The Nicotra Group unveils its eleventh property in the South Avenue Corporate Park, with iconic artwork and unique green space design

by Jessica Jones-Gorman

Several years ago, when Lois and Richard Nicotra started discussing plans for the newest office building in their South Avenue Corporate Park, they decided that the three-story, 40,000-square-foot medical complex should be surrounded by art.

“We have always hoped that the people of this borough would remember us for bringing art and flowers to Staten Island,” noted Richard Nicotra. “We want that to be our legacy, and this building is proof.”

Located at 1130 South Avenue at Lois Lane, the steel and concrete structure, designed by Rotwein + Blake, is enhanced by glass, slate, and metal panels, materials which the designers carried over directly into the lobby, decorated with pearlized walls and accent LED lighting as well as five handmade wooden light fixtures imported from Spain.

Outside of the building, the Nicotra Group, along with landscape architect and environmental designer Patrick Weisel of Being Here Design, created a plaza with a fountain, seating areas and several special pieces of iconic art. An abstract steel sculpture titled “Ascension” was commissioned from artist Scott Van Campen of Staten Island MakerSpace, as well as four original pieces titled “Acceleration” that double as a bike rack (to comply with the New York City building codes).

“We saw a similar piece of art at a coffee shop in Portland, Oregon, and immediately knew that we wanted something like that here,” Nicotra said, describing the four red, yellow, green, and blue pieces which appear to be in perpetual motion. “The City tells us we have to have bike racks on the property, but we wanted to create something that was not only functional, but beautiful. Scott Van Campen immediately picked up on the concept and presented us with several sketches. We were extremely happy to use a local artist for this piece.”

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A giant “LOVE” sculpture, also designed by Weisel, rests at the building’s entrance; the Nicotras expressed hope that it will serve as a gathering place for Staten Islanders in both joyous and trying times.

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“We commissioned this signature artwork, which is 10 feet high and almost 40 feet long, to create a communal area,” Nicotra said. “We know that couples will enjoy taking photos next to the sculpture, and during the work week, those who come to the Corporate Park to learn, earn, see their physicians, or celebrate at our Hilton Garden Inn and Hampton Inn & Suites will embrace it. As the song says, love is the only thing that there’s just too little of.”

Adjacent to the building, a seating area, nestled in the woods and walking trails, will connect other Nicotra Group buildings and create a path to the Hilton Garden Inn. (It has been dubbed the “Garden Path,” since it is surrounded by plants and flowers.)

“We just finished planting 30,000 bulbs, so we will have blooms in February and March—a constant flow of flowers and color,” Nicotra said.

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“We now have over $2 million worth of art decorating our Hilton and Hampton properties,” added Lois Nicotra. “We wanted to make both landscaping and art focal points.”

The building will welcome Staten Island University Hospital Northwell Health and Richmond University Medical Center to South Avenue, a thoroughfare that already features more than 25 medical practices.

“My father taught me how to drive on South Avenue when it was just a two-lane dirt road,” Richard Nicotra recalled. “There was nothing here then; it was essentially a dumping ground. To have developed that land into something beautiful and usable for Island residents is something that both Lois and I take great pride in.”

The Nicotras’ next project in development, Corporate Commons Three, is a 240,000-square-foot, six-story office building that will feature an organic roof garden, vineyard, and a new social enterprise eatery, Pienza Pizza, Pasta & Porchetta, from which 100 percent of the profits go to Staten Island charities (mirroring the model at their COMMONS café, which has given away $500,000 in grants and scholarships since the Nicotras opened it in 2011).

1130 South Avenue
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