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Old August 23rd, 2007, 11:05 PM   #1101
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http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_223/onedinertogo.html
Volume 20 Issue 14 | August 17 - 23, 2007

One diner to go!


Downtown Express photos by Tequila Minsky

On Friday night, workers raised the Moondance diner with hydraulic jacks then later backed up a big flatbed truck underneath it, and eased the eatery down onto it. Around 6 a.m. Saturday morning, the famed greasy spoon departed Soho, above, on a seven-day journey to its new home in Wyoming, where it will serve home cooking, including fresh-baked pie. Vince Pierce, who purchased the diner with his wife, Cheryl, for $7,500, is doing the driving. Originally called the Holland Tunnel Diner, the Moondance was the city’s oldest classic-style diner, according to diner aficionados. One such diner devotee, Daniel Zilka, left, head of the Diner Museum in Providence, R.I., was on hand to watch the Moondance get prepared for its sendoff. Pierce had been looking for an old railroad car-style diner to buy and found it listed on the museum’s Web site. Some had hoped the restaurant could be incorporated into a new building planned at the Broome St. and Sixth Ave. site, bottom left, but the idea didn’t pan out.
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Old August 24th, 2007, 09:22 AM   #1102
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Macklowe's Drake Replacement Revealed, To Much Chagrin





Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Megadeveloper Harry Macklowe was Public Enemy #1 on the Wired New York boards over his acquisition and impending tear-down of the Drake Hotel (shrouded above; photo via Wired's NYGuy) and various townhouses along East 57th Street, and now that a rendering of what Macklowe is building on the site has popped up on his website, the hate continues. As you can see, the vision for 440 Park Avenue is pretty bare bones right now, but that doesn't stop the "short, fat box" comments and references to Macklowe as a "gremlin developer." You knew this crowd would be a tough one to please no matter what was designed for the Drake site, and indeed, they are not pleased. At least Macklowe will have a nice place to curl up and cry.


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Old August 24th, 2007, 09:27 AM   #1103
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Goodbye to the ‘Starter Studio’





by Tom Acitelli
August 27, 2007

Studios are the only type of Manhattan apartment that people always talk about in stark economic terms. Other homes here get gussied up with rosy adjectives and the history that happened within, but studios get typecast: the starter apartment, the glorified room you buy just to stop renting, the place you fall into when times turn tough, etc.

It seems the reality has caught up to this perception.

Although studios have never claimed a hefty chunk of the Manhattan housing market, developers are even more now shying away from creating new ones. Of the 3,674 units in a sampling of 20 newer Manhattan condo developments, only 325—or just under 9 percent—were studios.

The sample involved condos where in the past two years construction was finished or had gotten under way, including the Ariel West and East at 100th Street and Broadway developed by Gary Barnett’s Extell (zero studios out of 138 units); 20 Pine The Collection in the Financial District, marketed by Michael Shvo (zero out of 410 units); and the Related Companies’ The Brompton at 86th Street and Third Avenue (38 studios out of 204 units). The sample didn’t include new co-ops, as such things are now rare in Manhattan.

“Very rarely do you see a developer building studios these days,” said Scott Aaron, a developer of the 100 West 18th Street condo, which has no studios among its 43 units.

Kent Swig is turning the mammoth Sheffield rental building on West 57th Street into luxury condos. It had 845 rentals when he and his partners bought it in 2005. About 40 percent of those were studios, Mr. Swig said. Not anymore.

“We have reduced the number of studios dramatically that we had,” he said. “We’re at 570 units total at this point, and the number of studios we probably have is maybe 25 percent. So, we’ve cut them by half.”

If developers aren’t slashing studios during conversions, they’re ensuring studios make up a small slice of the condos in ground-up construction.

David Perry is the sales director for The Clarett Group’s 200 West End Avenue. “We had a building with 193 units,” Mr. Perry said. “So, having 20 studios is not that big a deal.” About half those studios, he said, have sold at about $1,200 a square foot since sales started in January, slightly above the Manhattan average.

And if there are studios at all in a brand-new building, they’re not necessarily for buyers. At 15 Central Park West, an ultra-luxury building developed by the Zeckendorfs, all 21 studios are for the help.

“They are strictly for staff quarters or office space,” according to an e-mail from a 15 Central Park West spokesperson. “As you know, the property is known for its expansive, gracious apartments.”

And that’s just it. Size, more so than in perhaps any other American city, is a premium in New York housing. The second bedroom in Manhattan is like the backyard pool in other towns—to get it is to not merely add real estate, but to ascend to an instantly recognizable strata worthy of envy.

So if they must plunge into the sales market, buyers tend to go for broke size-wise. One- and two-bedrooms have traditionally comprised the bulk of Manhattan home inventory and its sales. And developers, of course, respond to this market demand by creating more.

“If people can,” Mr. Swig said, “they tend to buy one-bedrooms or larger because they tend to hold their values a little bit more. Studios tend to be the first to soften in bad markets, and when the market comes back they tend to be [among] the latter part to come back.”

Indeed, in any market, studios make up a paltry percentage of new-development and existing-home sales. This is due largely to the greater numbers of larger apartments, but also due to the buyer reticence expressed by Mr. Swig. Simply put: If they can help it, Manhattan buyers would like to aim for the envy and not settle for that so-called starter.

