Daily digest: Dan Doctoroff steps down from Sidewalk Labs, 175 Park Avenue is approved, and more

Stuck In The Middle

Daily digest: Dan Doctoroff steps down from Sidewalk Labs, 175 Park Avenue is approved, and more

Entrance to 175 Park Avenue’s public terraces on 42nd Street directly east of Grand Central Terminal. (Rendering by Ekoomedia, Inc./Courtesy SOM)

Good morning and welcome back to the last news roundup of the week, and one of the dwindling few before 2022 begins.

Here’s what you need to know today:

Dan Doctoroff steps down from Sidewalk Labs after possible ALS diagnosis

Dan Doctoroff, CEO and founder of the Alphabet-owned Sidewalk Labs (back when it was still a department within Google before spinning off), has announced that he’s stepping down after a likely ALS diagnosis. In a Medium post, the former Deputy Mayor of New York City for Economic Development and Rebuilding under Mayor Bloomberg revealed that he received the (likely, but not definitive) diagnosis after a spate of breathing and hip issues.

Citing a desire to spend more time with his family in light of a potentially debilitating disease, Doctoroff will now devote his time towards raising $250 million for Target ALS, a multidisciplinary effort to combat ALS he founded in 2010 after the death of his uncle. He also revealed that starting next year, Sidewalk Labs will fold its smart city products into Google to help the company accelerate its fight against climate change.

SOM’s cloudbusting 175 Park Avenue approved to rise next to Grand Central

Well, after Wednesday, December 15, it’s official—Grand Central Terminal will soon be sandwiched between two supertall skyscrapers. The New York City Council approved the SOM-designed, 1,575-foot-tall tower at 175 Park Avenue, coming off the heels of a Landmarks Preservation Commission approval in February after minor changes.

Developed by TF Cornerstone and RXR Realty, construction of the (polarizing) 2.1-million-square-foot mega office tower will first require the demolition of the existing Grand Hyatt Hotel, and the behemoth of a project won’t open until 2030. When it does, it will also include 500 hotel rooms, a massive suite of subterranean transit upgrades that connect to Grand Central, a sky lobby, a lounge, 25,000 square feet of public terraces with arts programming, and an entirely new subway entrance on East 42nd Street.

H/t to 6sqft

Miami Art Week may have been ground zero for a rash of new COVID cases

AN found a lot to like at the various art and design events in Miami this year, with offerings at Design Miami bouncing back and forth from NFTs, to climate change awareness-raising art installations, to diversity initiatives that put the spotlight on Black designers. One aspect that we’re not so fond of? The rash of COVID outbreaks that have seemingly sprung among artists and the media alike up as a result.

As Observer stresses, the fault likely doesn’t lie with Art Basel Miami 2021 itself, as organizers took great pains to enforce masks and social distancing as best they could despite the throngs of guests. The more likely source of the infections was the numerous bars and parties around Miami Beach held in tandem with the festival, where protocols were much laxer (if existent at all).

H/t to the Observer

The president and chief executive of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum resigns

Alice M. Greenwald, who has faced criticism over the narrow focus of Manhattan’s 9/11 Memorial & Museum and pared back 20th-anniversary memorial after a round of sweeping budget cuts, has announced her resignation as president and chief executive, effective 2022. Greenwald was tapped as the museum’s director in 2006, well before it was completed, and has overseen the institution since then, including through a pandemic that saw the operating budget slashed in half as admittances fell.

H/t to the New York Times

Foster + Partners tapped for what could be San Francisco’s second-tallest tower

Texas-based developer Hines has set its sites on building the second-tallest tower in San Francisco and has hired Foster + Partners to design it. The 85-story, 1,066-foot-tall tower at 50 Main Street would, if built as proposed, come in only a hair shorter than the 1,070-foot-tall Salesforce Tower. Expected to begin construction in 2023 if approved by the city, if built as proposed, the project would contain 800 apartments, with 164 set aside as affordable (making it the city’s tallest residential tower).

H/t to the San Francisco Business Times

Toronto strikes parking minimums from new projects

New York’s City Council isn’t the only one that green-lit sweeping changes on December 15; that same day, the Toronto City Council approved Zoning Bylaw Amendments that simultaneously eliminate parking minimums from new residential projects and strengthen bicycle parking incentives.

Aside from easing car congestion and cutting down on air pollution across the city by (hopefully) enticing residents to bike more often, the move is expected to lower prices for developers who no longer have to factor parking into their projects.

“Today, City Council took real action for a healthier, more sustainable city,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory in the announcement. “This decision means that developers will no longer be required to build parking spaces that home buyers don’t want, making it easier for residents who live without a car to purchase a home.”