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Old May 17th, 2007, 06:54 AM   #941
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St. Vincent's Hospital selects Rudin family for redevelopment


16-MAY-07

The Saint Vincent Medical Centers announced today that they had selected the Rudin family as a development partner for a new hospital facility on the site of the Edward and Theresa O'Toole Medical Services Building on the northwest corner of 12th Street and Seventh Avenue.

When the new facility is built, the hospital will vacate its properties on the east side of Seventh Avenue between 11th and 12th Streets and those sites will be developed by the Rudin family "primarily for residential use."

The announcement said that the hospital will submit its plans for the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the City Planning Commission.

Saint Vincent is the academic medical center of the New York Medical College and it is sponsored by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Brooklyn and the president of the Sisters of Charity of New York.

The O'Toole building was built in 1964 as the National Maritime Union of America Building and was designed by Albert C. Ledner & Associates. It was described by Norval White and Elliot Willensky in their book, "The A. I. A. Guide to New York City, Third Edition," as a "double-dentured monument" and is notable for its nautical motif.

In 1984, the hospital demolished its very handsome, Georgian-style Elizabeth Bayley Seton Building that had been designed by Schikel & Ditmars and replaced it with a brutalist structure designed by Ferrenz, Taylor, Clark & Associates. It also replaced the Loew's Sheridan movie theater, the major movie house in Greenwich Village, with a truck facility at the intersection of Seventh and Greenwich Avenues.

William C. Rudin, a managing partner in the Rudin family holdings, said in the hospital's announcement that "Together we will help St. Vincent's Hospital build a new, 21st Street, environmentally friendly, state of the art, health care facility," adding that "This partnership allows the hospital to serve its ever-growing community and continue to fulfill its mission for the next 150 years."

The announcement said the hospital "anticipates emerging from Bankruptcy court protection this summer with a healthy balance sheet and up-to-date financial systems and controls," adding that it "is filing a motion today that seeks authority from the Bankruptcy Court to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Rudin family."

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation sent the hospital a letter May 10 urging that there "should be no increase in overall density on the properties currently occupied by St. Vincents, and in fact a decrease in density would be desirable." It also said that the design of new developments should "be compatible in design and scale with the Greenwich Village Historic District," adding tht the "triangle bounded by Greenwich Avenue, West 12th Street and 7th Avenue should not be built upon."


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Old May 17th, 2007, 06:57 AM   #942
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Curved condo tower with 88 units planned for East 49th Street





16-MAY-07

Excavation work is about to commence for a 24-story residential condominium tower with 88 apartments at 250 East 49th Street that will be known as the Splendido.

A prior design by Sydness Architects for the site, which formerly was occupied in part by the Box Tree Restaurant and Inn, called for a 31-unit, 20-story, mid-block tower that would have been cantilvered over the low-rise building immediately to its east. The cantilevered portion would have been supported by an asymmetrical array of struts and the north and south facades of the tower would have floor-to-ceiling windows with frosted glass balustrades in a random pattern across the front of the building.

The site was subsequently expanded to include the frontage at the southeast corner of 49th Street and Second Avenue and Sydness Architects, of which K. Jeffries Sydness is the principal has redesigned the project.

The new design, shown at the right, has a red terracotta-clad base/podium from which rises a curved glass curtain wall flanked at the south and west portions of the tower by beige terracotta-clad facades.

The lower section of the development "respects the street wall of the residential block comprised primarily of townhouses and lower scaled buildings," according to the Sydness Architects website.

The lower two levels of the base will be retail and entered from the avenue and the residential entrance will be on 49th Street. "The remaining three levels of the podium section contain larger apartments with terraces that cut into the podium revealing the curved tower as it rises from the gounrd.

The curved section of the tower will ceilings higher than 11 feet for "expansive views uptown."

The building will have a concierge and roof deck and it is expected to be completed late next year.

The East 49th Street Development II LLC, of which Alexander Gurevich is a principal, is the developer.

Prior to forming Sydness Architects, K. Jeffries Sydness was a partner with John Burgee Architects, the successor firm to Johnson/Burgee Architects, which was founded by Philip Johnson and John Burgee.


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Old May 17th, 2007, 07:01 AM   #943
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Landmarks commission approves plans for 224 Fifth Avenue





15-MAY-07

The Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously approved plans today by Lewis J. Brandolini III to erect a 20-story residential condominium building at 224 Fifth Avenue between 26th and 27th Streets.

The building would contain only 11 apartments and the proposal requires no special permits or zoning variances.

Mr. Brandolini is a principal of the Brandolini Companies, which was founded in 1936 and is a diversified real estate development organization located on the Main Line of suburban Philadelphia in Berwyn, Pennsylvania.

