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Old October 16th, 2007, 09:38 AM   #1161
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GROUND ZERO COLLEGE HALL TO FINALLY COME DOWN


By CHUCK BENNETT

October 15, 2007 -- Another ugly reminder of 9/11 is about to come down, officials said.

State officials are finalizing plans to tear down Fiterman Hall, a 15-story Borough of Manhattan Community College classroom complex on 30 West Broadway that was irreparably damaged by debris and toxic dust in the collapse of 7 World Trade Center.

Although a timetable has not been announced, the state Dormitory Authority, which is managing the project, should finalize a demolition plan by the end of the month, officials say.

All that is left is approval by the Environmental Protection Agency.

In the wake of the Aug. 18 Deutsche Bank blaze, safety is top priority, said Marc Violette, a Dormitory Authority spokesman. Inspectors from the FDNY have already made 21 visits to the site.

The Long Island City-based PAL Environmental Safety Corp. received the $16.3 million contract to decontaminate the building and deconstruct it. It previously cleaned and demolished 4 Albany Street, a four-story building that was contaminated by toxic dust.

The company has come under the scrutiny of regulators. In 2005, it paid a $10,000 fine for illegally dumping toxic debris removed from the Deutsche Bank building.

Sal DiLorenzo, president of PAL Environmental, did not return calls for comment.

Abatement at Fiterman Hall is expected to take six to eight months and demolition will take an additional six to eight months. A new state-of-the-art facility, designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, will be built on the site and include 74 classrooms, laboratory space, offices, a cafe, and an art gallery. The total cost for the project is $202 million.


Copyright 2007 NYP Holdings, Inc.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 09:49 AM   #1162
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The New Business Of N.Y. Shuls: Air Rights



Site of Shearith Israel’s planned
expansion of its community house
on West 70th Street. Michael
Datikash



10/11/2007

Synagogues in Manhattan are getting a facelift — and it’s commercial developers who are delivering a potent injection of cash.

Destined to be the largest synagogue constructed in Manhattan in 50 years, Lincoln Square Synagogue’s state-of-the-art, 52,000-square-foot shul is being funded in part by a land swap with real estate developer American Continental Properties Inc.

Meanwhile, Congregation Shearith Israel, also on the Upper West Side, is making headway in its ongoing struggle to build four floors of luxury condos and a penthouse above a new community house adjacent to the synagogue. In addition to generating income to offset upkeep, the nine-story high-rise will also provide a direct, enlarged entrance to the synagogue, which will be wheelchair accessible.

And most recently, The Ramaz School, on East 85th Street, announced plans to raze its Lower School building, which is physically connected to Kehilath Jeshurun Synagogue (KJ), a congregation best known as a bastion of Modern Orthodoxy on the Upper East Side. In its place, Ramaz is in negotiations with an undisclosed commercial developer to erect a 28-story high-rise building that will border the synagogue, of which the upper 18 floors will be carved into 53 residential condos.

Estimated costs for the Ramaz project — including improving the synagogue, demolishing the old school building and synagogue house, relocating the students for two years and constructing the new building — weigh in at a staggering $80 million. So who’s footing the bill?

That’s where the deal with the developer comes in. “The costs will be offset by about half by the developer, who will pay us for air rights,” says Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, senior rabbi of KJ and principal of Ramaz, who confirmed that a developer has been chosen and a contract should be signed in the coming weeks.

Call it “divine profits” if you’d like. The common denominator linking the three Manhattan synagogues — KJ, Shearith Israel (known as the Spanish Portuguese synagogue) and Lincoln Square — is an eagerness on the part of synagogues to sell off unused development rights, popularly known as air rights, to help fund construction and improvements. “Air rights” is the phrase commonly used to refer to “unused development rights.” According to the 1961 Zoning Resolution, a property owner can sell unused development rights attributable to his or her land to an adjacent property owner, allowing the buyer to build a taller building next door.

“Synagogues are becoming more savvy,” says development rights expert Caroline Harris, a zoning attorney with Troutman Sanders. “They’re suddenly realizing that they actually own a real estate asset instead of thinking that they just own a sanctuary.”

For KJ, the developer’s cash will not only fund a portion of the new building, but will also give the synagogue an opportunity to update its electrical and HVAC systems, without having to shut down the building for a prolonged period of time. “While you have the construction crew in one part of the house, you might as well have them in the other parts of the house,” says Shelly Friedman, a land-use lawyer for Kehilath Jeshurun, who is also representing Shearith Israel.

