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Old July 12th, 2006, 07:54 AM   #281
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Are There Enough Buyers to Go Around?

condominiums on the market
include, from top, the Avery,
under construction on Riverside
Boulevard at West 65th Street;
the Ariel West, planned for Broadway
and 99th Street; 165 Charles Street;
and the Abbey at 205 East 16th Street.

July 9, 2006

CONDOMINIUMS have become a familiar sight in Manhattan in the last couple of years, punctuating the skyline from Battery Park to Harlem and most neighborhoods in between.

But as these condos are marketed — each carrying sky-high prices and a competitive list of amenities — and still more are breaking ground, it is hard not to wonder whether there are enough buyers to go around.

Not only are there thousands of condos currently on the market, but a review of building plans submitted by developers to the state attorney general's office shows that this building binge has not yet slowed down and may produce a supply of new apartments that could be around for a while.

So far, applications have been submitted for more than 24,000 condominium apartments since January 2004, 7,000 of them in the first half of this year alone. This increase in filings comes as supply in the current market has been rising steadily, with broker listings nearly doubling since 2004. And since many developers list only a sampling of apartments in new buildings, the numbers of apartments available for sale is probably significantly larger than the inventory listed with brokers.

Still, despite caution by some lenders and some customers, many others, including condo developers, brokers and buyers who are still signing contracts and putting down hefty deposits, say they have an abiding faith in the resilience of the market in Manhattan.

Sales slowed sharply at the beginning of the year, when buyers hesitated because of the uncertainty about the direction of housing prices. But now brokers say that the pace is picking up, and they are seeing a slow but steady stream of visitors to sales offices and of contracts signed for new apartments.

Asking prices on new developments are no longer rising sharply, but confounding skeptics, they have remained fairly steady, at prices that are higher than buyers ever imagined five or 10 years ago. Developers say they are, for the most part, holding the line on prices, convinced that they have produced the right product for the right market.

"How strong is the market for $2 million apartments? Extraordinarily strong," said Gary Barnett, the president of Extell Development, which is currently marketing six condominium projects across Manhattan. "The market for $3 million and $4 million apartments is strong, too."

He said that the rising prices for land, soaring construction costs and careful reviews by lenders would eliminate weaker projects now under development, especially those by inexperienced developers, limiting the growth in supply over the next few years.

Jeffrey Jackson, the president of Mitchell, Maxwell & Jackson, an appraisal company, said he had been consulted on half a dozen projects that may be postponed or converted to rentals.

The Manhattan market is subject to the same laws of supply and demand as the rest of the country. But the bullish view of the Manhattan real estate market is based on the belief that it is unique. The first tenet is that it is a magnet for wealth from across the country and around the world. The second tenet is that there is a strong demand for larger apartments with higher ceilings, open views and well-designed kitchens and bathrooms — the type of apartments that have not been built in large numbers in a generation.

While rising interest rates may reduce the purchasing power of middle-income buyers, the market for the affluent will remain strong, brokers say, as the local economy remains solid; incomes for hedge fund managers, investment bankers and law partners remain high; and buyers from across the globe continue to view New York as a good place to invest.

"There is a tremendous amount of demand, and there is little housing in New York," said Stephen G. Kliegerman, the director of marketing development for Halstead Property. "There is a desire to live in New York City, and as fuel costs go up, even more people will want to live here."

Or as Mr. Barnett of Extell put it, "New York is the epicenter of the world, and everybody wants to own something here."

Of course, even the Manhattan market has had its low points. Park Avenue palaces faced foreclosure in the Depression, and town houses on the West Side sold for a pittance in the 1950's. In the 1980's, after a wave of apartment construction and conversions, many developers faced foreclosure. And the terrorist attack in 2001 sent rumbles through the market.

Frederick W. Peters, the president of Warburg Realty, said that he had experienced several downturns over the decades and likened the experience to driving off a cliff. And he does not see that occurring now. "The fact that we have experienced minimal price growth for a year suggests that the market has slowed down," he said. "The 'driving off a cliff' experience doesn't seem to be happening."

Jonathan J. Miller, an appraiser and the president of Miller Samuel, said he believed that many prospective buyers were ready to act but were holding back because of market uncertainty. At the same time, he said, Manhattan developers were holding the line on prices, confident that the new condos were worth their high prices.

"There are a lot of buyers, with money to spend, on the sidelines," Mr. Miller said.

Susan Petri, who works in communications for American Express, said that she and her husband have been shopping for a condo and that they found the same high prices at every place they looked. "This is New York — the demand will always exceed the supply," she said. "Everyone wants to live here."

But her husband, Roland, was more skeptical. They are trying to decide whether to settle in New York, where she now works, or in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he practices emergency medicine. He observed that the amenities touted in buildings in Manhattan were not that different from those found in new homes in Scottsdale and wondered whether they should wait to see if prices came down.

Julia Bohan said she carefully researched the housing market, systematically comparing prices per square foot, before signing a contract a few weeks ago to buy an apartment at the Ariel East, one of the two glass towers facing each other across Broadway at 99th Street. But in the end, she said she relied as much on intuition as cold, hard facts.

