Monthly Archives: August 2010

UPDATE: Small-Business Payroll Tax Increase Dropped From Senate Bill

(Updates with response from Finance Committee spokeswoman and Senate vote)
By Martin Vaughan

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus ( D., Mont.) has removed a controversial proposal that would force lawyers, accountants and other professionals to pay more in payroll taxes from a broader proposal to extend expired tax cuts.

The payroll tax provision, which would have raised $9 billion to help pay for tax cut extensions, had drawn strong criticism from business advocacy groups and Republicans including Sen. Olympia Snowe (R., Maine).

An email from Senate Finance Committee staff, obtained by Dow Jones Newswires, outlined several changes to an amendment Baucus planned to offer to small- business legislation pending on the Senate floor.

Among those changes was the elimination of the small business payroll tax provision. A Senate Finance Committee spokeswoman said plans for the amendment were still under discussion. She said she couldn’t comment at this time on whether the proposal has been shelved indefinitely.
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President’s Corner

Dear Members,

I hope you have all had time or will be taking time for a vacation, however brief that may be. While summer rolls on, so does the recession. Unemployment in the design and construction industry continues to be at an all time high. As you probably know by now, AIA-NJ’s East Coast Green conference is coming up in September on the 16th and 17th, coupled with our annual Design Day. These events are highlighted by high level speakers, multiple CEU opportunities for AIA, USGBC, and IDEC focused on the conference theme of meeting the Architecture 2030 Challenge, and a strong industry exhibit show. What you probably don’t know, is we have been working hand in hand with the USGBC-NJ chapter to host a green jobs career fair prior to the opening of the expo floor on Wednesday, September 15th.

One of the intentions of combining Design Day and the East Coast Green conference at a venue like Atlantic City was to provide a showcase for our profession and our work to the public, building owners, and decision makers, as well as an opportunity to network with our peers. AIA-NJ is very conscious of the current economic times has worked hard this year to provide educational programs that will build skills and expand services. But, the year is only half over and I’m not done being President just yet.

When I came back from Grassroots it was clear we needed to figure out a way to help our members, and those who were not members, struggling in the profession or even to get in to the profession. I began researching what support mechanisms other Chapters across the country offer their members and discussing the creating of a ‘Members-in-Transition’ section of our web site. Serendipitously, I was recently approached by such a member about this very topic. As a result, the Professional Practice Committee, chaired by Chris Ling, in conjunction with our Communications, Large Firm Outreach, and Small Firm Outreach committees, will lead the effort to develop a bundled suite of resources for our members in transition. Initial visions of this suite include professional development seminars on everything from skill building, maintenance, and expansion to personal presentation and resume skills, a job board for Owners to post opportunities as well as a resume board for members to connect with one another and the public, networking opportunities, and study groups to name a few. I am very excited about this effort and believe that the ability to develop and deploy these bundles resources in a timely manner only further demonstrates the value if AIA-NJ to its members and the profession. For more information or to get involved in this evolving effort, please contact the Professional Practice Committee, whose information in available at AIA-NJ’s website.

Lastly, related to the idea of expanding skills, I am extremely pleased to relay, on behalf of our Regional Director Dave DelVecchio, AIA, LEEDap, that the EPA now allows registered architects to complete the Energy Star verification process. Prior to April 1, 2010 only professional engineers were allowed to complete the verification forms to certify performance for an Energy Star project. Thanks to Dave and follow up at AIA National in arguing this point, the EPA has recognized, “the increasingly important role that registered architects are playing in both design and operations of today’s energy efficient buildings.” The full announcement from the EPA is available at AIA-NJ’s website. I think this is a powerful and telling statement of our role in sustainability and a credit to AIA National and AIA-NJ in making architects seen as one of the expects in this area of design.

