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Old June 18th, 2007, 04:08 PM   #1001
Don Omar
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Coney Island Plan Is Scaled Back, but Critics Are Skeptical


An artist’s rendering of an aerial view of Surf Avenue at Coney Island under a new plan for a renovated amusement complex there.

By CHARLES V. BAGLI
Published: June 18, 2007
nytimes.com

The developer who wants to remake Coney Island’s amusement district has a new plan and says that you’re going to love it.

Joseph J. Sitt, who says his company has spent $120 million buying up land underneath and around the rides, said on Friday that he had “rolled over” in response to the criticism of his earlier plans for an entertainment and residential complex.

So the looming 40-story tower planned for the Boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue is gone. So are the hundreds of rental apartments and luxury condominiums in the old plan. The new proposal is less dense, he said, but has more of “the new, the edgy, and the outlandish” rides and attractions that America’s first resort was once known for.

“This is our way of showing the New York community that we’re responsive to what they want,” said Mr. Sitt, the founder and chief executive of Thor Equities, which buys and develops commercial, residential and retail properties nationwide. “Our design, in all its greatness, is a way of showing the world what Coney Island can be.”

Who could complain?

Well.

Robert Lieber, president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, described Mr. Sitt’s new plan as a “wolf dressed up as a sheep.” Mr. Lieber, along with neighborhood leaders and other city officials, had expressed fears that residents of new apartment buildings would not fit comfortably with the noisy, all-hours amusement district that would be preserved between West Eighth Street and the Aquarium and the minor league baseball stadium at West 16th Street.

The new plan keeps the concept of a new glass-enclosed water park, but instead of apartments calls for three hotels, including more than 400 time-share units, along with restaurants, shops, movie theaters and high-tech arcades. The latest renderings depict a pulsating entertainment complex with an Elephant Colossus statue and architecture that evokes the old Luna Park and Dreamland amusement parks.

Mr. Lieber and others say that the time-share units look an awful lot like apartments and that the complex looks more like a mall than Coney Island.

“He came in last week and presented a plan that had essentially the same density, but dressed it up with hotels and time shares,” Mr. Lieber said on Friday. “The building heights still exceed the 271-foot Parachute Jump,” a Coney Island landmark. “And he’s looking for a huge subsidy from the city. North of $100 million.”

The city has been working with local residents and property owners for nearly three years on a master plan for what everyone agrees is a dowdy area. The idea, they say, is to preserve the democratic, open-air quality of Coney Island’s culture and amusement district on the south side of Surf Avenue, while allowing for high-rise residential and retail development set apart from the rides, on the north side of Surf.

The Economic Development Corporation, along with the City Planning Department and the Coney Island Development Corporation, have been devising a rezoning proposal for Coney Island that will go through a public review process later this year.

“The community and the Coney Island Development Corporation have all indicated that residential and amusements don’t go together,” said Chuck Reichenthal, district manager of Community Board 13.

But Mr. Sitt says he believes the changes being proposed are too restrictive and would undercut his ability to redevelop the area.

Everyone agrees that the shrunken hulk of the amusement district is worth preserving, at the edge of a beach that still draws tens of thousands of people on the summer weekends. The question is how to turn it into a year-round attraction.

“Coney Island has changed its faces many times,” Mr. Reichenthal said. “The last Luna Park was in the mid-1940s. Steeplechase came down in the ’60s. But that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t remained a magnet. There’s a lot to do when people come down here. It’s still the place for people who don’t have a huge amount of money in their pocket to come and have a good time.”

Mr. Sitt, who is equal parts real estate entrepreneur and supersalesman, has been engaged in a game of chicken with the city over the future of Coney Island. Earlier this year, his team claimed that his project “isn’t a financially feasible investment” without high-rise housing. Over the winter, he knocked down the batting cages and the go-kart park in a move that harked back to the bad old days of empty lots.


The developer Joseph J. Sitt’s $1.5 billion plan for Coney Island includes a pulsating amusement area and three hotels, with architecture that invokes the old Luna Park and Dreamland.

Now he has taken the housing, at least all the units labeled apartments, out of his proposal, and he is betting that his new $1.5 billion plan will win the overwhelming support of local residents, if not all the officials at City Hall. The hotels, which range from 25 to 32 stories, have been moved to midblock, away from the Boardwalk.

Mr. Sitt has already spent a large sum buying up 10 acres behind the Nathan’s Famous hot dog stand from 30 different families, including the descendants of George C. Tilyou, founder of Steeplechase Park, and the owners of Astroland, an amusement park that embraces the 270-foot Astro Tower. Astroland is scheduled to close in September. The Cyclone roller coaster, which is a city landmark, will remain open.