The mid-block site falls within the Madison Square North Historic District and is half a block north of Madison Square Park and directly across Fifth Avenue from the Grand Madison condominium project.

The rigorous and bold design by Fred Bland of the architectural firm of Beyer Blinder Belle would have full floor units on the second through the fifth floors of the building's base and duplex 7 duplex apartments in the tower above, which would be set back 10 feet.

The tower's setback design would be glass-clad with alternating, angled windows facing the avenue.

The building would replace a mid-19th Century townhouse that was altered for commercial use in 1893 by Berg & Clark and then altered again in 1981-3.

The proposal was described at a recent hearing by most commissioners as "elegant," but the developer was asked to check if the facade of the existing building on the site hid any salvageable elements from the 19th Century structure. Chairman Robert Tierney indicated that is nothing remarkable was discovered, he was not opposed to demolition of the existing building, which the commission has already described as being a "non-contributing" building of "no style."

Mr. Tierney reported that Community Board 5 had voted against the design by a vote of 28 to 6 and he suggested that the developer work with the commission's staff on the design with attention to the design of the base and the top of the proposed tower.

Several commissioners previously praised the design of the middle section of the tower as well as indicating that they were not opposed to a tall, thin building on the site, which they described as "book-ended" by taller, masonry-clad buildings at either end of the block and Commissioner Jan Hird Pokorny said that it was "a beautiful building but too nervous."

At today's hearing, a revised plan was presented by Mr. Bland that had a lower, limestone base and an altered top.

The center of the tower is highlighted and bisected by a steel "fin" and the new plan for the top is asymmetrical and creates a terrace on the north side with a circular cut-out roof.


Commissioner Roberta Brandes Gratz termed the revised plan " a terrific solution" and "respective of its neighbors."


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Old May 17th, 2007, 11:54 AM   #944
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unbelievable news


btw, krull, do you have a map which show's the location of the two UC twins (river Place as far as i know )?
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Old May 18th, 2007, 06:10 PM   #945
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Plans Emerge for Largest NY Synagogue in 50 Years





By Katie Hinderer
May 11, 2007

NEW YORK CITY-The search for a new site for the Lincoln Square Synagogue began five years ago and has finally culminated in a deal that allows the synagogue to relocate and provides a majority of the construction financing. American Continental Properties Inc. has agreed to a land swap on the Upper West Side to make way for the development.

Moshe Sukenik, EVP of Newmark Knight Frank, tells GlobeSt.com that the five-year search has ended in a way that “no one envisioned” years ago when the process began. The Lincoln Square Synagogue occupies two adjacent sites that had unused air rights and contained one older building that was in disrepair at 200 Amsterdam Ave. Through the years a number of plans were suggested, including selling the sites to a residential developer who would build the synagogue into the base of the project, and teaming up with a nonprofit that was looking to build.

As these two deals were beginning to take form another began brewing. “The ACP stepped up to the plate with a more aggressive offer,” Sukenik says. The offer was a trade. The Synagogue, which couldn’t move far since the congregation walks to services, would take a 12,000-sf parcel on Amsterdam Avenue that is part of a bigger site owned by ACP. The new location is roughly 100 feet from the former one and will be a stand-alone which Sukenik says is virtually impossible to find in today’s market for a nonprofit. For its part ACP would take the Synagogue’s two parcels and write a check that would cover a majority of the 52,000-sf building’s construction costs for the new Lincoln Square Synagogue.

“By developing a creative land swap, we are able to build a new synagogue that both suits the membership’s needs and through the architectural design, continue Lincoln Square’s role as the leader of modern Orthodoxy,” says Scott Liebman, head of the synagogue’s new building committee.

Sukenik declined to reveal how much ACP paid in the transaction, stating only it was more than 50% of the projected, but unrevealed, construction costs. The Synagogue has also leased back its former space for a little more than a year. Construction is slated to begin immediately with a completion date set in 2008.

Even before the deal closed, which happened earlier this week, the Synagogue hired architectural firm Centra/Ruddy. The design is not yet complete, but Nancy Ruddy, a principal with the firm, says inspiration was being drawn from the “symbolism of the prayer shawl.”

“This is a very exciting time for our congregation,” says Rabbi Shaul Robinson, in a statement about the deal. “We are building something that will hold a defining place in each of our lives. This is a unique moment in which the vibrant spirit can be captured and enhanced through the development of a new home. This is also a historic moment for our congregation and Judaism. Many of our congregants are from families that survived the Holocaust and saw their communities and synagogues destroyed. This is an opportunity for us to right this wrong and to build a home that, hopefully, will last for a long time.”

