River to River Development in New York City? Literally!

For all of those with spectacular river views who thought those views were protected, think again.  Imagine high rise apartment buildings anchored yet floating in the Hudson or East Rivers.  The concept of both under-water and "on the water" living is becoming a reality.  As Chris Taylor of Business 2.0 Magazine points out:

The most tangible signs are two altered versions of GM’s Hotel Atlantis (from 1964 World’s Fair), at least one of which could be open for business next year.

GM's Hotel Atlantis   

Rendering of GM’s Hotel Atlantis

The first is Hydropolis, a $500 million-plus, 220-room hotel under development near Dubai in the Persian Gulf. Billed as the world’s first underwater hotel, the Hydropolis will be located, if all goes according to plan, 60 feet below sea level and cost $1,500 a night. Among other amenities, the Hydropolis will also feature a missile defense system to guard against terrorists, a shopping mall, and three bars.

Then there’s Poseidon Mystery Island, a $200 million development off the coast of Fiji. When it opens in mid-2008, the hotel will be much smaller than Hydropolis and almost twice as expensive to visit. But it does boast something you don’t get in Dubai: 24-hour views of one of the world’s liveliest coral reefs.

Taylor credits his associate Jeff Davis and Davis’ blog Waterlog for pointing out the trend by some architects to develop on and in the water:

As my Business 2.0 colleague Jeff Davis notes in his excellent blog about the ocean business, Waterlog, there’s a rising tide of architects building floating homes in response to global warming. Sea levels rising by 20 feet over the next 50 years? No problem. Simply surround at-risk cities (like New York) or countries (like Holland) with off-shore waterworlds anchored to the sea floor.

Leading this march to the sea is Dutch designer Koen Olthuis. His firm, Waterstudio, is the first to devote itself entirely to waterborne structures – houses, garages, apartment buildings – and has been hired by the Crown Prince of Dubai to build a sail-in mosque, presumably so the legions of oil-rich seafaring Dubains have somewhere to pray on their way to Hydropolis.

But perhaps the most novel design for seabound living is the Trilobis 65 from Italian architect Giancarlo Zema. Retailing for $5 million, the oddly egg-shaped Trilobis seems halfway between a giant yacht and a floating home. It’s designed for up to six people to live in, and is powered by an environmentally-friendly combination of solar power and hydrogen tanks. You can take your entire home on day-long deep-sea jaunts, then return to the jetty at night and power down.

Frankly, this concept of staying in a hotel underwater creeps me out a bit, but the concept of building on top of the water is intriguing.  Particularly in an island city like New York where land options are "drying up" quickly.

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