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Old July 1st, 2006, 12:56 AM   #261
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http://www.downtownexpress.com/de-16...owerriles.html

Volume 19 • Issue 6 | June 30 - July 6, 2006

Tribeca tower riles residents

By Ronda Kaysen

New York Law School might be full of well, lawyers, but it’s their neighbors that are jonesing for a legal fight.

The Tribeca school put its four-story Mendik Library on the market a year ago, promising prospective buyers they could build a limitless skyscraper in the low-rise neighborhood. With the demolition of the library underway and the school 30 to 60 days away from a sale, according to their selling agent, some Leonard St. neighbors are figuring out how to keep a new structure from towering above their neighborhood.

“Putting a glass tower there would wreck the neighborhood,” said Dr. Antonio Convit, a Leonard St. resident. “It’s going to completely change the flavor of the neighborhood.”

Although the sleepy, low-rise neighborhood was re-zoned in 1995, capping buildings at 120 feet, the law school property at Church and Leonard Sts. was carved out of the zoning map. A developer could build a 306,000 sq. ft. residential structure on the 12,500 sq. ft. parcel, realtors for the law school said last year. Some residents estimate that could translate to a 50-story tower.

“Technically it can be [that tall]. That’s the problem,” said Madelyn Wils, the former chairperson of Community Board 1 and one of the Tribeca residents leading the effort to curb the building’s height. “Other than it being a hideous addition to the Tribeca community, you create all these other issues… Do you need to create a whole school just for that building?”

Residents plan to paper the neighborhood with leaflets about the planned tower, giving out phone numbers of the law school and community board office. Convit and a group of neighbors, under the umbrella of the neighborhood organization, the Family Association of Tribeca East, also plan to begin raising funds for legal counsel.

Tribeca residents have little clear information to go on. The school has been quiet about all details surrounding the sale. Alta Garcia Levat, a spokesperson for the school, referred all comments to Studley, the school’s selling agent. In turn, Studley executive managing director Howard Nottingham told Downtown Express that he was bound by a confidentiality agreement with New York Law and could not elaborate on any details of the sale. “I would love to be able to tell you everything, but I can’t tell you anything,” he said.

Residents will have to wait until the buyer comes forward with his plans, which will happen “in short order,” said Nottingham, perhaps in 30 to 60 days. “People should deal with reality opposed to speculation, whatever the reality is,” he said.

Nottingham suspects that “much of the speculation” about the building’s scale “may be wrong.” However, he declined to estimate what the height of the new building would be. “I do not know the answer to that question, and I’m not sure that the buyer knows how big the building is going to be. It’s a complex site.”

Not everyone in the community is convinced that mounting a campaign to influence the development is worth the effort. Several Leonard St. residents, including Wils and Convit, turned out at a recent C.B.1 meeting to plead their case. Board members were skeptical anyone could stop a developer from building a tower on property that is zoned for a tower.

“The building is as of right, there is very little we can do,” said C.B. 1 chairperson Julie Menin at the meeting, referring to the zoning law that permits a developer to build a large tower on the site. “We didn’t want a 75-story tower on Beekman St., but it was as of right and there wasn’t much we could do.”

Wils challenged Menin’s comparison, saying, “Julie, with all due respect, we got a school in exchange for the Beekman St. tower. We would have negotiated a lower building if we hadn’t have gotten that.”

Developer Bruce Ratner will soon begin construction on a Frank Gehry-designed tower on Beekman and Nassau Sts. C.B. 1, under Wils’ leadership, and local elected officials negotiated a 600-seat K-8 school inside the tower and did not fight for a smaller building.

In some respects, the law school tower is just one of many. Lower Manhattan is facing unprecedented development, with new residential buildings rising at a rapid fire pace—the neighborhood expects 13,000 new units of residential housing in the next five years. C.B. 1, a voluntary board with three paid staff members, is currently keeping its eye on several developments, including a proposal to rezone a swath of the North Tribeca waterfront to make way for a residential tower.

“There’s so much development pressure throughout the district, there are so many sites in play. Any site that’s not built on is a potential development site,” said C.B. 1 district manager Paul Goldstein.

The growing frustration with New York Law School has gotten the attention of City Councilmember Alan Gerson who says lowering the height on the building is a number one priority for him. “Being as of right is not the end of the discussion, but obviously it has a significant bearing on the outcome of the discussion,” he said. “We’ll have to be more creative in coming up with ways of influencing them.”

The Law School has gotten some help from the city since it put the property on the market. Late last year, the city awarded the school $145 million in triple tax-free bonds to build a new, five-story library at 40 and 54 Leonard St. Because of the financing, the school will be able to funnel the proceeds from the sale of the Mendik library — as much as $122 million — to its endowment.

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Old July 1st, 2006, 01:22 AM   #262
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Crane Operators Threaten Strike at Many Construction Sites
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By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
Published: June 30, 2006

The union representing most of the city's crane operators is threatening to strike tomorrow in a move that could shut down most of the city's major construction sites.

Building industry officials said that if the International Union of Operating Engineers struck, it would be hard for other construction unions to continue work at most sites because the engineers' union does such crucial work, controlling the cranes that carry building materials.

"A strike would affect more than 1,000 sites," said Christopher O. Ward, managing director of the General Contractors Association of Greater New York, which represents 150 construction contractors. "It could range from very important public projects, like the foundation of the Freedom Tower, to small roads and bridge jobs."

Talks broke down yesterday between the contractors association and the operating engineers' union, which represents more than 2,600 workers who operate cranes, backhoes, compressors and drilling rigs that dig to help prepare for footings and foundations.

Mr. Ward said the main sticking point was the contractors' demand to increase productivity by reducing what some industry officials say are jobs that require almost no work, like engineers who do little more than turn on a compressor in the morning and shut it off in the afternoon.

One of the union's main concerns was that there be an adequate retraining program for any workers whose jobs are phased out.