Assuming it gets the necessary zoning variances to move forward with the project, KJ will retain its Gothic-Moorish architectural character but the synagogue will have its lighting modernized, its floor replaced and its roof reinforced. Perhaps most importantly, the heating and air-conditioning systems will be revamped. “Women will not freeze in the summer, which they tend to do,” says Rabbi Lookstein, referring to the fact that the balcony, where the women sit, is colder than the rest of the sanctuary.

The new building will free up much-needed space for the growing congregation, which has seen its membership more than double in size in the past 25 years to nearly 3,000 members. It will house synagogue offices on the third and 10th floors, as well as create dedicated spaces for teen, beginner and intermediate minyanim. And the daily morning minyan will be relocated to the cellar of the new Lower School building, allowing the synagogue to expand its lobby and improve circulation flow, limiting the shoulder-tugging as congregants make a unified exodus from the sanctuary on busy Shabbat mornings and holidays.

Since the sale of air rights won’t cover all costs, fundraising from within the KJ/Ramaz community is already under way. About two-thirds of the estimated $45 million remaining cost has already been raised, confirmed Rabbi Lookstein. “The actual building will not be reflected at all in [Ramaz] tuition,” he says, noting that he hopes to secure additional donations for the school’s endowment, in order to keep tuition from rising excessively.”

Still, the funding to be provided by the sale of air rights should not be underestimated.

This is part of a citywide trend, Harris says, particularly in Manhattan, where real estate is a precious commodity and undeveloped land is scarce. Synagogues aren’t the only ones selling off air rights — Fordham University and other nonprofit universities, churches, hospitals and even cultural institutions like Lincoln Center have all been involved in these somewhat contentious deals.

Manhattan’s still-booming real estate market is a driving force behind this trend.


“Owners of small buildings want to exploit the possibility of capitalizing on the market by selling unused development rights while holding onto income-producing property,” Harris says. “Developers want to acquire them because they are often less costly than land. There’s huge pressure because not much land is available.”

Synagogues, especially, fare well in selling off air rights, since many face pressing financial needs and have not utilized the full square-footage allotted to them. This strategy is especially attractive for Orthodox synagogues, which serve a congregation that must be within walking distance of shul, and therefore can’t just pick up and move to a bigger site 20 blocks away.

“What would Shearith do if it found a great site in Brooklyn?” asks Friedman, a land-use lawyer. In the past, institutions that grew out of bounds would build a bigger building nearby. Now, they have to grow in place.

“The usual migratory pattern of institutions has kind of ended,” he says. “In Manhattan, there’s no place to go.”

In the case of Shearith Israel, the air-right sale is a clear win-win, since the shul, which is a landmark building, would have a tough time gaining city approval to renovate and therefore sought out other ways to ease the circulation flow.

Harris calls the sale of air rights “the best of both worlds.”

“It’s an ideal compromise for a church or synagogue,” she says. “They can maintain the facility and still get an income from the sale.”

But not everyone is so rosy about the deal. Neighbors and conservation groups are mounting their opposition to Ramaz’s proposed high-rise, calling it a “towering monster.”

“We’re mostly concerned with breaking the envelope of height,” says Lo van der Valk, president of Carnegie Hill Neighbors, an Upper East Side community group. Although zoning allows for a maximum height of 210 feet, Ramaz’s proposed building would be 355 feet — with 13 of the residential floors exceeding zoning requirements. “It’s damaging to the fabric of Lexington Avenue,” van der Valk says.

Both Shearith Israel’s and Ramaz’s buildings exceed zoning limitations, and therefore require variances approved by the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals to go forward with the plans. Hearings have not yet been set for either synagogue.

“The opportunity to build a larger building is a boon to the developer, and a great opportunity for the not-for-profit,” says Harris. “But it often puts the congregation, which generally sees itself in a do-gooder position, in an awkward, contentious relationship with the community around it. Those sensitivities need to be borne in mind when a synagogue or church is selling development rights.”

Shearith Israel’s proposed nine-floor building is significantly shorter than originally intended, a compromise reached after vocal opponents — including the late ABC News anchor and across-the-street neighbor Peter Jennings, as well as Upper West Side preservation group Landmark West! — complained that the new high-rise would blemish the architectural character of the surrounding historic district. Shearith Israel submitted a revised application to the BSA, which is now under review.

The local community board turned down Ramaz’s proposal in July, but the school is now waiting for BSA approval. “It’s kind of like pushing through new zoning laws through the back door,” van der Valk says.

There’s no conspiracy here, says Friedman, who maintains that the synagogues are experiencing a growth in membership, spurring the desire to sell air rights when the market is hot. “Both synagogues are using property they’ve owned for a very, very long time,” he says. “It’s not part of an excessive real estate plan.”

