Hamburg-based developer Gerry Buchheit has put his Queen City Landing proposal on hold, citing opposition from environmentalists who have been rabidly obstructing the project — including all of the usual suspects: Tim Teilman, Deb Williams, and Sam Magavern.
While the brigade is hoping to prevent any residential or commercial development anywhere near Furhman Boulevard, others who advocate for high-quality urban design are asking Bucheit to come back to the City with a higher-density site plan that prioritizes compelling public spaces, a more diverse mix of uses, and engages more thoroughly with the water’s edge.
The site of the development proposal is just north of the Small Boat Harbor and just south of the former Freezer Queen plant that sits empty and owned by the NFTA. Some urban planners have called on the parcels being merged and treated as a ‘planned unit development’ that the could accommodate design innovations that might be non-compliant with the city’s current zoning code.
Despite the well-funded legal tactics of the longtime obstructionists, others are calling for an expanded project with multiple high-density residential skyscrapers, the partial removal of the Freezer Queen building, and new commercial spaces inspired by Pier 39 in San Francisco. Most importantly, urban designers argue, is that the development takes a spatial form that is submissive to the eventual street grid that will emerge after the Skyway and Route 5 are removed from the waterfront.
Even those who want to see dense mixed-use waterfront development in the city had complained that Buchheit’s original plan was too suburban in style and spatial form.