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Old August 10th, 2006, 12:17 AM   #361
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Quote:

^


hawt!!!
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Old August 12th, 2006, 09:02 AM   #362
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krull
Expect big things to happen...


IDA approves tax breaks for Hudson Yards


by Julie Satow
August 08, 2006

Commercial developers are now eligible for $650 million worth of tax breaks, which are expected to generate $1.8 billion in new revenue.

Commercial developers on the far West Side are now eligible for $650 million worth of tax abatements.

The city's Industrial Development Agency Board today approved the tax breaks, which are expected to generate $1.8 billion in new revenue by spurring the development of 24 million square feet of office space in the 45-block neighborhood.

"The Hudson Yards area represents the city's greatest opportunity to create badly-needed space for new office jobs," says Joshua Sirefman, interim chairman of the IDA. "But it will not happen without mitigating rising development costs that would continue to deter development in the area."

The city estimates that in 2012 -- the first year an office property is expected to be complete -- a property owner without any tax abatement will pay $15.27 a square foot. With the breaks, however, that property owner will shell out only $9.16 to $11.45 a square foot, depending on how far west the project is located.

The IDA today also approved an $11.2 million break on the mortgage recording tax for The Related Cos' development of Gateway Center at Bronx Terminal Market and a $5.6 million break on the mortgage recording tax for the East River Science Park, to be built by Alexandria Real Estate Equities.


©2006 Crain Communications Inc.
hot DAYUM. do any of you realize what the **** that means to that area? expect many proposals in the near future folks, a wave is coming.

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Old August 12th, 2006, 09:03 AM   #363
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this is an old rendering of older plans for the site, but to give you an idea.





with news of this, expect Midtown to expand to the hudson river.
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Old August 12th, 2006, 09:13 AM   #364
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billyblanco said it best over at wiredny:

"With the tax breaks, I'm sure you can get someone to start something in the next 2-3 years. Why not? Occupancies and rents are WAY UP. People have to go somewhere. Developers will fill the need. The tax breaks will get them to think about the West Side now, in place of other areas that are already developed. This may be the best thing Bloomie has done since being mayor. Really, the West Side is so underutilized, it's ridiculous. This will encourage real development and make the entire island as great as it should be. I mean, this is some of the best real estate in the world...with parking lots and warehouses. Not the right place for these uses. Plain and simple."
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Old August 12th, 2006, 09:13 AM   #365
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City hopes tax breaks will boost Hudson Yards plan

by patrick arden / metro new york

AUG 8, 2006

MANHATTAN — The city wants to float $3 billion in bonds to help finance the extension of the 7 subway line and the redevelopment of the Hudson Yards. That debt is supposed to be repaid with future tax revenues generated in the 40-block area west of Midtown, which would include 24 million square feet of new Class A office space and 13,500 apartments.

Yet the first step in the ambitious Hudson Yards scheme involves offering an estimated $650 million in tax breaks to developers over the next 30 years. Today the city’s Industrial Development Agency is expected to approve these exemptions from property, sales and mortgage recording taxes as an “incentive” to prime the pump.

“Rents are going to be lower there,” explained IDA chairman Joshua Sirefman. By spreading out the breaks over time, he said, “we’re actually helping to create certainty in the marketplace. ... The Far West Side is still the Far West Side, and we really need to make sure that we can jumpstart it.”

Tax breaks

But these tax breaks don’t add up for economist James Parrott, deputy director of the nonpartisan Fiscal Policy Institute. “They’re discounting the revenue stream that they’re counting on,” he said.

Parrott likes the idea of developing the Hudson Yards area, but he’s against offering long-term commercial property tax breaks in Manhattan. He calls it the “most unheralded budget action of the year.”

“They’re about to vote on several hundred million dollars’ worth of tax breaks for decades to come on a scale that will affect every other economic development decision the city makes over the next few years,” Parrott said. “The less the city gets in property taxes from large commercial owners, the more it will rely upon other property taxpayers for those revenues. So, in effect, this comes at the expense of smaller businesses, businesses in other parts of the city, and homeowners.”

Selling bonds

The bonds will be sold through the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation, not the city, and their repayment depends on revenue streams not yet established.

As a result, the debt will likely carry a higher rate of interest than city bonds, with a lower rating, making the financing more expensive in the long run.

“They’re doing the tax breaks now because they need to sell the bonds,” Parrott said. “It’s all about the financing, but it’s going to be around for 35 years.

“They have not made a convincing economic rationale that the tax breaks are needed. This is a bad policy decision waiting to be approved.”


MTA financing?

• To repay the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation’s debt, the city will divert mortgage and sales taxes that would normally go to the MTA. The city wants to pay the MTA $500 million to develop over the railyards there, which were appraised at almost $1 billion. “I don’t know what the present dollar value of the lost MTA taxes is,” Parrott said, “but it’s not insignificant and one wonders whether it’s part of the negotiations over the railyards deal.”

© 2006 Metro.
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Old August 13th, 2006, 06:20 AM   #366
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The City Hopes to Double the Size of Manhattan’s No. 2 Convention Center, in the West 50’s



The Bloomberg administration hopes to expand the convention space in Pier 94, above right, into Pier 92,
now part of a cruise ship terminal.



By JOSEPH P. FRIED
Published: August 13, 2006

As the state acts to expand New York City’s largest convention center, the Bloomberg administration is moving to double the size of the city’s second-largest exhibition and trade show space, saying the step is needed to capture additional midsize shows.

The administration is seeking proposals from private developers to enlarge that space, the trade show facility on Pier 94 on the Hudson River, by extending it to the adjacent Pier 92, which is now part of the Manhattan Cruise Terminal.

In three years or so, the administration says, Pier 92 will no longer be needed for berthing ocean liners, because the city plans to reduce the terminal to two piers from three, now that another cruise ship terminal has been built in Brooklyn.

