you can see from this issue, all we need are the right partners and, perhaps, this new season. Happy Spring!! And thanks for your support.

REGIONAL NEWS..........................SITES & DESIGNS

GSA Adjusts its Site in Las Cruces

GSA's Greater Southwest Region had planned to build its new courthouse in Las Cruces, New Mexico, as an annex behind the existing federal building. This supported the City's plans to build its new city hall adjacent to the federal building. But when the city changed those plans, GSA adjusted its sites. Quick collaboration with the U.S. Courts and city officials and a GSA-sponsored parking study, have allowed GSA project manager Chip Pierpont to adjust the proposed site and award a design contract with no delay to the schedule. City officials presented their vision for downtown to a short-list of architects who then competed for the design work. As a result, the City of Las Cruces will get a landmark $40 million courthouse designed by renowned architect Antoine Predock--and they will get it in a location that better supports their redevelopment efforts. In a recent letter to GSA, Heather Pollard, Executive Director for Downtown Las Cruces, said that her organization is "thrilled" about Mr. Predock's design approach and GSA's "inclusive" design process for giving the community a "true voice" in the development. For more information, contact Harold Hebert on (817) 978-4660.

GSA Breaks Ground, Breaks Through in Erie

On April 22, GSA's Mid-Atlantic Region hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the new, unified Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse Complex in Erie, Pennsylvania. The event represents a key milestone for a creative project team that saw a tremendous opportunity and worked long and hard to see it though, a process that has taken more than ten years. The unified complex will renovate a historic federal courthouse, restore and reuse the once-abandoned Erie County Library, incorporate a portion of a historic former department store, and unite them with a new annex and connector. The project will provide the U.S. courts with an exceptional facility and preserve these cherished community resources. For more information, contact Gina Waring on (215) 656-5666.

Heartland Region Promotes KC Partnership

On April 22 Heartland Regional Administrator Brad Scott joined U.S. Senator Christopher Bond, U.S. Representative Karen McCarthy, Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes, and local civic and business leaders to share their vision for the revitalization of downtown Kansas City and the role that the historic U.S. Courthouse at 811 Grand will play in the process. The group seeks to transform the vacant federal building and its attached property into a vibrant, integral component of a flourishing downtown. Over 200 people attended the event, including federal judges, the U.S. Attorney, the U.S. Marshal, developers, and other former tenants of the building. For more information, contact Bond Faulwell on (816) 926-7217.

A Key Catalyst in Ogden

There's more good news from Ogden, Utah. In a previous issue of our ENews, we told you about how GSA's Rocky Mountain Region, the IRS, and the City of Ogden have worked together to bring an IRS facility into downtown Ogden. Those collaborations and a community workshop last summer yielded key improvements to the IRS site and a key to the city for GSA's project manager, Tammy Eatough. Now, that facility, which includes a historic renovation and a new building, is under construction. This past November, GSA held a second urban development workshop with IRS staff and community representatives to develop strategy for a second downtown IRS facility. The workshop helped GSA to develop solicitation language for prospective developers. One important element is the incorporation of a freestanding restaurant facility that will meet IRS security needs while allowing public use. For more information, contact Tammy Eatough on (303) 236-1770, ext. 234.

REGIONAL NEWS COLLABORATION WITH CLIENTS & COMMUNITIES

GSA and Savannah Collaborate for Customer Parking...

GSA's Southeast Sunbelt Region's Community Partnering Program has gotten the City of Savannah and federal employees together on employee parking issues in the downtown historic district. When two nearby parking lots closed last year, daily and monthly parking near the Federal Building became less available and more expensive. GSA Community Partners George McGrady and Martha Pollock brought together city officials and federal agencies to discuss ways to provide affordable employee parking. In the short term, the City offered monthly parking at city garages within walking distance to the federal complex. For the long term, the City will provide interested federal employees with reduced rate monthly parking in a new city garage. For more information, please contact Martha Pollock on (954) 356-7685 x219.