Hear his pitch:

The hotels, Mr. Sitt said, would offer black residents not only jobs, but careers. The Russian immigrants, who enjoy a “quality of life and activity by the water,” would flock to the hotels and nightclubs. Jewish and Italian-American residents would get the “quality retail, bookstores and entertainment venues” that they want. As for everyone else, “what’s better than having fabulous restaurants, catering halls, shows and concerts?”

“Tell me, what issue any one of these constituencies would have with our plan,” he said. “We’re asking for motherhood, motherhood. Apple pie, Chevrolet and Coney Island.”

Pause for breath.

“Maybe I sound like a salesman,” Mr. Sitt said, “but I’m passionate about this.”

Jeff Persily, who has worked in the amusement district since 1960 and owns a penny arcade and other property on Bowery Street, agrees with the notion that the amusement area must be turned into a year-round attraction to survive. The city needs to change the zoning to allow for larger buildings, hotels, apartments, parking and retail, he said.

“They have a vision of open-air amusements,” Mr. Persily said. “We can’t afford to spend millions on new rides and only be open three months of the year.”

Would he sell out to Mr. Sitt? “At the end of the day, combining all the properties and building amusements, hotels and residential would be a wonderful thing for New York,” he said. “We’re talking about creating not hundreds of jobs but many thousands of jobs. I love Coney Island. I’d love to see it become what it once was when I was a kid.”

But not everyone trusts Mr. Sitt to deliver. They are concerned that he would convert his time-share units to apartments or flip the property to another developer who would change the plans.

Charles Denson, who grew up in Coney Island and now heads the Coney Island History Project, is fond of saying that Mr. Sitt could be a hero by saving the amusement district. But he said residential towers would overwhelm the amusements and “a big shopping mall is not Coney Island.”

The history project is running a show in the museum underneath the Cyclone roller coaster titled “Land Grab.” It depicts the development of Coney Island since the 1800s through aerial photographs.

“It’s the last ungentrified place in New York,” Mr. Denson said. “It’s still a poor man’s paradise. There’s something magical about it, the name, the reputation and the history.”
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Old June 20th, 2007, 09:41 PM   #1002
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Posted by LLoydGeorge in the world Forums:

New 60+ Story tower in Manhattan by Jean Nouvel


HINES + NOUVEL = MORE MOMA


Peter Slatin

After a fierce and very hush-hush competition among five world-leading architects, France's Jean Nouvel has been chosen to design a new 60-plus story tower in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. To rise next to – and be joined with - the Museum of Modern Art's sleek, serene and recently expanded home on West 54th Street, the new building will contain 75,000 square feet of additional exhibition space for the museum. Sources say it will also contain speculative office space and – bien sur – luxury condominiums.

The developer is Houston-based Hines Interests in partnership with Whitehall Street, the Goldman Sachs group, which earlier this year won the right to acquire and develop the 17,000-square-foot, block-through parcel. It stands immediately west of MoMA and was previously occupied by the historic City Athletic Club on West 54th Street; the club closed in 2002 and was acquired by the museum out of bankruptcy.

MoMA's press office referred calls to Hines, where a spokeswoman said that it was "too early" to say anything. But sources familiar with the design competition and the project confirmed the selection of Nouvel. Whitehall also declined to comment.

One challenge in going public with the selection may be the fast-changing world of finance. Earlier this year the developers were seeking more than $125 million in debt financing for the project, a figure that sources say could rise by an additional $100-plus million, depending on potential zoning variances for the site. But at the time, even though Manhattan's high-end condo market had begun to rebound from a stall in the last half of 2006, at least one lender balked at the borrowers' willingness to pay more than $750 a buildable, or FAR, square foot for the site.

Another issue that may be delaying an announcement: whether the new MoMA galleries – which will not have their own entrance but will simply be extensions of the existing galleries, will be designed by Nouvel or by the Yoshio Taniguchi, the Japanese architect of who designed MoMA's renovation and expansion, which opened in 2005. Sources say that it's most likely that it will be Taniguchi who designs the new exhibit halls, which will occupy the first six floors of the building.

There is also the question of the direct involvement of Nouvel himself; the architect has been known to be less than conspicuous at some of his projects, and no doubt Hines wants to be sure that it gets Nouvel when it hires Nouvel.

MoMA has been pressed to add new space ever since the renovation opened, following complaints from many quarters that the new galleries were lacking in grace and space and had lost some important qualities following the museum's reopening.

The new building is the 62-year-old Nouvel's third, largest and most central Manhattan commission. His first New York building, 40 Mercer Street in SoHo, which was also developed by Hines and Whitehal, along with developer Andre Balasz, is nearly complete. A second, 20-story building is in development by Alf Naman and Cape Advisors at Eleventh Avenue and 19th Street, across from Frank O. Gehry's (and Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg's) luminescent InterActive Center, opened earlier this year.

