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Old October 18th, 2012, 04:37 AM   #2441
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Investor group closes on 701 Seventh Avenue, considers hotel for site



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A venture between the Witkoff Group, Maefield Development, Infinity Urban Century–and New Valley, an investment unit of Vector Group–completed the $430 million acquisition of a development site at 701 Seventh Avenue in Times Square, where it plans to build a 340,000-square-foot, 36-story, multi-use complex. Times Square Gateway Center, located between Seventh Avenue and 47th Street, will feature retail space, a hotel tower and the nation’s largest single LED screen for Broadway’s iconic lights and advertising.

Steven Kassin, co-managing partner of Infinity Urban Century, confirmed the amount of the investment to The Commercial Observer.

Barry Sternlicht’s Starwood Property Trust and Starwood Capital Group provided $475 million in combined acquisition and construction financing for the development. The loan will have an initial funding of $375 million with $100 million of future funding for redevelopment costs and also contains an equity participation right for the lender.
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Old October 18th, 2012, 10:51 AM   #2442
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WSJ

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NY REAL ESTATE COMMERCIALOctober 17, 2012, 9:41 p.m. ET

Untangling the Grand Central Snarl


A rendering of a halo-shaped skyway between buildings by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.


A pedestrian halo suspended in the sky between two office towers. An elevated glass walkway with seasonal grasses. A pedestrian plaza with sidewalk cafes and retail. These are a few of the proposals by architects who want to transform Grand Central Terminal from a chaotic beehive back to its former glory as a stately entry point to the city for the many thousands of commuters and tourists who use it each day.

The Department of City Planning has proposed a rezoning of the area around Grand Central, including parts of Park and Madison avenues, to allow for a handful of new office towers, some of which could rival iconic buildings in Shanghai, Dubai and London. As part of the proposed rezoning, some developers would be required to donate to a fund to make infrastructure upgrades in the area, including building additional stairways to access the subway platforms in Grand Central and a pedestrian mall on Vanderbilt Avenue.

But some want to see more ambitious solutions to Grand Central's pedestrian traffic jams, which are only expected to increase with the addition of more office space and new commuter access to the terminal by the Long Island Rail Road. "What's in it for the public?" said Roger Duffy, a design partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, an architecture firm.


A rednering of a High Line-like walkway by WXY Architecture.

The firm was one of three asked by the Municipal Art Society of New York, a nonprofit, to submit proposals about how to redesign public space in the area. The group plans to unveil the submissions at a conference Thursday, which it hopes will influence city planners as they contemplates upgrades to the area. The proposed rezoning is still in the early stages of the public approval process.

"Grand Central itself is our most beloved landmark. It's the center of commercial New York. It's also a neighborhood. But yet, the area over the years, it has become somewhat disconnected and a little lonely at times, particularly in the evening," said Vin Cipolla, president of MAS.

The ideas from the architects have thus far found a receptive audience with the department. "I look forward to seeing the concepts that the MAS teams have put forward and to continuing conversations with the public about critical pedestrian and transit network improvements that can accompany future development in East Midtown," City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden said in a statement.


A rednering of a pedestrian plaza for easier terminal access by Foster + Partners.

The most visually striking proposal, designed by Skidmore Owings, is a halo suspended between two new office buildings that would move up and down. It would give visitors a view of the city from different heights, similar to the London Eye.

The firm says it has consulted with engineers and the proposal is technically feasible, but the bigger challenge would be to ensure that the government and owners of potential new office towers could work together. "That's kind of radical. Currently there's a divide between the public and private," Mr. Duffy said.

The firm of WXY Architecture created a design for an elevated pedestrian walkway on the current Park Avenue Viaduct with a glass bottom and seasonal plantings similar to the High Line. "Our strategy was the dream of the near-future being a lot better," said Claire Weisz, a founding partner at WXY.

Foster + Partners, which designed the Hearst Tower near Columbus Circle, stuck to more incremental changes, such as creating a pedestrian plaza on Vanderbilt Avenue, increasing the heights of the pedestrian tunnels and creating more open, visible entrances to the terminal. "It's one of the most wonderful civic spaces anywhere in the world," said Brandon Haw, a senior partner. "Nonetheless, it is very difficult to navigate."

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Old October 18th, 2012, 11:15 AM   #2443
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That's great news about Times Square, it will become even more dense and full of vivid colour! They also said:

'The $800 million project is expected to be operational within two years and fully complete in three years. An existing eleven-story office building at 701 Seventh Avenue will be partially demolished to make way to the complex.'

Hard to imagine them demolishing a building and finishing this project in 2-3 years.

I'm not sure if that ring walkway looks like a good idea, but will they really build two supertalls flanking grand central station like that?
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Old October 18th, 2012, 04:42 PM   #2444
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The Grand Central proposal is just awful.
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Old October 18th, 2012, 05:18 PM   #2445
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Unveiling Competing Designs for 425 Park, David Levinson Says He Will Not Wait for Midtown Rezoning


Rem Koolhass submission for 425 Park Ave. A/N

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With the choice of four of the world’s greatest architects, how could David Levinson ever settle on just one to build a new tower at 425 Park Avenue?