...Which Supports Security Solution for Historic Courthouse

After making significant progress in addressing parking cost and convenience issues (see above), GSA's Southeast Sunbelt Region and it's community partners were better equipped to tackle a far more pressing issue. The September 11th events lent some urgency to ongoing efforts to improve setback security at the historic U.S. Courthouse. GSA and the City of Savannah have removed parking meters in front of the Federal Building and the Courthouse. The City is working to transfer the right of way to GSA who will design the project, do the work, and maintain the area. Work will widen the sidewalks into the former parking lane and add security bollards, granite curbing, Bluestone pavers, and landscaping. Rather than creating a blank and unusable area of concrete, this approach will complement the Savannah Historic District, a National Historic Landmark. For more information, please contact Martha Pollock on (954) 356-7685 x219.

GSA and City of Miami Make Better First Impressions

GSA's very busy Southeast Sunbelt Region and the Miami Downtown Development Authority are working together to coordinate GSA's First Impressions project at the Claude Pepper Federal Building with a city-sponsored redevelopment in the downtown retail district. Together, the two efforts will create a better first impression of the federal government as well as downtown. Exterior stone pavers used in the Pepper Federal Building project will complement the City's new sidewalk schemes along Flagler Avenue. Exterior security enhancements, too, will blend with the City's planned improvements to an adjacent transportation mall. Meanwhile, the City has installed its historic streetlight standards around the Federal building to ensure continuity between the two projects. Throughout the projects, GSA's Miami Customer Service Center is doing a great job in keeping our customers informed about the schedule and how improvements will benefit them. For more information, contact Martha Pollock on (954) 356-7685 x219.

REGIONAL NEWS....... ACTIVE PUBLIC BUILDINGS

Department of Education JAMs with Smithsonian

As a partner to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, the Department of Education recently hosted an afternoon concert on the plaza of its headquarters building in Washington DC. Part of the Smithsonian's observation of Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), the April 15th concert featured a crack quintet of musicians from the touring Masterworks Orchestra. More than 100 people enjoyed the session, including employees from the Department of Education and the Smithsonian, and families visiting the nearby National Air & Space Museum. Although not your local speakeasy, the plaza was an excellent venue to showcase educational programs and bring this most American of art forms to a wider audience. For more information, contact Liz Gibson on (202) 401-2582 and see http://www.smithsonianjazz.org.

Syracuse's Party with a Purpose

Although it's become an institution in downtown Syracuse NY, events this past fall raised questions about whether the Hanley Federal Building would continue to play host to the Party in the Plaza-- an 18-year old summertime concert series. We are happy to report that it will. The event's organizers, the Syracuse UpDowntowners, worked with GSA property management, security officials, and the U.S. courts to take precautions that will enable this wonderful event to continue. This is very good news because last year the Wednesday night audiences averaged nearly 5,000 persons and since it's inception the Party has raised more then $1 million for local charities. For more information, contact Frank Santella on (315) 448-0923 and see http://www.partyintheplaza.com/.

Chicago's Marvelous Market

In the wake of September 11th, GSA's Great Lakes Region faced similar concerns about the weekly farmer's market at its Chicago Federal Center. The market, which was closed for the season after the attacks, was originally brought to the Federal Center several years ago on a temporary basis, during construction at the city-owned Daly Plaza. But the market thrived on the Plaza. Flanked by Mies van der Rohe's landmark buildings and Alexander Caldwell's iconic 'Flamingo' sculpture, it was soon added as a popular second venue. It has become a Tuesday tradition for thousands of workers and visitors to the Federal Center, and an important fixture for the City of Chicago, who manages the program. GSA worked with its client agencies at the federal center, security experts, and the market's managers to devise security procedures that reduce risk, while keeping the market. A sure sign of spring, the Federal Center Farmer's Market will run from May 14th through October 15th. For more information, contact Crofton Whitfield on (312) 353-4846.

Islip Federal Courthouse Hosts Lunchtime Concert Series

On March 21, sixteen students from the nearby Walt Whitman High School's Chamber String Ensemble entertained a lunch hour crowd of more than 100 persons at the Islip Federal Courthouse on Long Island. The concert, the first in an Atrium Art Series, was sponsored by the Federal Courthouse Cultural Arts Council, an organization of public and private individuals. The monumental atrium in this Richard Meier-designed building provides students with a dramatic venue to showcase their talents before an audience of court professionals and visitors. Additional concerts are scheduled through the spring. For more information, contact Renee Miscione on (212) 264-0424.

