BTI Exhibit Planned for Renovated Yonkers Building

by | Mar 4, 2016

Boyce Thompson CenterVisitors to the soon-to-be reopened Boyce Thompson Center in Yonkers, New York, will receive a dose of BTI history in the form of a museum-style exhibit when they visit the renovated building.

Representatives from Simone Development Companies visited BTI on Friday to tour the institute, view artifacts from the original building and to meet with employees, past and present, to discuss the BTI exhibit. The company is converting the former home of the Boyce Thompson Institute into a mixed-use center that will house medical offices, restaurants and stores, but they hope to honor the building’s past through its design and landscaping.

“It’s going to be a building that is very much in keeping with its history of research and medicine,” said Guy Leibler, president of Simone Healthcare Development, who is overseeing the renovation. Cindy Williams, Simone Development Companies project director, also made the trip to Ithaca.

Two of the building’s entranceways will pay homage to the Boyce Thompson Center’s history as a plant research institution and will display a timeline of BTI events and discoveries, as well as historic photos and research equipment.

The planned landscaping program will use plant species investigated by the scientists. A vegetable garden to supply the restaurants and a “living wall” of plants growing up one of the building faces is also planned. In addition, Williams and Leibler hope to work with Groundwork Hudson Valley, a local non-profit, to plant a children’s urban agriculture garden, which echoes the victory gardens planted at the site in the 1940s.

While the original greenhouses could not be saved, a glass-enclosed walkway is planned to connect the main building to an additional structure on the south side of the property. The glass-roofed connector between the buildings will evoke the appearance of the classic Lord and Burnham greenhouses that used to occupy the area where the new addition is being built.

The greenhouse window cranks, coal furnace ash receptacle, a large garden pedestal that once supported a sun dial and the giant granite ball from the main entranceway have all been salvaged and may be displayed on the grounds.

Leibler and Williams are also considering public art installation opportunities. They are attempting to track down some of the graffiti artists whose work once decorated the institute while it was empty.

“This is a unique project for us,” said Leibler, noting that he primarily builds traditional healthcare and retail buildings. “I think it’s important because of the history, because of its proximity to the hospital, what it means to Yonkers, and to be really honest, I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to show the interesting work that our company can do.”

The opening of the main building is planned for late fall.

To watch the building as it undergoes renovation, see the live camera feed here.


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