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Old February 20th, 2007, 01:15 AM   #741
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I am with this article, end the nightmare of the FT and rebuild the Twins!
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Old February 20th, 2007, 01:28 AM   #742
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in other news

Housing Market Heats Up Again in New York City


Turnouts for open houses in Manhattan are large, like this one on the Upper East Side. Wall Street bonuses have added to the 2007 boom.

By TRACIE ROZHON
Published: February 19, 2007
nytimes.com

Since the new year began, a burst of activity has broken out in Manhattan and several Brooklyn neighborhoods as New Yorkers frenetically hunt for co-ops, condominiums and town houses, sending prices higher despite sluggish sales in many other cities.

Preliminary indications from real estate firms showed that this increased activity, with open houses jammed and bidding wars taking place, has occurred in all price ranges — from tiny studios in the East Village to red-brick mansions on the Upper East Side — in counterpoint to the heavily weighted record sales of luxury properties that led the market in the late summer and fall.

Real estate brokers and statisticians are quick to point out that not every single apartment is flying into contract. During the last quarter of 2006, the major real estate agencies differed on which way prices were headed.

But now, the three largest real estate companies in the city agree: for January, at least, both prices and the number of signed contracts rose in double-digit percentages compared with the same month in 2006.

With higher Wall Street bonuses, a strong regional economy and pent-up demand from New Yorkers who were once worried that the city’s real estate market would crash, buyers’ attitudes have done an about-face. “Their psychology has changed,” said Frederick W. Peters, the president of the Warburg Realty Partnership. “For almost two years, they’ve been scared that the market would plummet and they’d end up like fools who paid too much.”

Real estate experts say they see no reason for the trend to not continue, with economists predicting stable mortgage rates and a continuing city budget surplus. However, other factors may alter New Yorkers’ renewed interest in buying real estate, including an expansion of the Iraq war, a changing employment picture or another terrorist attack.

Yet, there is “cautious exuberance,” according to Steven L. James, director of Manhattan sales for Prudential Douglas Elliman.

A week ago, one open house attracted 100 people to an Upper West Side one-bedroom; a $2.475 million house in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn sold in a day.

Across the board, the prices of Manhattan apartments are rising. Jonathan Miller, the president of Miller Samuel, an appraisal firm, said the number of contracts signed this January was 19.4 percent higher than in January 2006. Prices were up 14.4 percent in the same time period. Inventory, which was mounting last summer, is shrinking fast.

Now, according to Mr. Miller, statistics showed that sales of studio and one-bedroom units, stagnant over the past year, were up 13.7 percent in January. “It’s not like a lot of huge sales at the high end skewed the average up.”

According to a report released last week by the National Association of Realtors, prices are falling in many other metropolitan areas around the country. The report covered only the last quarter of 2006, and showed a modest increase of 3.1 percent for the New York area, which includes parts of northern New Jersey.

Anecdotally, there isn’t much talk of falling prices in Manhattan and in the most sought-after neighborhoods in Brooklyn, where young people looking for a break, empty nesters looking for a guest room and foreigners looking for a pied-à-terre say they want to live.

Katalin Shavely, a 30-year-old bedding designer in Manhattan, devotes her weekends to scanning the classifieds and attending open houses, searching for just the right one-bedroom apartment for less than $750,000. She can’t find it. “I made a mistake,” she said last week. “I should have started looking before Thanksgiving.”

Mr. Miller said New Yorkers had been reluctant to buy because of the feeling of an impending crash. “Last summer, a lot of information was being dumped on the consumer: stories about the glut of condos in Miami, Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas, exacerbated by the constant debate on the blogosphere about housing bubbles, mixed together with a barrage of negative predictions,” he said in a telephone interview.

Although no one can pinpoint the moment when New Yorkers started feverishly buying again, Kirk Henckels, the director of the private brokerage division of Stribling & Associates, said he thought the luxury market picked up after Labor Day.

He and others said the resurgence was partly fueled by the fall’s record-setting (and well-publicized) sales of a few multimillion-dollar apartments and town houses, like the Stanford White limestone palazzo at 25 East 78th Street bought by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg for $45 million and the Harkness mansion at 4 East 75th Street sold in October for $53 million.