In the latest full quarter of 2007, studios represented just under 17 percent of all condo and co-op sales, according to appraisal firm Miller Samuel. The peak market share for studios in the past three and half years came in the third quarter of 2004, with over 18 percent. By contrast, two-bedrooms that quarter accounted for 38 percent, and one-bedrooms 35 percent; those percentages have basically held steady over the past several years, with studios joining larger apartments (three-bedrooms and way up) on the whispering edges of inventory and sales.

And on these edges, studios play their role reliably, however beyond the spotlight.

“Usually,” said Mr. Perry of The Clarett Group, “when you build a new development, as I see it, the studio buyer who’s going to be using the space isn’t looking that far into the future. Studios are a start for a new buyer.”


Copyright © 2007 The New York Observer.
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Old August 24th, 2007, 09:31 AM   #1104
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East River project moves forward


by amy zimmer / metro new york
AUG 23, 2007

MANHATTAN. Midtown’s East River waterfront is poised to undergo a massive facelift, but not without a fight from elected officials and residents.

Developer Sheldon Solow’s plans to transform the 9-acre former ConEd parcel between 35th and 41st streets with six luxury residential towers ranging from 37 to 69 stories, a 688-foot-tall office building and 1,500 parking spots. His application to change the area’s zoning passed an initial hurdle this week when the Dept. of City Planning kicked off the formal review process.

“It is far too big and far too dense for this neighborhood,” City Councilman Dan Garodnick told Metro yesterday.

He doesn’t support an office tower in a residential area, nor does he want the proposed buildings to dwarf the United Nations’ Secretariat. He’s also confused by the proposed number of parking spaces at a time when the city is trying to reduce Manhattan traffic.

But Garodnick also sees an opening.

With more construction on the horizon — the United Nations’ nearly $2 billion renovation and expansion of its headquarters is under way, and the state Dept. of Transportation is rebuilding the adjacent segment of the FDR Drive — he and other officials are calling for an overall plan for the area to include a grand waterfront park.

“Life doesn’t provide many opportunities like this,” said Kent Barwick, president of the Municipal Art Society. “The public has been denied access to the waterfront for a long time. The industrial park of Con Edison had a forbidding chain link fence, and the U.N. was walled off even before 9/11.”

In June, the MAS brought together six leading landscape architects — including designers of MoMA’s roof garden and the High Line — to brainstorm. The group will present visions this fall.

Using a guiding principle to “elevate people, not cars,” the designers presented preliminary renderings with a deck over the FDR Drive, extending the ground level of First Avenue from 42nd to 38th streets.

While Solow’s application includes a platform, the developer’s 4.3 acres of open space falls short of what the community wants. Solow’s office did not return calls for comment.

“Nobody needs to lose” here, Barwick said. “It’s not like we’re asking Solow to go away or the U.N. not to build.”


Park plans

The U.N. has been pondering a possible waterfront esplanade with the Parks Dept. Parks officials plan to meet with Garodnick on Sept. 10 to discuss potential park plans.


© 2007 Metro. All Rights Reserved.
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Old August 24th, 2007, 09:34 AM   #1105
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Glass Towers on the Rise Outside of Manhattan





BY CASSANDRA VINOGRAD - Special to the Sun
August 23, 2007

Glass towers are rising outside Manhattan, as big-name developers reappropriate the design sensibility that reshaped the New York skyline in order to take advantage of the panorama they created.

"The best views are looking at Manhattan, not looking out from Manhattan," a professor of architecture at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Laurie Hawkinson, said.

The glass towers appear to be bringing a Manhattan sensibility to Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Queens. But developers and architects say the new buildings appeal to contemporary aesthetes, not just Manhattanites fleeing higher rents.

Amid all-brick buildings, glass makes an architectural statement, the executive vice president of the residential brokerage firm the Marketing Directors, Jacqueline Urgo, said. "It's memorable, it's iconic, it's sculptural," she said.

"Having views has always been one of the no. 1 value points of new construction offerings," Ms. Urgo, whose firm has handled sales for glass towers in Queens and the Riverdale section of the Bronx, said. "When you're in the living room of an all-glass space, your eye goes out and expands that space tremendously."

Glass is design's "next step," Ms. Urgo added. "Like what comes after the iPod. The new next step here is floor to ceiling glass."

The Lever House, Manhattan's first glass skyscraper, made Park Avenue avant-garde when it opened in 1952. Still, it took architect Frank Gehry 20 years to build in New York; he only recently completed a commercial building for mogul Barry Diller in Chelsea. Some experts say the city has lagged Los Angeles and Miami in creating contemporary living spaces, but the completion of Mr. Gehry's building along the West Side Highway is a sign that New York is finally waking up to glass.

Recent developments include a former office building in Long Island City, Queens, that Rockrose Development Corporation is transforming into a glass residential tower and the 20-story Solaria, in Riverdale. At the Solaria, an estimated 25% of the 65 units have been sold and buyers are expected to move in this fall, Ms. Urgo said. Amenities include views of the Hudson River and a private rooftop observatory.

Waterfront views spurred the development of Northside Piers, the 29-story all-glass tower crowning the waterfront in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

"It's a unique location," a vice president at Toll Brothers, David Von Spreckelson, said. "We thought we could command premium prices because it's on the water."

