Daily digest: Preserving the Chelsea Hotel, the FAA probes civil rights complaints at the Kansas City airport project, and more

Wake Up Call

Daily digest: Preserving the Chelsea Hotel, the FAA probes civil rights complaints at the Kansas City airport project, and more

The Hotel Chelsea sign (popejon2/Accessed via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY 2.0)

Welcome back to another Thursday news brief. As we roll into a three-day weekend, here are some of the stories to read to help fill that gap:

A new documentary tracks the past and future of New York’s Chelsea Hotel

The 135-year-old Chelsea Hotel is a veritable Manhattan institution, having served as the home of famous musicians, writers, and artists throughout its existence as both a hotel and long-term boarding house (and sometimes their place of death as well). The building was declared a New York City landmark in 1966 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. After decades of economic decline, the hotel was sold to the Chetrit Group in 2011 and closed for new guests. Long-term residents were allowed to stay, but have had to deal with years of construction and have alleged management is trying to force them out.

All of this, the colorful history and struggle of extant residents, is laid bare in the new documentary Dreaming Walls. Using archival footage and interviews with residents and construction workers, directors Amélie van Elmbt and Maya Duverdie paint a melancholic picture of the historic property and lament the loss of its occupants.

H/t to Hyperallergic

The $1.5 billion new Kansas City airport comes under investigation over diversity claims

Construction of the SOM-designed mega international airport in Kansas City has been moving since 2019, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is reportedly investigating claims that the $1.5 billion project isn’t in compliance with diversity and civil rights initiatives required for federal funding.

Developer Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate has touted that the project employs at least 20 percent minority-owned and 15 percent women-owned contracting companies. However, the FAA claims that it can’t find evidence that the airports are tracking participation metrics, nor that they ever signed a formal agreement to do so.

H/t to Construction Dive

The La Brea Tar Pits overhaul moves to environmental review

On the topic of project updates, more than two years after a Weiss/Manfredi-led team won an international competition for a new master plan at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, the project is now moving into the environmental review phase. The 13-acre project will, if it passes review intact, feature a looping walkway and keep the original George C. Page Museum intact while adding space for more exhibitions and research. According to Urbanize Los Angeles, it’s expected construction will proceed over a piecemeal 7-to-10-year timeline once the project is approved.

H/t to Urbanize Los Angeles

Michael Hsu Office of Architecture reveals a high-design dermatology office in Houston

Michael Hsu Office of Architecture has been tapped for the second Houston location of prolific private clinic Westlake Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery. From the renderings, it looks like the 2,700-square-foot, ’70s-era office will be given a total overhaul to bring it more in line with modern aesthetics, including plenty of glass, marble, brass, and wide-open interiors.

H/t to the Houston Chronicle

How did Hoboken reach three years with no traffic deaths?

It’s safe to say that Vision Zero, the ambitious plan to reorganize city streets and reduce traffic deaths to zero, has been an abject failure in New York City eight years after it was first implemented. Across the Hudson River, however, things are totally different in the New Jersey city of Hoboken.

After the city implemented its own Vision Zero plan two years ago, Hoboken is now celebrating its third straight year without any traffic fatalities. How did the city of 54,000 turn it around? Streetsblog NYC has broken down the miles of bike lane improvements, pedestrian reorientations, and road diets undertaken to get there.

H/t to Streetsblog NYC

Meet the volunteers living in a Martian habitat simulator

It’s a long, long way to Mars, and any attempts by colonists to live on the red planet will likely be one-way. So to make sure astronauts get it right the first time, a Martian habitat simulator has been erected in the barren desert of Utah, where six crew members have been sharing the cramped Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS).

H/t to The Guardian