James. T. Callahan, president of Local 15 of the operating engineers, said in a statement that his union was offering to sign interim agreements with contractors to prevent work from stopping at several especially important projects, like the World Trade Center site and Water Tunnel No. 3, which will help supply the city's drinking water and is expected to be complete in 2020. Such interim agreements would allow these high-visibility projects to continue and would provide work for at least some of the union's members.

Mr. Callahan did not return calls requesting an interview.

Mr. Ward said the contractors association and its individual members would decide whether to sign interim agreements.

The General Contractors Association has already reached contract agreements with seven unions, including the carpenters, but has not yet reached agreement with three unions: the operating engineers, the Teamsters and the underground construction workers known as sandhogs.

Mr. Ward said the association had offered the operating engineers a five-year contract with raises of 6 percent every year. The basic pay scale for union members is $72.03 an hour to $82.65 an hour, he said.

"For those people where technology has taken the place of their jobs, it is our hope that we can retrain them and bring increased productivity to the workplace," Mr. Ward said.
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Old July 1st, 2006, 12:23 PM   #263
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do not strike. Build!
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Old July 1st, 2006, 09:59 PM   #264
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The 2010 video has been released, but don't get too excited because it has NOTHIN' that we don't already know.
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Old July 2nd, 2006, 09:24 AM   #265
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Polo
do not strike. Build!

Too late... they are on strike.


Strike Halts City's Biggest Construction Jobs


By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
July 2, 2006

Large construction sites throughout New York City, including the Freedom Tower at ground zero, were shut down yesterday after the union that runs the building cranes began a strike.

The International Union of Operating Engineers, whose members operate the cranes that carry building materials, informed the city's building contractors on Friday that its members would go on strike as of 12:01 a.m. yesterday.

Upon learning that, the General Contractors Association of Greater New York told its 150 members that they should not even try to operate their construction sites because the operating engineers are such a crucial union.

"It's safe to say the strike will affect hundreds of construction sites over the weekend," said Christopher O. Ward, the managing director of the contractors association.

Besides foundation work for the Freedom Tower, the strike also shut down construction of Water Tunnel No. 3, a huge underground project that will bring additional drinking water to the city and is expected to be complete in 2020.

Mr. Ward said the industry hoped to reach an agreement before Wednesday so work could resume normally after July 4.

The contract for the operating engineers expired yesterday morning, as did one for the Teamsters, who deliver building materials. Seven other building trades unions have signed contracts, but industry officials say it is hard to continue construction when the crane operators and truck drivers who deliver and carry building materials are on strike.

Negotiations with the contractors association were last held on Wednesday. Mr. Ward said that on Friday the operating engineers rejected the contractors' latest offer.

But officials with the operating engineers said they made a counteroffer on Friday and had not yet heard back from the contractors association.

"We're on strike," said Joseph D. McCann, special counsel to Local 15 of the operating engineers. More than 2,000 operating engineers are on strike, and the resulting citywide construction shutdown involves tens of thousands of workers, when members of other unions are included.

The main issue is the contractors' demand for productivity increases. Management officials say too many operating engineers do little work, asserting that many do little more than turn on and off lights and compressors.

Officials with the operating engineers insist that they agreed to some concessions on reducing staff, but are not ready to go as far as the contractors have demanded.


Last Thursday, James. T. Callahan, president of Local 15, offered to sign interim agreements with contractors to allow work to continue at several of the largest, most important projects, like the Freedom Tower site.

But Mr. Ward said the industry did not want to sign piecemeal, interim agreements, saying it instead wanted a citywide collective bargaining agreement.

He said that the basic pay scale for operating engineers was $72.03 an hour to $82.65 an hour. Management, he said, has offered a five-year contract with raises of 6 percent a year.

"We've offered a 30 percent raise over five years, and no one loses their job, and we're committed to retraining anyone who needs retraining," Mr. Ward said.


Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
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Old July 3rd, 2006, 03:13 AM   #266
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'CRANE' DELAY AT FREEDOM TOWER



STRIKE TALK: Angry workers hold protest at Ground
Zero.



By HEIDI SINGER
July 2, 2006

Work stopped on the foundation of the long-delayed Freedom Tower yesterday after a labor dispute sent crane operators into an apparent strike.

Spokesmen for the union representing heavy-equipment operators refused to confirm or deny that they called a strike after talks with contractors broke down Thursday and the deadline for negotiations expired at midnight Friday.

But contractors said they canceled work yesterday in anticipation of a strike, and workers didn't show up at about 100 public construction sites around the city.

Workers were scheduled to show up at the World Trade Center site yesterday, but nobody appeared, said Richard Kielar, spokesman for Tishman Construction, which is managing the project.

"I don't think anyone has assessed a dollar amount yet, but every day they don't work is a day lost on the project," he said.

The International Union of Operating Engineers is negotiating with the General Contractors Association of Greater New York over wages and the role of heavy-equipment operators, whose jobs are being overtaken by technology.

Operating engineers, who handle big equipment like cranes, drilling rigs and backhoes, make up to $82 an hour and rejected an offer of 6 percent annual increases over five years and retraining for some workers, said Chris Ward of the contractors association.

More than 3,000 workers and at least 1,000 public projects - like City Water Tunnel No. 3 - could be impacted.

Union president James Callahan said Friday he had signed temporary agreements with some contractors, including at the trade center site, to allow work to continue.

The company currently working on the Freedom Tower's foundation, LaQuilla Construction, initially talked to the union about staying on the job but ultimately decided not to break ranks with other contractors, said Kielar.

Talks are expected to pick up Wednesday - the same day negotiators in an impending school bus-driver strike will return to the table.

When special-needs kids return to school tomorrow, drivers will be on the job, even though their contract expired at midnight yesterday, said Steve Mangione of Local 1181 of the ATU. With Post Wire Services


Copyright 2006 NYP Holdings, Inc.
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Old July 3rd, 2006, 04:27 AM   #267
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Rentals rebounding as market changes
Condos cooling; projects are viable in subprime areas


By Julie Satow
Published on July 03, 2006

Condominiums have been the darling of the development community, but after a five-year drought, builders are beginning to court the rental market.