The space on Pier 94, off West 54th Street, has operated since 1998 under the name UnConvention Center, a play on the name of the largest exhibition site in the city, the state-run Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, near the river in the West 30’s.

The smaller site is run by a private company, UnConvention Center Inc., which has been renting Pier 94 from the city under a series of short-term arrangements that will end when a developer for the larger, two-pier site is chosen and signs a long-term lease, the city’s Economic Development Corporation says. The city also owns Pier 92.

Greatly expanding that trade show site, even as the Javits Center is significantly enlarged, will not create an oversupply of exhibition space in the city, said Paul Januszewski, a vice president of the Economic Development Corporation.

“We really see it as two separate markets, large trade shows and midsize trade shows,” he said. The Bloomberg administration says each market needs more space in the city.

NYC & Company, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, estimates that during the last three years it has had to turn away more than 50 midsize shows, and says all of them could have been accommodated if a facility as big as what is being planned on the two piers had been available.

According to NYC & Company, Pier 94 offers more space for exhibitions and trade shows than any hotel or other site in the city.

The 50 shows, the group said, could have produced $210 million in spending in the city — on hotels, restaurants, entertainment and other purchases — by those attending the shows.

The idea of using Piers 92 and 94 together for some purpose is not new. In the 1990’s, the Giuliani administration sought to combine them for conversion to a large television and film production complex, but the proposal died.

And using Pier 92 for trade shows would not be without precedent. On occasions when cruise ships have not been at that pier, it has been used as additional space for shows needing more room than Pier 94 has. Indeed, both piers are currently being used, along with the Javits Center, as sites for the six-day New York International Gift Fair, which opened yesterday..

But with Pier 92’s primary use as part of the cruise ship terminal, it most often cannot be employed for a trade show.

Midsize trade shows are generally considered “shows that are too small to view the Javits Center as an attractive venue but too big to be accommodated at existing facilities in area hotels,” says the request for developers’ proposals that the Economic Development Corporation issued in May, with a submission deadline of Sept. 13.

Convention industry experts said midsize shows were events requiring up to 400,000 square feet of space.

Pier 94 has a total of 175,000 square feet in its 750-foot-long pier shed and in an attached shoreline structure, both one story high. In combining Piers 94 and 92, officials say, the city envisions a total of about 400,000 square feet, which is possible because the two-story structure on Pier 92 has about 200,000.

The first phase of the Javits Center expansion, which state officials approved last month, includes increasing that location’s exhibition space to 1.1 million square feet by 2010, from the current 760,000 square feet. Like Mr. Januszewski of the Economic Development Corporation, Joseph E. Spinnato, the board chairman of the Javits Center Operating Corporation, said he did not believe that an expanded space occupying Piers 92 and 94 would be competing for business with an expanded Javits Center.

The menswear, children’s apparel and home design industries are among other industries that have held shows at Pier 94, which averages about 25 shows a year, said Elyse N. Kroll, the president of UnConvention Center Inc. In June, Pier 94 was the scene of a trade show for the erotica industry, called the Exotic Erotic Ball and Exposition.

The cost of developing a permanent two-pier facility will not be known until the city receives proposals, but the developer chosen is expected to finance the project, said Andrew Brent, a spokesman for the Economic Development Corporation.

The selected plan is subject to approval by the City Planning Commission. If it involves work in the water, like adding piles or filling in any space between the piers, approval will also be needed from the Army Corps of Engineers and from state environmental officials, Mr. Januszewski said.

The city says a goal of the project, though “not a strict requirement,” is that public access to the waterfront be expanded through amenities like viewing areas on the piers’ perimeters. Such amenities were suggested by civic groups, including Manhattan Community Board 4 and Friends of Hudson River Park, a park being developed along the shoreline from Lower Manhattan to 59th Street.

John Doswell, a co-chairman of the board’s waterfront and parks committee, said, “We would like to have gotten more, but we think we got as much as we could.” He and Albert K. Butzel, the president of the park group, said their groups would be “unhappy” if the element of public access were dropped.

Marcy Benstock, the executive director of the Clean Air Campaign, said her group unconditionally opposed the project, for reasons including “the heavier traffic and increased gridlock and air pollution” that a larger trade show facility would bring.

Although UnConvention Center Inc. would lose its tenancy at Pier 94 under the plan, Ms. Kroll said she was determined to continue operating at the site and was working with a major development organization, the Related Companies, on a proposal to develop the double-pier project.

In 2000, the Giuliani administration said it was prepared to give a development group that Ms. Kroll then headed a 49-year lease for Pier 94, but the 2001 terrorist attack halted many such plans in the city, and the Bloomberg administration later decided to take its current approach.


Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
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Old August 13th, 2006, 06:27 AM   #367
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Big Tunnels in NYC!


Tunnelers Hit Something Big: A Milestone



Chris Casatelli, a maintenance engineer, in Water Tunnel No. 3 on Wednesday, as excavation ended on an
8.5-mile Manhattan segment that was begun in 2003.



By SEWELL CHAN
Published: August 10, 2006

It is the biggest public works project in New York City’s history: a $6 billion water tunnel that has claimed 24 lives, endured under six mayors and survived three city fiscal crises, along with the falling and rising fortunes of the metropolis above it.

Yesterday, the city’s Water Tunnel No. 3 reached a major milestone, as workers completed the excavation of an 8.5-mile section that connects Midtown and Lower Manhattan to an earlier section under Central Park. The tunnel is a multi-decade effort spanning four stages; yesterday’s announcement signifies the end of excavation for the second of those stages.

It was a major step forward for the tunnel, which was authorized in 1954, begun in 1970 and then halted several times for lack of money. The completion of the second stage will nearly double the capacity of the city’s water supply, currently 1.2 billion gallons a day, and provide a backup to two other aging water tunnels, allowing them to be closed, inspected and repaired for the first time since they opened, in 1917 and 1936.