GSA Opens Doors to Historic Courthouse in Milwaukee

GSA's 102-year old U.S. Courthouse is the site of public events again. This past fall GSA's Great Lakes Region opened the doors to Junior Achievement for their gala dinner and auction and to a choir from a public middle school. For this spring, GSA has booked fundraising events hosted by the Liver Foundation, Lung Association, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra for the building's atrium. For more information, contact Jeff Claassen on (414) 297-1839.

Art, Patriotism, and a Federal Space Work Well Together in Tacoma

As part of GSA's Good Neighbor program, GSA's Urban Development Advocate Committee in the Northwest/Arctic Region sponsored a youth art exhibit at Union Station in Tacoma, Washington. The Committee selected approximately 66 pieces of art from the submissions of public and private school students in the Tacoma School District. The art depicted the themes of patriotism, freedom, and the American spirit and represents works from a variety of students from grade school through high school and was included in the community's weekly arts walk. Regional Administrator Jon Kvistad spoke in front of 70 people at the closing ceremony on December 20th, and feedback on the event has been positive, ranging from good coverage in the Tacoma News Tribune to a pledge from one GSA Property Manager to replicate this project elsewhere in Washington State. For more information, contact Stan Catchpole on (253) 931-7865.

NATIONAL NEWS

GSA Wins 'Civic Leadership' Award

On April 8th in Fort Worth TX, the National Trust's Main Street Center presented GSA with a 2002 National Main Street Award for Civic Leadership, one of three leadership awards given this year. Frank Giblin accepted the award on behalf of Commissioner Moravec and the thousands of PBS associates nationwide who work with local communities to get multiple returns for GSA projects. For more information, contact Frank Giblin on (202) 501-1856 and see Main Street's press release at http://www.nationaltrust.org/news/docs/20020408_leaders.html

Commissioner Moravec Addresses IDA Audience

On April 29th in New Orleans, PBS Commissioner F. Joseph Moravec delivered a keynote address to the International Downtown Association's 2002 Spring Conference. The Commissioner discussed GSA's business of providing superior work environments to our federal agency clients. He discussed GSA's Good Neighbor program and described how it is GSA's business to be a "force for community stability and economic vitality." As the member organization for more than 600 downtown organizations, the IDA is a key GSA partner. For more information, please contact Frank Giblin on (202) 501-1856 and see the IDA's website at http://www.ida-downtown.org/.

ASLA Profiles GSA Partner - Project for Public Spaces

In consecutive issues of its LAND Online magazine, the American Society of Landscape Architects this fall carried articles on the Project for Public Spaces. PPS is a frequent partner of GSA on placemaking projects across the country. The articles serve as a good introduction to PPS's unique take on placemaking, public involvement, and urban planning. Part one: http://www.asla.org/members/land/pps.html Part two: http://www.asla.org/members/land/pps2.html

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Want to find out more?

We file each ENews on our website at http://www.gsa.gov/goodneighbor. While you're there, you can check out other publications and the policies, partners, and local GSA contacts that can help GSA to be a good neighbor in your community.

[Please email questions, comments, & contributions -- as well as mailing list additions and deletions -- to Frank Giblin at frank.giblin@gsa.gov.]

 

"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example."
-Mark Twain

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November 2001 ------ Issue 15

To Our Federal and Community Partners:

This regular ENews highlights some of GSA's projects and activities from across the country, especially those designed to bring greater activity to our federal buildings and to downtowns. We invite you to share in our efforts and we encourage your feedback and input. Thanks for your support.

If you would like to receive ENews, via Email. Please contact Edward Giefer at edward.giefer@gsa.gov and request to be added to the mailing list.


"Typically, the presence of people draws more people to public spaces, making everyone feel safer. And so it is here. Anyone crossing the plaza is likely to feel comforted by the way its seasonal rituals, like the Halloween festival, are going on despite the threat of terrorist violence."
-Blair Kamin
Chicago Tribune architecture critic, on the Richard J. Daley Center Plaza in Chicago

REGIONAL NEWS

New U.S. Courthouse in Orlando to be "Cornerstone of Redevelopment Area"

Plans are now on track for a dramatic new U.S. Courthouse in Orlando. GSA's Chief Architect Ed Feiner says the new building will be "the cornerstone of a redevelopment area. GSA is not just one of the participants there, but we'll be able to set the tone and the pace for revitalization." Plans call for a building, designed by architect Andrea Leers, of more than 300,000 square feet containing 15 courtrooms. The site, to be dubbed "Courthouse Square," will also include a generous landscaped area with security measures integrated into the landscaping. Construction on the project is expected to begin in fiscal year 2003. For more information, please contact Frank Giblin on (202) 501-1856.