Then came this year’s stratospheric Wall Street bonuses, and the market exploded, real estate executives said.

“The plunger that freed up all the hesitation at all price levels was those bonuses,” said Diane Ramirez, the president of Halstead Property. “It cleaned the pipes and gave confidence to even small apartment buyers.”

Within the last month, the Corcoran Group, Halstead and Prudential Douglas Elliman, three of New York City’s largest real estate sales firms, say they have recorded double-digit increases in contract prices and in the number of transactions.

In a real estate market where 18 and 22 percent price increases were recorded in 2004 and 2005, last year’s 6 percent increase was depressing, Mr. Miller said.

Pamela Liebman, the president of the Corcoran Group, reported that the company’s contracts for this January totaled $1.3 billion, an increase of 53 percent from January 2006.

Prices in many areas of Brooklyn are going up, too. According to Marc Garstein, the president of Warren Lewis Realty in Park Slope, prices in what he called the downtown neighborhoods — including Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Prospect Heights and Windsor Terrace — are now approaching 2004 highs, after being off about 10 percent in the last two years.

A town house at 171 Garfield Place in Park Slope, priced at $2,475,000, sold for the asking price one day after it was put on the market. Fifty people had shown up at the open house, Mr. Garstein said.

Customers said they had expected a buyer’s market in which they could call the shots, but found a race track, instead.

Jane LaFarge Hamill, a 25-year-old painter who lives in a “small, kind of stinky” studio in Chinatown, said she had looked at 60 apartments over three months, trying to take advantage of the lull she had noticed. “We decided to look while sellers were still worried that the market was crashing,” she said.

When she started looking last fall, there was still “wiggle room,” she said. But now, there is frenzy, said her mother, Leita Hamill, who, with her husband, Bill, is helping her daughter search for and buy a new home. The Hamills had gotten into a bidding war, one of many reported by brokers these days, for a two-bedroom co-op in Gramercy Park. They had started bidding above the asking price, but it wasn’t enough.

“There were people bidding on the apartment sight-unseen,” Mrs. Hamill said. The victors got the co-op through a sealed bid, she said. “It was like a pair of shoes that you absolutely had to have,” she said.

Real estate executives say they do not know how long the market’s heat will be turned up, although they say the regional economy looks strong.

They also say that the first two quarters of the year — the spring market — are traditionally stronger than the last two. Thus, the average for the whole of 2007 may or may not show the double-digit growth that the first part of the year is showing. “It’s all about price now,” Ms. Ramirez said. “The market is not in a spike mode, when anything, for any price, will sell.”

Ms. Ramirez, who has sold real estate for more than 30 years, said she expected that the current rocketing growth would be followed by a period of slower yet steady increases. “I don’t want to hear, ‘Oh my gosh, the market is slowing up again,’ ” she said. “With the number of deals we had last week, it has to calm down. But I feel much more confident than at any time in the last five years when the market had fits and starts and there was always a certain underlying nervousness.”

Toward the end of 2004, the real estate market in the city was booming. But then, brokers started seeing “great concern among clients that mortgage rates were about to jump and that house prices would suffer a sharp correction,” Mr. Miller said.

Since then, there has been change of leadership in Congress, Mr. Miller noted. In the region, unemployment has dropped. Mortgage rates didn’t soar. “Two years ago, we were predicting they’d be up to 8 percent now,” he said. (Rates for a 30-year fixed loan on a New York City co-op hover around 6.25 percent, according to the Manhattan Mortgage Company.)

After months of trying to push shoppers over the edge of indecision, brokers now say they spend time warning house hunters not to rush in heedlessly — advice the would-be buyers don’t always listen to.

“When my wife and I got into the market in mid-December, people told me there was a glut of one-bedroom apartments and I could take my time,” said Shelly Cohen, 51, an empty-nester. “When we actually got into the market, I found it was just the opposite.” He just found a newly created condominium in a beige brick high-rise at 1438 Third Avenue at 81st Street and quickly signed the contract. He said he felt he had to.

Mrs. Hamill, the mother of the young artist in Chinatown, offers her own advice to friends.