Two years had passed since her husband died, and she was in contract to sell their Upper East Side apartment, with a wraparound terrace and park views. The sale price was high enough to enable her to spend about $2 million at the Ariel for about 2,000 square feet of space, and put away some money for tuition, too. The apartment had lots of space at a better price than she found elsewhere in Manhattan.

"It is scary to do it alone after being married for 15 years," she said, "But I really feel confident that it is a solid investment. And it feels right, too.

During the years when prices were rising sharply and apartments were scarce, buyers were conditioned not to ask for concessions. If the price was too high, they would walk away. Today, Mr. Miller has this advice to buyers: "Always try to negotiate. Developers may be more open than in past years to negotiating. You have to ask."

Pamela Liebman, the president of the Corcoran Group, agreed but added that the developer's response would depend on "the mind-set of the building, how the building is doing."

"We have buildings where we have not done one penny of negotiation," she said.

During the ultrahot seller's market a few years ago, some developers would submit weekly or even daily amendments to offering plans, raising prices on new condominiums. Price increases come less frequently now, and a few developers have filed amendments lowering prices, though they attribute that to pricing errors, rather than to a faltering market.

At the Avery, which Extell is building on Riverside Boulevard at West 65th Street, buyers learned that many of the closing costs would be picked up by the developer, up to a total of 3.7 percent of the purchase price. But that's down from the 5 percent offered a few months ago.

Mr. Barnett, the Avery's developer, said that close to half of the apartments were now sold and as sales continued, help with closing costs would end entirely.

At 170 East End Avenue, Skyline Developers' 19-story glass tower near 87th Street, brokers were saying earlier this year that sales were slow. Orin Wilf, Skyline's president, disputed this but added, "We have been negotiable on our prices."

"We feel that our sales have been very steady because we are willing to work with customers," he said. "If a customer walks into our sales office and wants to spend $5 million on an apartment, and the apartment they want is $5.4 million, over 99 percent of the time the deal gets done."

He said that he had not offered to pay closing costs and expects prices to tighten in the future. "At almost 50 percent sold, we plan on doing less negotiations and more selling at higher prices."

When sales were slow at the Ariel East, Extell filed an amendment with the attorney general lowering prices on 42 apartments, with cuts ranging from $5,000 to $260,000 for one sixth-floor apartment. But prices on some upper-floor apartments were raised.

Mr. Barnett said that the price cuts were made because apartments in the Ariel West building had been selling faster, and that he wanted to encourage buyers to consider Ariel East. He said that when the price changes at the two condominiums were combined, prices actually went up.

At another smaller project, the Abbey, a former parish building on East 16th Street being converted to condominiums, most of the apartments sold for the asking price, or close to it. But according to property records, one apartment, a duplex on the top two floors, sold at a discount of $500,000, or about 27 percent below the asking price. Eight of 31 apartments are still listed as available.

The developer, Herbert Hirsch, said that he became convinced that a sloping triangular roof limited the use of some of the top floor of the duplex, so he reduced the price to account for this. He said buyers were out there looking but were worried by press accounts about the market and were postponing purchases.

"From the developers' standpoint the market talks to you," he said. "The market tells you what your property is worth, to the extent that people come through and love your product and pay the prices."

The New York Times reviewed condominium plans for larger projects — those with at least 30 units or those valued at more than $20 million — filed with the attorney general's office, which oversees all co-op and condominium offering plans for their compliance with state laws. But in addition to apartments, the listings of condominium units provided by the state often included retail stores, storage lockers and parking spaces, sometimes even wine cellars. So to get an accurate estimate of the number of apartments in the pipeline, those filings were compared with records from the New York City Buildings Department.

The review found that applications for 24,400 apartments in 240 larger projects in Manhattan and 5,000 apartments in 75 projects in Brooklyn had been submitted since January 2004. Of these, by the middle of June more than 13,000 had been approved for sale in Manhattan and 2,900 in Brooklyn. It is not known how many of these apartments were actually built and, if built, how many have been sold.

What is known is that the 24,400 applications far exceed the number of apartments actually on the market.

Last week, a report by Prudential Douglas Elliman put the current inventory at 7,640 apartments, both co-ops and condominiums, up from 3,922 in 2004. In recent years, the total number of annual apartment sales in Manhattan has been estimated at 10,000 to 12,000.

The filings with the attorney general's office also show that many newer projects, including conversions of rental buildings, are also in the works. There were 10,800 apartments in large Manhattan projects still awaiting approval for sale, including the 7,250 apartments in 59 projects submitted this year. About 2,300 apartments in Brooklyn are also awaiting approval for sale. If all these apartments are actually built, they could weigh on the market for several years to come.

But many developers said they believed that the condominium market was beginning to correct itself, and that the weakest projects may never get built. Banks, worried about overbuilding, have tightened up on financing. The boom in construction has pushed up land prices and construction costs, making fewer projects profitable.

In the meantime, some developers are not cutting prices no matter what. At 165 Charles Street, Izak Senbahar thought he had his finger on the pulse of the market when he put up a 16-story glass building designed by Richard Meier along the Hudson River, next door to two other Meier projects, and set prices as high as $20 million for the 31 apartments.