If you are not familiar with the energy star portfolio manage or target finder website, this is a National EPA program and is considered the benchmark in energy performance in the United States. Much of the information required to be input for Energy Star is directly under the perview of the Architect, such as establishing the number of occupants, size and use type of the building, and areas to be conditioned or not. The remaining information is essentially an upload of 12 months of utility use data provided by the Owner. All of this is fed in to EPA’s data base to determine a rating (1-100) for a building’s energy use. A minimum score of 75 is needed to qualify as an energy star building. Many of you may wonder why this change to allow architects to perform this benchmark and verification is important. The primary reason is this, most projects start with a feasibility study of some kind and with the focus on energy performance, many projects that are moving forward start with benchmarking through energy star these days. It is another tool to help generate work for us and take the lead role as the sustainability experts. Federal and State incentives and grants may also be tied to Energy Star, as well as LEED certification for Existing Building and Homes, making our role in its use a central and necessary tool to the creation, delivery, and management of projects. Please put Energy Star to work for you! If you have any questions regarding this please contact the AIA-NJ Committee on the Environment or visit Energy Star’s web site, and don’t forget to register for East Coast Green if you haven’t already!


Jason Kliwinski, AIA, LEED AP
AIA-NJ President 2010
AIA National Northeast Regional COTE Chair

Jersey Animal Coalition Call for “Animal Houses”

With great pleasure, Jersey Animal Coalition invites New Jersey architects to create one-of-a-kind dog houses and cat structures to be featured at its August 23, 2010 “Dog Days of Summer” event. The event has two goals: To give architects an opportunity to promote their work at a well-attended and widely publicized event; and, thru the auction of these creations items, to raise funds to allow JAC to continue its outstanding work of providing stray and abandoned dogs and cats with medical attention, shelter, and boarding until permanent loving homes can be found.

Architects are asked to create structures, scaled models, and/or concept drawings that are visually delightful and lots of fun, while meeting general utilitarian concerns or those of a specific breed. Architects names, firm descriptions, and contact information will be prominently displayed alongside their work, and in a program that will be distributed to all who attend. In addition, Architects will be given the names of those who purchase their work to allow for the possibility of future contact and dialogue. Donations are tax-deductible.

The event will be held on the spacious roof terrace at Above Restaurant and Bar, One South Orange Avenue, South Orange, NJ, a restaurant praised highly by the New York Times and Star Ledger and located in the heart of the South Orange Transit Village.
For further information on Jersey Animal Coalition please visit:

If you wish to participate, contact : Risa Perlmutter Goldstein: [email protected] or Judy Donnelly: [email protected] by August 9, 2010.

2010 Sustainable Design Survey

East Coast Green Keynote for Named One of Most Influential

The annual Design Futures Council “2010 Sustainable Design Survey” of 240 design industry leaders in the U.S. was released this month, ranking Architecture 2030 among the top three most effective organizations (USGBC, AIA, and Architecture 2030) advancing green building design and construction in the U.S. today.

The survey also rated Architecture 2030 first among industry leaders in ‘leadership and resource deployment’ to move sustainability issues forward in the U.S. and identified Edward Mazria, founder and CEO of Architecture 2030, as second among the nation’s leading ‘role models’ for green and sustainable design.
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AIA-NJ Seeks Submissions For Its Annual Design Awards Program

Submissions Will Judged At Annual Design Conference To Be Held In Conjunction With East Coast Green Conference

AIA-NJ has announced that it is seeking submissions from architects for its annual design awards program, which brings public and professional recognition to architectural projects that exhibit design excellence.

The design awards will be presented at AIA-NJ’s annual design conference, Design Day, which will be held on Sept. 16 at Bally’s Atlantic City, N.J., in conjunction with AIA-NJ’s first-ever green conference, East Coast Green.

“The annual design awards program provides AIA New Jersey the opportunity to recognize the very best design work being done in the state; both by its members and other AIA member architects,” said Stephen J. Carlidge, AIA, committee co-chairman. “We encourage architects with New Jersey ties to submit projects of all types and sizes.”

To be considered, the submissions, which are due on or before Aug. 20, 2010, must have been completed since Jan. 1, 2008, and submitted by AIA architects with New Jersey ties (i.e., the projects, offices and/or licenses must be located in New Jersey).
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Fletcher Thompson and Rutgers Partner On $140 Million, 648,000-Square-Foot Mixed-Use Development

Construction To Start This Fall And Be Completed By Fall 2012

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (July 22, 2010) – Fletcher Thompson, an award-winning regional architecture, engineering and interior design firm, has announced its partnership with Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, in building a $140 million, 648,000-square-foot mixed-use development on the Livingston Campus in Piscataway, N.J.

Located on the periphery of the campus along Joyce Kilmer and Rockefeller Avenues, the project, which is set to break ground this fall, will feature three buildings that integrate student apartments that will hold 1,500 beds, study lounges, classrooms and retail space.