Prices for studios started at $360,000, and 50% of the180 units are already spoken for, Mr. Von Spreckelson, who oversaw the development, said. The construction of two more towers has been approved, and they likely will have similar design sensibilities, but plans have not yet been finalized, according to the developers.

Part of what is driving the glass revolution is changes in the material itself. Glass today has higher performance capabilities, such as energy efficiency, making it an economical way to build.

Mr. Von Spreckelson and his peers say the contemporary aesthetic of glass towers does not detract from typical brownstone neighborhoods' charm. Initial fears that a modern product would not be accepted by Williamsburg's "trendy, downtown-ish hipster community" were unfounded, he said, as more than 20% of Northside's buyers come from within the borough.

Jason Jeffries, 36, is one of them. He owns three Williamsburg businesses and has lived in the neighborhood for 10 years. Mr. Jeffries recalled crawling through a hole in a chain link fence with his wife, past burnt out cars and scattered tires, to sit on the waterfront in Williamsburg and enjoy "million-dollar views of Manhattan."

Now the father of two is purchasing a two-bedroom on Northside Piers' southwest corner. "The fact that, a few years later, we can live there and look at those views is what drew us to it," he said.

Another new glass tower opening in Brooklyn is On Prospect Park, the 150-foot tall luxury condominium at Grand Army Plaza. "It's one of the most prominent sites in the borough," the developer, Mario Procida, said.

Architect Richard Meier designed the building. "We could've hired anybody to design a building. We could've built a far less elaborate product," Mr. Procida said. "But … if we'd just built another building there, we would've missed an opportunity to have an impact on the urban landscape." But while the residential market has been chugging along for some time, the recent turmoil in credit markets could hinder future luxury condominium projects.

"We haven't seen really any negative effects yet," Mr. Von Spreckelson said. Summer is typically a slow sales period, so the real impact of the markets might not be known until September. Toll Brothers is considering offering mortgage incentives for buyers, he added.

As developers and lenders await the potential mortgage fallout, Paula Madrid is anxiously awaiting her new apartment at Northside Piers. Her friends, however, questioned her decision to leave her $3,000-a-month pre-war apartment on the Upper West Side for an all-glass tower on the Brooklyn waterfront.

"Everyone was surprised that I was moving … but I wouldn't do it unless it was luxurious, Manhattan living, in addition to this awesome neighborhood."

The issue of gentrifying the neighborhood was not a concern, she said. "It's what's happening in the neighborhood anyway," Ms. Madrid, 31, said. "I think that it's beautiful and it's aesthetically pleasing. I love that it's all glass."


© 2007 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC.
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Old August 24th, 2007, 09:38 AM   #1106
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Board 9 committee opposes Columbia's expansion plan





17-AUG-07

The land use committee of Community Board 9 voted 17 to 1 Wednesday night to oppose the expansion plans of Columbia University in West Harlem above 125th Street and listed 10 conditions it must meet to get its approval.

The full community board will vote on the proposal Monday.

Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins spoke in favor of the proposal at the crowded meeting at the Manhattanville Houses Community Center but was heckled.

According to an article by Anna Phillips in yesterday's edition on-line edition of the Columbia Spectator 73 spoke against the university's plans and 22 in favor of it.

The committee's resolution maintained that the university "has not entered into a respectful, good faith collaboration with the community."

The resolution called on the university to "Withdraw the proposal for eminent domain, cease to use the threat of eminent domain to intimidate owners to sell, and abandon the process of imposing gag orders on that that have entered into agreements to sell."

It also said the university should "withdraw the proposal to build the 7-story below grade structure and the request to build under city streets and convey the area below grade to the university."

It also said that the university should "Build only on property owned by the University and obtained through negotiations with the owners without coercion and without the threat of eminent domain" and that it should "guarantee that all housing developed directly by Columbia as a result of the Proposed actions would meet the inclusionary housing requirements of the 197-A Plan [prepared by the community board; and that, in all Columbia developed and owned housing, an equal amount of housing for the university and the community would be created both on-site and off-site; and that no direct displacement would occur in the 17-acre area."

The resolution also maintained that the university adopt an anti-displacement housing program and commit itself to provide "sufficient additional housing in areas outside CB9M to house all of he students and employees expected to use the proposed campus."

In addition, the resolution asked the university to not oppose landmark designations by the city of any site in the area and not to build "pollution emitting power sources - such as power plants and co-generation facilities - or research facilities and labs above bio-safety level 2, and other noxious installations that would contribute to the already high environment burdens of this community"

It also maintained the university's building program should have the equivalent of a LEED platinum standard, and mitigate adverse impacts "with respect to job creation for local residents, economic development, socio-economic conditions, environmental protection and sustainable development, public transit, neighborhood character, public open space and other impact areas."

The university recently mailed a two-page brochure to about 50,000 residents of Upper Manhattan that stated that its project would create 1,200 construction jobs and 6,000 new university jobs by 2030, clean up waste left by past decades of industrial and automotive uses on the site, and place support services like heating, cooling, truck delivery and paring in a large underground basement to ensure that streets and sidewalks are "pedestrian-friendly and environmentally appealing."