Nouvel has been selected over submissions by Diller Scofidio + Renfro; Morphosis; Reiser and Umamoto; and Nicholas Grimshaw & Partners. Any one of these architects would doubtless have added something striking to the city's skyline, which is quickly developing nodes of exciting new residential architecture. Tribeca has Philip Johnson's Urban Glass House and a small building by Winka Dubbeldam; Chelsea has the burgeoning, adventurous High Line corridor anchored by the IAC; and Midtown has 53rd and 54th Streets, where more commercial offerings include Norman Foster's anticipated Shangri-La Hotel and condos for RFR Holdings just a few blocks east of MoMA on 53rd Street. And there is of course Cesar Pelli's original Museum Tower, partly behind and even adjacent to the new tower site, on West 53rd Street.

Still, the path from a star architect's selection to a built project will be a tricky one for Hines and for MoMA and its brand new chair, Jerry Speyer. There are complex air rights questions including transfers from historic properties nearby; one package has already been assembled by MoMA and is being transferred to Hines along with the site. However, further air rights are yet to be nailed down and delivered, and the ability to do so will certainly affect the outcome of the deal, its size, and its price.

Then, of course, there is the market, which Hines can only hope will show the same durability and value as MoMA's core collection of modern masters.

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Old June 21st, 2007, 01:16 AM   #1003
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That can be a nice 60 Story tower! I like Jean Nouvel stuff.
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Old June 21st, 2007, 02:13 AM   #1004
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Another 60 story bldg.
Awesome!
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Old June 21st, 2007, 02:17 AM   #1005
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It's not possible to keep track of all the 50+ floor proposals in NYC anymore.
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Old June 24th, 2007, 01:52 AM   #1006
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http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/17/re...=1&oref=slogin
Not in My Front Yard

By FRED A. BERNSTEIN
Published: June 17, 2007


Rendering by Jason Stoikoff

Pamela and Colin Rath want to build a new condominium at 123 West 15th Street with a rounded triplex penthouse.



Michael Falco for The New York Times

Pamela and Colin Rath and their children.



Marilynn K. Yee/The New York Times

Sophie Rogers-Gessert was one of the tenants at 123 West 15th Street the Raths bought out so that they could tear down the building.


IN 35 years on the same block — 15th Street between Seventh Avenue and the Avenue of the Americas — Robert Boddington has seen a lot of changes. But one of the most disappointing, he said, came last November, when a neighbor tore down a quaint row house at 123 West 15th Street and began building a taller structure with a bulbous triplex penthouse suspended over the house next door.

Mr. Boddington described the planned penthouse as “an alien pod that landed on the roof.” The new building, he said, “thumbs its nose at the neighboring row of 1853 Italianate row houses” that are among the area’s treasures.

Mr. Boddington and others are hoping the city’s Buildings Department will come around to their view that the seven-story structure violates several provisions of the city’s zoning law. But the Corcoran Group is already marketing the triplex apartment with the rounded top (and a terrace with a metal-mesh canopy) for $6.6 million. The two apartments below it, with concrete floors, undulating wooden ceilings and curvy walls, also have seven-figure price tags.

Colin and Pamela Rath, the developers of the 74-foot-high building, live at No. 121, next door to the construction site. They say they expect to welcome condo owners with a Christmas party in the new building, much of which is being fabricated off site. Having taken out huge mortgages for the project, Mr. Rath, said: “It has to work. Everything we have is riding on it.”

As he spoke, the couple’s daughter Breana, 6, watched “Blue’s Clues” on a large-screen television, while their twin girls, Nerina and Meriel, 22 months, crawled around the sofa, playing with the contents of their father’s wallet.

The building is an example of what can happen in a real estate market where the potential payout is so high that almost no effort to get something built seems too extravagant. The Raths estimate that, after they bought the building for $1.6 million, they spent $1 million — on legal fees and settlements — to remove long-time tenants. All together, they say, they have more than $10 million invested in the project, and yet they stand to make millions more if the apartments sell at or near the asking prices.

The Raths aren’t alone in seeing large opportunities in small plots. Susan Stetzer, the district manager of Community Board No. 3, which includes much of Lower Manhattan, said: “Developers are just going out of control. They are trying to build anywhere and everywhere, whether it makes sense or not, whether it’s contextual or not, whether it has structural integrity or not.”

The community boards, she said, are “overwhelmed by people pointing out problems” with construction projects. Officials like Ms. Stetzer, whose district ends one block from the Rath project, transmit the complaints to the Buildings Department. And though, she said, the department is making a noble effort to resolve the disputes, “this is a burden that should not be put on the community.”

Chris Santulli, the department’s borough commissioner for Manhattan, said the department had added many new inspectors to keep up with the flood of complaints and applications for building permits. But he added that high real estate values were driving developers to propose creative ways of building on small sites, posing novel problems for the department.

“We’re seeing a lot of things we haven’t seen before,” Mr. Santulli said.