“Future generations of New Yorkers will have the clean and reliable supply of drinking water essential for our growing city,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, before he descended 550 feet into the city’s lower bedrock and sat at the controls of a 70-foot-long tunnel-boring machine, as it excavated the last eight inches of quartz, granite and silica.

Since 2003, the giant excavating machine’s 27 rotating steel cutters, each weighing 350 pounds, have chipped through the bedrock at a rate of 55 to 100 feet a day, more than double the 25 to 40 feet that could be excavated each day under the old drill-and-blast method.

The Third Water Tunnel originates at the Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers, just across the border between the Bronx and Westchester County. The reservoir is fed by aqueducts that carry water from the Catskill and Delaware water systems, which usually provide 90 percent of the city’s water supply.

From the reservoir, the first stage of the tunnel reached south into the center of the Bronx, then west across the Harlem River into Upper Manhattan and then down the west side of Manhattan and east into Central Park, crossing under the East River and into Astoria, Queens. That 13-mile first stage cost about $1 billion. It was begun in 1970, completed in 1993 and opened in 1998.

The second stage, which extends the first stage south into Midtown and Lower Manhattan and east and south into Queens and Brooklyn, is complicated.

The Brooklyn-Queens section — actually two separate tunnels, linking Red Hook, Brooklyn, to Astoria — was completed by 1999. It is to be activated by 2009.

The new 8.5-mile Manhattan section, begun in October 2003, resembles three spokes radiating from a central point roughly below the intersection of West 30th Street and 11th Avenue. One spoke traveled north to Central Park, the second went to Lower Manhattan, and the third spoke, 2.5 miles long, traveled east to Second Avenue and then north to East 59th Street and First Avenue. That third section was the last to be fully excavated, a step completed yesterday.

The new section must be lined with concrete, and tested and sterilized before water can gush through it, which is scheduled for 2012. The city is also installing at least 10 shafts that will link the tunnel with the water-distribution grid.

Even after 2012, two more stages of the project will remain. Stage 3, a 16-mile segment called the Kensico-City Tunnel, will join the Kensico Reservoir in Westchester County with the Van Cortlandt valve chamber in the Bronx. It is in the final planning stages. A proposed Stage 4, extending south from the Hillview Reservoir, through the Bronx and under the East River into Queens, is still under review.


Although Mr. Bloomberg usually avoids direct comparisons with his predecessors, he boasted yesterday about his commitment to the Third Water Tunnel.

“Part of the reason that work on it has stretched through six administrations is that the city’s funding for this project has sometimes dropped off during tough financial times,” he said. “But not on our watch. Even in the first years of our administration, when we faced record multibillion-dollar, back-to-back budget shortfalls, we refused to shortchange this essential project.”

He said his administration had committed nearly $4 billion to the project, or “doubled what’s been invested by the last five administrations combined.”

Around 10:40 a.m., after a news conference at the main construction site in western Midtown, Mr. Bloomberg went down a shaft in a narrow cage-like elevator that fits up to 26 people. He was joined by Emily Lloyd, commissioner of the city’s Department of Environmental Protection; a coterie of aides and police officers; and officials from the contractor in charge of the Manhattan section, a joint venture of the Schiavone Construction Company, J. F. Shea Construction and Frontier-Kemper Constructors.

At the base of the elevator was an enormous tunnel — dark, cool and humid — with wet ground coated in a murky gray mixture of mud and sand. The temperature was cool, around 60 degrees.

After a smooth ride of 15 minutes, the officials left and walked alongside much of the 700 feet of equipment that trails the tunnel-boring machine. About 200 feet from the front of the machine, they entered an operating cab, where Mr. Bloomberg and Ms. Lloyd sat. Vinny Crimeni, the main operator, showed them the guidance system that keeps the machine on course and keeps the tunnel straight and smooth.

“I pushed a bunch of buttons, but the real professional was sitting next to me,” the mayor said afterward.

Around 11:20 a.m., Mr. Bloomberg and Ms. Lloyd left the cab. Using big black felt-tip markers, they signed their names on the wall of the tunnel. Then they posed for pictures with the sandhogs, as the tunnel diggers are called.

One sandhog, Jim O’Donnell, a brakeman on the small train, said the event filled him with pride. Many of the workers are Irish or West Indians, and many are carrying on a family tradition of working underground.

“At least half the guys who work down here, I’ve worked with their fathers,” said Mr. O’Donnell, 44, whose older brother, 47, also works on the tunnel.


Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
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Old August 13th, 2006, 06:28 AM   #368
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Another tunnel coming soon!


Plan for New Rail Tunnel Takes Turn Toward Reality


By JONATHAN MILLER
August 13, 2006

It was just a few years ago that New Jersey Transit’s executive director would try to explain — to anyone who would listen — the wonders of building another commuter train tunnel under the Hudson River. And every time, he would see eyes glaze over.

“People would say, ‘Great idea,’ ” George D. Warrington, the executive director, said in a recent interview. “ ‘Maybe my grandchildren will see it.’ ”

But a series of events in the last few weeks have made it more likely that it will not just be grandchildren, but their grandparents, too, who will see the completion of what is being called the Trans-Hudson Express tunnel, which would link New Jersey with Midtown.

The 9.3-mile project would cost an estimated $7.2 billion, create as many as 44,000 jobs and more than double the number of trains that cross the Hudson River during rush hour. Gov. Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey says the second rail tunnel, with its target completion date of 2016, is “vital to the state’s economic future.”

The first action to brighten the project’s prospects came last month when the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey committed up to $2 billion toward the tunnel’s completion — a move that would have been considered highly unlikely several years ago.