The Stamford, a residential development on East 120th Street, shows the change in attitude. The six-story building overlooking the East River will be marketed as a luxury rental when it opens its doors next week; only two months ago, the developers intended to sell the apartments as condos.

Conditions are beginning to favor rental properties. While the prices of condos are cooling, monthly rents at prime buildings have shot up to as much as $65 a square foot from $45 in the past six months and vacancies have dropped to near zero. Lenders are starting to eye rental developments rather than condos, and the first signs are emerging that land prices are falling.

"The rental market is on fire, and hotels and condos may no longer be the highest and best use for some development sites," says Andrew Heiberger, chief executive of Buttonwood Real Estate, a developer that is looking to build a rental project.

Overall, market-rate rents have increased 5% to 7% since January, while the vacancy rate has been nearly halved to 0.43%, according to brokerage firm Citi Habitats Inc.

"We anticipate that rents will continue to rise as we enter the peak season and inventory levels continue to fall," says Gary Malin, Citi Habitats' chief operating officer.

It's also becoming easier to get construction loans for rental projects. "The capital markets are more resistant to investing in condominiums and much more interested in rental projects," says Steven Kohn, president of Sonnenblick-Goldman Co.

Rental projects could be helped along by softening land prices, particularly in the outer boroughs and marginal neighborhoods. In Brooklyn, for example, land that would have cost $225 a buildable square foot six months ago is now selling for $190 to $200 a buildable square foot, say brokers.

"It is close to the end of the condo cycle, and we think rental prices are going to increase," says David Schwartz, a principal at Rush Brook Partners, who has two sites under contract in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that he wants to develop as rentals.


Cheaper land


Last week, a joint venture of Dermot Co. and Equity Residential announced plans for two 18-story rental towers to be built on platforms over the entrance and exit ramps of the Lincoln Tunnel.

"Recently, we have seen land prices soften, making rentals look a little better," says Stephen Benjamin, a principal at Dermot.

But unless land prices and costs fall precipitously, rental development will be limited to marginal neighborhoods. In Manhattan, land often goes for $400 a square foot, while construction costs rose nearly 8% so far this year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

"It is true that the rental market is strong and the vacancy rate is down, but rental buildings are still not feasible because land prices and construction costs are still so high," says Gary Jacob, an executive vice president at rental developer Glenwood Management.

Some developers are hedging their bets, building both rental and condo units. "Buildings with rentals and condos are definitely a trend," says Michelle Kleier, president of real estate broker Gumley Haft Kleier.

At 101 Warren St. in TriBeCa, Edward J. Minskoff Equities is building a 35-story tower that will have 228 condos and 163 rentals. The Related Companies' 1 Carnegie Hill at 215 E. 96th St. is split, with condos from the top to the 23rd floor and rentals below. At 200 Beekman St., developer Bruce Ratner is building a 75-story skyscraper that will also have both.

"The market is beginning to shift, because there are not as many condominium buyers and the banks that give construction loans for condominiums are gone," says Adam Rose, president of building manager Rose Associates Inc. "It is a good time to be a rental developer."


©2006 Crain Communications Inc.
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Old July 3rd, 2006, 04:29 PM   #268
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'HOME WORK' SOARS IN CITY



NEW YORK STORIES: The city issued 515 percent
more residential building permits in 2005 than it did
a decade earlier.



By RICH CALDER
July 3, 2006

The Big Apple's residential building boom is reaching historic proportions, with developers last year planning five times more private housing units citywide than a decade ago.

The city issued building permits for 31,599 new residential units - up 25 percent from 2004, 87 percent from 2001 and 515 percent from the paltry 5,135 units constructed in 1995, a Post analysis of census data found.

The neighborhoods seeing the greatest growth in New York's biggest real-estate boom since the 1960s are Manhattan's Chelsea-Clinton area, Greenpoint and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, and the Rockaways in Queens.

"I think people are amazed at how the city bounced back after 9/11," said Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York, who attributed the housing boom to low interest rates and city streets becoming cleaner and safer.

And there's no end in sight.

The New York Building Congress, a trade organization, estimates that another 30,000 new housing units will be built in the city each year from 2006 through 2008. Census data examined for the first three months of this year supports the group's claim.

"There's unprecedented confidence in our city's future," Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff said. "People see it's safer, the educational system is improving, there's a record number of jobs being filled, and it encourages investment."

City officials said a driving factor is that at least 30,000 new housing units are expected to be built through rezoning plans approved last year aimed at generating more residential growth in West Chelsea and Hudson Yards in Manhattan, Downtown Brooklyn and Greenpoint.

About two-thirds of new housing built citywide in 2005 was crammed into large developments totaling five or more units.

Some community groups in neighborhoods like Bensonhurst and Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn complain they are under siege by predatory developers who buy one- and two-family homes and replace them with luxury high-rise buildings.

But Doctoroff said the city is addressing this fear "at a furious pace," adding it already "downzoned" more than 40 areas in the past four years where residential growth was deemed "inappropriate."

Brooklyn led all boroughs last year in residential development. There were permits filed for 9,028 new housing units in Brooklyn. Manhattan was second with 8,493 units followed by Queens (7,269), The Bronx (4,937) and Staten Island (1,872).

Richard Anderson, president of the building congress, estimated that citywide, construction spending would reach $21 billion this year and $22 billion in 2007 - up from last year's record-breaking $19 million.

At least $5 billion of the anticipated construction spending for 2006 is residential, which Anderson said is seven times higher than 1994.

Spinola said someone could buy a house just about anywhere in New York City and expect increased real-estate values.

Jonathan Gaska, district manager of Queens Community Board 14, agreed, saying people are now discovering the Rockaways "because there's nowhere else to build in Queens, and Manhattan's too expensive."

