“I’m an architect and we have always been very conscious of the appearance of all the work that we do,” Martin Ginsburg, founder and principal of Ginsburg Development Cos. LLC, told the Business Journal about incorporating the arts into his company’s projects.
“Making a place that’s special depends on the ingredients that you have to start with. The architecture and the site and then the sculptures that we add, or the paintings that we add, are part of creating an exciting environment.”
Sculptures are featured in a new park at Ginsburg’s Harbor Square mixed-use development in Ossining and along a scenic river promenade at the Harbor at Haverstraw project across the Hudson River in Rockland County. He’s planning more art for his City Square development in White Plains, which involves remaking the former Westchester Financial Center diagonally across from the White Plains Metro-North train station.
“We’re at the railroad station and that’s important,” he said. “Our focus with City Square really is to create a special place in White Plains.”
Last year he announced a plan to add 188 rental apartments and just under 20,000 square feet of retail space to the office tower site as well as outdoor amenities.
“White Plains has a lot of juice in it and we’re going to make that area pedestrian-friendly,” he said. “We’re going to be putting in retail and restaurants and we’re going to close the garage entrance on Main Street which really was an obstacle to pedestrian traffic.”
In late 2017, Ginsburg unveiled a sculpture by Rockland County artist Eric David Laxman in the lobby of his apartment building The Metro on the South Lexington Avenue side of the City Square area. More recently, he issued a request for proposals for a $120,000 sculpture installation at the City Square site. The RFP produced a number of responses from artists in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Australia, to name some of the locations.
Ginsburg is working with the nonprofit ArtsWestchester and its Executive Director Janet Langsam and Deputy Director Kathleen Reckling to select the piece to be installed at City Square at the corner of Main and Bank streets, adjoining an outdoor dining plaza which is planned to be added.
”In many ways, the selected sculpture will serve as a welcoming beacon to both pedestrians coming from the train and vehicles entering the White Plains downtown business district,”
Langsam said. “Martin is a true visionary who believes art enhances living spaces. You’ll find him often, pencil in hand, sketching the perfect angle for a sculpture for here or there.” Ginsburg is scheduled to be honored by ArtsWestchester with its Innovator Award at its annual gala on Nov. 23 at The Barbara Walters Campus Center at Sarah Lawrence College.
“I’m pleased to be recognized because we do experimental things. We like to think that we’re able to use our particular skills to make places special and that’s what we enjoy,” Ginsburg told the Business Journal. “My focus is always on what can we do to make this place better.”
Ginsburg likened a development without art to taking a picture of a river without the riverbank or hills or sky in view.
“Blank water isn’t as exciting as if you have some foreground, and part of that foreground can be sculpture,” he said. “It can be landscaping. It can be things that make it special.”
As for Ginsburg’s take on the state of development and real estate in Westchester, “I think Westchester is obviously going through a little bit of a growth spurt now. One of the things that had hindered its development is that it really hadn’t been recognized how close it is to New York City. The perception was that Westchester was upstate. People are really bad at geography.
“You would think that there is a threat of overbuilding, but I don’t see that and certainly not in the immediate future.”