“Now I tell everybody: Be ready to write the check the minute you see something you love,” she said. “If it’s any good, it’ll be gone by the next day.” She paused. “Or, even by that same day.”
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Old February 20th, 2007, 07:00 AM   #743
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Brooklyn: Atlantic Yards Construction to Begin


February 20, 2007
By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA

Construction crews were expected to take the first steps today toward building the huge Atlantic Yards project near downtown Brooklyn, according to an aide to Bruce C. Ratner, the developer. The first stages of the work will involve subcontractors removing contamination from a bus depot, then demolishing that structure. Forest City Ratner Companies will build a temporary Long Island Rail Road yard in its place, so that a giant platform can be built above the permanent rail yard to support much of the $4 billion development. The city and state approved the project despite heated opposition from residents who said it would overwhelmingly congest the local streets and transit system. The development will include thousands of apartments, commercial buildings, a hotel and an arena for the Nets, the basketball team Mr. Ratner owns.


Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
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Old February 20th, 2007, 07:21 AM   #744
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Now I do think it's a huge improvement over the first iteration, which was an exceedingly pathetic gesture, i.e., Buddhist windmill garden. Sheesh.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 09:25 AM   #745
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finally it is moving. Even though the concerns of the local residents are valid, it is in the best interest in the future development and quality of life for the neighborhood, borough and city.
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Old February 20th, 2007, 06:15 PM   #746
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Bioscience Park Ready To Rise on East River



The city’s first major bioscience office park aims to
attract bioscience companies to New York, as well as
to give them access to resources at Bellevue Hospital
and NYU’s medical school.



BY JAY AKASIE - Special to the Sun
February 20, 2007

A recent survey that went out to 600 of the world's top bioscience engineers and entrepreneurs reported that being around top academic institutions and accessing talented workers top the list of concerns companies consider when deciding where to set up shop.

It's a bit frustrating for the managing director of health care & biosciences for the New York City Economic Development Corporation, William Fair, when he hears that the North Carolina Research Triangle and Cambridge, Mass. perennially top the destination list for such firms. "We've got the brand-name schools and top talent here in New York City," he said. "But sometimes it's tough for an emerging industry make itself known when there's so much going on in this city."

But Mr. Fair, an aggressive graduate of Stanford University and the Kellogg School of Management, has already laid the groundwork to quintuple the amount of space in New York City devoted to the high flying businesses in the bioscience field. He's just announced the East River Science Park will hold some 535,000 square feet of sleek, high-tech office towers, laboratories, and public spaces that will connect to New York University's medical school complex and Bellevue Hospital.

This area stands now as a patch of dirt bounded by First Avenue and FDR Drive and between 28th and 30th Streets. The trailers set up on the edges of the plot, near the First Avenue side, hold the remains of victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. Mayor Bloomberg has promised victims' families that those remains will not be moved until they are interred in the memorial, according to Mr. Fair. A spokesman for the mayor declined to comment.

The project will involve two phases, the latter of which covers the area occupied by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, where the remains are stored. Mr. Fair said he is confident that Mayor Bloomberg's commitment to allow private enterprise to play a larger role in the city's economic development will manifest itself with the completion of the bioscience park. "The fact that so much of this city's initial boom in the biosciences will be based in one place, on a campus showplace on the East River, is huge," he said.

Of the 226 publicly traded bioscience firms on the NASDAQ exchange, 14, or 6%, are based in New York City. Only 24 (3%) of the nation's 750 private firms are domiciled here. Experts say that much of the reason for the dearth in such companies in New York is the challenge to find decent, affordable space — a concern, not surprisingly, that affects many nascent industries here.

"The mayor has a private sector approach to how we approach and build up this industry," the copresident of the NYC Investment Fund, Maria Gotsch, said. "What we faced was a lack of real estate for academic spin-offs. How do you build up an industry when real estate is the first and driving concern?"

To that end, the NYC Investment Fund secured $10 million to get the project going, said Ms. Gotsch. She said she is confident investors will see a satisfying return on their investments in the bioscience park.

The CFO of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Joel Marcus, said his California firm has been looking to develop a significant property in Manhattan for some time.

"We're using what we like to call the cluster concept," Mr. Marcus said. "We use sophisticated, proprietary products to bring together a confluence of commercial activities. Each of these components will be critical to the success of the complex here in New York."