"In the past five years here, we've had hundreds of two- and three-family homes go up," said Gaska, adding that at least 3,000 new oceanfront housing units are slated for long-neglected parts along the peninsula through urban renewal projects.


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Old July 3rd, 2006, 04:30 PM   #269
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Once Again, the Boss Is In at the New York Office





By PATRICK McGEEHAN
July 3, 2006

For the last half of the 20th century, New York City's status as the national capital of business steadily eroded as companies fled to the suburbs and to other cities where costs were lower and the streets safer.

But in the last several years, New York has regained its magnetic force and is re-establishing its claim as the city of big bosses. If decision-making were an industry, it would be one of the main engines driving New York's economy.

The number of corporate headquarters and subsidiaries in Manhattan has more than doubled since 1990, according to the federal Department of Labor. In the last few years, the number of Fortune 500 companies based in the city has been inching upward, reversing a long, steep decline that accelerated during the financial crisis of the early 1970's.

But those new arrivals are not the monolithic corporate headquarters of the past, packed with thousands of middle managers and supporting personnel. They have been pared to hold only those people whose presence in the high-priced corridors of New York is considered essential.

That evolution has been made possible by technological advances that allow corporate generals to stay in touch with their troops from afar. The bosses can network face to face with their peers in the hub of the financial, legal and communications industries, while keeping the rank and file in less expensive quarters in suburbs or other cities.


The trend is a turnabout from the urban exodus that the sociologist William H. Whyte denounced in 1976 when he railed against the "move-outs" by dozens of companies, including General Electric and PepsiCo. The chief executives of Alcoa, Federated Department Stores and CIT Group have all set up offices for themselves in Manhattan in the past few years, while leaving the bulk of their administrative operations elsewhere.

More corporate leaders have come to believe that "they need to be in a global city," said Kathryn S. Wylde, the chief executive of the New York City Partnership, a business consortium.

"They can't afford to be in the boondocks," she said.

And with the pay of senior executives rising rapidly, they can afford to pay New York rents, restaurant tabs and private-school tuitions.

Indeed, the city's surveys have shown that the personal preference of the chief executive is one of the most important factors in determining whether a company moves to or from New York, according to Daniel L. Doctoroff, the deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding.

The Bloomberg administration has courted chief executives to move to the city, in the hope that they will eventually bring large numbers of jobs with them, Mr. Doctoroff said. But luring chief executives no longer guarantees big additions to local payrolls and tax revenues. Some of the new arrivals came without receiving any tax incentives, which are usually reserved for attracting or retaining large numbers of jobs.

In contrast, when Goldman Sachs threatened last year to cancel plans to build a new headquarters in Lower Manhattan to house 9,000 employees, the city and state promised at least $150 million in tax breaks to persuade it to stay.

"We are a headquarters city," Mr. Doctoroff said, adding that the city had not lost the headquarters of any big corporations in five years. "Our ability to continue to make that claim is dependent on forward movement and success in attracting more C.E.O.'s."

Michael L. Dolfman, the regional commissioner of labor statistics, said that the number of company head offices in Manhattan has risen at a fast pace since the last major recession in New York.

The category of corporate, subsidiary and regional managing offices, which Mr. Dolfman said comprised stand-alone bases of operations for corporate enterprises, grew to 602 last year from 274 in 1990, adding more than 12,000 jobs.

In New York, he said, corporate management is an industry unto itself — and a lucrative one.

The average annual salary of the people working in those head offices jumped during the past 15 years, to about $160,000 from about $64,000, Mr. Dolfman said. But the average number of jobs in those head offices declined to 78 from 127.

"You don't see a great increase in the number of jobs," Ms. Wylde said. "You see a great increase in the average salary."

Alcoa, the giant aluminum producer, and Federated, which owns the Macy's and Bloomingdale's retail chains, are prime examples of the new form of disembodied head offices, economic development officials said. In each case, the establishment of headquarters in New York was somewhat stealthy, in part because of the political sensitivities and threats to morale that surround any corporation's move from its historical hometown.

Alain J. P. Belda set up his office on Park Avenue shortly after he became Alcoa's chairman and chief executive in 2001. He and about 50 other executives and their assistants operate from space in the Lever House building, where their presence is unmarked: no Alcoa signs or logos are visible outside the building.

Back in Pittsburgh, about 2,000 people work in the Alcoa Corporate Center, a six-story landmark that was completed in 1998. Many Alcoa shareholders may well have believed that the building was the company's headquarters; only in the spring of this year did the company acknowledge for the first time in its annual report that the head office had moved to New York after a half-century in Pittsburgh.

"In some sense, it's almost a relic to talk about the corporate headquarters," said Jake Siewert, a vice president at Alcoa. He said that the company's senior executives were frequently on the move and "do deals all over the world."

Mr. Belda, the chief executive, could not be reached for comment for this article. But in a speech to the New York City Business Summit, he explained the benefits of having the company's top-ranking executives in close proximity to their peers.

"We need access to the best and the brightest," Mr. Belda said. "We need it when we need it, not a week from today when they can lose a whole day to come and meet with us in Pittsburgh. We need them for breakfast meetings, for just a five-minute break, when the idea or the need comes. We need it every day."

Alcoa appeared on the Fortune 500 list as a New York-based company for the first time this year, as did CIT Group, a financial company that was based in Livingston, N.J., before it built a flashy high-rise on Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street.

Jeffrey M. Peek, who has been CIT's chief executive for two years, lives on Park Avenue and is treasurer of the New York City Ballet. Mr. Peek declined to comment for this article, but when CIT opened its new building in late April, he said, "The opening of our global headquarters in the financial capital of the world will establish a global footprint from which CIT can better serve our clients." The company kept its Livingston campus, which it calls its "corporate center."

The Fortune list, by definition, captures activity only among the very largest corporations — and not even all of those. Because Federated puts a Cincinnati address first on its financial reports, the magazine still lists it among Ohio-based companies, even though its chief executive, Terry J. Lundgren, has his office in the Macy's building on Herald Square.

