Daily digest: RIBA president Alan Jones quits the board, Alloy’s Downtown Brooklyn tower will break ground soon, and more

A Rare Alloy

Daily digest: RIBA president Alan Jones quits the board, Alloy’s Downtown Brooklyn tower will break ground soon, and more

The view of Alloy Block from Atlantic Terminal (Courtesy Alloy Development)

Greetings and welcome back to the start of another week of work—one that’s already starting with a bang.

Here’s what you need to know today:

Embattled RIBA president Alan Jones steps down for good

After allegations of an extramarital affair and blackmail last summer that saw Royal Institute of Royal Architects (RIBA) president Alan Jones step down (and then return to his position), it appears Jones has had a final falling out with the institute. This morning, Jones reportedly resigned as a RIBA board member and trustee after refusing to renew chief executive Alan Vallance’s five-year contract. Jones had filed a complaint with RIBA over unspecified “serious allegations” regarding Vallance’s behavior last year and claims that the institute hasn’t thoroughly investigated them. Jones will serve out the rest of his term as president and board chair through August 31.

H/t to the Architects’ Journal

Alloy secures funding for Alloy Block, will soon break ground in Brooklyn

Designer-developer Alloy Development has announced that construction will soon kick off on the first phase of the five-building Alloy Block in Downtown Brooklyn, formerly known as 80 Flatbush. After securing $240 million in funding, work is slated to begin on 505 State Street, a 44-story, 480-foot-tall residential tower (which Alloy claims will be the city’s first all-electric tower) with 30,000 square feet of retail space on 100 Flatbush Avenue. Construction will also start on a new public elementary school at 489 State Street and the new home of the Khalil Gibran International Academy high school at 380 Schermerhorn Street—both schools will be built to Passive House standards.

Although no estimated start date has been given for Alloy Block’s second phase, it will entail the construction of the project’s controversial centerpiece, an 840-foot-tall tower that will hold residential, office, and commercial space. Phase one of Alloy Block is expected to open in 2024.

The MTA still hasn’t met with New Jersey officials on congestion pricing plan

Although Governor Andrew Cuomo claims that progress is moving ahead on New York City’s first-in-the-nation congestion pricing plan, it turns out that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is reportedly slacking on meeting with their New Jersey and Connecticut counterparts. As part of the environmental impact assessment required by the Federal Highway Administration, the MTA needs to collect stakeholder statements from New Jersey and Connecticut commuters, but has only held one meeting with Connecticut officials and has nothing scheduled with New Jersey representatives. This comes days after the MTA hit back at Mayor Bill de Blasio for claiming the authority wasn’t moving fast enough on its end to build the program out.

H/t to NY Daily News

Police steamroll $1.6 million in illegal Bitcoin mining hardware

If you’ve been trying (and failing) to buy components for a workstation or gaming PC, then the destruction of 1,069 Bitcoin mining rigs in Malaysia might prove cathartic. Over the weekend, police in Miri, Malaysia seized $1.6 million in Bitcoin ASICs (hardware designed only for mining, not general PC usage) and literally crushed them under a steamroller after charging six owners with stealing electricity. While the ASICs might not have contained anything that could have been resold to the consumer market, the price of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are in part driving the high prices of PC hardware at the moment (other than the global semiconductor shortage).

H/t to Tom’s Hardware

What does Netflix’s ownership mean for the future of the Egyptian Theater?

As more and more historic Los Angeles theaters shutter and change hands, Jordan Cronk examines what Netflix’s ownership of Hollywood’s iconic Egyptian Theatre might mean for the 99-year-old movie palace. Losing money for years now, the theater (famously the site of the first-ever movie screening in Hollywood and a decades-long cultural touchstone) was purchased by streaming giant Netflix in May of 2020. Slated to reopen in 2022, Netflix has promised to restore the Egyptian Revival-style exterior, revamping the lobby, and upgrading the sound and video equipment—but will also remove the Spielberg Theatre screening room, an intimate addition for screening smaller films that was added in the 1998 remodel.

H/t to Hyperallergic

Denver could soon create the country’s first Chicano historic district

Denver was not spared the wave of “urban renewal” planning in the mid-20th century that saw broad swaths of BIPOC neighborhoods razed for highways and other transportation projects, but now the city is on the cusp of enacting protections for the still-endangered La Alma-Lincoln Park neighborhood. The creation of the La Alma Lincoln Park Historic Cultural District has unanimously passed the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission, and the City Council will vote on the measure next month. If passed, the new historic district would strengthen protections for approximately 200 buildings in the neighborhood, as well as the numerous Chicano cultural landmarks there.

H/t to Next City