The university's expansion covers about 17 acres between 129th and 133rd Streets and the 12th Avenue Viaduct and the Broadway IRT line.

Jordi Reyes-Montblanc, the chairman of Community Board 9, said that "the community must get over its suspicion and dread of the Columbia expansion and Columbia must overcome the feelings that they know better what is good for West Harlem and our people." "The total lack of consideration for our 197-A Plan is a great strategic and tactical loss for the University," he said, adding that he "totally" disapproves of the Columbia plan."


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Old August 24th, 2007, 09:41 AM   #1107
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Marketing starts at condo tower at 39 East 29th Street





23-AUG-07

Marketing has started for the 34-story residential condominium building under construction at 39 East 29th Street.

The 132-unit project is now called Twenty9th Park Madison.

It is being developed by a joint venture of Espais Promocions Immobiliares of Barcelona, Spain, and Landscape Promocions Immobiliares of Madrid, Spain, that acquired the property last fall Jonis Realty of Great Neck, L.I., of which Nathan Halegua is a principal, and Lawrence Ruben & Company. According to records with the Department of Buildings, the owner is East 29th Street LLC of Miami, Florida, of which Mark Gemignani is a partner

H. Thomas O'Hara is the architect.

The tower will have studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments, roof terraces, a gym and lounge, corner windows, but no balconies.

The site is about one block to the east of a 55-story new residential condominium tower, "The Sky House," now under construction at 11 West 29th Street, which is across the street from a 48-story apartment tower at 10 West 29th Street that was completed a few years ago.

The mid-block development at 39 East 29th Street is across the street from the site of the planned Gansevoort Park Hotel on the southwest corner at Park Avenue South that is being built and designed by the same team that created the very popular Gansevoort Hotel in the Meat Packing District on the West Side.

Apartment range in size from studios to convertible three-bedrooms with 536 to 1,309 square feet and prices start at about $625,000.

The building will have a concierge, a roof deck, a garage, cold storage and an expresso bar in the double-height lobby.

Kitchens have Wenge wood cabinetry, Sub-Zero refrigerators, Fisher-Paykel dishwashers, and Thermador ovens and cooktops.

The development at 39 East 29th Street site involved the transfer of more than 12,000-square feet of "air rights" from 47 East 29th Street, according to documents on file with the city.


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Old August 24th, 2007, 09:44 AM   #1108
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Ross’ Related Plans Something Big and Tall on Eighth Avenue


by John Koblin
Published: August 21, 2007

Even by the standards of the roaring 80’s, the Zeckendorfs looked a little crazy for building the World Wide Plaza, a 1.7-million-square-foot tower, on Eighth Avenue. What reputable New York firm would ever move that far west? I mean, by, like, the porn shops?

Well, the white-shoe law firm Cravath, Swaine and Moore took the leap of faith in 1989 and two decades later their risk, like the Zeckendorfs’, paid off. Now the likes of Douglas Durst and Jerry Speyer are banging each other over the head for the chance to build a $1 billion complex in the West 30’s and 40’s (credit crunch, what?).

And now, here comes the Eighth Avenue boom crashing through the Theater District, with Stephen Ross’ Related Companies giddily leading the caravan.

Back in January, Related acquired 732 Eighth Avenue, a quaint four-story building known as the Playwrights Tavern, for $1.71 million, according to city records.

The purchase looked suspiciously small for a company that is used to shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars for Manhattan behemoths like the Time Warner Center. On the deed, the “Y” in the air rights box signaled that Related intends to build upward.

It now looks like those plans are taking shape. Last week, Related issued a declaration of development rights for its new property, an even more telling sign that something is afoot.

The other property that it purchased that would likely be included in a development is 259-263 West 45th Street, which it bought for $15.25 million last May. That property totals in at 11,428 square feet, so if shelling out more than $1,000 a square foot for an unremarkable little building isn’t a hint of a major development, we don’t know what is. Additionally, Related took out a $23.8 million mortgage for 259-263 West 45th Street and 738 Eighth Avenue, according to city records.

Last year, real estate executive-cum-columnist Michael Stoler wrote in The New York Sun that a “major residential tower is expected” in the area, with Related, along with Mort Zuckerman’s Boston Properties, leading the way. Mr. Zuckerman was nowhere to be found in city records on these buys, but he could still, of course, be a major investor in the project.

(Oh, and theater people! There might be a tower looming over the after-hours bars, including nearby Bar Centrale on 46th Street).

A spokeswoman from Related, Joanna Rose, declined to comment on the upcoming project, saying that “there is nothing to say at this moment.” Phone calls to Bryan Cho, an executive in the acquisition department at Related, whose name is peppered throughout city deeds, went unreturned.

Of course, the Related project is just one of a handful planned for the area.

Last month, The Observer reported that Tishman Construction—not to be confused with Jerry Speyer’s office giant, Tishman Speyer—bought five properties totaling 30,000 square feet of land for $128 million, under the name West 44th Street Hotel LLC, a strong hint that the development company is planning for a hotel right in the hood.

Of course, two blocks south of that, projects are everywhere. There’s the new SJP tower, 11 Times Square, which is going up directly next to the new Times building off 42nd and Eighth Avenue.