But last October, after about half the building was in contract, sales stalled. Not a single contract was signed for about six months, until April 2006.

Mr. Senbahar received a series of offers below the asking prices and could have sold out long ago, said James Lansill, a senior managing director of the Sunshine Group, which is marketing the building. Even brokers urged him to cut his prices, but he would not.

"He placed his bet and stuck with his bet," Mr. Lansill said. "He had a belief in his goal that is unwavering. He just said when the building is completed, people are going to come and buy this."

After vacant apartments were used for an exhibition of modern furniture earlier this year, sales took off once more, Mr. Lansill said. Since April, he said, five apartments have been sold, leaving five apartments available.

Two of those five apartments are being combined into a larger unit, he said, and a price increase was just filed with the attorney general's office.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
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Old July 16th, 2006, 03:13 AM   #282
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Volume 19 • Issue 9 | July 14- - 20, 2006

Board studies plan to limit East Side towers

By Lincoln Anderson

Dowtown Express photos by Jefferson Siegel

Cranes over new high-rise developments on the Lower East Side, seen from Houston St. and Avenue A.

The East Village’s typical low-rise buildings, looking southwest from Ninth St. and Avenue B.

Community board members and housing activists got a first glimpse Monday night of a preliminary draft proposal for a sweeping rezoning of the East Village and half of the Lower East Side that would curb development of tall condo towers and hotels and include incentives for providing affordable housing in new construction projects.

In seeming awe, David McWater, chairperson of Community Board 3, several times referred to the undertaking — the study area includes a total of 114 city blocks — as simply “the massive rezoning.”

Harvey Epstein, a former chairperson of the board, explained that it was “the next big rezoning” by the city, following on the heels of prior major rezonings of such areas as Williamsburg/Greenpoint, West Chelsea and the Hudson Yards.

Under a community-led process known as 197-a, Community Board 3 last year proposed a contextual rezoning for the area between E. 13th and Houston Sts., east of Third Ave. and the Bowery, as well as parts of the Lower East Side, including E. Houston St. to Grand St., from Essex St. to Allen St.; and Houston St. to the north side of Delancey St. east of Essex St. The board then made its pitch to the city. On Monday night, the C.B. 3 197-a Task Force received a presentation from a pair of city officials on what the Bloomberg administration is willing to offer.

The city’s zoning study area is the same for the East Village, but for the Lower East Side includes the blocks bounded by Houston St., Pitt St., Delancey St., Ludlow St. and Grand St. and the west side of Chrystie St.

Arthur Huh, the Department of City Planning’s C.B. 3 district liaison, explained and answered questions about the general zoning provisions, while Gabriella Amabile, a planner with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, discussed the component for inclusionary zoning for affordable housing.

The general plan is to create zoning, under which new buildings will have to be built out to the street wall — no plazas will be allowed for new buildings — and maximum heights will be capped. No air rights will be allowed to be shifted from adjacent lots to add height to new projects, such as was done, for example, with The Hotel on Rivington, which was built to 16 stories by cobbling together air rights. Building heights would be capped, in general, at 80 feet — about eight stories tall — throughout the rezoning area.

In areas being proposed for the inclusionary zoning program — along Houston and Delancey Sts., the west side of Chrystie St. and the west side of Avenue D — maximum building heights would be taller, 120 feet. A developer who includes 20 percent of the floor area in his project for affordable housing would get to add an additional 33 percent of density to the project. The affordable units would be eligible for families of four whose annual income is 80 percent of the area’s median income, or $56,720. Developers would also be able to qualify for the 421-a program, under which they would get tax breaks, if the affordable housing they build within the inclusionary zoning is for families of four whose annual income is 60 percent of area median income, or $42,540.

The developers would also be able to build the extra height but locate the affordable units elsewhere in the C.B. 3 district. But housing advocates at the meeting felt this would be unlikely, given the neighborhood dynamics, and that all of the affordable housing would be included in the new projects.

In general, the inclusionary zoning component is similar to the one included in the recent Greenpoint/Williamsburg waterfront rezoning.

The community facility zoning allowance would also be available within the rezoned area. But, some task force members said the allowance — which allows dormitories, for example, to be built extra tall — should no longer be made available to developers in the neighborhood.

Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, asked Huh why the five blocks between Third and Fourth Aves. south of 14th St. weren’t included in the zoning study area. A 26-story New York University dormitory — which will be the tallest building in the East Village — is being built on E. 12th St. in this strip.

“Institutions like N.Y.U. have identified this area as the place where they want to keep growing,” Berman said, adding that the university already has “a couple of monstrously out-of-scale dormitories on Third Ave.”

“Frankly, if the zoning stays the same, we’re just going to see more of these,” Berman said.

Added Barden Prisant of C.B. 3: “Just because Third Ave. has become a valley of towers doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.”

But, Huh said, the 114 blocks in the study zone already cover a very large area and that to add the Third and Fourth Aves. corridor “raises a lot of issues that changes the specific nature of the study. To raise the issue of contextual zoning in this area — it is just too different.”