Even if the Raths succeed in making millions of dollars, they will have paid another price for transforming their block. “Neighbors will cross the street instead of walking up and talking to us,” Mr. Rath said. The Buildings Department has received more than a dozen complaints about the Raths’ project, some from those neighbors, whose grievances are summarized on the department’s Buildings Information System Web site.

But the Raths are hardly retreating into their apartment at No. 121. They are working with documentary filmmakers to chronicle their efforts to complete the building. The film, they say, will depict a valiant fight against indifferent bureaucrats and misinformed neighbors.

Those neighbors, including Mr. Boddington, have questioned seemingly every aspect of the project, starting with its height, which Mr. Boddington says should be limited to 60 feet under the city’s Sliver Law, meant to control the proliferation of narrow towers on residential blocks. But the department has a practice of allowing penthouses to rise beyond the permitted elevation, its spokeswoman, Kate Lindquist, said.

In testimony before the City Council last December, Ms. Stetzer said, “This perverse interpretation allows buildings that would be denied by the intent of the law.” The neighbors have also questioned the location of geothermal wells, which may or may not be under a city sidewalk. (“We’ve proved to the Department of Transportation that they’re not,” Mr. Rath said.) And they have questioned the appropriateness of many of the buildings’ exterior features, including the lift that will move cars to and from the basement garage.

Mr. Boddington thinks that the lift could be, at best, a nuisance. Mr. Santulli said that the lift would be entirely on private property and that the department had no grounds for denying the Raths’ permit. “We can’t impose restrictions that don’t exist,” Mr. Santulli said.

The lift aside, Mr. Boddington said the Raths aren’t entitled to off-street parking (accompanied by a midblock curb cut) in the first place. In Manhattan below 60th Street, developers are permitted one parking space for every five new residential units they create. The Raths say that they are creating units, but they tore down at least 12 occupied apartments to erect the three condos.

Mr. Rath, 44, sees himself as an innovator who is fighting for such high-tech features as the car lift and the geothermal wells, which, he said, would provide practically free heating and cooling for the building. “The neighbors are very shortsighted,” he said. “What we’re doing is increasing the value of everyone’s property on the block.”

But at least one of those neighbors, William E. Murphy, an architect, said: “It will stick out like a sore thumb. I hate to be so negative, but it’s ghastly.”

Another neighbor, Peter K. Schulze, said he was “devastated” when No. 123 was demolished.

One thing that’s clear is that the Raths have been at least as aggressive as any of their adversaries. After Mr. Boddington, who is the president of the co-op board at No. 115, spoke to a plan examiner at the Buildings Department in 2006, he received a letter from Barry E. Zweigbaum, a lawyer representing the Raths.

The letter accused him of mounting “a vicious and slanderous campaign disparaging Mr. Rath’s property interests.” Mr. Zweigbaum threatened to sue Mr. Boddington for standing in the way of the Raths’ project.

Later, a letter written by Mr. Boddington to the department was given to Mr. Rath, who had filed a Freedom of Information Law request with the department.

In Mr. Boddington’s view, the writers’ names should be removed from such letters. The department’s Web site promises complainants anonymity. And the department’s general counsel, Mona Sehgal, said: “When we receive a FOIL request for a particular location, we disclose the substance of the complaint but withhold the complainant’s name.” (However, the department doesn’t remove the names of people who complain about department decisions, as opposed to the projects themselves, Ms. Sehgal said.)

But Mr. Rath already had an idea as to which neighbors were complaining, and he filed a request listing Mr. Boddington by name. “You have a right to find out who your accuser is,” Mr. Rath said.

Now, Mr. Boddington said, he is faced not just with a building he doesn’t like but with an irate neighbor as well. “This whole thing is a terrible distraction,” he said.

One thing everyone agrees on is that there is no accounting for taste. And in New York City, taste isn’t regulated, except in landmark districts. “We made a point of buying on a block that wasn’t landmarked,” Mr. Rath said, “so there weren’t regulations for what you could do with your building.”

“Or not as many regulations,” corrected Ms. Rath, who came from Ashland, Ky., to New York to study fashion, then worked as a model before opening a Web-based art gallery.

Long before they began the current project, the couple spent five years creating the apartment next door — a place like no other in the city. It contains a two-story-high waterfall that flows into an 18-inch-deep river set into the living room floor.

The river, which is home to 10 large koi, follows the outline of the Yangtze, a feat the Raths accomplished by building a Styrofoam model (following a National Geographic map that they enlarged), setting the model onto the building’s foundation, and then pouring the concrete floor around the model. (The final step was using gasoline to dissolve the Styrofoam, Mr. Rath said.)

Now Plexiglas sheets cover the river, to keep out the Raths’ daughters and cats, Sunrise and Rosie.