Directly across the street, the Port Authority has announced it wants either Vornado, or another rival developer, to build a skyscraper atop the bus terminal on 42nd Street.


Copyright © 2007 The New York Observer.
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Old August 24th, 2007, 09:46 AM   #1109
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Run, Don't Walk, to the Latest UES Unveiling





Wednesday, August 22, 2007,
by Joey

When former guest blogger extraordinaire 78th and 2nd dropped in on The Laurel construction site up on East 67th Street, he remarked that the 31-story glass-and-limestone condo building would be hitting the market around mid-September. But our friends at StreetEasy dropped us a line to let us know that Corcoran has let one teaser listing go public, a 1,286-square-foot two-bedroom with a price tag of $1.9 million. That's $1,531/sf, for all you stat heads out there. And while we're on the topic, how 'bout that Laurel website? Good lord, with all the exercise and fitness talk, it'll make you feel like the fattest slob in the world for not buying in. They might as well have "Chariots of Fire" playing on a loop in the lobby.


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Old August 24th, 2007, 10:58 PM   #1110
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wonderful news today
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Old August 25th, 2007, 07:21 AM   #1111
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Counting on a River to Entice



The Edge, a development in Williamsburg.


By C. J. HUGHES
Published: August 26, 2007

THE East River is still polluted, from sewage runoff and a long-ago oil spill, according to the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, so it is probably not quite fit yet for doing the backstroke.

But that hasn’t altered its role as a selling point for developments springing up along its banks in Brooklyn and Queens, where a recent rezoning has allowed housing to take the place of warehouses.

How popular are developers expecting the waterfront to become? Well, the sheer size of some projects provides an indication.

Take the Edge, a mixed-use development going up in the Northside neighborhood of Williamsburg. It is to span more than two full city blocks, or seven acres, between North Fifth and North Seventh Streets, from Kent Avenue to the river.

Plans call for 1,432 units, with 1,085 condos and 347 rental apartments, spread among five buildings from 8 to 30 stories high
, said Jeffrey E. Levine, the chairman of Queens-based Douglaston Development, the developer. Other partners in the $1.2 billion project include UBS, the investment bank, and Louis Silverman, the former owner of the site, which used to house a trucking business.

A would-be city-in-miniature, the Edge will be crisscrossed by streets lined with 60,000 square feet of retail space. Residents will have access to 34,000 square feet of parks; 27,000 square feet of indoor recreation space, including a spa and a video-game room; and two garages, for 550 cars.

But under the terms of the new zoning, the Edge, like neighboring developments, must also provide parkland for nonresidents, and so 21,000 square feet of the property, mostly on two piers, will be open to the public, Mr. Levine said.

The state attorney general has not yet approved the Edge’s offering plan, but Mr. Levine said prices had already been determined. The smallest studios, about 600 square feet, will cost $600,000, and the largest two-bedrooms, with about 1,075 square feet of space, will run about $1.08 million, he said. Finishes throughout include oak floors, quartz kitchen counters and Miele appliances.

In addition, the city’s 421a tax-abatement law requires 20 percent of the units to be priced for people with lower incomes, so the rental apartments, one- and two-bedrooms, will cost $800 to $1,200 a month, Mr. Levine said, adding that the first round of closings is set for the summer of 2009.

Housing directly on the water “is desirable in other cities like Chicago or Paris,” he said. “There’s no reason it can’t be here.”

Reconnecting people with the East River, especially in a park-starved area, is a noble undertaking, said Roland Lewis, the president of the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, which advocates for greater waterfront access.

But, he said, “you have to be careful about what’s promised and what’s delivered.”

Many of Manhattan’s vest-pocket parks, which were often created by builders in exchange for greater development rights, are often poorly maintained or locked, Mr. Lewis said.

“It’s one thing to cheat the public out of a pocket park,” he said, “but it’s another to cheat them out of access to a river.”


Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
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Old August 29th, 2007, 03:14 AM   #1112
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wait was the diner talked about on the top of the paage feautterd in men in black the movie??? looks famliiar
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Old September 1st, 2007, 12:12 PM   #1113
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http://www.nysun.com/article/59222

The Fate of the Hudson Yards
Abroad in New York

By FRANCIS MORRONE
July 26, 2007

The Hudson Yards represent Manhattan's most tantalizing development site. Between 30th and 34th streets, and Tenth and Twelfth avenues, stretch former yards of the New York Central Rail Road, now used by the Long Island Railroad. The Bloomberg administration had hoped to build on this site a stadium for use in the 2012 Olympics and by the New York Jets football team. Vociferous community opposition to the plan, as well as opposition from Cablevision, owner of Madison Square Garden, which feared competition for concerts and events, doomed the proposal.

But it has far from doomed dreams of massive development on a deck over the yards. Such decks cost exorbitant amounts of money, meaning that what's built on the deck had better be pretty profitable - which is to say, big.

Many New Yorkers regard the area as unprepossessing, even desolate. The best spot from which to view the yards is Tenth Avenue at 32nd Street. The Hudson River Railroad established a depot and yards on this site in the 1850s.