The project is thought to be the largest synagogue to be built in at least 50 years.


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Old May 18th, 2007, 07:31 PM   #946
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Urstadt Calls for 50-Acre Battery Park City North


By Katie Hinderer
May 18, 2007

NEW YORK CITY-Charles Urstadt, vice chairman of Battery Park City and chairman of Urstadt Biddle Properties, spoke at the Associated Builders and Owners luncheon on Thursday and called for the creation of Battery Park City North. Although he admits that there is a five-in-one chance that the project will never go forward.

As the man that oversaw the creation of Battery City Park, and is often dubbed the “father” of the project, he told attendees that the city needs another space that can be developed to handle the city’s projected expansion. The current Battery City Park is composed of 93 acres, with 9,000 residential units and six million sf of office space. But with all the sites built out or spoken for, Urstadt told attendees that the Battery Park City Authority has no future--a problem which can be remedied by expanding both south, to Battery Park, and North, to the Holland Tunnel.

He estimates it would cost $75 per sf to create the 50 acre site he is talking about by dredging the river and using dirt from several Downtown office high-rise projects. And he argued, the process would be easier this time around as the people and knowledge are already in place since the first phase has now been completed.

But creating a large northern expanse of Battery Park City would be a significant investment, and one Urstadt said the city government could not take on. Selling bonds might be able to get the project done, but it’s uncertain. His suggestion? Privatize the whole project. He estimated the whole 143-acre site could sell for $3 billion.

Opposition to a plan like this would abound, according to Urstadt, who has already taken this idea to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Community groups that do not want to be privately owned, and environmentalists, he said would be the hardest battle to overcome. “But like a turtle, you can’t get anywhere unless you stick your neck out,” Urstadt told attendees.

The Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver would need to be convinced of the need for the project. “There needs to be a threat,” to push it forward, Urstadt said. He suggests that “threat” could be the loss of downtown’s vitality as a financial hub. Faced with the option to build more to secure Manhattan’s status in the financial industry or let it slip away, Urstadt said progress could then be made.

But he ended by saying that this would be a 10-year process once it got up and running and he wasn’t the man for the job.


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Old May 18th, 2007, 09:47 PM   #947
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Last edited by krull; July 28th, 2007 at 11:06 PM.
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Old May 19th, 2007, 12:01 AM   #948
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Thanks for filling me in on all the development news, krull. It sadens me everytime I see a great historical building up for demolition only to be replaced by regular common modern buildings you can find anywhere else in the world. The building im talking about is in the LES on Rivington and Ludlow st. Oh well...
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Old May 19th, 2007, 12:06 AM   #949
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http://www.gothamist.com/2007/05/17/city_wants_mega.php

City Wants Mega Buildings on the Far West Side




The city's Far West Side dreams are at stake as the MTA will auction off the buildings rights to the West Side railyards. The NY Times takes a broad look the 26-acre swath of land where Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff says the Bloomberg administration wants to create the "21st century Rockefeller Center." Well, a Rockefeller Center with many huge buildings, as the article's lede calls the lots "where the Bloomberg administration envisions the equivalent of five Empire State Buildings rising..." Some interesting details about the post-West Side Stadium hopes for the railyards:


The city expects five developers to bid for the land: A partnership of Durst & Vornado Realty; Extell; Brookfield Properties; and Tishman Speyer.

The western part of the railyards will still need to be rezoned, and it will happen under a public review process.

It will cost around $1 billion to build a platform over the railyards (on top of which all other buildings would be built)

The fate of the High Line is questionable, as developers aren't inclined to include it in their plans since they believe it will be costly to design around.

Hold-ups with approval for the Javits Center expansion are also complicating the plan.

The auction for the MTA's railyards will begin next month. Here is the city's website about the development of the area known as Hudson Yards. The Hudson Yards Development Corporation released a draft conceptual land use for the area (PDF) last week. Curbed called it "dizzying" and "dark" given how massive the buildings would be; a map and summary of the draft conceptual land use follow after the jump.