In the 1970s, urban decay and rising crime rates forced institutions like Bellevue and NYU to build campuses that looked inward. Now, they're opening up their campuses and will use the science park to link many of their existing buildings. That's a boon to the kinds of start-ups that developers expect to call the various building of the East River complex home. The idea is to tie private equity firms and scientists together with the doctors, patients, and medical school students already in the area.

"It's an effort to recapture the East River," Mr. Marcus said. "It's going to have some high-quality public access, with dramatic lighting and spectacularly inviting spaces."


© 2007 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC.
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Old February 21st, 2007, 12:12 AM   #747
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Omar View Post
finally it is moving. Even though the concerns of the local residents are valid, it is in the best interest in the future development and quality of life for the neighborhood, borough and city.
This is at the expense of a developer using our tax dollars and building over where thousands live right now.
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Old February 21st, 2007, 09:13 AM   #748
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over some rail yards? please and the developer has even scaled down the proposal.
Developers use tax dollars all the time. It is hard to name a development that does not receive tax support. The Bioscience Park mentioned above will use taxes dollars too. The taxes generated by the development far out way the initial assistance. On the other hand sports arenas like Knicks in the Garden that have never pay any taxes. that is a problem.
The city needs more housing and Atlantic Yards project will meet that demand and provide affordable housing. Where else are the extra million New Yorks going to live in 2020.
I agree with London that a modern city is not a museum.

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Old February 21st, 2007, 10:42 PM   #749
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If you are thinking I am being selective by just picking on Ratner, then you are wrong. I don't think any developers should be allowed to have subsidized bonds, b/c they are not building anything that is public let alone they are the ones owning it. As for the Atlantic Yds, I have been following this for a while, and the housing will hardly be affordable nor will it be including if built in the first phase and possibly never. Another thing is that over half of the project will NOT be built on the railyards, it will be built on blocks south of them if you even noticed the rendering. As for the scaling, it is more like just taking a little of the top.

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Old February 23rd, 2007, 11:01 PM   #750
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Another rendering of the East River Science Park, which is expected to begin housing tenants in 2009. Construction is scheduled to start in March.



Bringing Laboratory Space Back to New York
nytimes.com
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Old February 24th, 2007, 05:49 AM   #751
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http://www.amny.com/news/local/am-ma...ocal-headlines
Plan would raze South Street Seaport mall

By Michael Clancy, amNewYork City Editor

[email protected]

February 23, 2007

South Street Seaport's Pier 17 will most likely be razed to make way for a mixed-use retail, residential and open space development, a spokeswoman for the property's leaseholder said Thursday.

Though the company is exploring a range of options, the three-story shopping mall named for the pier it was built on will likely be demolished, said Cheri Fein, a spokeswoman for General Growth Properties, a Chicago-based real estate company that owns and operates more than 200 malls nationwide. Fein did not elaborate on the specific plans.

Asked how high a new structure might go, Fein, of the public relations firm Rubenstein Associates, said: "The lower you go, the less open space there is -- but nothing has been decided."

"There is also the recognition that it is not just a land-bound place," she said. "We want to make it 360 [degrees], so that it can be reached by the ferry as well."

But according to one person familiar with the developer's initial plan, General Growth is considering a tall iconic building for the site, and would also build a ferry landing and relocate the landmark "Tin Building" of the former Fulton Fish Market. The rest of the pier would be left as open space.

Preliminary concepts for the pier and the former fish market will be discussed publicly for the first time on Monday, when General Growth, which acquired the East River site in 2004, meets with Community Board 1 to get feedback on its nascent plans.

Waterfront advocates said General Growth should be given a fair chance to articulate a vision for reviving the site.

"We look at the Seaport as emblematic of every waterfront neighborhood today -- caught in the middle of looking back at the past and looking forward to the future," said Carter Craft, director of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance. "The synergy between commerce and maritime history has always been the vision but it has just eluded everybody thus far."

On Monday, the company will reveal some basic mapping for the site to begin a dialogue about the project, which does not have a timetable, Fein said.