When Abraham Lincoln's funeral cortège passed up Broadway and Fifth Avenue from City Hall in April 1865, the depot here marked the destination. Later, Commodore Vanderbilt purchased the Hudson River Railroad, and absorbed it into his New York Central system. With Grand Central Terminal the hub of passenger operations, the West Side yards became freight-only. The High Line, which originates in these yards, replaced grade-level tracks of the New York Central that served factories and warehouses along the riverfront.

The postwar decline in New York's port activities meant an end to freight operations in the yards. In the 1980s, the Javits Center rose on a portion of the yards. Although a striking design by I.M. Pei & Partners, the convention center lacks the space to lure the largest conventions, and has failed to spur development in surrounding streets. Partly that is due to the absence of nearby subway lines. The city administration believes that to attract development to the area a southward extension of the no. 7 train needs to be built.

Many people presume that the yards had something to do with Pennsylvania Station, but they didn't, until their use by the L.I.R.R. The Pennsylvania's tunnel from New Jersey, under the Hudson River, passed beneath the New York Central yards. To see the Penn's tracks, you need only walk along 31st Street between Tenth and Ninth avenues. A gigantic concrete building, the Westyard Distribution Center, in 1970-vintage Brutalist style, occupies part of the block, built over the Penn's open cut. Much of the cut, however, remains plainly visible.

Continue east on 31st street. Between Eighth and Ninth avenues stands the enormous General Post Office, or Farley Post Office, as it's been known since it ceased to be the main post office. McKim, Mead & White designed the monumental classical edifice that rose between 1908 and 1913. Its style complemented Pennsylvania Station, on the other side of Eighth Avenue, demolished in 1963. The post office's 20 53-foot-high Corinthian columns across its Eight Avenue front form the longest colonnade in the city. The building continues to function as a branch post office, and has attracted much interest for what might be built inside its voluminous spaces. For a long time we believed the building soon would welcome Moynihan Station, a new passenger facility to relieve in part the sinful ugliness of the 1968 Penn Station underneath Madison Square Garden. But the same Cablevision folks who helped scotch the stadium now want in on the post office, too, so that a new train station may share space with a new sporting arena. Stay tuned.

Meantime, not only does the post office boast our longest colonnade, but what must be our longest inscription: "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." It comes from volume 4, book 8, line 98 of "The Histories" of Herodotus, from the Fifth century B.C.E., as translated by William Mitchell Kendall - the McKim, Mead & White partner who designed the building. Perhaps Kendall indulged a bit of license. The University of Chicago classicist David Grene translated the same line as, "And him neither snow nor rain nor heat nor night holds back for the accomplishment of the course that has been assigned to him, as quickly as he may."


From over at SSP.

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Old September 7th, 2007, 12:38 AM   #1114
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http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/04/ar...tml?ref=design
A Ragtag Neighborhood’s Big, Blue Newcomer


Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Upper units of Bernard Tschumi’s new residential building have slanted walls and other quirks.



John Marshall Mantel for The New York Times

Bernard Tschumi’s new residential building at Norfolk and Delancey Streets.


The high-design luxury residential towers marching across Manhattan pose a problem for an architecture critic. What if I should fancy one? Isn’t that just what its developer is hoping? A critic can’t help but feel a bit queasy, teetering on the edge of becoming a real estate promoter.

Yet I can’t get the Blue Building out of my mind. Amid the old brick tenements of the Lower East Side, the glittering exterior of this structure, Bernard Tschumi’s latest building, will strike some as another step in downtown Manhattan’s relentless pace of gentrification.

But the 17-story building, which is to be finished later this month, avoids the ostentatious self-importance that infects the design of so many of the new luxury towers. Encased in a matrix of blue panels, its contorted form has a hypnotic appeal that is firmly rooted in the gritty disorder of its surroundings. It reminds us that beauty and good taste are not always the same thing.

This is partly because of Mr. Tschumi’s sensitivity to the neighborhood’s changing identity. Towers are sprouting all over downtown, and most of them are awful. The cheerless facade of the new Hotel on Rivington, decorated in bands of aqua-colored panels and glass, is visible a few blocks away. Just beyond it stand several generic brick residential towers, displaying the kind of superficial historicism that remains the norm among many mainstream developers.

By contrast Mr. Tschumi’s interests lie in an older vision of the neighborhood: the mix of old tenement buildings, public housing complexes and rusting infrastructure that extends down Delancey Street to the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge.

Seen from a distance the Blue Building’s crystalline form seems to twist and bend as it rises. The exterior bulges out on one side so that its form leans over a lower commercial building next door. A big penthouse terrace is cut out of the west facade; the top of the east facade is sliced off at an angle.

These contortions are a sly expression of the various forces that this architect had to contend with while designing the building: the tight site, the restrictions imposed by the zoning envelope, the developer’s desire to squeeze out as much rentable space as possible.

But the effect also sets the entire composition wonderfully off balance. As the eye intuitively follows the lines of the building down to the ground, its tapered form gives the impression that the tower has been squeezed to fit into the site’s tight footprint, so that from certain angles the building appears to be on the verge of tipping over.

This sense of a building both rooted in and straining to escape from its context is reinforced by the quality of the exterior surfaces. A matrix of dark and pale blues, the window pattern evokes the shifting rhythms of Mondrian’s painted ode to New York, “Broadway Boogie Woogie.”