A New Venue for "Children's Voices"

GSA's Northwest Arctic Region is putting one of the agency's most striking public spaces into public service this month in Tacoma, Washington. On the evening of November 15th, GSA will unveil "Children's Voices: Through the Eyes of American Youth Today", in the 90-foot high rotunda of the historic Tacoma Union Station. The opening reception coincides with the local art community's monthly Tacoma Art Walk. The show will present elementary through high school students' art works that respond to the events of September 11, with themes of compassion, patriotism, and freedom. The students' works won't be the only noteworthy pieces in the rotunda, which is a permanent home to three pieces by internationally renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly, including his 23-foot high "Cobalt Blue Chandelier." GSA's regional Urban Development Advocates group brainstormed the show after considering the wonderful public space "venues" that GSA manages in the Northwest Arctic Region that could be programmed with the help of local partners. The Tacoma School District and several private schools are involved in submitting student works. For more information, contact Stan Catchpole on (253) 931-7865 or John Merritt on (253) 931-7091.

GSA Turns Back Yard into Front Yard

As you might have read in a previous ENews, GSA's Northeast & Caribbean Region held a groundbreaking ceremony on April 18 for an urban park adjacent to the Alexander Pirnie Federal Building in Utica, New York. Over the summer, they finished the job. Through a partnership with the City of Utica, GSA has made improvements to a city-owned park. Although the park is at the building's main entrance, it had lacked amenities and was seldom used by workers at the building. New improvements have added a fountain, a cobblestone plaza and walking path, new seating and trees, and increased exterior lighting--a security enhancement for the federal facility. Under the agreement, the City has done seasonal plantings and will continue to care for the grounds. Clients at the building are reported to be very happy with their new front yard. For more information, contact Frank Santella on (315) 448-0923.

GSA's Pacific Rim Region Sets the Stage in San Diego

On August 28, GSA's San Diego property management team convened a workshop at the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Building in downtown San Diego to get ideas for improving the building's public spaces. Participants included federal agencies, community partners, city officials, and GSA's design team. The group discussed both quick and long-term actions that would enliven the public spaces, weave them into the neighborhood, and better serve federal agencies, several thousand daily visitors, and the community. The team found great opportunities at the large, centrally-located site. They are now moving forward by making quick improvements, shaping long-term suggestions into renovation plans, and enlisting the involvement of additional local partners. These efforts will help to improve current conditions and set the stage for a planned new federal courthouse nearby. For more information, contact Peter Watson on (619) 557-5337.

National Park Service and GSA "Pioneer" on the Omaha Waterfront

On October 10th, GSA's Heartland Region, the Omaha (Nebraska) Community Foundation, and the City of Omaha convened a public workshop to help shape the development of a new National Park Service building on the waterfront. As one of the first developments in an area that is planned for more than $1 billion of investment, the Park Service office can help set the pace and tone for the riverfront's return. The workshop brought together more than 100 people--including National Park Service officials and program experts, city officials, residents, and community arts advocates--to brainstorm on how the new developments can work together. Community stakeholders have new ideas about coordinating and enhancing development plans, while GSA and the Park Service are now better equipped to shape a lease solicitation package that meets Park Service needs and supports the larger development. Moreover, the site's location on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail provides an exciting opportunity to support Park Service interpretive programs there. The completion of the new building is scheduled for Spring 2004 to coincide with the bicentennial celebration of the pioneering Lewis and Clark expedition. For more information, contact Michael Brincks at (816) 926-7311.

Great Lakes Region Keeps Promise in Michigan

Acting on a promise not to abandon downtown, GSA's Great Lakes Region broke ground August 28 for a new federal building in Saginaw, Michigan. Among the federal and local officials taking part in the ceremony were U.S. Representative James Barcia, Mayor Pro Tem Wilmer Ham, and Great Lakes Deputy Regional Administrator Kenneth Kalscheur. The one-story brick building will be a district office for the Social Security Administration and completion is scheduled for next summer. For more information, contact Laura Beebe on (312) 886-3310.