Berman said he suspects N.Y.U. has been lobbying the city not to include the Third and Fourth Aves. area in the zoning study. But Christine Shakespeare, N.Y.U.’s head of city and government relations, said she wasn’t aware that the university was doing any such lobbying.

Nevertheless, Berman said, “There’s a lot to like” in the city’s proposal.

The task force also made known its displeasure with part of the plan that would add a commercial zoning overlay on St. Mark’s Pl. Opponents said a lot of the businesses on St. Mark’s illegally took over residential spaces years ago and shouldn’t be rewarded now with legalization.

Members of the task force also said they want to make sure that antiharassment provisions are included along with the rezoning so that existing low-income tenants aren’t pushed out by developers looking to build megaprojects benefiting from the inclusionary zoning height bonuses.

There was some concern the zoning south of Houston St. would remain commercial, which some feared would continue to allow large hotels to be built, such as the roughly 20-story hotel currently under construction by the Pomeranc group on Allen St. between Houston and Stanton Sts. However, McWater, C.B. 3 chairperson, noted later that — regardless of whether the zoning would be commercial or residential — with the 80-foot height cap, developers would no longer be able to build mammoth hotels.

Damaris Reyes, director of Good Old Lower East Side, or GOLES, objected to the idea of having inclusionary zoning on the west side of Avenue D, across from the public housing on Avenue D’s east side, arguing that instead it should be spread throughout the East Village.

“Inclusionary housing along Avenue D is cutting off the projects and is just consolidating low-income housing there. I don’t think we want to put all of the low-income housing in our part of the community,” she said. “We’ve lost so many areas [of affordable housing] within the East Village area that the character is completely different. I don’t think there’s a need to include it on Avenue D.”

“It seems like class-based zoning,” added Paul Bartlett, a C.B. 3 member.

McWater said the task force will send a letter to City Planning outlining its concerns about the preliminary draft rezoning.

In addition, the task force plans to take up the contentious issue of the long-vacant Seward Park Urban Renewal Area sites south of the Williamsburg Bridge. After the city announced a new plan for the sites at the end of 2003, there was a backlash, primarily from the Grand St. community, over its low-income housing component, and it was ultimately dropped at the end of 2004.

McWater said he hopes this time he will be able to pull together all the community stakeholders and politicians and have a real dialogue about what the community wants to see on these sites — on which old tenements were razed decades ago, but which today are primarily used as parking lots. The community board will attempt to initiate its own 197-a community-based rezoning plan for the Seward sites this time around, he said.

Before the task force started its discussion of the hot-button issue, McWater, hoping to head off any flare-ups, said he wanted “a spirit of co-operation — intelligent, rational, nonemotional dialogue.”

However, in some initial harsh words, Frances Goldin, a veteran Lower East Side housing activist, blamed the failure of the city’s last proposal for mixed-income housing on the sites on Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, himself a Grand St. resident, whom she said blocked the plan.

Goldin said H.P.D. recently contacted Seward Park Area Renewal Coalition, or SPARC — an organization of housing activists formed several years ago to spearhead the area’s redevelopment — and last week met with them, along with some Pratt experts, and worked up ideas for a new plan for the area. The new proposal includes low-, middle- and market-rate housing, with community facilities and commercial space.

“They wanted to move fast on that plot,” Goldin said. “It’s one of the largest sites of city-owned land.”

McWater said Councilmember Alan Gerson has proposed having a large arts or cultural institution as an anchor at the Seward Park renewal area, but that no such institution had been identified yet.

McWater said, because of circumstances, Grand St. representatives were unable to make Monday night’s task force meeting. He said, ideally, he hopes to have a public forum on the issue in the fall.

The board chairperson said he’d like to start from square one with local stakeholders, adding he’d maybe “put up butcher paper and let people write what they want there.”

“I think the politicians want to do something and they will be here for our meeting next month,” McWater said.
I respected your views, so I expect you do to the same.
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Old July 16th, 2006, 03:34 PM   #283
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it's amazing that New york get so many new towers
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Old July 16th, 2006, 09:29 PM   #284
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That mamoth hotel they are talking about, i can see from my window...
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Old July 17th, 2006, 06:03 AM   #285
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nice........New York really is the greatest city in the world!
The mods deleted my big annoying signature.
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Old July 17th, 2006, 06:20 AM   #286
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Old July 17th, 2006, 07:23 AM   #287
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Finally a vote on wednesday to get this thing rolling!

Javits: Time to OK expansion

Published on July 17, 2006

On Wednesday, the Public Authorities Control Board is scheduled to vote on the proposed expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The powerful panel should approve it and bring to an end a decades-long effort to expand the crucial facility.

The plan isn't perfect, but it will be worth its $1.7 billion cost. Exhibition space will increase by about 45%. The number of meeting rooms, which no one thought would be necessary when Javits opened in 1986, will go up fivefold. The entire facility will nearly double in size to 4 million square feet and include additional support space and a new marshaling yard that will make Javits more efficient and more secure. The center will become one of the country's 10 largest convention facilities; today, it is No. 16.