Much of the inspiration, however, comes as much from the gutter as from museum walls. The building’s milky blue colors bring to mind the cheap illuminated plastic signs still found on some old East Village storefronts. Air-conditioning units are punched through the facade. Flowered drapes hang in some of the windows.

I mean this as a compliment. Part of the problem with so many of the new luxury towers is that they look so self-consciously refined. “Look at me,” they seem to purr. “Aren’t I sooooo sophisticated?” Mr. Tschumi’s building is less self-conscious, more playful.

As you reach the upper floors, for example, the apartments get increasingly idiosyncratic. Exterior walls tilt backward or forward; rooms are tucked into what seem like leftover spaces. Big canted columns are set just inside the facade, as if bracing the rooms against some invisible force.

The tension between the tautness of the walls and the weight of the columns vaguely evokes the 1970s-era houses designed by Kazuo Shinohara, whose muscular concrete structures seemed to strain to preserve a tiny oasis of tranquillity amid the chaos of postwar Tokyo.

Unlike Shinohara’s houses, the Blue Building is not a major work of art. But it nonetheless captures an aspect of the city that is slowly fading from view: its role as a sanctuary for misfits and outcasts, a place full of dark corners and unexpected encounters. If only such people could afford the price tag.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 02:16 AM   #1115
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http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2007...molished_.html
Times Square Playpen may get demolished for high-rise
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BY LEO STANDORA
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Friday, September 14th 2007, 4:00 AM


Eighth Ave. theater dating to 1916 is likely be replaced by a tower.

A historic Times Square theater that opened as a vaudeville showplace 91 years ago and closed as a porn shop last month appears headed for a date with a wrecking ball.

Unless preservationists prevail, the Playpen on Eighth Ave. at W. 44th St., once considered for landmark status that would have protected it, likely will be torn down and replaced by a high-rise.

Leading the battle to save the Playpen, which opened in 1916 as the Ideal, is Michael Perlman of Manhattan, who wants to keep intact the building's Beaux-Arts facade with its curved central arch, pilasters, statues and other ornate features.

With few theaters dating from the early 20th century still around, one of the oldest "shouldn't be sacrificed for the sake of progress," he said.

"It's a culturally, architecturally significant structure, and we hope to preserve this gem for future generations."

A group called the Committee to Save the Playpen Theater has joined Perlman in calling for the Playpen to be spared.

Perlman played a key role in the recent rescue of the Moondance Diner in SoHo, but saving the Playpen would be harder.

The Tishman Realty Corp. got the property in July and said it already was looking at "development options."

During its life, the Playpen operated under at least eight different names, offering screen fare ranging from foreign films and Hollywood B-movies to Scandinavian skin flicks and gay movies.

As the Adonis, it was closed by city health inspectors in 1994 after patrons were seen taking part in "high-risk sexual activities."

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With The Associated Press
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Old September 15th, 2007, 02:17 AM   #1116
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http://www.nydailynews.com/boroughs/...to_hunts_.html
[b][u]New Budweiser warehouse coming to Hunts Pt.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BY TANYANIKA SAMUELS and BILL EGBERT
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

Friday, September 14th 2007, 4:00 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This Bud's for the Bronx.

Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch broke ground yesterday on a new 220,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center in the South Bronx expected to create 100 permanent jobs and leave environmentalists raising a toast to the company's "greening" contributions.

The new $40 million warehouse, expected to open in October 2008, will consolidate the company's citywide operations in Hunts Point in an environmentally friendly facility, the first in the South Bronx to receive LEED certification.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is the nationally recognized benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

The company also will provide more than $1 million for community projects in Hunts Point.

In another eco-friendly move, its 70-truck local fleet will be converted from diesel to cleaner alternative fuels like natural gas, and be outfitted with exhaust filters to reduce asthma-triggering carbon particulates.

"This is yet another shot in the arm for the Bronx," Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión said of the new facility. "This will create jobs and construction contracts for Bronx businesses while raising the standard in environmentally responsible development."

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-South Bronx), a longtime advocate of alternative fuel in trucks, praised Anheuser-Busch's balancing of profits and public health.

"This partnership is good for the community and good for the environment," said Serrano. "We've never been anti-business. We've just been anti-bad business."

Miquela Craytor, deputy director of Sustainable South Bronx and a frequent critic of irresponsible development, praised the deal reached with the company, calling it "a good example of how the city can use its position to get companies to be more environmentally responsible."

Craytor said, however, that she would like to see legislation to make such arrangements standard practice.

In addition to 350 workers transferred from the old warehouse in Long Island City, Queens, the new facility will add 100 new permanent jobs, and the construction phase is expected to create 400 temporary jobs.

On top of the new jobs, under Carrión's Buy Bronx program, 30% of the contracts involved in the project are earmarked for local [email protected]
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Old September 15th, 2007, 02:19 AM   #1117
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http://www.nypost.com/seven/09122007...n_57th_st_.htm
GOING SOLOW ON 57TH ST.

EYEING PARCELS FOR NEW TOWER

September 12, 2007 -- A high-stakes development chess game is under way on West 57th Street, with savvy Sheldon Solow right in the middle.

Solow, the owner of the city's premier office tower at 9 W. 57th St., has been quietly trying to in-fill properties to build yet another tower on the south side of the street.