Even without credit for Federated, New York dominates the list compiled by Fortune, which ranks the biggest American companies by revenues. This year, the magazine said that 44 of them had headquarters in New York City, up from a recent low of 40 in 2002. (Houston, with 23, ranked second as a home for the Fortune 500.)

Among the recent immigrants that escaped Fortune's attention is Weight Watchers International. The company moved its headquarters to the Flatiron district from Woodbury on Long Island last summer, to be closer to the firms that provide professional services to it, and "to draw from a wider pool of talent," said Meredith Shepherd, a senior vice president.

"It just makes for closer relationships and more synergy," Ms. Shepherd said. She added that the company "has benefited from the energy and the pace the city has to offer."

Linda Huett, the chief executive of Weight Watchers International, also changed her residence to Manhattan, a company spokeswoman said.

Peter J. Solomon, a veteran investment banker who was the city's deputy mayor for economic policy and development in the late 1970's, cited several reasons for New York's renewed appeal to chief executives.

"One is it's fun," he said. "People enjoy being here. It's totally different than the 1970's."

Mr. Solomon recalled those days when city officials spent much of their time fretting over the prospect of another company announcing a move to White Plains or Greenwich, Conn. "We were desperately worried about losing brand names," he said.

Felix G. Rohatyn, another financier who worked to keep the city solvent back then, recalled how Paul Moore Jr., the Episcopal bishop of New York, stood in the pulpit of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine "pleading with C.E.O.'s not to leave the city."

During the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations, Mr. Rohatyn said, "the reputation of the city and city government has really improved so dramatically" with business leaders.

"There's kind of a fraternity of C.E.O.'s," he said, "who think of themselves rightly or wrongly as the keepers of fiscal sanity."

Mr. Rohatyn and Mr. Solomon said the comings and goings of chief executives and their corporate offices did not carry the weight they once did because the economy was so much healthier now and because the rank and file of many companies no longer went with the chief executive.

"What would be awful would be if Goldman Sachs decided to put their headquarters in New Jersey," and shift hundreds or thousands of highly paid investment bankers and traders out of the city, Mr. Solomon said.



C.E.O.'s now in Manhattan include
Linda Huett of Weight Watchers
International, top, and Jeffrey M.
Peek of CIT Group.




Alain J. P. Belda of Alcoa, top,
and Terry J. Lundgren of
Federated Department Stores are
also located in Manhattan.



Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
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Old July 3rd, 2006, 08:01 PM   #270
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Hotel-condos grow in city


By Emma Johnson
July 2006

For some Manhattan luxury real estate buyers, half a year is better than none.

The buyers are investors in hotel-condos, a real estate product that combines the flexibility of ownership with the branding of some of New York's top hotels. Popular in the rest of the country, hotel-condos are just starting to pop up in New York in significant numbers for the first time.

Unlike simple converted condominiums -- which owners can use as they please -- hotel-condo units are fully furnished units that can be used by their owners for up to 180 days and nights per year in most cases. The plus is that the owners can invest in real estate while having access to luxurious hotel amenities like a spa, gym, room and personal butler services.

The remaining time, the units' owners return the rooms to a rentable pool run by the hotel. As the units are rented out, the owners receive a split of the income.

Two such projects were announced last month, with Donald Trump -- among the first developers to do a hotel-condo in New York -- submitting plans to build a 45-story high-rise at 246 Spring Street, which Trump says will be the tallest building in Soho. A new project was also announced for 12-18 West 55th Street, by Lincoln Property Company of Dallas.

The 55th Street project is right next to the St. Regis New York, which is also selling hotel-condos. In March, the St. Regis offered 24 condos on two floors as part of its hotel-condo program.

These units are priced at $1.7 million to $7.3 million -- for sizes ranging from 450 square feet to 1,550 square feet (hotel-condos typically run larger than the average hotel room).

In addition to the more than $3,000-per-square-foot purchase prices, the units come with pricey monthly fees of $2,900 to $10,400. An additional two floors of 22 suites are offered through a fractional share program.

About 30 percent had been sold at press time.

Lori Ordover, senior managing director for Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, which is marketing the St. Regis and the Trump SoHo Hotel Condominiums New York, said that hotels with condominiums started appearing on the market more frequently following a 2002 federal law change classifying hotel-condos as real estate as opposed to securities.

The revised classification offered a viable way to distribute profits to owners, Ordover said. In addition, Ordover points out that hotel-condos are "attractive to developers as a financing tool."

In New York, the city's first foray into successful hotel-condos was considered 1998's Trump International Hotel and Tower at One Central Park West. Also in the Columbus Circle neighborhood is the Mandarin Oriental at the new Time Warner Center, which is considered the most luxurious.

Brenda Powers, a Brown Harris Stevens broker who herself owns a Mandarin Oriental hotel-condo, said she is seeing an increase of interest from people who live in the hurricane-afflicted Gulf Coast region as well as from corporations looking to pamper their top executives while investing in real estate.

Ordover said other new projects in the works include a 70-room boutique development on 45th Street, as well as another project on Fifth Avenue.

The Plaza Hotel is also selling hotel-condos.

The post-renovation Plaza will include 152 hotel-condos, which were expected to hit the market by July 1. Unlike the common ownership use cap of 180 days and nights per year, the Plaza's is set at just 120 nights per year.

While those buying into the concept in New York seem to embrace these policies, a few social and economic barriers got in the way of this trend getting off its feet here. The booming residential real estate market ate up a lot of existing hotels by way of conversions, said Julius Schwarz, executive vice president at the Bayrock Group, which is the managing partner for the Trump SoHo project.

"There have been a plethora of residential properties coming on the market and a lot of conversions," he said, adding that, in a red-hot real estate market, no one felt the need to try out a product that "had not been tested in New York."