“This is the largest project that Rutgers has ever undertaken to date,” said Thomas Fantacone, AIA, LEED AP, design principal at Fletcher Thompson in charge of college and university projects. “The residence halls establish a new urban edge for the campus, creating a sense of place where none currently exists.”
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Branded Welcome Center Introduces Prospective Students to Campus

Summit, NJ (June 1, 2010) – The award-winning New Jersey-based architectural firm, The Biber Partnership, completed the Rutgers University Visitor Center, the first design-build project for the University. Located high atop Sutphen Road, on the Busch Campus in Piscataway, NJ, the 12,512 sq. ft. facility serves as the starting point for tours of the New Brunswick Campus, houses interactive multi-media exhibits that illustrate the universitys history as well as banquet and meeting spaces.

The Visitor Center is an important component of the Rutgers brand as it serves as the gateway to the university for visitors and prospective students. The Biber Partnership designed a custom perforated stainless steel screen as well as a striking red wall made from composite metal panels, perpendicular to the entrance and emblazoned with a 6-ft. high white R which serves as a beacon to visitors. A soaring 26-ft. tall stonewall forms the backdrop for the building entry and continues through the interior of the space. The wall is made from calcium silicate panels, formed with a custom color reminiscent of the red shale that is ubiquitous in the area.
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Historic Loews Pitkin Theater Transforms into Charter School & Retail

Residents of Brownsville, Brooklyn will soon witness the rebirth of their beloved Loews Pitkin Theater. POKO Partners, LLC will transform the neighborhood with an exciting adaptive re-use project that, with a new college preparatory charter school and modern shopping facilities, will bring smiles and laughter back to the grande dame of Pitkin Avenue.

Designed by Collingswood, NJ-based architecture firm, Kitchen & Associates, the renovation of the Loews Pitkin Theater will preserve architectural details, including the terra-cotta ornamentation, while providing light-filled spaces to support the new uses of the building. Modern energy efficient and eco-firendly elements will be included. The original ornately detailed neo-classical and Art-Deco themed cornices, pilasters, and niches that decorated the Theater will be restored to their original condition, and will serve as historic perspective for the new uses of the building. A completely new interior structure, built with state-of-the-art steel, concrete, and masonry systems, will be constructed within the existing shell to support the new building functions. New, high efficiency mechanical and lighting systems are part of an extensive program of green building features that will take this building to the forefront of 21st century efficient building technology.

“Kitchen & Associates is to be involved in this wonderful project. Its rare to have the opportunity to preserve a magnificent neighborhood landmark and, at the same time, create vital new resources that will catalyze the revitalization of the community, said Dan Garthe, Project Manager, Kitchen & Associates.

The Loews Pitkin Theater is exciting because it embodies POKOs core values of revitalizing neighborhoods and enhancing communities through positive and responsible real estate development, said Ken Olson, President and CEO POKO Partners.

The History of Loews Pitkin Theater
Al Jolson had his last performance there; Jackie Gleason, Milton Berle and Humphrey Bogart were stars that once graced the stage. Loews Pitkin Theater evokes so much nostalgia that both men and women to this day write blogs about and share memoirs fondly recalling the opulence of the grand carved staircase, the koi pond in the lobby, the crystal chandeliers, and the dimly lit balconies under a domed ceiling depicting a cloudy, starry sky. The immense orchestra pit and grand organ reflect the majesty of architect Thomas Lambs most beautiful “atmospheric” theaters built in the New York.

After decades of being the cultural center of the community, the theater entered into a long period of decline and eventually closed in 1969. In the years ensuing, it suffered considerable interior damage and slowly became a neighborhood eyesore.

The Future of Loews Pitkin Theater
POKO Partners, LLC will bring new opportunity to the area as construction begins on the mixed-use project by providing much-needed jobs and additional educational opportunities to the area. At the epicenter of a once thriving shopping corridor, the new Loews Pitkin will offer modern shopping facilities with more than 70,000 sq. ft of prime retail space. Fulfilling the needs and desires of the community to find high quality educational opportunities, POKO Partners has teamed up with Ascend Learning to house a new state-of-the-art charter school in the upper 90,000 sq. ft. of the building. The school will serve 1,100 children in grades K-8.