Weeks earlier, the Federal Transit Administration authorized $82.5 million to conduct preliminary engineering. And two weeks ago, the New Jersey Transit board approved preliminary work on the reconstruction of an aging bridge in the Meadowlands that is vital to the tunnel project.

In a potential side benefit to New York residents, said one high-ranking Port Authority of New York and New Jersey official who declined to be identified, the authority has begun talking about help to finance a project in New York that would link Grand Central Terminal to the Long Island Rail Road.

All of which, leaders in both states say, means the project has reached a turning point.

“The big hurdles will be technical — like tunneling — rather than political,” said Jon Orcutt, the executive director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, an advocacy group. When asked, on a scale of one to 10 (10 being the highest) whether he thought the tunnel would become a reality, he said, “I think we’re around 7 or 8.”

Just how the tunnel project was rescued from the scrapheap of grand ideas is a decade-long tale of cross-state rivals laying down their swords and embracing the realities of regional economics, and of a Democrat-controlled state convincing a Republican-dominated Congress of the economic necessity of the costly project.

For the last 96 years, one two-track tunnel has run under the Hudson River into Pennsylvania Station in New York, and now carries 40,000 commuters a day. During peak travel hours there are about 23 trains, including Amtrak, coming and going through the tunnel, and a second tunnel — that would end 100 feet below 34th Street below the basement of Macy’s flagship store — would bring that number to 48. The project would create a loop south of Secaucus Junction, giving riders on the Bergen, Main and Pascack Valley Lines a direct ride into Manhattan without having to switch trains in Secaucus or Hoboken.

The plan’s most forceful advocate has been Mr. Warrington, a former president and chief executive of Amtrak, who was appointed to run New Jersey Transit in 2002. Almost immediately after taking the job, he began trying to resurrect the notion of a second tunnel, taking over the stalled initiative that had been started by the Port Authority.

Along the way, he persuaded the Port Authority’s chairman, Anthony Coscia, to get behind the project.

Together they began proselytizing among politicians, real estate developers and business leaders in New York, contending that the entire region and not just New Jersey would profit from building a second tunnel.

It was hard finding believers.

Kathryn Wylde, president and chief executive of the Partnership for New York City, an advocacy group for New York businesses, says this is the first project since the 1962 agreement to build the World Trade Center in which New York and New Jersey seem to have come together. There had been tension between the two states over New Jersey trying to lure businesses across the river.

“It reverses a generation in which we were accusing New Jersey of piracy,” Ms. Wylde said in a recent interview, “but it represents the reality of post-9/11 New York, that we are trying to keep businesses in the region.”

In addition, both New York senators, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles E. Schumer, have endorsed the project, as has Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

The solidarity was crucial in persuading federal authorities to take the project seriously.

For Mr. Coscia, the project returns the agency to its roots and a mission that he said “we have sometimes not lived up to.”

“If our mission is to move people between two states,” he said, “adding another lane to the Lincoln Tunnel won’t do it.”

He and others point to studies that suggest the greatest growth in the area will come west of the Hudson. “An increasing proportion of our workforce can only afford to own a home in New Jersey, and have basically relocated there,’’ Ms. Wylde said. “Twenty-five, thirty years ago the safety valve was Long Island, twenty years ago it was Rockland and Orange. Last decade, it’s been New Jersey and even Pennsylvania.”

Governor Corzine is perhaps one of the project’s highest-profile advocates. As a United States senator in 2005, he took what most observers say was a crucial step when he helped insert language into a transportation bill stipulating that the secretary of transportation “shall give strong consideration to the project for a full funding grant agreement.”

And as governor, Mr. Corzine has promised that New Jersey will commit at least $500 million to the project. Some New York officials, once hostile to the tunnel project, now laud it, and, transportation officials say behind the scenes, are using it to exert pressure to deliver projects that are perceived as more beneficial to the city and state.

In a speech before the Regional Plan Association in May, Eliot Spitzer, the attorney general who is running as a Democrat for governor of New York, strongly hinted that several projects in New York should be worthy of Port Authority money, including the Second Avenue Subway line and a link from the Long Island Railroad to Grand Central Terminal.

For now, it seems like the Port Authority is willing to go along. When asked about the worthiness of such projects, Mr. Coscia agreed that the $6.3 billion Long Island Rail Road project, called East Side Access, was worthy of financing.

“I think East Side Access is a very strong project, and I can see the Port Authority consider participating in it,” he said. “If you look at East Side Access and the tunnel, it’s two sides of the coin. They’re literally different pieces of the same project.”

Another Port Authority official agreed with Mr. Coscia, but scoffed at another favored project of New York politicians, a link to Kennedy Airport from Lower Manhattan, calling it “ridiculous.”

As for the tunnel project, finding the $5 billion or so needed to complete the project remains the primary obstacle.

While the federal government could finance about 60 percent of the project, New Jersey’s financial difficulties have been well-documented, and the state’s Transportation Trust Fund, the pot of money that goes toward highway repairs and that narrowly averted bankruptcy this year, will need a more permanent fix down the line.

In addition, it is unlikely that the Port Authority will spend its $2 billion without getting any return on such an investment. Mr. Warrington said that he has suggested a financial arrangement in which the Port Authority could share revenue with New Jersey Transit from commercial and retail development at the proposed Moynihan Station at 34th Street, which New Jersey Transit would control.

“This is a conceptual offer that we’ve made,” he said, “and it’s more than reasonable to allow the Port Authority to participate in any of those commercial opportunities.”

Transit advocates warn that with so many big-ticket items planned, a fare or toll increase may be necessary for Port Authority-owned properties, although agency officials say the $2 billion committed thus far to the tunnel project is within the agency’s resources.