Summary:
- Plan for WRY will be coordinated with the entire Hudson Yards area
- Plan allows for mixed-use development
- Plan will include generous open space and relate to the existing Hudson River and High Line parks
- Plan will include on and off-site affordable housing
- On-site – up to 20% of the rental units would be affordable through
the 80/20 program
- Off-site locations:
- West 54th Street / MTA Site
- West 48th Street / DEP Site
- Plan will include a PS/IS school
- Plan will include office space for arts and non-profit uses
- Parking will be allowed, but not required, for WRY site
- Plans should incorporate green building standards
- WRY development plans are subject to ULURP and environmental review
- Guidelines should be flexible and promote compelling architectural design

Posted by Jen Chung in News: NYC
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Old May 19th, 2007, 12:07 AM   #950
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New Tower May Come, With Some City Funds



The Queens Plaza garage will likely be
razed to make way for an office tower,
with a city agency as its anchor tenant.



by Jennifer Manley
05/17/2007

The long-awaited renovation of Queens Plaza’s white elephant may get a $30 kick start from the city. The drab concrete Queens Plaza Municipal Parking Garage takes up an entire block at 28-10 Bridge Plaza, but is expected to be razed to make way for an office tower.

Tishman Speyer, the real estate giant that owns Rockefeller Center and more locally, the contaminated vacant site across Jackson Avenue from the garage, intends to redevelop the city-owned site but was reportedly having trouble attracting investors. Now the city’s Economic Development Corp. confirms it intends to spend the $30 million on outfitting office space it will then give to an as-yet unnamed city agency, which will be the anchor tenant.

There is no time frame on when the deal could be sealed, but EDC spokeswoman Janel Patterson said “we want to get this done as soon as possible.”

Lisa Deller, chairwoman of Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee, said everyone is looking forward to seeing the transformation of Queens Plaza, but there are concerns that the city’s spending priorities could be “somewhat misplaced.”


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Old May 19th, 2007, 02:51 AM   #951
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wow, some exciting stuff. It would be awesome to see some taller than ESB go up around it.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 03:21 AM   #952
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http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/20/re...ref=realestate
Home of the Bronx Roar

By C. J. HUGHES
Published: May 20, 2007


Ruby Washington/The New York Times

HERE TODAY, THERE TOMORROW Until the new Yankee Stadium, right, is complete in 2009, the old one will have to do. Parkland will replace it.


HIGH BRIDGE, folded into a valley in the southwestern Bronx, welcomed its first wave of Manhattanites in the 1920s; developers promised them more room for less money.

Now history may be coming full circle. Buyers frustrated by high prices in uptown Manhattan neighborhoods like Inwood and Harlem are slowly discovering Art Deco buildings in High Bridge, conveniently near two subway lines and a chain of handsome parks.

For some, the attraction may be the new Yankee Stadium, a billion-dollar multiblock public-private behemoth whose curved bleachers are even now rising across East 161st Street from its older cousin.

It is to be ready in time for the 2009 season; along with it are to come new athletic fields, tennis courts, bicycle and walking paths, stores and restaurants. There will also be a new Metro-North Railroad station — which during baseball season might help ease overcrowding on the subway. Hopes are high that the advent of all these attractions will help generate residential construction.

The project has not been discord-free, however, as a total of 22 acres in Macombs Dam and John Mullaly Parks were sacrificed to build it.

To make amends, developers say, they are creating interim fields in former parking lots and will replace the old stadium — to be razed when the new one is ready for use — with permanent parkland.

“The reconstruction of parkland and adding state-of-the-art amenities point in one direction, and that’s for the benefit of the neighborhood,” said Wilhelm Ronda, the planning director for Adolfo Carrión Jr., the borough president.

Community advocates had sought a more substantial offer, pointing out that the area has grappled with high asthma rates — a problem ascribed in part to urban overcrowding and a lack of green space. The South Bronx generally, according to Menaka Mohan, a coordinator at Sustainable South Bronx, has a half-acre of green space per 1,000 residents, far below the two-and-a-half-acre standard her group and others advocate.

Still, transplants are coming, confident that High Bridge, a neighborhood one and a half square miles in size, is turning a corner.

Elaine Rivera, who two years ago bought a 720-square-foot co-op on the Grand Concourse, says wryly that when she falls prey to doubt on this point, she consults her own residential track record: Almost every place she has lived — the East Village, the meatpacking district — went on to become trendy, after she had turned down opportunities to buy.

“I thought, I’m not going to blow this off and make another mistake again,” said Ms. Rivera of her one-bedroom, one-bath unit with a terrace providing “movie-set views.”

A reporter for the public radio station WNYC, Ms. Rivera paid $150,000 for the place in the fall of 2005, and spent $13,000 more for new floors and a stove (many High Bridge co-ops are sold unrenovated). She said she had been told by at least one broker that it could sell for $250,000 today.

But she, too, acknowledges that before hordes flock here, the Bronx must overcome the perception, cultivated in the hard-luck 1970s and 1980s, that blight and crime persist.

Police statistics bear out the neighborhood’s transformation: Murder rates in the 44th Precinct, which covers High Bridge, dropped 58 percent from 2001 to 2005; robbery was down 29 percent over the same period. (Even so, there were 13 murders in the precinct in 2006, and 495 reported robberies.)