“That’s my next job, to find three more sites so I can build all these buildings,” Mr. Levinson joked, seated at a conference table inside his sleek white offices on 57th Street on Monday. He was surrounded by renderings and models by Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers, Rem Koolhaas and the winning architect Norman Foster.

“For us, it was really a blend of what’s the right concept for Park Avenue, a place that has not had a new building for almost 50 years, an avenue that is quite possibly the most important commercial boulevard in New York City, quite possibly the United State, and what is the place of a new build down the street from Seagrams and Lever House, two of the greatest buildings ever built,” Mr. Levinson explained. “We had to determine for that setting what’s the right firm. So really, it’s a blend of the concept and the firm we can work with.”


Richard Rogers proposal A/N

Mr. Levinson emphasized that this was not a traditional architecture competition, where he was selecting a design so much as a firm. He acknowledged that Lord Norman Foster had a head start, but as the competition got underway, that choice became harder to make.


The winning design by Foster+Partners sinbadesign

It is a challenging commission since all the firms were given the task of peeling back 75 percent of the current boxy building that sits at 425 Park Avenue, then building back up from the base that remained. This was part of a zoning quirk that were Mr. Levinson to demolition the entire building, he would actually be forced to build something smaller than the current building, about 500,000 square feet compared to 650,000.

Mr. Levinson is eagerly awaiting the Midtown East rezoning, which might remove certain impediments to his project, like a better base to the building, but he also admitted that he does not expect to build an even bigger building, even though the new zoning would allow it, up to 24 FAR, compared to the 18 FAR the building currently has (current zoning only allow 15 FAR, but since the building was built before the zoning was revised in 1961, it is bigger than that).

“We are building a bespoke office building,” Mr. Levinson explained. “I don’t think we need to go much bigger than what we have now. Around Grand Central, bigger might work, but this is the Plaza District, this is a bespoke office building, and I believe this is the right size for us.”


Zaha Hadid proposal A/N
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Old October 18th, 2012, 09:59 PM   #2446
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All the 4 designs are cool
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Old October 19th, 2012, 01:34 AM   #2447
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Grand Central Sky View ROCKS. Hope they build it would be amazing
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Old October 19th, 2012, 01:40 AM   #2448
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The first or second proposal should have been chosen.
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Old October 19th, 2012, 04:06 AM   #2449
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I love, love, love the Rogers proposal for 425 Park. Hadid's is interesting too. The Foster pick is totally forgettable, which seems to be par for the course for New York City lately.
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Old October 19th, 2012, 06:15 AM   #2450
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatOneGuy View Post
The Grand Central proposal is just awful.
I quite like it.











All images: http://mas.org/next-100-proposed-vis...aces-oct-2012/
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Old October 19th, 2012, 05:23 PM   #2451
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"Brookfield Place"

Brookfield To Rename World Financial Center


http://images.metroscenes.com/2012/n...nter_at_night/

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Brookfield Properties will rename the eight million-square-foot office complex it owns in Lower Manhattan several sources familiar with the company’s plans say.

What is known currently as the World Financial Center will become Brookfield Place under the plan, in what appears to be an effort to distance the property’s image as a home predominantly for financial tenants at a time when leasing demand from that sector has been weak.

Brookfield, a large real estate investment trust that owns millions of square feet of commercial space across the U.S. and Canada, is gearing up to lease over two million square feet of space at the complex next year, when Bank of America, Nomura and other tenants are expected leave or downsize.

“It’s not going to happen overnight,” one person briefed on the plan said. “But Brookfield plans to phase in the new name increasingly over time.”

The four buildings, known as One through Four World Financial Center, will be referred to individually by their street addresses going forward, 200 and 225 Liberty Street and 200 and 250 Vesey Street.

[...]

Brookfield has made efforts to increase the desirability of the World Financial Center, investing over $250 million to overhaul the property’s 200,000 square feet of retail space and build a connection in the Winter Garden that will connect to the subterranean pedestrian corridor running east under the World Trade Center site to the Fulton Street subway station.

A spokeswoman at Brookfield did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
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Old October 19th, 2012, 05:28 PM   #2452
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Check Out Cortlandt Way, the New Shopping Street Taking Shape at the WTC



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Until the towers fell, no one particularly loved the World Trade Center. It served as a useful landmark but was otherwise too big, too empty, too cold. Well, except for the underground shopping center, which was one the busiest in the country. Numerous brands had their top-grossing stores at the World Trade Center.

Today, retail may be the least obvious part of the redevelopment of Ground Zero, as the memorial bustles with people, the museum awaits completion and two of the four new towers have already taken their place on the skyline. But shopping will still be an important part of the new World Trade Center, just as it was with the old one.