For now, optimism remains high, but Mr. Corzine warned against assuming the deal is sealed. “The die is not cast yet,” he said. “We’ve made real progress. New Jersey is putting its dough down and you see what the Port Authority’s doing. We still have hurdles to overcome and we will continue to make the case very strongly that this is a project of crucial regional and national significance.”


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Old August 15th, 2006, 07:25 AM   #369
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11 Times Square:




Planned Tower Would Cap Off Revitalization of Times Square


By CHARLES V. BAGLI
August 15, 2006

A New Jersey developer plans to build a $1 billion office tower on the last parcel in the 13-acre Times Square redevelopment district, bringing an end to the 26-year effort to clean up an area that was known as the Deuce when it was a motley collection of movie houses, sex shops, T-shirt stores, pimps and drug dealers.

If in the past many people feared strolling down 42nd Street, now the block between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, and Times Square itself, are safe for investment bankers, accountants, MTV fans and tourists alike. The theaters, skyscrapers, theme restaurants and nightclubs that have opened in recent years under pulsating neon signs and giant electronic billboards are often packed.

But the decision by the developer, SJP Properties, to build a 40-story tower at the southeast corner of Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street is remarkable on several fronts. Not only would it complete a major public revitalization project, but urban planners and real estate executives say another first-class tower would also establish Eighth Avenue as a legitimate boulevard for corporate offices.

“This is the last piece of the puzzle,” said Charles A. Gargano, the chairman of the 42nd Street Development Project and the state’s top economic development official.

SJP’s 1 million-square-foot building would join two other major office towers on Eighth Avenue: the Worldwide Plaza tower at 49th Street and The New York Times headquarters under construction at 41st Street. Until now, few companies have been willing to locate west of Seventh Avenue or Broadway.

If the project goes forward as planned, the SJP tower will also be the first major speculative office building — one built without an anchor tenant — in a decade and another sign of a resurgent commercial market in Midtown. Builders have erected apartment houses by the dozens over the past five years, but office developers have bemoaned that rents did not justify the cost of building a new tower.

But commercial rents are now going up quickly, with some tenants paying as much as $150 a square foot per year in prime Midtown buildings, and large blocks of available space are hard to find.

“This is the first time in 25 years that we’ve seen the Midtown market this strong for Class A office space,” said Steven J. Pozycki, SJP’s chairman. “We’re excited about both the opportunity and the timing.”

SJP Properties has been largely known as a developer of suburban office parks in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. But the company has been eager to get into the Manhattan market. It has begun excavation for a 42-story apartment building at 46th Street and Eighth Avenue and plans to build a condominium tower on Park Avenue.

Mr. Pozycki bought the 42nd Street property last month for $305 million from Howard and Edward Milstein. The Milstein family had acquired the property early in the redevelopment project, in 1983, for $5 million. The Milsteins announced in 2002 that they planned to build a 35-story tower there, but never got beyond erecting a blue construction fence.

The 42nd Street Development Project gave tentative approval yesterday to SJP’s plan for a 40-story tower and a deal to buy additional development rights for $23.2 million. Mr. Pozycki, whose firm hired FX Fowle Architects to design the building, said the office tower would sit above two floors of stores at what would be known as 11 Times Square. Construction should begin in about 10 months, he said. Final approval is expected later this year.

“It’s ironic that this site, which we thought might be the first one to be developed, ends up being the last one to complete the Times Square project,” said Carl Weisbrod, who worked on the redevelopment plan as both a state and city official from 1980 to 1995. “It’s turned out to be a highly successful venture, but I don’t think any of us thought it would take 26 years.”

Despite a string of news conferences and much fanfare during the 1980’s, the redevelopment of 42nd Street and Times Square was hobbled by 47 lawsuits, opposition from civic groups and a deep recession in the early 1990’s. A merchandise mart was originally planned for the two blocks between 40th and 42nd Street, where the Times building is now under construction and SJP’s property sits. In 1980, the city had actually passed on an opportunity to buy the SJP property for a couple of million dollars.

Mr. Gargano said there were two key breakthroughs, the first in late 1993, when the Walt Disney Company signed a tentative agreement to renovate the landmark New Amsterdam Theater on 42nd Street. Then in 1996, he said, the developer Douglas Durst began building a skyscraper at 4 Times Square, the first of what would eventually be four office towers in the middle of Times Square. As SJP is doing, the Durst family took the relatively rare step of starting construction without an anchor tenant.

Ten years later, Mr. Pozycki says the time is right to build another speculative office tower, this time on Eighth Avenue. Oddly enough, his partner is Prudential, the giant insurer that was selected by the state in the 1980’s to buy 13 acres between Seventh and Eighth Avenues and develop four office towers in Times Square. But Prudential sold the land for the towers during the 1990’s recession.

The market is hot now, Mr. Pozycki said. The average asking rent in Midtown has climbed to $58.26 a square foot, while the vacancy rate dropped to 8.7 percent last month from 13.1 percent in late 2003, according to Newmark Knight Frank, a real estate broker.

And there is little new office space available. Mr. Durst, who is building the Bank of America Tower at 42nd Street and Avenue of the Americas, has signed leases for virtually the entire 2.1 million-square-foot building, including one for $100 a square foot.

At The New York Times Building, across Eighth Avenue from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the newspaper company plans to occupy half the tower next year, and its partner, Forest City Ratner, has leased much of the rest of the building to three law firms and a financial services company.

Recently, Vornado Realty opened talks with the Port Authority about reviving plans to build an office tower over the bus terminal, across Eighth Avenue from the SJP project.

Mr. Pozycki said his broker, Stephen B. Siegel of CB Richard Ellis, took him to Howard Milstein earlier this year to talk about a deal. He said Mr. Milstein responded, “This is my price, take it or leave it.” Despite the relatively high cost of the land, Mr. Pozycki said it should not be too risky to build without a tenant.

