Lauded scaffolding alternative remains out of sight

June 18, 2012 11:30AM

Almost 18 months ago, Mayor Bloomberg, together with the Department of City Planning, unveiled what they billed as a more attractive, more modern alternative to scaffolding. Despite the enthusiasm from government and the public, the new scaffolding, known as the urban umbrella, is still nowhere to be seen in New York City, Crain’s reported. In a city where 1 million feet of scaffolding are in place at any given time, a change to the look of sidewalks was welcomed, but the city’s landlords have been slow to implement any change, Crain’s noted.

“I’m longing to see this all over the city,” city planning commissioner Amanda Burden said when the product, from Urban Umbrella Enterprises, made its debut in September 2010. “After all, good design is good economic development.”

Despite the aesthetic appeal, barriers to changing out the city’s 6,000 building sheds remain.

“It’s a new, different product, so there are a lot of question marks,” said Andrés Cortés, chief executive of Manhattan-based Urban Umbrella, told Crain’s. “Building owners are interested, but the hurdle is cost.” [Crain’s]