Ray Melendez, who moved to High Bridge in 1985 and once served as a police officer there, remembers when drug users in Joyce Kilmer Park routinely broke into parked cars. Mr. Melendez, who admits to having his own brushes with the law, says that he spent five years behind bars for a restraining-order violation, only to return to a neighborhood invigorated: In Joyce Kilmer Park these days, families come to picnic.

He says he is thinking about buying something new in the neighborhood. Based on his search, he estimated that his 850-square-foot one-bedroom co-op — which cost $20,900 in 1989 — could sell for $140,000.

But with the onset of gentrification, he said, “I worry about where the locals will go to buy a gallon of milk.”

What You’ll Find

Bronx neighborhoods lost their distinct shapes a century ago, so High Bridge’s boundaries are debatable but are generally said to sweep from the Grand Concourse west to the Harlem River, between East 167th and East 144th Streets.

A more useful marker may be the distance from which one can hear the stadium crowd roar, as happened on a recent afternoon when the pitcher Roger Clemens announced that he was rejoining his former team.

About 90 percent of High Bridge’s housing stock is apartments, according to the 2000 census, especially six- and seven-story buildings dating to the 1920s and ’30s, with architectural details like peaked ogee windows and columns resembling twisted rope.

Newer multifamily houses are strung along Woodycrest, Nelson and Ogden Avenues, on High Bridge’s western flank, atop a rocky ridge, and are mixed with the occasional two-story wood-frame row house or shingle-style house, though facades tend to be marred with window bars.

In March, a fire in one of these older structures killed 10 people, 9 of them children, in two families of immigrants from the West African nation of Mali, calling attention to the grim living conditions that are still the norm in parts of the area. Immigrants make up 36 percent of the population; over all, according to census data collected from Queens College, the neighborhood is 32 percent African-American and 62 percent Latino.

Steep staircases, which can zigzag like something in M. C. Escher’s art, connect this western section with the rest of High Bridge.

Highly desirable co-ops, meanwhile, are found on High Bridge’s eastern slope, on Grand Concourse and Walton Avenue, though less so along Gerard Avenue, where buildings have good bones but need work.

Some of these buildings, clad in multicolored terra cotta, their courtyards planted with Japanese maples, have laundry rooms, garages and full-time doormen.

What You’ll Pay

It is still possible to find a co-op for less than $100,000 in High Bridge. A one-bedroom on the market in a Grand Course building, for example, lists for $90,000.

In general, prices can be half those across the Harlem River in Washington Heights, which is where many residents who end up here have looked first, said Marjo Benavides, an agent at Ariela Heilman Real Estate, based on the Upper West Side.

In early May, a one-bedroom, one-bath co-op at 811 Walton Avenue, where Ms. Benavides lives, closed for $174,000. A similar unit would fetch $350,000 in Upper Manhattan, she said.

Rents can vary drastically, depending on building conditions, brokers say. On average, one-bedrooms in prewar elevator buildings go for $1,200 a month, according to Eric Lynch, a sales associate with Century 21 N.Y. Metro, based in Harlem.

Two older apartment complexes — the Park Plaza on Jerome Avenue and the Noonan Plaza on West 168th Street — were completed in the 1930s with Mayan motifs by the architect Horace Ginsbern. They are examples of rental buildings likely to go co-op in the future, Mr. Lynch and other brokers predict; such trends have already altered parts of upper Broadway in Manhattan.

In the meantime, for renters, there is more of everything to go around, with a vacancy rate of about 5 percent, higher than in Manhattan, Mr. Lynch said. People are discovering “the new Upper, Upper, Upper West Side,” he added.

The Commute

Besides the No. 4 subway line, High Bridge is served by the B and D, whose local trains get to Times Square in about 35 minutes.

High Bridge is also served by the 1, 2, 13, 19 and 35 Bronx bus lines. There’s also the Bx11, which stops at the George Washington Bridge Bus Station, and the Bx6, which delivers commuters to West 155th Street in Manhattan, where they can pick up the C train, or to West 157th Street, where they can grab a No. 1 train.

What to Do

For six months a year, baseball crowds can overwhelm the local transportation system. Michelle Dingoor, who in March paid $214,000 for a two-bedroom co-op on Walton Avenue, says she carries a game schedule to know when to avoid the subways. Residents typically shop in strips along West 161st, 165th and 167th Streets and Edward L. Grant Highway, which offers everything from fried chicken to car mufflers.

