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Perspectives – NYC Parks with Lia Tomczak

I’ve been reading the biography of Frederick Law Olmsted, known almost exclusively as the designer of Central Park. Many are unfamiliar with the fact that he was much more than a founder of Landscape Architecture. He was a journalist, a farmer, a sailor, an abolitionist, a politician and an avid world traveler. If there was something of significance happening in the United States, he was a part of it.

A couple weeks ago I had the chance to visit several of my favorite parks in New York City; The Brooklyn Bridge Park, The Highline & of course, Central Park. I had ventured to these parks countless times but the fact that I was reading Olmsted’s biography helped me to see them all with fresh eyes.

Although he was given the job without any former design experience or knowledge, I could see the influence of his vast knowledge and many professions throughout the park. Everything in the park was well thought out and caters to all types of people and activities. I inadvertently became the tour guide for my family as I spewed out fact after fact.

My latest experience with Central Park gave me a new perspective on The Highline and Brooklyn Bridge Park and I found myself noticing details that I had previously missed.

As you sit down to design your next project, draw from all your life experiences. Revisit those parks you’ve seen time and again. Your perspective may have changed.

– Lia

Bridgeside at Patriots Point Apartments Break Ground

Charleston Regional Business Journal
By Ashley Barker
Published August 5, 2014

Luxury apartments being constructed at Patriots Point

Daniel Corp. and life insurance company MetLife Inc. are building a 324-unit luxury apartment community in Mount Pleasant called Bridgeside at Patriots Point. (Rendering/Provided/Daniel Corp.)More than 300 new luxury apartment units in Mount Pleasant are expected to be ready for occupants in the spring of 2016.

Real estate development firm Daniel Corp., in partnership with life insurance company MetLife Inc., recently broke ground on Bridgeside at Patriots Point.

The two companies purchased 16 acres of land from LRA Charleston Bridgeside LLC in December 2013 for $7.5 million, according to Pat Henry, president of Daniel Corp.’s commercial business operations.

Three nearly identical buildings with 108 units each will be built along Harry Hallman Jr. Blvd., between the Ravenel Bridge and the College of Charleston baseball facility at Patriots Point. Four stories of units will sit on top of a parking area, according to Henry.

Daniel Corp. and life insurance company MetLife Inc. are building a 324-unit luxury apartment community in Mount Pleasant called Bridgeside at Patriots Point. Three nearly identical buildings will cost about $65 million and will sit on top of a parking area.

About $65 million will be spent to build the apartment community, which will include studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom floor plans along with a clubhouse, pool area and fitness center. Parks and jogging trails to the Ravenel Bridge are also planned.

Henry said it is too early to comment on a price range for the units, but he said they will be “among the finest luxury units in the area.”

“We expect to have a good mix of people. With all the infrastructure in place, with parks, sidewalks and public areas, access to water, the opportunity to enjoy athletics facilities and, of course, the bridge, we very much expect an active lifestyle,” Henry said.

He expects about 200 jobs will be created in the construction phase and a dozen full-time positions will be available once the facility is open.

Atlanta-based Wakefield Beasley and Associates is responsible for the project’s architectural design, and site and civil engineering services will be completed by Seamon Whiteside and Associates in Mount Pleasant. Choate Construction has been named as the project’s builder.

Daniel Corp. and MetLife recently jointly completed the Rocca Villas apartments in the Buckhead community near Atlanta. Henry said they’re also building hotels, offices and residential facilities in a multiphase development in the Midtown district of Atlanta that will span several city blocks.

The two companies recently acquired 6,000 acres of property known as the Reynolds Plantation, which is about 50 miles east of metro Atlanta, and are working on development plans for that now.

“We have a good working relationship with MetLife,” Henry said. “I’ve done a lot of work in Charleston through my career, and we’ve been anxious to return to the Charleston community. We’re so excited about this site and the opportunity to positively impact this area. It’s not lost on us that when folks are coming over that bridge that this will be the first thing they see.”

Reach staff writer Ashley Barker at 843-849-3144 or @AshleyNBarker on Twitter.

Why Every Firm Needs A Frosty, A Rudolph, And Even A Grinch.


Here it is, Christmastime again and all of our favorite Christmas specials are on television. Frosty is back with his cane and his cute carrot of a nose, the Grinch and his poor overburdened little dog, Max, have returned, and of course, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is anxiously glowing in anticipation of his big night. We know them, we love them, but why do we need to work with them?

The Frosty FactorFrosty the Snowman

Frosty the Snowman is probably the most positive and enthusiastic character you’ll ever meet. He sings and laughs and plays with the kids knowing that his life is only as long as the current cold snap. Some might think that he is delusional, a real Polly Anna, and instead of enjoying his time in the animated world he should be either depressed or scurrying around trying to find a way to beat the system. But that is not what Frosty is about.

The importance of positive energy and hopeful goodwill to the health and vitality of a group cannot be overstated. Anyone who has ever sat in a meeting with a Negative Nelly who grimaces their way through the list of 100 reasons why whatever has just been presented will never work, can thoroughly appreciate the presence of an enthusiastic Frosty. That’s not to say that you want a coworker who is so focused on the positive that they seem like they are having a different conversation from everyone else. Instead having a colleague that is clearheaded and who wholeheartedly supports the consensus makes it more enjoyable for everyone as they work towards a common goal. Frosty is a true team player.

Rudolph the Rednosed ReindeerRudolph Leads the Way

When thinking about having a Rudolph type in the office, it would be easy to be led astray by Rudolph’s shy and insecure personality. You might think of his unpopularity with the other reindeer and remember that rather than stand up for himself, he chose to run away. That would only be until you realized that those less than stellar traits belong to the immature Rudy, not the fully realized one.

Being a leader is tough. It takes fortitude and a sincere belief in yourself and in your team to do it well. It also takes a willingness to forgive. These are the standout traits that Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer who leads Santa’s sleigh every year embodies. Once he realized that his differentness translated to awesomeness, he was able to step into the leadership role and never look back. And the cherry on top? All of the other reindeer from Dasher to Blitzen came to recognize his value to the team and thereafter embraced his leadership.

The Grinch, Whovillians & the Office

Okay, I admit it; this is where this article gets a little schmaltzy. Remember that Negative Nelly type we talked about in the Frosty segment? Well, here she is. As unbelievable as it sounds, we actually need a grumble pants on the team. The negativity they exude isn’t all just noise.The_grinch&Max Every so often, there is a real reason for the ‘It’s not going to work.” statement and they’re right, it won’t work. After some discussion, the team recognizes that ‘it’ needs some tweaking before it is the solution they’re looking for. Once a consensus is achieved, Frosty can step up and do what Frosty does best.  Without the initial poo-pooing voiced by the Grinch-type coworker, the final product would not be the work of art that it became.

The Grinch, Whovillians & the Office Part Two

There are a lot of messages in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” but for staffing needs, the messages are thus. Everyone has personality traits that are not great and everyone deserves forgiveness. The Grinch believed that by removing the trappings of Christmas, the Whovillians would stop all their happy Christmas foolishness and just go back to bothering him in a general way. He was the Difficult to Get Along With Guy that sometimes turns up in the workplace.

Forget, if you will, the grumbley, grouchy, animal abusing Grinch of the early story and concentrate on who he is the end of the story.

But, after the Whos shrugged off their initial shock at his dastardly deed, they went ahead with their celebration and even found it in their hearts to welcome him into their community. He was a changed Grinch. Through their kindness, the Whos helped him become the Helpful Hank he really was.  Pretty amazing, yeah?