The Raths did much of the construction work on their apartment themselves, even carving out the basement using five-gallon buckets. All the while, they lived on a sailboat in the Hudson River or under plastic sheets in the building, where for six months there were no plumbing fixtures, only a hose.

Now that the place is finished, they take every opportunity they get to show it off. During Open House New York, an architectural gathering each fall, as many as 1,500 people have seen the Yangtze, along with such features as a bedroom wallpapered with Mr. Rath’s old comic books and countertops made from a bowling alley.

But the Raths were ready to work on a larger scale, and the new building, which they have named Valhalla, is a chance to show the world what they can do. Luckily, Mr. Rath said, he and his wife have “pretty much the same taste.” (The architect of record on the project is Stanley Gendel of Hoboken.)

Mr. Boddington, in perhaps his most conciliatory moment, said the building “would probably fit in quite well near the West Side Highway, where they’re putting up all kinds of exotic-looking things.” But it is out of place, he said, on a quiet block “with a Greenwich Village feel.”

Brian Babst, a senior associate at Corcoran, who is in charge of marketing the apartments, said the building would appeal to “a creative class of people.”

“In the right person, it evokes a visceral reaction,” he said, “because it’s unlike anything else on the market, anywhere.”

Corcoran has been involved in the project for about a year. The Raths said the company helped them make small modifications to improve marketability — adding a half bath where an owner might expect one, for example — without eliminating the most striking elements of their design.

A sales office at 147 West 15th Street was decorated by the Raths, with curving walls and contemporary furniture, to show off their aesthetic. And their Web site, www.123w15.com, has links to their company, Terrapin Industries, which offers their services as designers.

The couple met in 1993 at the Raccoon Lodge, a pub on the Upper West Side. Mr. Rath, who was born in North Carolina, had just moved from Chicago to Connecticut, where his family runs a direct-mail business. “He lost his shirt as a trader on the Chicago Board of Trade,” Ms. Rath said. “He came back into the family business to pay off all his debt.”

The couple were married in 1996. The same year, they and a partner bought 121 West 15th Street for $900,000. For a time, the partner lived upstairs. But after the Raths completed their downstairs renovation, they bought out the partner and refurbished the two upstairs apartments. In April, they sold those as condos for $2.9 million and $1.5 million.

In 2002, the building next door came on the market. After a year of negotiation, Mr. Rath said, they were able to buy it for $1.6 million. The price would have been higher, he said, except that there were a dozen people living there. Several had been residents for decades. “It took two years to get rid of all the tenants,” Mr. Rath said.

Sophie Rogers-Gessert, 26, moved into the building in July 2005 and worked hard, she said, to make her small apartment a real home. But seven months into her two-year lease, she said, she was shocked to discover that the Raths, whom she knew as both her neighbors and her landlords, had plans to demolish the building. “I was upset for myself, but I was even more upset for the people who had been living there for 20 years or more,” she said.

To win the right to evict the tenants, the Raths said they needed the space for their personal use. Under the current plan, they will extend their apartment from the first two floors of No. 121 into the first two floors of No. 123, giving them room for such features as an au-pair suite. And they will combine the two backyards, giving their girls a place to run around, Mr. Rath said.

Eventually, he and his wife began negotiating with the tenants. At the same time, Mr. Rath said, “we did demolition as apartments became vacant.”

Ms. Rogers-Gessert said that she had to face reality when the building started coming down around her, and construction dust began accumulating inside her apartment.

“I began to worry about my health,” she said. She went to see a lawyer, hoping there was some way to preserve the building and was advised to withhold the rent. The Raths sued to evict her. Eventually, she accepted a settlement from the Raths but would not disclose the amount on the advice of her lawyer.

The Raths said that tenants received payments of $10,000 to $240,000. “They’re all living in the area very well, or they have a nice nest egg,” Mr. Rath said.

One of the tenants he evicted, Mr. Rath added, “is still a friend who comes over on the children’s birthdays.”

By the time the last tenant left, the Raths had already filed plans for their new building with the city. The plans were initially approved in 2005, but in 2006 the department audited the plans, in response to one or more complaints.

As a result of the audit, the department asked for several relatively minor changes to the building. Mr. Rath said he believes patience helped him get most of what he wanted. “There’s a lot of bureaucracy, but once you’ve learned the game, it’s just persistence,” he said. And he gives a lot of credit to his expediter, Andy Pisani, for knowing how to navigate the system.

There are indications that, at least until recently, the system wasn’t as good as the navigators. In December, Ms. Stetzer testified before City Council that the Buildings Department had become so unresponsive to complaints that it was “an obstacle to the Community Board and the community.”

But in a recent interview, she said the department had made huge improvements, bringing in new staff members to deal with the onslaught of permit applications.

Ms. Lindquist, the department spokeswoman, said last week that the Raths’ file would be audited again because of the number of complaints about the project, a process that could take anywhere from a week to a month.