“The market and confirmation of the Eighth Avenue neighborhood itself takes a lot of the ‘spec’ out of speculative,” Mr. Siegel said. “What’s going on in Midtown is fueled by real job growth and a lack of supply.”


Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
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Old August 15th, 2006, 05:22 PM   #370
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I don't like the design and the height (looks like a litte Conde Nast). Looks a bit like a 90's post modern tower, so a bit outdated. Not good enough for such a prime location!

I say: wait for a better design. I loved the old, green glass design a few years old for this location, with the round corner. That one was magnificent! If about 15 streets north Hearst Tower is possible, then this location on 42nd street must be able to get something even better!
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Old August 15th, 2006, 07:32 PM   #371
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well the rendering itself isn't too great...

we need better renderings.
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Old August 15th, 2006, 10:12 PM   #372
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September 7, 2006 / 11:00 AM

ROLLOUT EVENT FOR CONCEPTUAL DESIGNS OF WTC TOWERS 2, 3, & 4
Event Location: 52nd Floor, Seven World Trade Center
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Old August 16th, 2006, 03:49 AM   #373
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http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/13/re...ref=realestate
This Time, Some Stonework, Too

By C. J. HUGHES
Published: August 13, 2006


Bridger Conway

GOING UP A rendering of the Veneto, which will have limestone in the lower-floor facades. Apartments are priced at $955,000 to nearly $6 million.


DON’T expect the Veneto, the newest luxury condo from the Related Companies, to look too much like its recent siblings — the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle, designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill, or 455 Lafayette Street, near Astor Place, designed by Gwathmey Siegel & Associates.

Instead of those steel-and-glass spaceships, both also developed by Related, the Veneto, a condominium rising at 250 East 53rd Street, at the corner of Second Avenue, will incorporate stone surfaces along with steel and glass and will have more traditional interiors that emphasize earth tones and wood surfaces, said David Wine, Related’s vice chairman.

The first eight stories of the building, designed by Davis Brody Bond, will be clad in brick and limestone on the Second Avenue side, and only in limestone along 53rd Street. The facade of the upper floors will also be atypical.

Inside, the Veneto will have 137 apartments on 34 floors. Buyers can choose from 11 different layouts that range from 763-square-foot one-bedrooms to 2,548-square-foot three bedrooms. Half the apartments, priced from $955,000 to $5.95 million, have been sold since the sales office opened in late April. The apartments will not be ready for another year, Mr. Wine said.

All the apartments will have the same touches: Sub-Zero wine refrigerators and Bosch dishwashers in the kitchens and Watermark shower heads and Kohler soaking tubs in the bathrooms.

The apartments in the Veneto will also have a similar color palette, a mix of beiges, burgundies and taupes, echoed in the chestnut kitchen cabinets and the walnut-colored polished Travertine marble bathroom floors. The interiors have been designed by Adam Tihany, perhaps better known for his work in restaurants like Per Se and Jean Georges in New York, and hotels, primarily in Europe.

“We wanted the style to whisper, not to shout,” Mr. Tihany said. “It will feel like the interior of a beautiful luxury car without being streamlined or pushy.”

A similar motif will be repeated in the Veneto’s common areas, including the 1,275-square-foot fitness center, to be managed by Equinox, the gym chain — which Related owns. Tenants will also be given membership in an Equinox gym a block away on East 54th Street.

The building will also feature a 500-square-foot party room, opening to a 700-square-foot terrace, as well as a 300-square-foot children’s playroom.

Mr. Tihany’s design credits also include the interior of the current Le Cirque, which moved this summer to 151 East 58th Street, on the ground floor of 1 Beacon Court, better known as the Bloomberg Building.

The presence of that restaurant, along with a handful of others, has given the East 50’s new cachet, said Marie Bianco, a senior vice president of Prudential Douglas Elliman, who has sold many apartments in that area.

Other new luxury condos in the neighborhood are Three Ten, at 310 East 53rd Street, across from the Veneto, and the Milan, at 300 East 55th Street.

Ms. Bianco said many buyers in the area can walk to their Midtown offices.

“A few years ago, people didn’t even want to consider the neighborhood, because it was too far east, but now it’s very fashionable,” she said. “And Bloomingdale’s is close, which is a big plus.”
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Old August 16th, 2006, 08:35 AM   #374
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(New) Yankee Stadium:





Yankees Will Break Ground for Their New Stadium


By CHARLES V. BAGLI
August 16, 2006

The Yankees plan to break ground today on their new $1.2 billion open-air stadium in the Bronx, less than 24 hours after a state judge rejected an attempt by a community group to block construction.

The new 51,000-seat stadium, with echoes of the distinctive copper frieze and limestone walls of the original ballpark, will go up in Macombs Dam and John Mullaly Parks, across 161st Street from the team’s historic home. Various elected officials are expected to join George Steinbrenner, the team’s principal owner, at a ceremony today signifying the start of construction.

“The courts have now ruled that the review process was thorough and complete,” said Randy Levine, president of the Yankees. “We’re excited to be breaking ground for what we think will be the best stadium in the country.”

Opponents of the project will also be on hand. “We’ll be out there demonstrating,’’ said Joyce Hogi, a member of Save Our Parks, who lives nearby. “We need to let people know how their rights have been trampled on. There’s nowhere else they can get the kind of economic bonanza they have in the Bronx. But the Yankees have not always been good neighbors.”

Save Our Parks, a community group, and a number of environmental organizations objected to plans to eliminate most of the popular Macombs Dam and Mullaly Parks and replace them with smaller parks scattered across the neighborhood. Some of the new parks, as well as ball fields, a running track and basketball courts, would be built on the roofs of new garages for stadium parking.

Save Our Parks had unsuccessfully sought an injunction barring construction, saying that the city’s environmental review failed to gauge the true impact of the new stadium on the neighborhood parks, open spaces and schoolchildren. The group also objected to plans to remove 377 mature shade trees from one of the poorest communities in the city.