These tides have shifted in part because of a booming lodging market in the city and a weak dollar internationally. On a broader scale, baby boomers are retiring and buying second and third homes, and interest in real estate as an investment remains strong, Ordover said.

When it comes to the market for hotel-condos, Fernanda Forman, St. Regis' director of residence marketing, said that the project is attracting international customers familiar with the hotel's brand.

By contrast, Schwarz said that he projects interest from buyers living in the tri-state area who work frequently in Manhattan.

"The average buyer might live in the tri-state area, but comes to city on business quite a bit and needs a place to stay when they're here," Schwarz said, adding that people "like to say they own an apartment in New York."

The Trump project in Soho will have 400 hotel-condo rooms and suites, a spa and a high-end restaurant. The project, located on the edge of Soho three blocks from the Holland Tunnel, could begin construction this year pending approvals. The Sapir Organization is also partnering with Trump in the development in addition to Bayrock.

While it is possible to secure a mortgage for hotel-condos, industry sources interviewed said that most buyers purchase these luxury properties outright. As far as income, legally, sales agents are forbidden to discuss possible returns on those days when the owner is not residing at the property. However, the hotel can discuss its average nightly fee and its occupancy rate based on industry-wide research.

Unsurprisingly for business people working in this segment of the industry, the sources interviewed expect the hotel-condo trend to accelerate -- for New York and other major metropolitan hubs.

"We live in such a fast-paced rhythm of life, it's crazy," Powers said. But with a hotel-condo, "you just travel with a bag and you're fine. It's the most convenient way of traveling in luxury 24 hours a day."


Copyright © 2003-2005 The Real Deal
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Old July 6th, 2006, 04:57 PM   #271
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Down by the Boardwalk, a $1 Billion Revival Plan



Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs on the corner of Stillwell Avenue and Surf on Coney Island.


By CHARLES V. BAGLI
July 4, 2006

Joey Coney Island is making a stand at the corner of Stillwell and Surf Avenues, amid the fortune tellers, the freak shows, the bumper cars and the Boardwalk.

It is here that Joey, better known in the business world as Joseph J. Sitt, chairman of Thor Equities, unfurls his grand $1 billion plan to revive what is left of Coney Island's historic amusement district.

There are drawings of high-tech arcades, a glass-enclosed water park, hotels, restaurants and waterfront condominiums. He describes an entertainment complex that features the most far out, "over the top" attractions, from an indoor ski hill and a giant Ferris wheel to a dirigible and helicopter landing station atop a tower.

"I view Coney Island as a national and international treasure," said Mr. Sitt, 41, who lives only blocks away. "The trick is to create a venue that will entertain families and young adults. My mission is to create a one-stop amusement complex that would have great rides and interesting retail."

Like any carny barker's patter, Mr. Sitt's dreams for Coney Island can sound far-fetched. He is at least 18 months away from construction and needs city approval for some elements of his plan, including a proposal to build luxury apartments in the amusement district.

But unlike previous promoters, Mr. Sitt has spent more than $100 million buying property here. He has the deep pockets to develop the project, and at least for now, some support from city officials, local politicians, the community board and old-timers on the Boardwalk.

"There'll be a lot of debates, no doubt," said Chuck Reichenthal, the longtime district manager of Community Board 13, which covers Coney Island. "But everybody is looking forward to things happening that can help the community and the amusement district."

Mr. Sitt, whose company buys and develops commercial, residential and retail properties nationwide, grew up nearby, frequently ducking out of school to hang out at the amusement parks, earning him the nickname Joey Coney Island.

Despite the beaches that still draw millions of visitors on summer weekends and a minor league ballpark that attracts sell-out crowds, Coney Island does not look like a treasure. It can be ghostly quiet in the winter. The amusement district has shrunk. There are many empty storefronts along Surf Avenue, which parallels the waterfront, and vacant lots covered in weeds.

The heyday of Coney Island dates back to the first half of the last century, when it was the most popular resort in the country. The subways brought visitors by the millions to Steeplechase and Luna Parks, as well as the beaches, restaurants and hotels. The area fell into decline after World War II. Since then, developers have periodically presented plans for a revival, or a gambling hub, that have quickly disappeared.

The Bloomberg administration, however, has focused on Coney Island, completing a $240 million renovation of the Stillwell Avenue subway terminal and committing $83.2 million for neighborhood improvements, including new parking, a community center and a facelift for Surf and Mermaid Avenues. Residential developers have moved in, driving up land prices.

And the Coney Island Development Corporation has spent several years devising a zoning plan to preserve and expand the amusement district, while encouraging new apartments houses and stores nearby. The corporation expects to put the plan through the city's approval process this fall.

With a residential building boom on the city's waterfront, Mr. Sitt began buying property in Coney Island three years ago, much of it, he said, from the descendants of Nathan Handwerker, who founded the Nathan's Famous hot dog stand, and George C. Tilyou, whose Steeplechase Park was a prime Coney Island attraction from 1897 to 1964.

Mr. Sitt is now focused on more than four blocks south of Surf Avenue, from 12th to 15th Streets. After complaints from residents and city officials, he scrapped earlier plans for an indoor mall with warehouse-style stores and a theater for Cirque du Soleil in favor of designs that are more open to the neighborhood and in line with Coney Island.

"Too Bellagio," Mr. Reichenthal said, referring to the Las Vegas resort.

Nathan's would remain in place. But Mr. Sitt plans to replace the bumper boats and go-cart track with a year-round water park on the east side of Stillwell Avenue that would be connected to a family-oriented, S-shaped hotel, which would include apartments and time-share units.

On the west side of Stillwell, there would be a second, more luxurious, 500-room hotel and a condominium tower on the Boardwalk. Plans call for a dramatic entrance to the complex. The towers, ranging from more than 20 stories to more than 30 stories, would sit atop a shopping center, a modern game arcade and a multiplex theater.


"Our approach to regenerating Coney Island amusements is to make them an integral part of an authentic urban district," said Mr. Sitt's architect, Stanton Eckstut, who was the master planner for Battery Park City and for the MGM Mirage project in Las Vegas. "It will be year-round, mixed-use, with real streets."