"The ideas are for a mixed-use place that will provide services to the residential community, to the business community, to New Yorkers as a whole, and to visitors to the city -- in that order, whereas the plan by \[prior owners\] went in the reverse order," said Fein.

It's too soon to say what kind of zoning approval, if any, General Growth would need to build, because the site lies within a number of special zoning, national, local, historic and landmark districts, said Jennifer Torres, a spokeswoman for the Department of City Planning.

Most waterfront advocates would not shed any tears over the loss of the Pier 17 mall, a mix of chain stores, restaurants and specialty shops completed in 1983.

The mall obstructs the view of the Brooklyn Bridge and is a cumbersome structure, said Lee Gruzen, of SeaportSpeaks, a group of local stakeholders.

Thus far, she said, General Growth has done a great job of working with the community.

"The future of the Seaport is grounded in bringing its maritime history to life in a way that benefits those who work, live and visit there," Gruzen said.
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Old February 24th, 2007, 08:49 AM   #752
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I love the seaport.. Hate to see the Mall go though. Still, Progress is progress... I guess.
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Old February 25th, 2007, 12:53 AM   #753
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Hi to all....

Someone told me that '' Riverdale, Bronx '' because its so close to Manhattan and transportation its being targeted by Realtors, to be turned into '' the next hot place to live out of Manhattan '' they call it the country side of Manhattan, is it true...

the reason its I'm in search of an apart. and i saw Riverdale and found a good one..

will love to hear your comments....
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Old February 25th, 2007, 03:22 AM   #754
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Riverdale is really nice.As for the seaport that sucks I used to go on school trips down there all the time.
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Old February 26th, 2007, 11:07 PM   #755
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Quote:
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I love the seaport.. Hate to see the Mall go though. Still, Progress is progress... I guess.
You don't have to support every project that comes up in NYC, especially if you think it will take away something major like Pier 17.
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Old February 27th, 2007, 04:53 AM   #756
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Anti-establishment
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Old February 28th, 2007, 12:31 AM   #757
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Just b/c I have been oppossed to a number of projects, does not mean that I am anti-developement. This is the most common stereotype that developers, along with their supporters, have been using against the opposition, and it's not something new either. I admit that I am not an architect junkie, and I am glad I am not. Daniel Doctroff, who is a good example, claims that if such projects don't go through NYC will loose out to the world in the architecture wars. I think this is a bunch of baloney. We do not need to have new designs just b/c another city has it. I am sure that when people come from other countries to NYC and they are into architecture, they will mostly want to see what doesn't exist in their own city, otherwise they would have wasted a trip. NYC is already a major world city as it has been for the last hundred years. I am tired of hearing this "we have to competitive" crap. I have read Learning from Las Vegas for the fun of it, and I have learned it only gives ways on how to create something that isolates itself from the rest of its own city, or how to build something with the most overrated and tacky architecture, like deconstructivism. I couldn't care less what Dubai and Shanghai are building right now, and we do not need to build something similar to them just b/c of that fear. Another thing is that I am for preserving the identity of neighborhoods throughout the entire five boroughs, and feel that only developement that doesn't destroy its identity should be built there.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 01:29 AM   #758
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Last edited by Indyman; February 28th, 2007 at 01:32 AM. Reason: not worth it
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Old February 28th, 2007, 01:48 AM   #759
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South Street Seaport plans studied





27-FEB-07

Community Board 1 held a public meeting last night for a presentation of plans by General Growth Properties, a real estate investment trust based in Chicago, to redevelop the South Street Seaport properties it acquired in 2004 from The Rouse Company as part of what was then the nation's largest retail real estate transaction.

Gennell Vaughn of General Growth told the meeting that the company had no definite plan and was only "at the beginning of the process," which, she continued, "will take years" to finish and is "very complicated" as it falls into seven zoning, planning, preservation and urban renewal districts.

In his presentation for General Growth, Gregg Pasquarelli, a partner with SHoP Architects, said that the company wanted to "provide amenities for the increasing residential population of the district and of Lower Manhattan, build on the positive momentum of the East River and Fulton Street corridor projects, preserve the authenticity of the seaport and its history, and create an experience of local, regional and international appeal," not just for tourists.

He also said that the company hoped to improve waterfront views, and make South Street narrower to improve pedestrian access.