Today, the Port Authority moved closer to realizing every shopaholic’s dream (and really, how many New Yorkers aren’t shopaholics?) by authorizing construction for Cortlandt Way. An above-ground shopping concourse running along between Towers 3 and 4 where Cortlandt Street would be if it continued onto the site, it will serve as an anchor for the retail throughout the site, including the below-ground portions between and within the towers. The new shops are also seen as a catalyst for retail development throughout Lower Manhattan.

“Cortlandt Way will be a world-class shopping destination for residents of the local neighborhoods and for the millions of visitors who come to the World Trade Center site each year,” Port Authority executive director Pat Foye said in a statement. “It will continue the ongoing restoration of Lower Manhattan’s street life by providing a unique shopping experience in one of the most well-known locations in the world.”

When complete, the project will offer 16,000 square feet of new retail space along Cortlandt Way as well as on parallel Church and Greenwich Streets. It will be operated by Westfield, the Australian-based mall giant that won a contract from the Port for the lucrative retail spaces throughout the site.


WTC Progress

Tower 4 is nearing completion, but the future of Tower 3 remains uncertain as Larry Silverstein still looks for an anchor tenant for the building. As The Commercial Observer recently reported, GroupM is looking at a large enough block of space to get the tower going, but if not, the show must go on.

But because of the complex, interconnected nature of the World Trade Center site, features like the new PATH station and the mall rely on mechanical systems in Towers 2 and 3 to become operational. That is why Mr. Silverstein has promised to build Tower 2 up to street level and Tower 3 up to eight stories. Otherwise, it would hobble the entire site.
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Old October 19th, 2012, 05:49 PM   #2453
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New Baccarat Renders Reveal Subtle Features







Thanks, NewYork YIMBY: http://www.newyorkyimby.com/2012/10/...tel-at-20.html

and SOM: http://www.som.com/local/common/modu...37&ImageIndex=
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 08:25 PM   #2454
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3 new towers in fairly close formation:

image hosted on flickr

IMG_0903 by kz1000ps, on Flickr
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Old October 22nd, 2012, 08:45 PM   #2455
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One57 Oct. 17

image hosted on flickr

IMG_0956 by kz1000ps, on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

IMG_0940 by kz1000ps, on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

IMG_0938 by kz1000ps, on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

IMG_0862 by kz1000ps, on Flickr
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 12:36 AM   #2456
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Couple of quick notes...

This St. Vincents Hospital conversion into condos is well underway and the entire building is covered with scaffolding. Rendering...



There was an article on Curbed about two new Kauffman and McSam hotels on Canal and Hudson, there's now equipment on site, including equipment on site at a property across the street that's unrelated, that will probably be apartments. There are some very new, very expensive apartment buildings within spitting distance of that site though.

There's also something called "Hotel Soho" not surprisingly not in Soho, but on Greenwich and Vandam that's U/C with concrete pouring well underway.

Demolition is in full swing at the corner of 12th and 8th Ave of an old gas station, no idea what'll be built there, probably apartments.

All this makes me think I should get a camera so I can photograph my wanderings and all the random construction sites I stumble on.

Edit, one of my favorite low rises coming on line.

Taconic, Thor break ground at West Village commercial building


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Old October 23rd, 2012, 03:04 AM   #2457
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113 Nassau, a 30 story residential tower is rising at Nassau and Ann St:


http://tribecacitizen.com/2012/10/20...federal-plaza/


http://tribecacitizen.com/2012/07/02...sau-rendering/
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 09:56 AM   #2458
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertpunk
3 new towers in fairly close formation:


IMG_0903 by kz1000ps, on Flickr
I know why i love NYC
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 06:39 PM   #2459
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More Details About 701 Seventh Ave.



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The joint-venture mega-deal to transform 701 Seventh Ave. is of cyclopean complexity even by Manhattan real-estate standards, involving a half-dozen companies on the investment side plus a $475 million loan from Starwood Capital. Now Steve Kassin, co-managing partner of investment partner Infinity Urban Century, has spelled out for us more specifics.

Although the completed project will be as-of-right, the developers will retain about 25 percent of the larger of the two structures to exploit grandfathered zoning rules relating to retail and signage requirements. That will allow installation of the world’s largest LED sign to wrap around the 47th Street corner, replacing six smaller signs there now. The small building adjacent to the corner, 165 W. 47th St., is part of the package and will be demolished.

Construction should begin in the first half of 2013. The five-story retail base will include a 30,000-square-foot, “Vegas-esque” entertainment/dining venue “specifically built for the traffic that Times Square attracts.” A 500-room hotel is to rise above it and be completed in 2015.

All existing office and retail tenants have signed “irrevocable” lease-termination agreements. That means that in a few months, longtime tourist fixtures will all be gone: among them Tad’s Steaks, Sbarro and Pig & Whistle.

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Old October 23rd, 2012, 06:53 PM   #2460
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Whitney MePa Webcam Up

See here: http://whitney.org/About/NewBuilding/Earthcam


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