Along River Avenue, in the pixilated sunlight below the No. 4 train tracks, merchandise is geared for hometown fans, who can buy Yankee caps in a choice of colors. On the same block, Ball Park Lanes offers 50 bowling alleys on two floors and rents bowling shoes for $2.

Sit-down dining is rare, though the G Bar Lounge, at Grand Concourse and East 151st Street, is popular.

Adding to the architectural standouts, Rafael Viñoly designed the new Bronx courthouse on East 161st Street, which opens in June, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts added a wing last year designed by the Arquitectonica International Corporation.

The Schools

There are at least 16 elementary schools in High Bridge, most ending after Grade 5. Among them are Public Schools 114 on Jerome Avenue and 73 on Anderson Avenue.

Many students in the neighborhood in Grades 6 to 8 attend the Paul Robeson School on Morris Avenue.

Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School, on East 151 Street, just east of High Bridge, is one option for older teenagers.

Students there scored 407 on the math SAT and 400 on the verbal in 2005, versus 511 and 497 statewide. In 2006, 45 percent of seniors graduated.

There are also Catholic schools. One of them, All Hallows High School on East 164th Street, bears a banner declaring itself “one of the top 50 Catholic high schools in the U.S.”

The History

High Bridge takes its name from a Roman-style former aqueduct built in 1848, which cuts across the Harlem River at West 170th Street.

In the days before the Brooklyn Bridge, the 116-foot span drew sightseers. Hotels and an amusement park sprang up beneath it, said Lloyd Ultan, the Bronx historian.

Closed since the early 1970s, the High Bridge will reopen, possibly in 2009, said Warner Johnston, a spokesman for the city’s Parks Department.

Going Forward

Gateway Center, a big-box complex, is to open near East 149th Street in 2009, at the site of the former Bronx Terminal Market.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 03:23 AM   #953
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http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/...ne_plan-1.html
Hi-rises spark rezone plan

Proposal would limit buildings in three nabes

BY RACHEL MONAHAN

Tuesday, May 15th 2007, 4:00 AM


City Councilwoman Letitia James, center, speaks at a rally to protest the construction of a proposed 16-story building on Washington Ave. in Wallabout.

When a 12-story condo sprang up on Carlton Ave. in Fort Greene two years ago, brownstone dwellers feared it was the beginning of the end for their low-rise habitat.

Though it was a sleek, luxury building, many still saw it as an architectural threat.

Now, a sweeping rezoning proposal for 99 blocks in Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Wallabout could come to their rescue.

"Many people seemed to feel they were under attack," said Sharon Barns, co-chair of the Society for Clinton Hill's landmarks committee. "Development pressure got more and more intense."

The new zoning, expected to be approved by year's end, would cap building heights at 50 feet on residential blocks in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, and at 33 feet in Wallabout.

The rezoning also would allow building heights of up to 80 feet on Myrtle Ave., Fulton St. and Atlantic Ave., with incentives for building affordable housing.

Paul Palazzo, 45, who was one of the first to take on the 12-story Greene House and other high-rises, said he wants to protect the area he got to know while in graduate school, where he now owns a home and business.

"We've all realized that this actual community [setup] works," he said, adding that the current zoning was put in place in 1961, when the trend was toward sweeping away low-rise brownstones.

While the rezoning undergoes public review, skirmishes continue against a few high-rises already under-way - including a 16-story building on Washington Ave. in Wallabout.

Councilwoman Letitia James (WFP-Fort Greene) and a representative of Rep. Edolfus Townes (D-East New York) joined residents there Saturday to protest the construction.

"I'm losing my mind," Jane Zusi, 44, said recently of the building set to rise on a block of mostly three- and four-story houses.

The proposed rezoning has prompted a rush among some developers to start building now to get under the wire before the rules change.

"People are slamming in foundations as fast as they can because you get grandfathered in," Zusi said.

Enid Braun, 56, who lives on Adelphi Ave., faces the prospect of an 11-story neighbor.

Work on the foundation began when the rezoning proposal got off the ground, said Braun, who feels such work should be halted while changes wend their way through public review.

"We got chased out of another neighborhood because of development," Braun said.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 09:54 PM   #954
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http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_21...thefuture.html
Volume 19 Issue 53 | May 18 -24, 2007

Back to the future of L.E.S.; District plan revives

By Alyssa Giachino

Neighborhood preservationists are revving their engines again on the Lower East Side, this time with a broader coalition of support, reviving a proposal to designate a historic district that ran into determined opposition last year.

A new group calling itself the Lower East Side Preservation Coalition is interested in designating a 20-block area as a historic district through the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. The proposed district would run from E. Houston St. to just below Canal St. and encompass the commercial and residential strip along Allen, Orchard, Ludlow and Essex Sts.