He's owned 6 W. 57th St. for many years, and has quirkily left it empty since Arista Records moved out.

Now, as we first reported, the Henri Bendel Building next door at 12 W. 57th St. is on the market through Cushman & Wakefield, and sources say that Solow is among three finalists vying for the ability to redevelop that plot.

Solow could combine No. 6 and No. 12 and create a lovely boutique building, but he has a grander scheme.

The question is, how much will it take to buy out everyone else, with at least one other group having the same idea?

Another bidder for No. 12 is a European seeking an investment and redevelopment opportunity on that shopping strip.

But Solow is also competing with a deep-pocketed Israeli group that just bought the building on the other side at No. 16-18 W. 57th St., and paid $60 million to do so, city records show.

Solow, whose representative declined to comment, must be schvitzing over missing out on that deal.

That's because back in July, Solow also paid Dale Hemmerdinger's Atco Properties $60 million for No. 20-22, which is just west of the buiding to the west of the Israelis.

Kenneth Aschendorf of APF Properties scooped up No. 24 last October for $69 million after yet another developer made an unsolicited offer - sending the owner to the free market.

That art gallery building is a key parcel that runs 200 feet south through to 56th St., making it important for curb cuts and deliveries to any larger tower.

"We have been approached to sell the building," Aschendorf told us. "Our game plan is a long-term hold on the building and we are excited about what is happening on the block and so not interested in making the fast one."

Aschendorf also has 30,000 feet of air rights that could be transferred to another parcel but insisted they are not for sale.

"You are down the block from the most valuable retail in the world and across from the most valuable office building in the world," Aschendorf said of Solow's tower.

But how long can Aschendorf say "no thanks," as offers go up?

Robert I. Shapiro of City Center Real Estate, who handles many air rights and development transactions, noted, "West 57th Street is recognized by all the major players as an undervalued shopping street which has economic development potential."

The LeFrak Organization and Vornado Realty Trust are partners in both 40 W. 57th St. and 50 W. 57th St., as well as some on the north side: Nos. 29, 31 and 49. Solow now owns 33 and 35, which abut No. 9.

The big question mark still remains the undeveloped fenced lot at No. 60-66, which is owned by Jeffries Morris, the same firm that was finally enticed to sell the Mayflower Hotel site to the Zeckendorfs to construct 15 Central Park South. Various plans for office buildings have been put forth over the years but it remains an eyesore off Sixth Avenue.
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Old September 15th, 2007, 05:15 AM   #1118
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River Blue in Flushing


September 13th, 2007
by MegC

The Lev Development Group’s newest project in Flushing is River Blue, a mixed use development on the Flushing River waterfront. According to the developer’s site, the River Blue development will encompass 1.1 million square feet of residential towers (three), townhouses, a shopping center, and offices. A hotel may also be part of the development. The site has been cleaned up, demolition is underway, and foundation work has also begun. The location of the development is bounded by Janet Place, Roosevelt, and 39th Avenue, so it’s really right there by the water (Flushing Creek).

Lev is also the developer of Sage, another residential/mixed use project in Flushing. This development is near Northern Boulevard and will encompass 45,000 square feet. It will have 33 condos, a parking garage and retail.


http://www.outerb.com/?p=683
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Old September 15th, 2007, 05:21 AM   #1119
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Madison Avenue Gets in on Mixed-Use Madness





Friday, September 14, 2007
by Joey

The mystery of Madison Avenue has been solved. Near the start of the summer, Steve Cuozzo reported the purchase of several buildings on Madison near 34th Street. The plans called for a new residential tower, but there was still the annoying matter of retail tenants in the low-rise buildings, as well as a long-term lease on a rooftop antenna. Apparently it's all been worked/bought out, because the Real Deal has the scoop on the 33-story glass mixed-use tower that's set to rise at 176 Madison. There will be a 100-room boutique hotel and 69 residences aimed at the young and monied, with a separate entrance and lobby on 33rd Street for the apartment folks. The bottom floors will have a restaurant and retail. Prices will be around $2,000/sqft, and Elliman's Ilan Bracha will handle the sales. The renderings turned up on the website of architect Frank Williams, who adds, "A plaza for the community and the Residences is designed along the Westerly face of the site." And wouldn't you know it, there's a big rooftop antenna! You see, it all comes full-circle in the end.


Copyright © 2007 Curbed
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Old September 15th, 2007, 05:24 AM   #1120
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Prayers Answered: 22 Mixed-Use Stories for Hudson Square





Friday, September 14, 2007, by Joey

he centuries-old Trinity Church is kicking it into high-gear when it comes to doing the Lord's work, and by doing the Lord's work, we of course mean developing Hudson Square. The nabe's biggest landlord has been up to something on Canal Street, and now Charles Bagli reports in the Times that the church is leasing out an eight-story warehouse on Hudson Street—which we're guessing is 324-344 Hudson (right), but it's difficult because Trinity owns so freakin' much—to developer Tribeca Associates. The plan is to build a 14-story brick tower on top of the warehouse, and turn it into the mixed-use cocktail du jour: retail/office space/luxury hotel. The top two floors of the 171-room hotel would have floor-to-ceiling glass, a pool and an event space. Construction begins this month, God willing.


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