Mr. Sitt says he is talking to Nickelodeon about a family-oriented hotel and to the race car driver Mario Andretti about a racing attraction. But his proposals for high-rise towers and housing in the amusement district are not what the Coney Island Development Corporation had in mind when it devised its plans.

Joshua J. Sirefman, chairman of the Coney Island Development Corporation and interim president of the city's Economic Development Corporation, said the administration was willing to consider Mr. Sitt's proposal "if it makes the project more viable and we can ensure the amusement and entertainment uses are protected."

The project has won an endorsement from Anthony Berlingieri and Carlo Muraco, co-owners of Shoot the Freak, a shooting gallery on the Boardwalk where patrons fire paint balls at a heavily padded "freak" who sprints around a courtyard wedged between a food stand and a souvenir stand. Although they say Mr. Sitt is a fan, they are also worried that Coney Island's traditional attractions may be squeezed out.

"We're for anything good for Coney Island," Mr. Muraco said. "We just want to be part of it. I question, will we be able to afford the rent? Nobody's getting rich here."


Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
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Old July 6th, 2006, 05:32 PM   #272
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CITY HALL SWINGS INTO ACTION ON CRANE PAIN



'WAGING' WAR
Crane Operator - $73 - $82.



By HEIDI SINGER

July 6, 2006 -- City Hall is stepping in to help end the crane operators' strike - which has halted construction of the Freedom Tower at Ground Zero.

Stalled talks will resume this morning between contractors and the union representing more than 3,000 heavy-machinery operators.

"The mayor reached out to both sides and invited them to use Gracie Mansion for their discussions," said spokesman Stu Loeser, adding they took him up on the offer.

Their strike has forced more than 1,000 construction projects across the city to grind to a halt.

Almost all of them are publicly financed projects, according to the contractors
.

Blasting work on the Freedom Tower foundation has been on hold since midnight Friday, when the contract between operating engineers and the General Contractors' Association of Greater New York expired.

"All major heavy-construction projects are shut down," said Chris Ward of the contractors' association. "Things ended badly on Friday."

The workers, who run cranes, backhoes, compressors and other pieces of heavy equipment, earn $73 to $82 an hour, including benefits.

They're among the highest paid blue-collar workers in the city.

They rejected an offer that would have given them 6 percent raises annually over five years, with a guarantee of no layoffs.

But in return, they would have to become more productive by training to take on extra duties - and eliminate what critics insist are do-nothing jobs on construction sites.

Up to one-third of workers on big job sites have little to do, because their jobs have been taken over by technology, Ward said.


Some construction unions have trimmed featherbedding jobs out of their contracts, but many others are balking at such concessions, said a leader of another building-trade union, who asked not to be identified.

"It's about the heads of the unions and their little fiefdoms," the union boss said.

"They want to get re-elected but, in the long run, it's bad for their unions because they get squeezed out" of major projects.

James Callahan, president of the striking union, Local 15 of the International Union of Operating Engineers, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

But in a written statement last week, he accused contractors of farming out work to lower-paid workers in other unions.

Callahan's union has been keeping a low profile during the strike.

Picketing is sporadic, said Ward, and Callahan has issued few public statements.

"It's hard to talk to the public when you're making $80 an hour - that's probably the highest paid blue-collar job in the city," said the rival union leader.

Other projects affected by the strike are City Water Tunnel No. 3, a water filtration plant in The Bronx and the new Goldman Sachs building downtown.

The union has offered to negotiate interim agreements with individual contracts to keep the Freedom Tower and other important projects going. But so far the contractors have refused to break ranks.


Copyright 2006 NYP Holdings, Inc.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 10:40 AM   #273
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Is construction in New York still run by the mafia or are those days over?
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Old July 7th, 2006, 12:06 PM   #274
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaggers_jr
Is construction in New York still run by the mafia or are those days over?

no, they run by private companies.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 03:54 PM   #275
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1 Year After Failure Of West Side Stadium, NYC Wants To Buy Land


July 7, 2006

A year after Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan for a new football stadium on Manhattan's West Side went down in flames, the city has its eye on the rail yards land again.

In a letter sent Thursday to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the rail yards, Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn presented a $500 million proposal that would give the city more control over development there.

Politicians and developers have been hungry to get their hands on the sad stretch of land near the Hudson River, which is prized as the final significant piece of undeveloped publicly owned property in Manhattan.

The city would spend $300 million for the right to develop the area over part of the working rail yards, from 30th street to 33rd street, between 11th and 12th avenues. This would require the creation of a platform over the yards.

Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff said specific plans would have to go through public review and have not taken shape. He said a new stadium is not among the possibilities.

The proposal includes another $200 million for a transaction that essentially gives the city greater development power over an eastern portion of the yards, between 10th and 11th avenues. If the MTA accepts the proposal, officials said, this would allow developers in the surrounding area to build taller buildings than under the current plan, among other changes.

MTA chairman Peter Kalikow said in a statement that the state agency, which runs the nation's largest mass transit system, will give "serious consideration" to the city's proposal.

The neighborhood was the focus of a major tug of war last year, when the Bloomberg administration and the New York Jets sought to put a new football stadium there as part of a bid to host the 2012 Olympics. A state board blocked the stadium plan, and the city did not win the Olympic bid.

Last year, Quinn was among the outspoken critics of Bloomberg's stadium plan, but on Thursday she said the new proposal "will allow our community and city to have control over the future planning and development of the site."


© 2006 by The Associated Press.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 03:55 PM   #276
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DEAL ENDS CRANE STRIKE


By HEIDI SINGER

July 7, 2006 -- Striking crane operators reached a tentative deal with their bosses yesterday and construction work on the Freedom Tower and other major public projects could start up as early as this morning.

The four-year deal would give heavy-equipment operators smaller raises than the 30 percent over five years that had been on the table last week, said a source familiar with negotiations.