The economic benefits cannot be overstated. The larger facility will attract more big meetings, and that is almost certain to spark the construction of large hotels on Manhattan's far West Side. Restaurants, cultural organizations and even taxi operators will benefit as well. These businesses are important because travel and tourism is now the city's second most important sector--second to only Wall Street--and employs 250,000 people, by some measures. Those jobs are the best first step on the ladder of economic success in New York, offering good pay and benefits and the opportunity for advancement.

Regrettably, the plan has attracted many critics. Sen. Charles Schumer argues that the new Javits won't be big enough. Several developers have floated alternative plans, all of which seem attractive but are primarily designed to improve the builders' own nearby properties. The Municipal Art Society objects to the location and configuration.

None of the opponents, however, has suggested a realistic alternative. Everyone would like the center to be bigger, but where would the money come from to make it larger? Meeting other objections requires expanding Javits to the south. But the city wants that parcel of land to jump-start development of the far West Side and help finance subway expansion. The city is not going to agree to surrender the needed land.

The choice is clear. The proposal being considered by the PACB would provide a tremendous economic boost to the city. Defeating it means more years of controversy and conflict. The governor, assembly speaker and majority leader--who control the board--should vote for progress now.

©2006 Crain Communications Inc.

But of course we have to see what Mr. Silver's opinion is.

Silver is linchpin in vote on Javits

By Erik Engquist & Anne Michaud
Published on July 17, 2006

The $1.7 billion expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center is scheduled to come up for a crucial vote before the Public Authorities Control Board, and as happens so often in Albany, its fate appears to depend on Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Both Gov. George Pataki and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno are expected to support the project, which would add 520,000 square feet of exhibit space and make the center one of the 10 largest such facilities in the nation. Including support space and a marshaling yard that management says would make the center more efficient and address security concerns, Javits would double, to 4 million square feet.

Critics of the plan, ranging from Sen. Charles Schumer to the Municipal Art Society, argue that a redesign done earlier this year to cut costs makes the proposed expansion too small and inappropriately sited. But those concerns don't seem to have had any impact on Mr. Silver, who issued a general but far from definitive statement of support for the project last week. Instead, the speaker may use his vote as a bargaining chip with the Bloomberg administration on other economic development issues.

Mr. Silver could call for a one-month postponement. With construction costs escalating, center officials are worried that another delay would further increase the price tag. They say that if the plan is approved, remediation of two sites would begin almost immediately and demolition within months.

©2006 Crain Communications Inc.
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Old July 17th, 2006, 04:08 PM   #288
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Funding plan is set for Hudson Yards
$2B bond issue, tax breaks key to West Side development

By Julie Satow
Published on July 17, 2006

The Bloomberg administration is about to jump-start an ambitious plan to develop 24 million square feet of Manhattan office space.

As early as this week, the city will release the first details of a $3 billion financing plan for developing the area on the far West Side known as Hudson Yards. It is expected to include $2 billion in bonds to fund the No. 7 subway line extension and tax abatements to spur commercial real estate projects. The city's Industrial Development Agency, which must approve the plan, has already scheduled a public hearing and could vote on it at its next meeting on Aug. 8.

"The far West Side is the last frontier of available land to build the large office buildings that will be critical to the city's future growth," says Daniel Doctoroff, deputy mayor of economic development.

With office rents in midtown topping $125 a square foot and its vacancy rate at a historic low of 6.9%, the need for a westward expansion is especially pressing. The rezoning will create 24 million square feet of Class A office space, and extending the No. 7 line from Times Square to West 34th Street and 11th Avenue will upgrade midtown's transportation infrastructure.

The City Council voted to approve the rezoning of Hudson Yards--bounded by Eighth Avenue and the Hudson River Park between West 30th and West 43rd streets--in January 2005.

Hudson Yards has largely been off the public agenda since last summer, when the city failed in its controversial bid to build a football stadium there. Since then, however, Bloomberg administration officials have been working behind the scenes to put together a broader development plan for the area.

The subway extension's design will be finalized this month, and construction will be put out to bid later this summer. The city will pay for the project; the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will run it. The estimated completion date is 2012.

The city will also unveil its planned commercial tax abatements, the first step in finalizing the financing, as early as Thursday.

Cracking the tax breaks

According to people with knowledge of the abatement proposal, tax breaks will amount to less than $10 a square foot and are likely to favor commercial development on the western reaches of Hudson Yards. For instance, companies that build office towers west of 10th Avenue will get bigger abatements than those building closer to Eighth Avenue. The city declined to disclose details of the program.

The details will be critical to real estate developers, who need to know the extent of possible savings before moving forward with Hudson Yards projects.

The ratings agencies vetting the city's bonds also want to know the extent of potential tax breaks, as revenue from commercial real estate taxes generated by the development will pay down the $2 billion in bonds issued for the No. 7 extension.

2011 target date

The city estimates that the first commercial office tower will open by late 2011. Until then, it will finance the bonds from general reserves.

"We raised concerns that the commercial tax incentives not be too deep, because we didn't want to create a disadvantage for developers who are building elsewhere," says Steven Spinola, the president of the Real Estate Board of New York.

"The challenge in creating the tax abatement is to come up with a number that won't upset too many existing developers and owners and yet be enough of an incentive to spur development," he says.