That could mean more delays, delays the Raths say they can’t afford. While helping to get her oldest daughter ready for a trip to the ballet, Ms. Rath said: “This is our property. Aren’t we allowed to do what we want to with our property?”
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Old June 24th, 2007, 01:54 AM   #1007
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http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/20..._limit_-2.html
For A-Rod, the sky's the limit!

Checks out ultra-posh penthouse on East Side

By BILL HUTCHINSON

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Thursday, June 14th 2007, 4:00 AM


This upper East Side building could be A-Rod's posh new pad.

Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez is eying apartments in a swanky upper East Side building featuring a $16 million penthouse big enough for his wife, child - and friends, real estate sources told the Daily News.

Baseball's richest player has been touring the super-luxurious building under construction at 170 East End Ave., directly across the street from Gracie Mansion, the sources said.

Designed by famed architect Peter Marino, the 20-story, 106-unit building near E.88th St. has sprawling digs that A-Rod could call home or use as a pied-à-terre for his out-of-town guests.

The 31-year-old third baseman has been dogged recently by his off-field antics with a bevy of blond babes, including Joslyn Morse, a stripper he was photographed taking to a Toronto club last month.

Construction workers putting the finishing touches on the East End Ave. building said Rodriguez's latest visit took place on Tuesday. Workers said A-Rod spent about 15 minutes checking out the 5,000-square-foot penthouse. The sweet pad has a balcony and a terrace, floor-to-ceiling windows, eight bathrooms and enough bedrooms and closets to hide a harem.

The building also has a garden boasting a 50-foot water wall, squash courts, a golf simulator, a screening room and a video arcade. Plus, it's just a short cab ride from Yankee Stadium - and Scores East Side, the city's premier strip club.

The All-Star, his wife, Cynthia, and their 2-year-old daughter, Natasha, now live in a condo at the equally posh Trump Park Avenue building at E. 59th St.

If A-Rod passes on the new penthouse, the same building offers a more discreet $8.2 million, five-bedroom unit on the ninth-floor that might suit him, and a $7.5 million "mansonette" with a hidden service entry that would be perfect for sneaking guests in and out.

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Old June 24th, 2007, 06:01 AM   #1008
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JP Morgan releases WTC tower plans





By Marlene Naanes
June 22, 2007

The Port Authority made it official Thursday -- JP Morgan Chase will pay $300 million to build a 42-story building at the site of the new World Trade Center.

The bank will pay $10 million of that price tag to the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation and St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, whose house of worship was destroyed in the collapse and whose replacement will rise next to the Morgan building. It's unclear how much of that sum will go to either. The $290 million lease will end in 2100.

The Port Authority released artist's renderings of the bank's building Thursday, showing that its footprint will measure 32,000 square feet. Several floors up, the building will jut out, housing about seven trading floors, with floor plans of between 50,000 and 60,000 square feet.

Those floors mostly fall directly over the site of the rebuilt church, but Port Authority officials said the design would reduce shadows cast on the memorial park.

It is unclear how the church will be affected and architects will now craft a scale drawing of the building.

"It actually offers some interesting opportunities for lighting and making the church an even more splendid contribution to the community," said Port Authority Executive Director Anthony Shorris.

Officials at the church did not comment about the plan Thursday.

The building is one of five skyscrapers planned for the trade center site.

Commercial businesses will also set up shop in about 45,000 square feet in the building, which will rise on the site of the old Deutsche Bank building, which was heavily damaged in the collapse and is being gradually taken down.





Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.
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Old June 24th, 2007, 06:05 AM   #1009
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Two Trees Plans Mixed Use Building Next to Bridge





April 18th, 2007

As we suggested back in the beginning of May, Two Trees' plans for the Nova Clutch building (which it has been demolishing over the past few weeks) were far grander than a replacement building. The Dumbo-based developer today made public its proposal for a mixed-use building on the entire half a block bounded by Water, Front and Dock Streets; in addition to Nova Clutch, this swath also includes 38 Water Street, the site of St. Ann's Warehouse, where Two Trees tried to get approval for a 16-story tower back in 2004 before withdrawing the application in the face of public opposition. The proposed design by Beyer Blinder Belle, which includes 400 "green" apartments, 80 of which would be affordable, as well as retail, parking and a new public middle school, aims to address the central criticism of its 2004 plan—that it cramped the Brooklyn Bridge's style. The inclusion of the school is a very smart political move, as many Dumbo residents are deeply concerned about where their kids will go to school after P.S. 8. Now let the vetting process begin!





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Old June 24th, 2007, 06:06 AM   #1010
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Community Board 1 approves 63-story tower at 50 West Street





22-JUN-07

Community Board 1 voted this week to approve the plans Times Equities, a real estate company headed by Francis Greenburger, to erect a 63-story hotel and residential condominium development at 50 West Street across from Battery Park City.