Jordan to Open Restaurant in Ronald Reagan Building in DC

A week after announcing his return to basketball, Michael Jordan signed another deal, this one to open a white-tablecloth restaurant in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in downtown Washington, DC. Jordan signed a lease with GSA for 11,000 square feet at the building on Pennsylvania Avenue. The restaurant is expected to open by the end of 2001. "They wanted to be downtown," said John Asadoorian, whose DC retail brokerage has worked with Jordan. (From "Jordan To Open Downtown Restaurant," The Washington Post, October 2, 2001, Page E2.)

Islip Courthouse and Federal Building "In the Pink" for Breast Cancer Awareness

On October 1 the GSA's Northeast & Caribbean Region's U.S. Courthouse and Federal Building in Islip, New York, joined famous structures around the world in the Estee Lauder Companies' "Global Landmarks Illumination Initiative." To focus public attention on breast cancer awareness and research during October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month), a number of internationally recognized structures, including the Empire State Building, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Vienna Rathous, and the Paris Obelisque, are illuminated in pink, the color signifying breast cancer awareness. GSA, in cooperation with the Federal judges at Islip, decided to proceed with the planned illumination of the building because of its life-affirming nature, despite the recent terrorist attacks in New York City. GSA Building Manager Royce Bryan coordinated the effort, working with corporate and local government representatives. Thanks to the support of the local fire department and two private companies, there was no real cost to the government for the illumination. GSA received kudos from U.S. Representative Steven Israel for these efforts. For more information, contact Renee Miscione on (212) 264-0424.

California Governor Signs Smart Growth Order for State Buildings and Leases

Downtown areas will be preferred sites for state office buildings across California under an executive "smart growth" order signed October 10th by California Gov. Gray Davis. The governor said that consolidating far-flung leases into downtown office locations cuts costs, makes it easier for people to get to and from state offices, and reduces traffic congestion and air pollution. In 1999, the GSA's Center for Urban Development provided information to the State of California on a similar federal executive order on which the new state directive is based: federal Executive Order 12072 directs agencies with urban location needs to give first consideration to locating in central business areas of central cities across the U.S. The State of California owns 40 buildings containing about 12 million square feet of space and also has 2,100 leases totaling another 16 million square feet. Davis's order also aims to ensure that state architecture and siting decisions are environment-friendly, convenient to transit and affordable housing, and promote a mix of uses in the same building. (Portions of this are quoted directly from an AP article by Jim Wasserman.)

NATIONAL NEWS

Moravec Meets with International Downtown Association

GSA's Commissioner of Public Buildings, Joseph Moravec, met with Dave Feehan, new President of the International Downtown Association on October 16, 2001. Moravec and Feehan discussed ways for GSA and IDA to work more closely together at the national and local levels. IDA's 4000+ members include many downtown business improvement districts (BIDs), and Moravec talked about his commitment to supporting downtowns and contracting with BIDs whenever appropriate. Feehan reassured Moravec that the private property owners he has spoken to lately have no plans to abandon downtowns in light of recent events. Feehan also said he would like Moravec and others at GSA to get more involved in future IDA conferences and workshops. Also attending from IDA were Richard Bradley, Executive Director of the DowntownDC Business Improvement District, and Richard Reinhard, President of Central Atlanta Progress. For more information, contact Edward Giefer on (202) 219-2355.

GSA BID Agreements Update Now on Web

For those interested in information on the nearly 40 agreements that GSA has with business improvement districts and cities across the country, an update is now available on the web. GSA continues to work closely with downtown management organizations of all kinds, as we continue to strive to be a good neighbor in communities.

GSA Group Working on Updates to Location Policy Guidance

A group in GSA is currently working to clarify sometimes conflicting laws, executive orders, and other guidance on the location of federal facilities. This location policy working group is aiming to provide guidance to GSA associates and federal agencies to make it easier to locate federal operations while properly following existing federal location policy. The group will ensure that current regulations - some of which direct agencies to give consideration to locating in rural locations, or central business areas, historic buildings and districts, or suitable space in Postal Service buildings - are properly reflected in the governmentwide Federal Management Regulations and other guidance from GSA. For more information, contact Edward Giefer on (202) 219-2355.


"When one door closes another opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us."
-- Alexander Graham Bell

 

[Please email questions, comments and contributions to Edward Giefer at edward.giefer@gsa.gov or call (202) 219-2355.]
 

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pbs,buildings,design,construction,Urban Development ENews Archive FY2002