Longtime residents are alarmed by the area’s rapid development, and fear that the legacy of generations of immigrant families may be wiped away by new projects.

“There have been concerns by neighbors that the neighborhood is losing its historical fabric,” said Margaret Hughes, director of the Immigrant Heritage Project at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Hughes said the neighborhood’s immigrant, labor and social service history should be protected.

“Through the buildings, those stories can be told,” she said.

The preservation coalition has sent out letters in English and Chinese to more than 400 property owners in the area, offering to meet with them to discuss suitable design guidelines that would protect the building facades, most of which date from the late 19th century.

“We’re more than willing to sit down with people and see what their concerns are,” Hughes said. “We can give additional support and have additional conversations.”

The coalition made a brief presentation at the May 10 Community Board 3 Parks, Recreation and Landmarks Committee meeting, and plans to return in July to make a full presentation and ask for formal support for the project.

A year ago, the Tenement Museum introduced the proposal and was met with fierce opposition from property owners.

To bolster support for its proposal, the museum has formed the new coalition. Other coalition members include the Historic Districts Council, Eldridge Street Project, East Village Community Coalition, Lower East Side People’s Mutual Housing Association, Artists Alliance, City Lore, Jewish Museum and the Central Labor Council.

Meanwhile, over the past year, development has continued on the Lower East Side. New hotels and condominiums are sprouting throughout the area, many looming large over the older five-or-six-story buildings.

“There is terrifying development going on in the area,” said Simeon Bankoff, director of the Historic Districts Council. “We usually talk about development eroding an area. This is not eroding. It is eradicating it, it is smashing it down flat.

“There is surprising architectural detail that shows how successive waves of immigrants arrived, lived and went to school in this area,” he said.

The district is already honored by its inclusion in the National Historic Register, under the National Park Service. The national registry, however, does not include regulations limiting development, and the coalition members feel the best way to ensure preservation is through city designation as a landmark area.

“If it’s not landmarked, we will continue to see the types of development we see now that are out of scale and out of character with the existing neighborhood, as long as the market will bear it,” Bankoff said.

Few property owners have joined the coalition.

Sion Misrahi, a Lower East Side real estate developer, believes that landmarking will do more harm than good. He said historic district status would drive up costs for small property owners who can ill afford the delays often associated with bureaucracy involved for minimal changes like replacing broken windows.

“The Lower East Side is about the little guy, always has been, always will be,” Misrahi said. “It’s going to really harm the individual entrepreneur dramatically.”

Misrahi predicts landmarking would attract outside developers who would “swallow up” small property owners, putting rent-stabilized and rent-controlled apartment dwellers at risk of displacement, as well as discouraging new merchants from moving in.

“We have plenty of other areas that can be zoned landmark. It doesn’t have to be the commercial strip,” Misrahi said. “The city needs growth and the growth has to come in areas that are supported by public transportation.”

Coalition members dispute claims that historic district designation would drive up costs. Bankoff said the historic district would encourage investors with long-term interests, as opposed to speculators interested in fixing a building up for a quick sell.

“It will not raise costs perceptibly more than being a good steward of your building will,” he said. “If you have let your building deteriorate and you want just a quick fix, then yes, it will raise costs.”

Bankoff pointed to other historic districts in the city that have benefited from landmarking, which advocates say improves property values over time.

“There have been some very successful commercial and residential areas that survived being landmarked and prospered,” he said.

The Blue Moon Hotel has been touted as the kind of development that is sensitive to the neighborhood’s historical value while transforming a tenement for new use. Owner Randy Settenbrino added three new floors to the five-story building, but preserved the original exterior architecture and incorporated many historic elements into the rooms.

“Everything that’s of genuine value costs more. That’s just the way the world works,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean that what’s here should be disregarded. The workmanship that’s here from 100 years ago is more valuable that a glass structure.”

The coalition has won the support of Councilmember Alan Gerson, who wrote a letter to the Landmarks Commission endorsing the project.

“The Lower East Side community is reeling from the destruction of precious examples of its cultural heritage,” Gerson wrote. Noting that his own family lived in the neighborhood, he added, “Should the Lower East Side tenement streetscape be lost, New Yorkers and national and international visitors will lose an important link to the rich cultural history of immigrants and migrants to New York City.”

State Senator Martin Connor sent a letter last week to the Landmarks Commission also expressing support for the plan.
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Old May 21st, 2007, 08:04 AM   #955
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Old May 25th, 2007, 02:00 PM   #956
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10 Billion in 10 Years for A New Downtown Brooklyn
Over 14,000 New Apartments, 1,250 Hotel Rooms Are Coming


by Dennis Holt
published online 05-25-2007


DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — About $10 billion will be spent in the next 10 years to build a new Downtown Brooklyn, an unprecedented amount of money. The new Downtown will be developed at a pace never experienced before in this borough.

