Develope by: HR&A Advisors, Inc. with Cooper, Robertson & Partners, W Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Dewberry, Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corporation
Location: Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York; Far Rockaway, Queens, New York; Asbury Park, New Jersey

Finalist Project

The HR&A/Cooper Robertson team has created innovative concepts to enhance the resiliency and economic vitality of the Sandy-affected region’s coastal commercial corridors and the neighborhoods that surround them. Retail is the lifeblood of communities, providing jobs, critical goods and services, and neighborhood gathering places. Throughout the region, retailers and their inventory, primarily located on the ground floor and basement of buildings, are particularly vulnerable to storm impacts.

We have seen how commercial resiliency is tied to the physical and economic resiliency of whole communities. As local commercial activity goes, so goes the vitality of a neighborhood; protecting these areas cannot be separated from protecting whole neighborhoods. Flood protection and commercial revitalization can go hand in hand, supporting both goals in innovative ways: from local associations of merchants advocating for vitality and resiliency to utilizing commercial property itself as a pieces of flood mitigation infrastructure.

Resilient businesses make strong communities. The Commercial Corridor Resiliency project combines flood protection and commercial revitalization in at-risk coastal communities, through use of three major tools:

Building mitigation improvements and activities by building owners and tenants, including behavioral modification, such as the creation of preparedness plans and use of deployable flood protection systems, and capital investment in building and tenant spaces.

Corridor/neighborhood protection and revitalization through public capital investment with private involvement, such as flood barriers, raised streets and flood-protective streetscape improvements, sometimes accomplished through projects that also revitalize commercial areas.

Organizational capacity through local entities such as merchant associations, business improvement districts and local development corporations to provide support for behavioral changes by small businesses and technical assistance to applicants for capital funding, as well as general economic development support for small businesses in at-risk areas. Some entities may be robust enough to guarantee loans for corridor-wide improvements. 

Red Hook

In Red Hook, resiliency involves integrating flood protection through measures that maintain and enhance waterfront maritime and industrial activity while allowing for public access to the waterfront. The HR&A/Cooper, Robertson team’s design proposal also considers crucial storm water management issues and planning.

On Red Hook’s Gowanus edge, a source of flooding becomes a revitalized and resilient “Maker’s District,” where manufacturing and production businesses thrive in dry and wet-flood-proofed buildings, and a raised promenade encourages activation and access.

Far Rockaway

A beach–to-bay corridor: A resilient Beach 116th Street begins with a significant commitment to improving the resiliency of the corridor’s critical transportation, then builds on this anchoring step through business resiliency measures at individual and corridor-wide scales.

The A train station becomes a vibrant hub of activity as an elevated platform connects to new commercial destinations and public space at a higher elevation to the north and south. This level ties into the street level at the north, south, and west, creating an active, resilient entrance to the corridor.

Asbury Park

A vibrant, unified Shore community: In Asbury Park, beachfront integrated flood protection will maintain the physical and economic health of the beach and adjacent corridors, while mitigation of coastal lakes will revitalize inland corridors and restore local ecology.

On the beachfront, resilient infrastructure fortifies the boardwalk and can be used as seating or for recreation during normal conditions. Resilient interventions for commercial buildings and open space lining the boardwalk include deployable flood and debris barriers, protecting storefronts from severe damage, but leaving them open to normal activity during the high season.

Download a PDF of the team’s final competition boards here.

View a PDF of the team’s full proposal here.

Watch a video about The Commercial Corridor Resiliency Project here.  


Anselm Fusco, Senior Vice President, Madison Marquette; Brian Cheripka, Vice President of Land, iStar Residential; Carrie Turner, 2nd VP/Property Management, Madison Marquette; Charles Flickinger, Owner, Flickinger Glassworks; City of Asbury Park, City Council; City of Asbury Park, City Planning; City of Asbury Park, Economic Development; Greg O’Connell, Principal, The O’Connell Organization; Kevin & Caroline Moore, Owners, Kevin’s Restaurant; Krzysztof Sadlej, Executive Director Thomas Hughes, Owner, Station; Lana Meli, Owner, Lana’s Loft; John Lepore, Owner, Allstate Insurance; Mary Kyle, Owner, Dry Dock Liquors; Mark Mina, Owner, MSM Corporation; Maureen Walsh, Owner, Walsh Properties; Metropolitan Transit Authority; Mike DiMarino, Owner, Linda Tool; Monica Byrne, Owner, Home/Made; New Jersey Economic Development Authority; New Jersey Governor’s Office of Recovery & Rebuilding; New York City Department of City Planning; New York City Economic Development Corporation; New York City Department of Small Business Services; New York City Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability; NY Rising Red Hook Planning Committee Members; New York State Office of Storm Recovery; Pino Deserio, Facilities Manager, IKEA; Restore Board Members (inclusive of some of the above individuals); St. John Frizell, Owner, Fort Defiance