Plaza Reconstruction Project

26 Federal Plaza, New York, NY

Federal Plaza Rendering
Federal Plaza Reconstruction Rendering
Federal Plaza North View
Federal Plaza Reconstruction Rendering

During the course of this project workers at the site recovered a time capsule from the 1968 original construction of Federal Plaza.  More about this discovery is featured in the News and Notices section of this website.

Description of Project:

This $16.2 million project, made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, addressed water seepage issues in the underground parking area directly beneath the plaza.  The project, which included significant improvements to the current waterproofing and drainage systems, also allowed for a redesign of the plaza.

In August, 2009 GSA awarded a contract to the New York-based architectural firm of Wank Adams Slavin Associates.  Working with the landscape architecture firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the team developed a new plaza design that will serve well the needs of the current civic center area, which has seen a major increase in a residential population over the past 10 years.

The project was completed and the plaza reopened to the public in spring, 2013.  A publication celebrating the new plaza was also issued.  


Special Features

  • Green landforms redefine the relationship of the plaza to Foley Square and the street.  The landforms gently slope over the platform upon which the federal building sits, creating an extension of the building’s base to the street. 
  • A grand stair relates the plaza to Foley Square and reflects the courthouse steps opposite, inviting the public into the plaza and invoking a sense of civic campus.  
  • The northern portion is ringed with mature Magnolia soulangeana trees, creating an enclosed garden-like quality and providing shade in the summer.  The groundcover includes low growing indigenous evergreen shrubs and groundcovers. 
  • Marble rectangular and circular benches, along with marble crescent benches along the planted areas, provide ample seating within the garden areas.
  • A water feature enlivens the main garden space of the plaza.  The fountain emerges from the paving, programmed for changing water patterns throughout the day. 
  • Inspired by the geometry of the federal building’s façade, the paving of the plaza reflects the façade pattern.

Sustainable Features 

In addition to the plaza reconstruction project, GSA received $6 million to conduct energy audits at the federal building and make energy efficient improvements that will lower operational and maintenance costs at the more than 40 year-old complex.  This effort will include the replacement of chillers and installation of advanced lighting controls on select floors. 

Status and Timeline

  • Construction contract award was awarded in June 15, 2010 
  • Construction work began in fall 2010 
  • Plaza project is complete and plaza reopened to the public in 2013. 

Contractor information: 

Architect Wank Adams Slavin Associates, New York, NY
Michael Van Valkenburg Associates,New York, NY (landscape;design)
General Contractor Fox Industries, Ltd., Brooklyn, NY
Construction Manager McDonough Balyard Peck, Columbia, MD  
(with offices in New York, NY)


Downloadable files:

Name Format Size  Date 
Jacob K. Javits Federal Plaza Opening Book pdf 2.29MB 4/15/ 2013
Plaza North View pdf 121k  2/4/2010 
Plaza Reconstruction Rendering pdf  752k 2/4/2010 


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Last Reviewed 2016-02-02