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Norfolk Street Pop-up Retail

NYC's Lower East Side Business Improvement District approached us with a challenge: How could they turn an underutilized parking lot into a community asset that would pay for itself in the short term, provide diverse benefits to businesses and organizations, and not obstruct future development. Working closely with the BID, LES PopShop was our initial response.

Like most American cities, NYC contains millions of square feet of prime real estate that sit vacant, generating no value to the city due to a complex tangle of development hurdles. With creative design and business strategy, we believe these sites can release this stored value to the community, even during development and ownership transitions that may last many years.

Our design process on this lower Manhattan site began by looking at a variety of temporary architectures, including modular and prefab construction, tensile fabrics, agricultural buildings, and reclaimed shipping containers.

Budget and timelines were refined during this exploratory process and it became clear: shipping containers were the way to go. Then we had to determine how street-level retail, artist studio accommodations, and coworking space could productively intersect in these 8' x 40' boxes.

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