A handful of firms have already begun buying commercial properties on the far West Side.

"There hasn't been much development yet, but Hudson Yards is becoming a glimmer in the eye of the major developers," says Eric Anton, a managing director at Eastern Consolidated Properties.

Last December, the Moinian Group paid $54.8 million for a site at West 34th Street and 11th Avenue. It has been rezoned to allow a 1.54-million-square-foot office tower that will also house the last stop of the extended No. 7 line.

The Extell Development Corp. and Brookfield Financial Properties also own commercial sites at Hudson Yards.

"We are taking the next step in a long march to give investors certainty about Hudson Yards," Mr. Doctoroff says. "By all signs, we are almost there."

©2006 Crain Communications Inc.
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Old July 18th, 2006, 04:58 AM   #289
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lot of projects but very simple designs
<<<<CoLoMbIa Es Pasion!>>>>
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Old July 18th, 2006, 10:26 AM   #290
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new york needs new towers, it's skyline is one of the best on world, this should be in the future too!!!
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Old July 18th, 2006, 11:40 AM   #291
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@Board plans... article posted by TalB

Y'all may complain about NIMBYS, but I think it would be best if certain neighborhoods stay low-key and low-rise. The Lower East side, mainly. I feel the Rivington Hotel is one of the biggest eyesores in the city, given the context around it.

I think developers should focus on the Far West Side and keep out of the Village and the LES. These neighborhoods have a unique personality in their low rise architecture not to be found anywhere else in the US. You can live in a condo anywhere. People move to these areas for a different reason. That is, if they know any better and aren't just blindly following trends....
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Old July 18th, 2006, 11:59 AM   #292
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Originally Posted by AndySocks
These neighborhoods have a unique personality in their low rise architecture not to be found anywhere else in the US.
Frankly, I think the "charm" and unique personality that you speak of in the LES and the West Village is so overrated. Tell me if the low rise buildings that you may find in those neighborhoods are any better than these in Pittsburgh.
Of course plenty of other cities have them too.
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Old July 18th, 2006, 06:26 PM   #293
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Are you agrivated by his opinion?
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Old July 21st, 2006, 02:59 AM   #294
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Crowd Gathers to Protest Size of Atlantic Yards Plan

Published: July 17, 2006

In the largest public demonstration so far by opponents of the Atlantic Yards project planned near Downtown Brooklyn, a crowd that may have exceeded 2,000 gathered at Grand Army Plaza yesterday in a rally condemning the project’s scale and what many called inadequate public comment.

The event was organized by Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, a group whose advisory board includes Brooklyn residents active in film, music and literature. The actors Steve Buscemi and Rosie Perez, both Brooklyn residents and advisers to the group, appeared briefly on a makeshift stage in front of a sign that read “Brooklyn’s Neighborhoods Say No.”

“I’m not a politician or activist,” Mr. Buscemi told the crowd. He read a poem that he said he had written to protest the project, which included the line “I’ve played a lot of crazies, but this seems insane.”

The $3.5 billion project, which would include an arena for the Nets professional basketball team, office space and 6,860 apartments, is being planned by Forest City Ratner Companies at a time of considerable residential development in nearby sections of Brooklyn.

Even aside from the Atlantic Yards project, the nearby development has provoked protests about housing displacement and strains on Brooklyn’s roads, sewers and infrastructure.

The Atlantic Yards complex, planned at the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, has undergone extensive public review, and more is assured once the developer releases an environment impact statement, which is expected this week or next.

“People have legitimate concerns that we have addressed, and will continue to address,” Joe Deplasco, a spokesman for Forest City, said yesterday. Forest City Ratner is a development partner in building a new Midtown headquarters for The New York Times Company.

The developer has promised to dedicate 2,250 apartments in the complex as rental units for low- and moderate-income tenants. About 2,300 people hoping to qualify for those apartments attended what Forest City described as an “informational meeting” in Downtown Brooklyn on Tuesday.

Whether that many showed up yesterday to protest the project was difficult to judge, since people circulated from the sunny site of the rally to the shade nearby in Prospect Park. Daniel Goldstein, a spokesman for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, estimated the size of the crowd at closer to 4,000 people.

Some in the crowd had traveled from distant parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan, reflecting what may be a growing public interest in the Atlantic Yards project and the scale of Brooklyn development in general.

“I have seen what happened to Manhattan, and we should learn from our mistakes,” said Marian Goodside, a retired teacher who lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and came with friends from Brooklyn Heights.

Dan Zanes, a musician and singer with a national following among children and their parents, said he considered Brooklyn’s diverse neighborhoods to be a “national treasure” that was being threatened by the Atlantic Yards project and other development.

Mr. Zanes, who performed at the rally, lives with his wife and 11-year-old daughter in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. He said the rally demonstrated a growing sense of resistance to large-scale development, even to projects that are not directly across the street.