In return, contractors softened their demands that workers submit to retraining for extra responsibilities.


"From what I know, it looks like both sides got what they needed," said the source.

Locals 14 and 15 of the International Union of Operating Engineers went on strike a week ago after talks broke down with the General Contractors Association of Greater New York.

The workers, who drive backhoes and operate drilling equipment and other big machinery on large, mostly public projects, earn up to $82 an hour. But contractors say technological advances are leaving some with little to do other than push a few buttons, and they want to retrain workers to do other jobs.


Copyright 2006 NYP Holdings, Inc.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 04:03 PM   #277
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City Offers $500 Million for West Side Railyards


By CHARLES V. BAGLI
July 7, 2006

The Bloomberg administration and the City Council have offered to pay $500 million for the development rights to 26 acres of railyards on Manhattan's Far West Side, the site of a titanic but unsuccessful battle last year to build the world's most expensive football stadium.

Officials hope the proposal will spur development on the Far West Side, a low-scale neighborhood of factories, tenements and parking lots that city officials and developers regard as a last frontier in Manhattan. If a deal is struck, the city will also be able to ensure that any development there is consistent with a comprehensive rezoning plan approved by the city last year.

The unexpected offer came in a letter to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the property, from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn. The two had been adversaries in the battle over the mayor's plans to build a $2.2 billion stadium for the Jets, but they joined forces in an effort to bring the property under municipal control.

"The city must work to create a mixed-use commercial and residential district, one that protects existing residents, businesses and manufacturers while also creating new employment opportunities, affordable housing and parks," Ms. Quinn said yesterday. "It will allow our community and city to have control over the future planning and development of the site."

Peter S. Kalikow, chairman of the M.T.A., said in a statement yesterday that the authority would "give serious consideration to the city's proposal." He said he had been committed to cooperating with the city, but added that the authority's principal interest was in getting top dollar for the property "to support our ongoing enormous capital needs." The authority's latest budget includes $1 billion from the sale of land and other assets.

Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, who has headed efforts to oversee the M.T.A. and other authorities, said the city's offer might conflict with recent legislation intended to ensure that publicly owned land is sold for the highest price.

"We know the price they're willing to pay, but we don't yet know the value of the land," Mr. Brodsky said. "We intend to be very vigilant about this. We're considering hearings and a close analysis of the transaction."

The railyards sit on the east and west sides of 11th Avenue, between 30th and 33rd Streets. In a two-step transaction, the city would buy the western railyard for $300 million, $50 million more than the Jets had agreed to pay to build a stadium there. The city would then devise a zoning plan for the 13-acre property and take it through the city's land use review process.

The city is also offering to pay $200 million for 3.42 million square feet of unused development rights from the eastern yard. The transportation authority intends to build a platform there, which is already zoned for commercial and residential buildings, as well as a cultural institution.

With the city rezoning the area, developers have been buying property on the Far West Side for large residential projects for several years. Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff said there was also considerable interest in developing office space, because rents are soaring and there are few large blocks of space available for rent.

"We want to ensure that we produce a plan for the western railyards consistent with our overall vision for the area," he said.


Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
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Old July 7th, 2006, 04:10 PM   #278
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Bioscience Center Moves Forward


By Barbara Jarvie
July 6, 2006

NEW YORK CITY-City officials have approved a straight-lease transaction for the Alexandria Real Estate Equities in connection with the construction, furnishing and equipping of buildings to be known as the East River Science Park. It will be located on a 4.26-acre on city-owned land at Bellevue Hospital Center.

The campus will be located in the Kips Bay neighborhood, just south of the New York University Medical Center between East 28th and 29th Streets and First Avenue and the FDR Drive. It will be along Manhattan's medical/life sciences corridor, which is home to Beth Israel Hospital, Hospital for Special Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Mount Sinai, New York Hospital, Rockefeller University, and Weill Cornell Medical Center.

The project is a major component of the city’s effort to make it a center for the growing life sciences and biotech sectors. The city hopes it will attract companies in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, research and medical device fields as well as create an estimated 2,000 permanent jobs and 6,000 construction jobs over the next 10 years. Alexandria was chosen after the city issued a Request for Proposals for the project.

When completed, it will encompass about 4.5 acres with more than 820,000 square sf of scientific research and development, office and small-scale retail space. The campus will have at least 46,600 sf of open space. The site will be built in three phases, with construction on the first phase expected to begin this year. The first building will be ready for occupancy by the end 2008.

The New York City Investment Fund has committed to invest up to $10 million in the ERSP alongside the private developer. The project will also get financial assistance including exemptions from city and state mortgage recording taxes and/or city and state sales and use taxes.

The Pasadena, CA-based Alexandria Real Estate is focused principally on the ownership, operation, management, acquisition, redevelopment and selective development of properties containing office/laboratory space. It has approximately $3.9 billion total market capitalization.


Copyright © 2006 ALM Properties, Inc.
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Old July 8th, 2006, 02:26 AM   #279
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krull
The city would spend $300 million for the right to develop the area over part of the working rail yards, from 30th street to 33rd street, between 11th and 12th avenues. This would require the creation of a platform over the yards.

The proposal includes another $200 million for a transaction that essentially gives the city greater development power over an eastern portion of the yards, between 10th and 11th avenues.
I mapped out 12 square blocks surrounding the section between 30th-33rd x 10th-12th in a grid.

This grid contains 12 square blocks of potential development.
Parks, residential, commercial - it's a win-win for the MTA, the city, the residents and the state.

If the developers decide to build super tall towers anywhere in that corridor, it would compliment the nearby Empire State Building and balance Manhattan between the East River (which currently has two super talls (Chrysler & Trump World Tower)) and the Hudson River.

I wonder if Trump might bid for development in that area.

This is prime real estate!

The sky's the limit.
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Old July 9th, 2006, 01:14 AM   #280
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Construction updates in TriBeCa.

200 Chambers St


101 Warren St
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