The slim tower has been designed by Gruzen Sampton LLC and Helmut Jahn of Murphy/Jahn Architects of Chicago, who designed CitySpire, Park Avenue Tower and 425 Lexington Avenue in New York and the great State of Illinois Center in Chicago.

The curved south side of the tower would have a plaza that would provide an alternate and more attractive pedestrian walkway from Battery Park City to Greenwich Street than the existing walkway through the Battery Tunnel Garage.

The proposed building would house a 155-room hotel on floors 1 though 13, 48 "full-service residential units" on floors 14 through 18 and 259 residential condominium apartments on floors 20 through 63. It would not have a garage.

The ground floor of the tower, which would be designed to achieve a Gold LEED rating, would contain a "light-art gallery showcasing some of the most innovate light installation artists in the world, a caf¿/bar, a restaurant and a "gourmet" corner store grocery.

The project requires text changes to allow a plaza at the site and to permit the transfer of development rights above the Battery Tunnel garage to be used "only in the at-grade area north of J. P. Ward Street, and by special permit only."

In addition, the project requires the demapping of a 8-inch strip between J. P. Ward Street and the applicant's site and a demapping for "a plane above J. P. Ward and the portion of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel Approach located 37.2 feet above the area between West, Washington, Morris and J. P. Ward Streets.

The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel Approach has about 2.7 million square feet of unused air rights and the 50 West Street project plans to acquire about 183,000 square feet of those air rights.

The project's site is just to the north of the proposed, 8-acre Greenwich Street South project that would deck over the Manhattan entrance to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, create a new park and a new, automated, green-roofed bus garage and five residential towers, a plan that was initiated by Mayor Bloomberg in 2002 and which the chairman of the Hugh L. Carey Battery Park City Authority, Jim Gill, said last year he would like to take charge of.

An urban design study for that project was prepared in 2005 envisioned a new, curved pedestrian bridge over West Street to connect the southern part of Battery Park City to Greenwich Green, a new park between Morris and Edgar Streets between West and Greenwich Streets.

Julie Menin, chair of the Community Board, urged the board not to recommend approval of the project, but a resolution approving it "conditionally" was passed by a vote of 34 to 5 with three abstentions.

Members of the community board indicated they wanted any income from the sale of air rights to the project to be used for projects in Lower Manhattan, indicating that they were concerned about schools, a new pedestrian bridge over West Street, and the area's need for more cultural institutions and affordable housing.

Time Equities has agreed to give a local school 159 laptop computers with four-year maintenance contracts to help address the area's school needs, but the board indicated it wanted the project to contribute more to the community's needs, which include affordable housing and a bridge over West Street.

The redevelopment of the 50 West site would involve the demolition of the 12-story, 1912 building once known as the Crystal Building that has a 3-story-high mansard roof.


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Old June 24th, 2007, 06:11 AM   #1011
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Related releases Robert A. M. Stern's Superior Ink design





22-JUN-07

e Related Companies has released two new renderings of its large residential project on the former site of the Superior Ink Company at 469 West Street, which is also known as 70 Bethune Street, in the West Village.
Related had originally proposed a 270-foot-high, 23-story structure with residential condominiums for the site and that design was similar in its configuration to its development at 445 Lafayette Street designed by Gwathmey Siegel.

In 2005, Related went to the Board of Standards & Appeals for a variance for a 20-story and three-story mixed-use project with a 6.5 F.A.R. for 469 West Street/70 Bethune Street on a lot zoned for manufacturing and a 5 floor-to-area ratio (F.A.R.). Gwathmey Siegel & Associates was the architect for the project.

The project outraged preservationists who had desperately tried to save the old factory building and its 195-foot-tall smokestacks, urging the city to include the site in the West Village rezoning and historic district landmark districts. Community Board 2 voted against the project on the basis that all the findings necessary to obtain a variance had not been met and that its scale was out of context for the area.

In January 2006, Related modified the design and won a variance, which was amended in January 2007, for a 15-story tower on West Street with a three-story townhouse row on Bethune Street, with a maximum height of 186 feet 9 inches, including a bulkhead on the tower roof, and setbacks of 10 feet on West Street and 15 feet on Bethune Street. (Three residential towers with mostly glass facades that were designed by Richard Meier a few blocks to the south on West Street have a height of 199 feet.)

The Related project is known now as Superior Ink Condominiums and Townhouses and the site is just to the north of Westbeth.

The new plans were designed by Robert A. M. Stern, who has worked on previous residential buildings for Related. Mr. Stern is the dean of the Yale University School of Architecture and a co-author of the monumental series on New York architecture and planning including "New York 1880," "New York, 1900," "New York, 1930," "New York, 1960," and the recently published "New York, 2000."

The new design has more masonry than the previous design that employed a lot of glass and it made the townhouses "independent of each other."