“To a lot of people, this seemed inevitable,” he said of the project. “The problem was that the public wasn’t engaged, but that is starting to change.”
I respected your views, so I expect you do to the same.
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Old July 21st, 2006, 03:03 AM   #295
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Measuring a Project’s Shadow, and Burden, on Brooklyn

Published: July 19, 2006

James Estrin/The New York Times

A study says the proposed Atlantic Yards project, a residential, commercial and arena development in Brooklyn, would add traffic to intersections that are already busy, including Union Street and Fourth Avenue.

James Estrin/The New York Times

The intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Fulton Street.

A new school’s worth of classrooms would be needed to handle all the children. Dozens of crowded intersections would be choked with more traffic. Brownstone neighborhoods would find themselves in shadow. The city’s sewer and water systems would face new challenges. And good luck getting a parking space on game day.

These were among the most striking findings of a 1,400-page study released yesterday, for the first time laying out all the potential effects of the proposed Atlantic Yards project, an 8.7-million-square-foot residential, commercial, and arena development that would spread over 22 acres near Downtown Brooklyn.

The study, released by the Empire State Development Corporation, was accompanied by a project plan that estimated the cost of the development at $4.2 billion, much more than the original cost, $2.5 billion.

Residents have known for more than two years that something big may be coming to the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues, something that would affect their lives and neighborhoods in countless ways. But until yesterday, they did not have a picture of the details.

The draft environmental impact study provides the clearest view yet of what the Atlantic Yards would do for Brooklyn, and to it, with a welter of diagrams and cold hard facts.

Some of them are sure to be controversial. According to the study, the project would worsen what is already a tangled web of traffic. When it is fully built a decade from now, 68 of 93 intersections included in the study, all within about a mile of the project, would have significantly more congestion at one or more peak hours, most markedly during the morning rush hours and after Saturday games at the 18,000-seat basketball arena for the Nets.

The tallest of the project’s 16 buildings would block many views of the Williamsburgh Savings Bank. The new buildings would also throw more of the surrounding neighborhoods into shadow during the day, while street-level signs would create a new burst of neon at night, concentrated at the commercial corridors on the project’s western tip.

The project’s thousands of residents would impose new demands on the city’s sewage and storm drain systems, and include enough children to fill a new elementary and intermediate school.

Changes to the project and the city infrastructure supporting it may eliminate or minimize some of the predicted problems, the project’s backers have promised. In exchange, they say, Atlantic Yards would create 6,860 units of housing, thousands of construction jobs, and nearly $1.5 billion in city and state tax revenue beyond the amount needed to recoup the government’s contribution to the project.

“It’s a project of enormous magnitude, something that certainly will be important for the future and the economy of the city and state,” said Charles A. Gargano, the chairman of the development corporation, which is sponsoring the project.

The project’s developer, Forest City Ratner Companies, is the development partner of The New York Times Company in building its new headquarters on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan. The study was commissioned by the development corporation and paid for by Forest City Ratner, as required by law.

The study found that if all the project’s children attended a primary or intermediate school within half a mile of their new home, the existing schools would be “over capacity,” and new satellite classrooms in less crowded schools, new school buildings or other measures would be needed.

In a detailed examination of the shadows cast by the new buildings in each season, the report found that new shadows would fall on many existing parks, as well as on open space incorporated into the new project, “throughout the year,” but with a “significant adverse impact” for only one such area, near the Atlantic Terminal public housing complex.

The study also included extensive mitigation measures that the developer said would alleviate most of the project’s negative impacts. An ecologically friendly storm-water capture system centered on the arena’s roof, for instance, is expected to help prevent sewage overflows.

The report’s release sets into motion a public comment period. The project faces a final vote by the development corporation’s board this fall, and if it is approved, it will face a vote by the state Public Authorities Control Board.

Critics of Atlantic Yards have questioned whether the scope of the impact study was comprehensive enough, and may choose to fight the project in court on those grounds. .

Opponents have already promised a vigorous legal struggle against the development corporation’s efforts to condemn the small amount of property that Forest City Ratner has not been able to acquire privately. Those efforts, in effect, began yesterday with the corporation’s formal declaration that the blocks on which the project would be built meet the state’s definition of “blighted,” and thus qualify for eminent domain.

Critics of the project complained yesterday that the 60-day public-comment period was too short to allow residents enough time to wade through the environmental study. Others questioned why it had been released in the middle of the summer, when the borough’s community boards are in recess.

“The E.S.D.C. is making a mockery of what has already been a completely flawed process,” said Daniel Goldstein, the spokesman for Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn, an umbrella group for opponents of the project.

At a press conference yesterday, Mr. Gargano, the development corporation’s chairman, tried to deflect criticism of the project’s scale, one of the main issues cited by Brooklyn residents. When asked whether he thought the project could be made smaller, he replied, “I don’t think it can be.” Later, however, he gave a slightly different answer, saying that though the developer would prefer to keep the project at 8.7 million square feet, the development corporation would contemplate reductions during the public comment period.

James P. Stuckey, the Forest City executive in charge of Atlantic Yards, said criticism of the project’s scale and other attributes came from “some people, who live close in, not liking tall buildings.”

“And I have to tell you that for most people who need affordable housing, that’s just not an argument that washes,” he said.