Without the variance, he adds, there would be no possibility for a reasonable return on the investment. A hypothetical 34,337-square-foot building constructed in strict accordance to zoning regulations would produce a negative return, according to a feasibility study conducted by real estate consulting firm Robert B. Pauls, LLC.

Critics remain unconvinced. The biggest concern, they say, should Ramaz obtain the variance, is that it would set a precedent for other nonprofits, who will want to build higher, too. “As soon as one gets it, others look like idiots if they don’t get it,” van der Valk says. “It’s a domino effect.”


© 2000 - 2007 The Jewish Week, Inc.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 09:58 AM   #1163
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Wyndham Hotel coming to Chinatown



he Music Palace,
demolished in 2005



By James Kelly
October 15, 2007

A four-star luxury Wyndham Hotel is coming to Chinatown, on the corner of Bowery and Hester streets. The 18-story, 106-room hotel will be built on the site of the Music Palace, the last Chinese-language movie theater until it closed in 2000. The four-story building at 93 Bowery was demolished in 2005. Lika Arce of M Studio architects, who headed the team that designed the hotel, said ground has been broken and the project is slated for completion in about two years.


Copyright © 2003-2007 The Real Deal.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 08:41 PM   #1164
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Old October 20th, 2007, 11:42 PM   #1165
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http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/20/ny...ion&oref=login
City Overlooked Building Flaws in Brooklyn Condo Project

By ANDY NEWMAN
Published: October 20, 2007


Michael Nagle for The New York Times

Dr. Budd Heyman at the site of a condo project in Brooklyn.



G. Paul Burnett for The New York Times

A copy of the plans for a new building project in a section of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn known as Homecrest.


This is a story about a zoning battle.

Before you skip over to a sexier-sounding article, how about this: a zoning battle featuring bluntly worded threats; an obvious construction flaw unremarked upon by building inspectors on 18 site visits; and, ultimately, a red-faced city agency, confronted with inconvenient facts, reversing itself after a year and a half of insisting on the legality of a widely opposed condominium project.

For now at least, residents of the area, a section of Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn known as Homecrest, have blocked the project, a six-story condo block that they say would be far out of scale in their cozy neighborhood of two-story homes with tidy lawns.

Such fights have become common across the city during this decade-long real estate boom, as residents trying to preserve the feel of their neighborhoods face off against developers seeking to cram as many square feet and stories into a building site as possible. Occasionally, the residents win.

But while the understaffed Buildings Department, outmatched by aggressive developers, has often been shown to fumble inspection and enforcement, rarely has the department so repeatedly rebuffed complaints about a project that it now admits it should never have approved.

Time and again, as residents flooded the Buildings Department with angry calls about the building site, at the corner of Avenue S and East 16th Street, the department sent inspectors to the site. Time and again, those inspectors reinforced the department’s conclusion that the project could be built because its foundation had been completed before a zoning change took effect in February 2006.

In fact, a big part of the foundation — several huge concrete flooring slabs — was plainly missing.

Along the way, the department disavowed a memo from one of its own managers stating that the foundation was incomplete and that the building permits had been revoked. The department said that the official who wrote the memo confused the project in question with another.

The department reversed itself only on Monday, a few days after a simple question was posed: where are the slabs? City approval was contingent on the developer building them, and the plans for the building filed with the city show three slabs, each about 90 feet long and at least 8 feet wide.

A peek at the site showed only dirt where the slabs were supposed to be.

A Buildings Department spokeswoman, Kate Lindquist, was at a loss to explain the lapses. “I would say that we’ve come a long way in expanding our protocols,” she said, “but mistakes can still happen.” Ms. Lindquist said on Thursday that the department was conducting an internal investigation.

The developer behind the condo project, Samuel Kahan, who runs a mortgage-banking office on Coney Island Avenue, declined repeated requests for interviews.

Dr. Budd Heyman, a physician and lifelong local resident who has led the fight against the project, said yesterday that he was puzzled by the department’s explanation. He wondered, “Were these mistakes of a technical or an ethical nature?”

The Battle of East 16th Street and Avenue S begins in 2005, when residents of Homecrest, exasperated at seeing clusters of detached one-family homes bought up, torn down and replaced with boxlike apartment buildings that dwarfed the neighboring houses, asked the city for more restrictive zoning.

As the rezoning process plodded forward, a corporation run by Mr. Kahan bought three adjacent houses at the corner of East 16th and S for a total of $2.8 million and applied to build a six-story, 25-unit condo building that would cover the lot right out to the sidewalk.

