Junction Boulevard Commercial District Assessment
Corona, Queens (2023)
Buffalo, New York
In partnership with Project for Public Spaces, Steve led a community visioning process to develop a programming, design, and management framework to transform the DL&W Terminal into a vital anchor for Canalside and the broader Buffalo Waterfront district. Now largely closed off from public view and access, the DL&W Terminal can become an inclusive place where the arts, food, and music bring people together in a unique multi-use gathering place for the region. This community outreach process and framework plan represents the first step in making a catalytic investment into the Terminal that will help spur new development around the station, build transit ridership, and create a new destination of national significance–another jewel in the crown of Buffalo’s rebirth. The State of New York has committed over $30 million for the restoration and renovation of the terminal. (Rendering: SmartDesign Architecture)
Client: Savarino Companies and Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority
Maine Market District
Place Solutions Group worked with Project for Public Spaces, David O'Neil, and Funchitecture to create a plan for the Maine Market District, transforming a historic complex of industrial buildings into a new public market district. Our specific focus was on the layout of the district's public spaces for outdoor markets, a beer garden, cafes, and a wide range of public and private events.
Maine Market District will be the heart of a revitalized and reimagined 10-acre neighborhood along Portland's historic eastern waterfront with a mix of shops, restaurants, workspaces, and residences that is being intentionally planned to support innovative collaborations, meaningful cultural experiences, entertainment, community, and wellness.
Client: Portland Foreside Development
A New Vision for Wet Markets
In 2011, there was a decision by Hanoi Government to replace markets in the inner city with supermarkets and commercial centers as they thought those to be more “modern.” In response, the HealthBridge Foundation of Canada's local Hanoi office conducted a “Save the Markets” campaign and was successful in changing the government’s decision.
While abandoning this approach, the question still remained: what should happen with the 350 wet markets in central Hanoi and surrounding districts? How can you "modernize" these traditional markets while still retaining their authenticity and core reason for being?
Healthbridge invited Place Solutions Group to come to Hanoi to facilitate local architects in developing design concepts to revitalize three wet markets in the city. Other key partners included the Hanoi Architects Association and a new design center, AGOhub, which gathered over 20 young architects to develop new design approaches to revitalize three "wet" markets in the city—Chau Long Market, Ha Market, and Ngoc Lam Market—and models for others. The market designs developed received widespread attention, and, as a result, the government is developing a new national policy for investing in wet markets. (Photo Credit: CA Architects)
Client: Healthbridge Foundation of Canada
Vacant Westchester Avenue Station Renewal
Bronx, New York (2023)
Built in 1907 by Cass Gilbert, one of the preeminent architects of his time and designer of the Woolworth Building and the U.S. Supreme Court, the vacant Westchester Avenue station building was abandoned in 1939 by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad and has sat vacant for nearly 85 years.
With the support of the Justice 40 Accelerator, Place Solutions Group LLC and PlacemakingX initiated a community outreach process with YMPJ in March 2023 to solicit ideas and create a vision for the reuse of the long-vacant station. No building exists in a vacuum, instead must be thought of in its broader neighborhood context. In this case, the station could become a focal point of a new district, created by decking over sections of the depressed Sheridan Boulevard adjacent to the station, as proposed by the New York City Department of City Planning in 2013.
Client: Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice
Queens, New York
Under the leadership of the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC), Corona Plaza has become a cultural and economic center for the diverse Corona Plaza community since it was created in 2014 by the New York City Department of Transportation. During the pandemic in 2020, Latinx immigrant street vendors seeking economic survival flocked to Corona Plaza. Today, nearly 100 vendors use the sidewalks around the DOT plaza, creating an informal marketplace of prepared foods, produce, flowers, clothing, and other hard goods. QEDC retained Place Solutions Group to conduct surveys of Corona Plaza users, vendors, and storefront businesses, create a community-based vision for the plaza, and improve its attractiveness and functionality for vending, cultural, and other public uses. QEDC begins managing a new Corona Plaza Market in 2023.
Client: Queens Economic Development Corporation
Athens Farmers Market
Established in 1972, the Athens Farmers Market is an economic engine for the city, with some 100+ vendors in peak season. Working with Project for Public Spaces, we evaluated the feasibility of relocating the market from a shopping center parking lot to a more community-friendly and affordable location at the Athens Community Center. The location already featured covered parking with solar panels that could be used for the Saturday market. We also developed plans for a multi-use shed and other public space improvements to enhance the market as a community destination. The new market location opened in 2022 and has already become a valued community gatherin place.
Client: AceNet, Athens, OH
National Market Policy Report for Vietnam
This report identifies opportunities to change national policy in Vietnam to leverage the economic, social, and health benefits that markets bring to urban and rural areas. Policies of global institutions, as well as national, provincial, and local governments of other countries, are presented to illustrate the potential for Vietnamese markets in the future. Policies are relevant to other countries, as well. Topics covered include:
Marketplace Development Planning
Investment in the Construction of Market
Client: Healthbridge Foundation of Canada
Junction Boulevard Commerical District Assessment
Corona, Queens (2023)
The Junction Boulevard District today is an economic powerhouse, with over 500 local businesses identified: nearly 300 storefront businesses and 200 street vendors. With the support of NYC Small Business Services, Queens Economic Development Corporation and the Street Vendor Project retained Place Solutions Group to conduct an inventory of storefronts and vendors and to survey shoppers and storefront businesses in the Junction Boulevard district. This study aims to update the Commercial District Needs Assessment for Corona Queens (2017), determine the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on small businesses in Corona, and identify opportunities for future design and management improvements to the district. The study area includes one to two blocks from the Junction Boulevard #7 Subway Station.
Client: Queens Economic Development Corporation and The Street Vendor Project