“We’re not opposed to the Yankees having a new stadium,” Ms. Hogi said. “We always felt they could have done better by the community by reaching out and getting input into how they were proceeding with their plan.”

But Justice Herman Kahn of State Supreme Court refused to issue an injunction, saying the city would replace 22.42 acres of lost parkland with new parks totaling 24.56 acres. He cited a team statement in saying that a delay could cost the Yankees more than $80 million and scuttle the project. He said the team estimated that 1,000 people could lose their jobs if the team left the city.

Although the team has in the past flirted with the idea of moving to New Jersey or Manhattan, it has no plans to move out of the largest media market in the country, where it draws four million fans a year, more than any other team in Major League Baseball.

The Yankees will pay the $800 million cost to build the stadium, while the state and the city will invest nearly $400 million in garages, parks and tax breaks. The team will not pay rent to play on publicly owned land. The original stadium, built in 1923, will be demolished to make way for three baseball fields.


Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
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Old August 16th, 2006, 04:48 PM   #375
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World Trade Center Memorial:




DIG STARTS AT WTC SHRINE


By STEPHANIE GASKELL
August 16, 2006

Despite still needing to raise more than $170 million to complete the project, construction workers finally began building the World Trade Center memorial yesterday.

WTC Memorial Foundation officials confirmed to The Post that crews from New Jersey-based E. E. Cruz Heavy Construction began work on the foundation of the $510 million memorial and museum.

WTC Foundation officials said they hoped the hustle and bustle of construction crews in the area would encourage more people to donate to the project.

So far, $131 million has been raised.

Fund-raising has slowed after it became clear that the memorial had to be redesigned.

"This is proof that the memorial is being realized," said WTC Foundation spokeswoman Lynn Rasic.

"It shows that the project is moving forward. This is a great step."

Rasic said completion of the project was still on track for September 2009.


Copyright 2006 NYP Holdings, Inc.

Last edited by krull; August 16th, 2006 at 10:34 PM.
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Old August 16th, 2006, 09:42 PM   #376
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NY Times article on building "Green" skyscrapers that are high-end and/or affordable but most importantly have green attributes.

"Its Getting Easier to Be Green" NYTimes Aug 13, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/13/re...erland&emc=rss
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Old August 16th, 2006, 10:28 PM   #377
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City Expands Its Role in Brooklyn Cultural District




A computer rendering of Enrique Norten’s design for the Brooklyn Visual and Performing Arts Library.


By ROBIN POGREBIN
August 15, 2006

Responding to repeated delays, the city is taking a more aggressive role in developing the BAM Cultural District in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, removing control from a nonprofit planning group and shifting the site of a theater designed by Hugh Hardy and Frank Gehry.

Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff said the city began moving to jump-start the cultural district last spring.

“Projects have languished for a while, and we have taken things forward,” he said in an interview. “We’ve created new structures within the city to better implement plans. We are moving very aggressively.” “Having a world-class series of institutions at the heart of the revitalization of downtown Brooklyn is absolutely critical,” Mr. Doctoroff said of the area surrounding the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

The BAM Local Development Corporation, which had overseen the art district’s budget and planning for its new cultural buildings, will now be subsumed within a new umbrella organization, the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, which also includes the Downtown Brooklyn Council, the Fulton Mall Improvement Association and the MetroTech Business Improvement District.

Joseph Chan will leave his post as a senior policy adviser in Mr. Doctoroff’s office to serve as president of the partnership. It will have its own board of directors. Jeanne Lutfy, the president of the BAM Local Development Corporation, said she did not feel threatened by the city’s expanded role. “We think it’s a great thing,” she said. “The city has always been a partner in this.’’

“They’re just bringing more resources to the table, so we can get it into the ground faster,” she added. Currently the city has $74 million in financing allocated for the cultural district for fiscal 2006 through 2009.

Ms. Lutfy said she and Harvey Lichtenstein, chairman of the corporation, would still take part in the planning. (Mr. Lichtenstein, citing a family illness, referred calls to Ms. Lutfy.)

The city has approached the Theater for a New Audience, an Off Broadway troupe known for productions of Shakespearean and classical drama, and asked it to cede its planned site at Flatbush and Lafayette Avenues and build across the street instead. The site it originally hoped to occupy, next to a planned Brooklyn Visual and Performing Arts Library, is being reconceived as a kind of public gateway to the cultural district. “It’s the ninth-inning good idea,” said Kate D. Levin, the city’s Cultural Affairs Commissioner. “We could configure this differently.”

City officials note that the theater’s new proposed location is slightly larger and might allow the theater to avoid building an underground parking garage, which was part of the original plan.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Hardy, the main architect on the theater project, said he was unavailable for comment. Mr. Gehry said he was amenable to a new location. “I think it’s fine,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt anything. It means a little bit of reworking. It gives you some opportunities we didn’t have on the other site.”

The glass-and-stainless-steel building will be the theater’s first permanent home. It will house a 299-seat theater, a rehearsal room and a studio that will seat 50.

Ms. Levin said the change in site would not delay the project. “We’re hoping to break ground in the next year or so,” she said.


The city has also taken the lead in negotiating with various organizations about sharing a building with the library, designed by Enrique Norten. A partner would help the library pay for construction costs and overhead. Candidates include an international foundation that deals with art and education, officials involved in the talks said, but they refused to identify it.

The library is currently without a leader. Two directors have come and gone since planning for the new building began, which has delayed fund-raising.

The BAM Cultural District was conceived as a $650 million effort to revitalize the area by converting vacant and underused properties into spaces for arts organizations.

Yet six years after the district was proposed, ground has not been broken on either of the signature projects. And the master plan for the district has meanwhile passed from Rem Koolhaas and Diller, Scofidio & Renfro to Dan Wood of Work Architecture Company.