In September 2005, the city rezoned Homecrest to allow only one- and two-family homes, no taller than 35 feet, on blocks like Avenue S. The new zoning was to take effect Feb. 15, 2006. Any building whose foundation was completed by that date would be grandfathered in under the old zoning.

The race was on for Mr. Kahan and the developers of more than 30 other projects in Homecrest. By January 2006, Mr. Kahan’s contractors were tearing down the houses, excavating, pouring concrete.

They worked too fast. On Feb. 11, four days before the deadline, the driveway of the house next door, undermined by the excavation, collapsed into Mr. Kahan’s construction pit. The city ordered all work stopped except to make the site safe — work that included continuing on the foundation. Dr. Heyman and his neighbors were irate. They said that the Buildings Department was bending over backward to help Mr. Kahan beat the deadline.

On Feb. 14, Mr. Kahan’s engineer, Pericles A. Christodoulou, certified to the city that he had “physically observed and inspected the construction site at 1602-1610 Avenue S Brooklyn N.Y. and all four walls of the foundation were 100 percent complete at that time.” Mr. Christodoulou did not return a reporter’s call this week.

In April 2006, the Buildings Department declared that the foundation had been finished on time. By this point, construction on the project had stopped, though it is unclear why. Mr. Kahan did not respond when reporters asked about it.

Since then, the project has consisted of a big hole lined with dirt, rimmed by a concrete foundation and blocked from the street by a plywood fence now covered with graffiti and posters.

But while the construction stalled, Dr. Heyman, 49, the medical director on the prison unit at Bellevue Hospital Center, galloped on in high dudgeon, complaining to the city Department of Investigation, Buildings Department officials, the mayor and the comptroller, among others.

On April 17, 2006, the buildings commissioner for Brooklyn, Magdi A. Mossad, wrote to Dr. Heyman, “This office jointly with our legal division has reviewed all actions and circumstances associated with the project in question,” including “all conducted inspections,” and concluded that “the foundation was found complete on 2/15/06.”

The chairman of the City Council’s Zoning Committee, Councilman Tony Avella of Queens, wrote to the Buildings Department, too, urging it to reverse its approval.

In May 2006, Dr. Heyman uncovered what he thought was a smoking gun — an e-mail message from the Buildings Department’s inspection manager for Brooklyn, Robert D’Alessio, to the Department of Investigation, stating that at 1610 Avenue S, “the foundation was not 100 percent completed and this was discovered subsequent to the earlier inspection.” Mr. D’Alessio added in the e-mail message that Commissioner Mossad had revoked the approval for the building and concluded, “We are well aware of this location.”

Dr. Heyman gave a copy of the e-mail message to a local weekly newspaper, The Kings Courier. The Buildings Department quickly disavowed it. A city official told The Courier that Mr. D’Alessio had been referring to a project on East 19th Street, nearly a mile from the Avenue S project.

A long pause followed. Then last month, an experienced building professional looked over the plans for the project at the request of The New York Times and noticed that the foundation plan called for three concrete “spread footings” — concrete slabs running across the site to support interior columns.

The slabs in the plan were not small — all three were 90 feet long. One of them was 20 feet wide. The other two were 8 feet wide.

In 18 visits to the site since February 2006, city inspectors did not report that the slabs were missing. Yet when a reporter visited on Oct. 2 the slabs were nowhere to be seen.

Where were they? Nine days after the question was posed, Ms. Lindquist of the Buildings Department had an answer.

The spread footings, she said, “are not complete.” She said that nine concrete footings of another required type were also missing.

A stop-work order was posted on the Buildings Department’s Web site. Dr. Heyman was buoyed by the news, if understandably skeptical.

“We haven’t won yet,” he said.

Indeed, the drama at Avenue S continues. Thursday morning, as Dr. Heyman was outside the construction site, he said, a red-haired man in a shirt and tie approached, claimed to be the owner (though he did not resemble Mr. Kahan), took some photos of Dr. Heyman, then got in a gray minivan and followed him to his house around the corner.

“I’ll straighten you out,” he said, Dr. Heyman recalled. “I know where you live.”

Michael Nagle contributed reporting.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 12:15 AM   #1166
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http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/24/bu...l?ref=business
A Planned ‘Airport Village’ Near J.F.K. Finds a Cornerstone

By TERRY PRISTIN
Published: October 24, 2007


Photographs by Uli Seit for The New York Times

A wholesale merchandise mart is planned to replace the former Merkel meatpacking plant in the Jamaica area of Queens, near the AirTrain station. The mart will accommodate 500 businesses, retail space and parking.