He presented several possible scenarios included demolition of the existing Pier 17, and relocation of the "Tin" Building that formerly housed the Fulton Fish Market, either slightly to the south to open up waterfront vistas on Beekman Street, or to the north, or to east.

One scenario, shown at the right, would create 506,000 square feet of commercial space and 2,530,000 square feet of residential space with a maximum buildable height on piers of 40 feet and on platforms of 350 feet.


Such a building would permit the creation of about 100,000 square feet of "open space" whereas smaller buildings would allow less open space. The standing-room-only meeting was held in the community room of Southbridge Towers, the extremely handsome residential development that clusters high-rise towers about attractive plazas across Water Street from the Seaport.

Several speakers questioned General Growth's representatives about the fate of commercial tenants still in operation at Pier 17, the future of the South Street Seaport Museum, whether its plans would include a ballfield for the community, whether an aquatic center could be included, what would be its impact on traffic and how could it accommodate another OpSail.

The representatives said that the community board "had assisted GGP in identifying the core needs: school, playing field, community center, affordable housing, improved neighborhood retail," adding that the company has been trying to enhance the site with art and cultural events.

They said that the city, which owns the site, had separated the museum, which a speaker at the meeting said was in financial trouble and relocating much of its collection, from the seaport prior to its acquisition of the seaport, adding, however, that it considered the museum to be extremely important for the future of the South Street Seaport, which was created in the early 1980s. The representatives also said that the configuration of the property did not lay out well for the creation of a ballfield.

Julie Menin, the chairperson of the board, said that the community was facing "a real crisis" and was extremely interested in amenities such as a school and a community center. "Before we can even get to the issue of height, this community would have to see significant infrastructure improvement," she said.

SHoP is designing the East River Waterfront Plan for the city and has designed the very handsome Rector Street Bridge at Battery Park City, the stunning Porter House on Ninth Avenue at 15th Street.


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Old February 28th, 2007, 01:48 AM   #760
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80 South Street project reported to be "still alive"





27-FEB-07

There is no more anticipated building in New York City than 80 South Street designed by Salvatore Calatrava for Frank J. Sciame.

There has been considerable speculation that the project, which was announced a couple of years ago, might not get built because its apartment units were perhaps a bit expensive.

The mixed-use project includes ten 4-story townhouses stacked atop one another with the top "townhouse-in-the-sky" unit carrying a reported sales price of $59 million. Given the fact that the units would have about 10,000 square feet of space and spectacular views of the nearby South Street Seaport, the Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan, the prices were very high but not altogether ridiculous in light of recent sales in the luxury market.

The tower is planned to rise 835 feet high and to be topped by a mast that will reach 1,000 feet. The project's website went up in the fall of 2005.

Mr. Calatrava, who was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art last year, has designed the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and construction started recently on his design for the tallest building in the United States, a 115-story building close to Lake Michigan in Chicago.

In response to a query from CityRealty.com after a Community Board 1 public meeting last night at Southbridge Towers on plans by General Growth Corporation to redevelop the South Street Seaport, Gregg Pasquarelli, a partner with SHoP Architects, who works for General Growth and is also the architect for the city's planned East River Waterfront plan, said that the 80 South Street skyscraper project was "still alive."

When asked for more information, he repeated that it was "still alive," but offered no details.


Calatrava's design for the tower was been widely acclaimed and it and the Frank O. Gehry mixed-use tower for Forest City Rattner nearby at 8 Spruce Street have been viewed by some observers as important as the towers planned for Ground Zero on the other side of Lower Manhattan at least in terms of their impact on the city's skyline.

Many speakers from the community at the board meeting over the seaport plans expressed concerns that the area needed schools and community facilities rather than tall buildings.

Mr. Pasquarelli said that General Growth Properties had no specific plan yet and was studying various scenarios. The Calatrava tower appeared in one of his slide presentations. One scenario shown indicated that a new mixed-use tower at the seaport might be as tall as 350 feet.

SHoP Architects has also designed the Rector Street Bridge at Battery Park City, the stunning Porter House on Ninth Avenue at 15th Street, and other projects such as 127 Madison Avenue and 290 Mulberry Street.


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