Apartments are smaller but the number has increased from 64 to 84 and commercial space on the ground floor of the tower has been eliminated and basements have been added to the townhouses that will now have different rather than similar facades.

On West Street, the development will have a three-story base with arched windows on the third floor and another setback on the fifth floor where the windows will be arched and a tower with arched corner windows topped by a setback 15th floor.

One of the new renderings indicates that the red-brick townhouses will have 12-paned windows and some of them have two-stories of bay windows and some have stoops.


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Old June 24th, 2007, 06:13 AM   #1012
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Old June 24th, 2007, 06:50 AM   #1013
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Hopfully theyre gonna rebuild astroland near the Brookyln cyclones play...Nice to see another highrise as well be approved to the skyline
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Old June 25th, 2007, 12:28 AM   #1014
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damn big weekend for nyc
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Old June 25th, 2007, 05:34 AM   #1015
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I did manage to find a parking spot that happened to be right across from the the Remy, but its foundation work hasn't been done yet, and I still feel that Chelsea itself is loosing its identity.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 05:41 AM   #1016
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Parking is just so damn impossible. My father and I went to visit that camera store in Midtown (B&H, I think), and we were driving around for over 2 hours looking for a spot.
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Old June 25th, 2007, 04:21 PM   #1017
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BOOM ON FLATBUSH
$3B IN BUILDING ON B'KLYN AVENUE



By RICH CALDER
June 25, 2007

Brooklyn's Flatbush Avenue is getting a makeover that would make "Queer Eye's" Fab Five envious.

The north end of Flatbush Avenue is slated to see more real-estate development over the next five years than nearly any other slice of the Big Apple - even without Atlantic Yards.

More than $3.1 billion worth of construction projects is in the works for the nearly one-mile stretch running south from the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO to the Williamsburg Bank tower in Fort Greene, according to data provided by the city's Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.

These 18 projects alone will generate 6.3 million square feet of newly developed space for Brooklyn's downtown.

The bulk will come in the form of at least 4,422 new residential units, much of which will be spread among high-rise towers reaching 40 stories high that will soon line the avenue.

We're talking about 2,063 market-rate rentals and 1,721 luxury condos, along with another 570 apartments and 68 condos created for low- and middle-income families.

And these projects will also bring 645,000 square feet of new retail and another 190,000 square feet of office space.


The city also plans to revitalize the long-neglected Flatbush Avenue corridor by filling it with large trees, better lighting and a signature sculpture.

"Flatbush Avenue is the borough's quintessential boulevard and the gateway into Brooklyn," said Joseph Chan, president of the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. "It is to Brooklyn what Broadway is to Manhattan, and it is poised for some dramatic change."


Among the projects under construction or being planned are:


* A $750 million development to transform the former Albee Square Mall into 900 apartments and 600,000 square feet of retail and office space.

* The BAM Cultural District, a $500 million city and private-sector investment in Fort Greene around the existing Brooklyn Academy of Music that will include adding a 299-seat theater and 350 apartments.

* The Oro Condos, a $400 million project that will bookend a section of Gold Street near Metro Tech with massive 40- and 35-story condo towers.

And that's without factoring in the nearly $4 billion Atlantic Yards project that connects with Flatbush Avenue a block south of the Williamsburg Bank. Besides an NBA arena, it will bring the borough another 6,430 new residences and more than 400,000 square feet of new retail and office space to be spread among 16 new skyscrapers.

There is also about another $1 billion in private investment under way along other streets near Flatbush Avenue's north end.


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Old June 25th, 2007, 04:22 PM   #1018
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Old June 26th, 2007, 11:12 PM   #1019
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http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/
De Niro and Leviev in talks to develop NY luxury hotel

Africa-Israel bought Manhattan’s landmark Clock Tower for $200 million.

Judith Ben-Dak 26 Jun 07 11:10

Africa-Israel Investments chairman Lev Leviev has been holding serious negotiations with Robert De Niro to develop a luxury hotel in the landmark Clock Tower at 5 Madison Avenue in Manhattan. Africa-Israel Investments Ltd. (TASE:AFIL; Pink Sheets:AFIVY.PK) closed its $200 million purchase of the building last Wednesday.

Sources in Hollywood told “Globes” that De Niro and Leviev have been in talks for over a month, and added that a deal would be signed soon. Africa-Israel Properties & Developments USA CEO Rotem Rosen has been seen dining with De Niro several times at the Gramercy Park Hotel in Manhattan.

Rosen declined to confirm the report, but told “Globes”: “We cannot comment at the moment. There are a number of options concerning the Clock Tower. An official statement will be made in Israel by Africa-Israel’s spokesman.”

De Niro was not available for response.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on June 26, 2007

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2007
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Old June 27th, 2007, 12:39 AM   #1020
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Quote:
This house will be fantastic...
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