This staggering sum is expected to generate a total of 22.5 million new square feet of space in the Downtown area, almost all of it in Community District 2. It will include 14,179 new residential units of various kinds, 1,253 new hotel rooms, and about 1.6 million additional square feet each in retail space and office space.

It is impossible to compare this to any other period in Brooklyn’s history. Nothing remotely close to this scale and scope has ever happened before, and it probably won’t ever again.

And these hard-to-grasp numbers do not include projects being built in DUMBO, Brooklyn Bridge Park or Two Trees Management’s CourtHouse project. Also not included is any proposed work on the Brooklyn Detention Complex on Atlantic Avenue.

This information and detailed project summaries have been compiled and made public by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, formed last year by the city to coordinate and oversee all current or planned building activity in the area.

The partnership, headed by DUMBO resident Joe Chan, has also produced an informative, expertly created map of Downtown Brooklyn. The map is color coded, and will become a much-sought-after item.

The Atlantic Yards project is, of course, included in the totals. While Atlantic Yards will cost about half of the total dollar amount for Downtown, its housing component will provide only 30 percent of all the units to be built there, and its total square footage is only about 38 percent of the Downtown total. There are four reasons for the magnitude of all of the development activity. One is that previous projects, like MetroTech, have demonstrated that Brooklyn is a viable business center. Another draw is the plan for a cultural center, which has drawn the strong support of the city. A third is the recent rezoning of Downtown Brooklyn, which made it practical for developers to plan for development with confidence.

The fourth reason is the proliferation of high-rises with spectacular views, not so frequent in Manhattan anymore. This has come as a surprise to many people who are used to brownstones as the area’s main draw, and is a joy to residential developers.


© Brooklyn Daily Eagle 2007
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Old May 25th, 2007, 04:39 PM   #957
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great, can't wait to see that new downtown. hopefully with some 200m + towers
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Old May 26th, 2007, 05:01 AM   #958
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http://www.nypost.com/seven/05242007...ich_calder.htm
B'KLYN BIZ IS RAZING BIG STINK

By RICH CALDER

May 24, 2007 -- A developer is booting 20 longtime Downtown Brooklyn businesses to make way for a massive commercial complex aimed at attracting high-end retailers, local merchants said yesterday.

Manhattan-based United American Land plans to build a $208 million development topped with luxury housing on the property - a block from both the Fulton Street Mall and the Metro Tech high-rise office complex, according to planning documents for the site.

The half-square-block property runs along Willoughby Street, between Bridge and Duffield streets, and down both side streets, according to the documents.

The 594,000-square-foot project would displace a diverse row of popular stores, as well as more than 20 residences.

"They're trying to destroy a community of people who kept this area alive and vibrant when no one thought it was good," said Beverly Corbin, who co-chairs the board of Families United for Racial and Economic Equality, which is organizing a petition drive to assist those being evicted.

United American Land, which has gobbled up other prime real estate in the area, is co-owned by Al Laboz, co-chairman of the Fulton Mall Improvement Association. Calls to Laboz and other United American Land officials were not returned.

Corbin's group is planning tomorrow to protest the planned development of the nearby Albee Square Mall site, which is being transformed into 800 to 900 residential units and 625,000 square feet of retail and office space.

Wal-Mart had reportedly been interested in the Albee Square site but pulled out after community protests, raising concern yesterday that the mega-retailer might be eyeing the new site. A Wal-Mart spokesman said the company would not comment on rumors.

Many of the Willoughby Street merchants said they have time left on their leases but are being booted through a "demolition clause" that allows them to be evicted if the owner decides to demolish their buildings. Most were given between one and four months to get out.

"They're telling us to get the heck out for luxury apartments? I've built up a nice business here the last 10 years - it would be nice if someone at least tried to help us relocate nearby," said Jeffrey Gargiulo, owner of Bagel Guys on Willoughby Street.

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Old May 26th, 2007, 05:54 AM   #959
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krull View Post
New Tower May Come, With Some City Funds



The Queens Plaza garage will likely be
razed to make way for an office tower,
with a city agency as its anchor tenant.
Thank the lord that they're getting rid of this eyesore. Hopefully the other Queens Plaza can get some upgrades to the area.
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Old May 26th, 2007, 09:17 AM   #960
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WOW!!!! I'm very pleased to hear that New York City is booming as crazy! GO NEW YORK!
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