Those who oppose the project said that the documents released by the development corporation gave them yet more ammunition. According to the general project plan for Atlantic Yards, the project’s cost, which was originally estimated at $2.5 billion and was reassessed at $3.5 billion last year, is now $4.2 billion, which Mr. Goldstein called “bloated.”

Mr. Stuckey said the increases stemmed from rising construction costs, higher land acquisition costs, and a more detailed accounting of costs than was possible at earlier stages in the project’s development.

The general project plan also projects that Atlantic Yards will generate a total of $1.91 billion in total tax revenue over 30 years, calculated as net present value. The city and state together would contribute about $500 million to the project, a mix of direct payments, tax exemptions and financing costs. Overall, according to those projections, the development as currently proposed would produce about $1.4 billion in net tax revenues to the city and state, slightly less than a previous estimate used by Forest City Ratner, and less than projected when the development was originally announced.

Mr. Stuckey said the Empire State Development Corporation study had used a different methodology. “Their calculation tends to be a more conservative calculation,” he said. “But what their own numbers are saying is, even after you look at the contribution that the government will make, the government will earn $1.4 billion in excess tax revenues as a result of this project.”
I respected your views, so I expect you do to the same.
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Old July 21st, 2006, 07:06 AM   #296
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Ok so it has been a while that I haven't add new stuff under construction... and it is about time. So here are some of the buildings and the renderings.


The Rushmore (80 Riverside Blvd): 425 ft - 41 floors

735 Sixth Avenue: 37 floors

Cornell Ambulatory Care (1305 York Avenue): 30 floors

Windsor Park (100 West 58th Street): 18 floors

30 West 18th Street: 18 floors

330 East 57 Street: 16 floors

One York Street: 15 floors

31 West 17 Street: 13 floors

The Lenox (380 Lenox Avenue): 12 floors

Kalahari (40 West 116 Street): 12 floors

127 Seventh Avenue: 12 floors

ONYX Chelsea (261 West 28th Street): 11 floors

High Line (519 West 23 Street): 11 floors

258 Nicholas Avenue: 10 floors

Ivy Condom (249 East 118 Street): 10 floors

Hudson Blue (423 West Street): 10 floors

160 Wooster Street: 9 floors

Avalon Bay Communities (5 buildings development) (East Houston Street): 9 floors

The Langston (68 Bradhurst Avenue): 9 floors

West 116th Street: 8 floors

One Avenue B: 8 floors

25 Bond Street: 7 floors

Hester Gardens (156 Hester Street): 7 floors

One Strivers Row (2605 Frederick Douglass): 7 floors

The Crown Condo (2132 Second Avenue): 7 floors

Clinton West (516 West 47 Street): 7 floors

Nina (450 East 17th Street): 7 floors

2002 Fifth Avenue: 7 floors


110 Livingston Avenue: 16 floors

1 Prospect Park Condos: 15 floors

255 West 4th Street: 11 floors

Tiffany Tower Condominiums (20 Tiffany Place): 10 floors

Parkville Promenade Condominiums (702 Ocean Parkway): 9 floors

Manhattan Park (297 Driggs Avenue): 9 floors

The Vista (206 Front Street): 8 floors

Park Place Condominiums (286 Flatbush Avenue): 8 floors

64 Bayard Street: 7 floors

Aqua Condos: 7 floors

530 Johns Place: 7 floors

Myrtle Place: 6 floors

609 Myrtle Avenue: 6 floors

The Maritime At Carroll Gardens (93rd Rapelye Street): 6 floors


Citigroup Court Square Two: 38 floors

Plaza Northern Blvd (Main Street Flushing): 18 floors

Queens Crossing: 10 floors

Ocean Grande (116-12 Ocean Promenade): 7 floors


Promenade East Condominiums (3625 Oxford Avenue): 9 floors

The Orion (156 Street Melrose Commons): 9 floors

Bronx Criminal Court Complex: 8 floors

Westwood Terrace (3585 Greystone Avenue): 7 floors

The Waterford (3816 Waldo Avenue): 7 floors

Cambridge Mews (3517 Riverdale Avenue): 6 floors

Roosevelt Island:

Riverwalk Place (455 Main Street): 16 floors

The Octagon (888 Main Street): 12 floors

Last edited by krull; July 22nd, 2006 at 09:27 AM.
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Old July 21st, 2006, 10:14 PM   #297
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I really dont like the Avalon developement. Its ruining my neighborhood (in my opinion).

PD: Its hard to believe that the Cornell Ambulatory Care building will have 30 floors. Are you sure?
Thanks for the updates.

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Old July 21st, 2006, 10:51 PM   #298
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They're all residential..

I don't think this is really a boom,just a boom of residential small buildings!
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 12:03 AM   #299
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Lots of projects for the Great Apple. Nice.
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Old July 22nd, 2006, 02:03 AM   #300
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Originally Posted by koolkid
I really dont like the Avalon developement. Its ruining my neighborhood (in my opinion).

PD: Its hard to believe that the Cornell Ambulatory Care building will have 30 floors. Are you sure?
Thanks for the updates.


I agree. They totally stand out in a bad way on Houston. Major error in approving them there. They are too big and bulky. I pass by them everyday going to work and wonder what else should have gone there.
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