The $36 million theater project, announced in March 2004, was the first major undertaking of the new district. When Mr. Hardy’s design was unveiled a year later, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the city was committing $6.2 million to the project, and Kate D. Levin, the cultural affairs commissioner, said she expected the theater to be built within two years. Now officials estimate that the theater will be completed around sometime before 2009.

Jeffrey Horowitz, the theater’s founder, said his institution had raised an additional $6 million in private money, which he saw as notable progress, given the theater’s modest level of support. “We don’t have a huge roster of people with deep pockets,” he said, adding, “We’re confident that we’re going to meet our goal.”

Mr. Horowitz said the new location might better serve the theater because it offers improved loading access. “It’s a very attractive alternative,” he said. The theater hopes to reach a formal agreement with the city on the new site by the fall.

The Brooklyn Visual and Performing Arts Library has faced similar delays. When Mr. Norten’s design was unveiled in May 2002, officials predicted a groundbreaking in 2005 and a grand opening in 2007. Herbert Muschamp, who was then the architecture critic for The New York Times, hailed the project as the city’s “first full-fledged masterwork for the information age.”

Initially the library said it hoped to raise $120 million for the project, $75 million of which would be for construction. It has said that 10 to 15 percent of the overall cost would be met by the local development corporation by using capital funds allocated by the mayor, the borough president and the City Council. For fiscal 2006 and 2007 the city has allocated $8 million for the library.

Carol Linn, the library’s coordinator of special projects and policy analysis, said the cost estimate was likely to be revised, but she declined to be more specific. “This is still a project that is very much in the forefront for us,” she said. Mr. Norten, who designed the library, was also upbeat. “I’m very positive,” he said.



Theater planners hope to break
ground “in the next year or so.”



Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
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Old August 17th, 2006, 12:30 AM   #378
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Silvercup West:




City Council gives nod to Silvercup West


by Catherine Tymkiw
August 16, 2006

The City Council gave its okay, as expected, for one the largest film and television production centers to start construction in Long Island City, Queens.

Silvercup Studios, production home of The Sopranos and other television programs, plans to build a $1 billion, 2.7 million square-foot TV and film complex, comprising eight soundstages, 665,000 square feet of commercial space and 1,000 units of housing. Silvercup expects the project to create 3,900 permanent jobs and 2,500 indirect jobs.

The City Council's approval follows recommendations made by the City Planning Commission, Queens Borough President Helen Marshall and local Community Board 2, all of which endorsed the project, slated for completion by 2010.

Plans also call for a publicly accessible roof terrace overlooking the Manhattan skyline, public plazas along Vernon Boulevard and eventually a new street end public open space where 43rd Avenue meets the East River.

"In addition to the obvious benefits for this renowned studio, Queens residents will benefit from the building of affordable housing, space for cultural and recreational uses and a waterfront esplanade in the shadow of the Queensboro Bridge," said Ms.Marshall in a statement.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the production industry generates $5 billion annually for the city. "We are committed to expanding our share of this vital industry," he said.

With its expansion of Silvercup Studios East in 1999, Silvercup Studios operates more than 400,000 square feet of space and has 18 studios, on-site production offices and extensive set, prop and wardrobe storage areas.


©2006 Crain Communications Inc.
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Old August 17th, 2006, 12:38 AM   #379
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City Council To Vote on Landmark Zoning Change in Queens


By LEORA FALK
August 16, 2006

The City Council will vote today on a new zoning plan for the Woodside neighborhood along Queens Boulevard that would be the first use in Queens of inclusionary zoning, which mandates that developers create affordable housing units.

Created by a council member who represents part of Queens, Eric Gioia, the plan would offer private developers the right to construct larger buildings if they designated 20% of all residential units as affordable housing for the middle class. Although developers would be required to apply for the zoning change and therefore it is not yet known how much affordable housing Mr. Gioia's plan would create, he said that it could open up hundreds of affordable units within an area that covers 20 city blocks and bring construction to an underdeveloped area.

The focus on middle-income housing is an attempt to help a demographic that Mr. Gioia sees in his own family. "I think my model in my mind has been my sister and her fiancé," he said. Mr. Gioia's sister is a teacher, and her fiancé is in law enforcement. "A cop married to a school teacher should be able to live in our city, and right now too many people are being squeezed by the high prices of New York City," he said.

While he said he knows that the plan will not solve the city-wide housing shortage, he said he hopes that the precedents it sets — denser development as incentive for creation of affordable housing, and inclusionary zoning in Queens — will be "a model here that can be replicated city-wide and across the country."

Allowing denser development along Queens Boulevard might not bring the revitalization Mr. Gioia said he is hoping for, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute who specializes in development, Julia Vitullo-Martin, said. She said she thought the rezoning was "a pretty good direction to be going in," and that the proximity to public transportation and the need to make Woodside more attractive to developers made the area "a pretty good neighborhood for this kind of thing." But she said she was worried that the rezoning plan was a "piecemeal" approach that addressed the immediate problem — lack of affordable housing — without looking at the wider implications for city planning throughout Queens.

"This section of Queens Boulevard is going to end up with pretty substantial towers that are going to prevent any other use for the neighborhood," she said.


© 2006 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC.
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Old August 17th, 2006, 01:13 AM   #380
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Follow up story...


City OKs inclusionary zoning in Queens


By Tom Acitelli
August 16, 2006

The City Council also on Wednesday approved the first inclusionary zoning for Queens, rezoning 110 blocks in the neighborhoods of Woodside and Maspeth. The rezoning allows property owners along these Queens Boulevard blocks to build 33 percent more housing in exchange for creating or preserving 20 percent of the floor area they develop as permanently affordable housing.


Copyright © 2003-2005 The Real Deal.
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