When the transit hub in the Jamaica section of Queens was expanded in 2003 to enable passengers arriving by subway or train to get to Kennedy International Airport in eight minutes by light rail, community leaders hoped the glassy new AirTrain station would encourage additional development.

In a sign that this dream was not far-fetched, the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation said last week that the South Korean developer of Techno-Mart, a shopping complex in Seoul that houses more than 2,000 electronics retailers, plans to build a 13-story $260 million wholesale merchandise mart on Sutphin Boulevard and 94th Avenue, cater-corner from the station.

The 979,000-square-foot building will have 10 floors of showroom space to accommodate 500 businesses, 172,000 square feet of retail space and parking for 800 cars, said Paul Travis, a New York developer who is teaming with the Korean company, Prime Construction. It will be Prime’s first foray into the United States.

The project is the first to be announced since the area was rezoned last month to encourage development of a lively “airport village.”

The wholesale mart will replace the former Merkel meatpacking plant. Built in 1919, the plant once employed more than 500 people but was permanently shut in 1965 after the authorities seized 20 tons of tainted beef and horse meat.

Though many, if not most, of the businesses in the new mart will be from Korea, the project is expected to generate hundreds of jobs, said F. Carlisle Towery, the president of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, a nonprofit group that has worked for four decades to stimulate investment in the area. “It will be catalytic,” he said.

This is not the first time, however, that a wholesale Korean market has been planned for Queens. In 2004, a group of 53 Korean wholesalers from Midtown Manhattan was chosen from among 12 applicants as the developers for a 26-acre city-owned site in College Point that was once Flushing Airport.

The wholesalers planned to provide a new home for about 180 businesses between 26th and 36th Streets, near Broadway. With the neighborhood becoming increasingly residential, these business owners, who import toys, bags, costume jewelry, souvenirs and other goods from Asian countries and sell them to retailers, had found themselves squeezed by escalating rents.

But the proposal for an International Merchandise Mart drew heated opposition from many older residents of College Point, and eight months later, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg shelved the project. The wholesale group’s leader, Jay Chung, the owner of Jay Joshua, a company on 27th Street between Broadway and the Avenue of the Americas, which carries a wide assortment of souvenir items, said the members had spent more than $1 million on the College Point plans.

After the project collapsed, the city tried to help the Korean wholesalers find another site. For months, Mr. Chung negotiated with Mr. Travis and his partner, James Levin, who had acquired a long-term lease to the Merkel site. But eventually, members of Mr. Chung’s group began drifting away and he gave up on the Jamaica site. “We couldn’t agree on a number of issues,” Mr. Chung said.

By then, executives of the Acreciti Development Group, the company that built and manages Seoul Plaza Shopping Mall in the Flushing section of Queens, had brought Mr. Travis and Mr. Levin together with Prime Construction. Prime is building a second Techno-Mart in southwest Seoul and is creating a Chinatown in Goyang City, a suburb.

Mr. Travis said that Prime’s track record would make it easier for the project to secure financing. “We needed a major player who could stand behind the mart,” he said.

Prime Construction will be responsible for operating the mart but will sell — rather than rent — space to individual wholesalers, who will work side by side without being separated by partitions, he said. Prime expects that many of the businesses in the Seoul Techno-Mart — where the same merchant has both retail and wholesale customers — will want to set up operations in New York, Mr. Travis said. He said that Prime also intended to offer space to Manhattan wholesalers, and that those that sell electronic goods would fit in especially well. “I think we made it very clear to them that we would certainly welcome them as tenants,” he said.

But Mr. Chung said he did not know whether his members would agree to participate in the new project in a subordinate role, especially if they were relegated to the higher floors. He also expressed bitterness that Mr. Travis had sought another partner while the talks with his group were still under way. But he said the wholesalers would base their decision on business considerations, not emotion. Mr. Travis declined to respond to Mr. Chung’s complaints.

For Mr. Travis and Mr. Levin, the Merkel site seemed to offer the same potential they saw in the Kingsbridge area of the Bronx when they developed River Plaza, a shopping center at 225th Street and Broadway that opened in 2004. Then Mr. Towery introduced them to the Korean wholesalers. “What could be more ideal — the connection to the airport and this site?” Mr. Travis said.

He said it took them two years to get the plant’s owner, Rita Stark, to agree to a long-term lease for the site. Ms. Stark inherited a local real estate empire from her father, who died in 1988, but has frustrated advocates of urban renewal for years by keeping many of her properties off the market.

The lease was signed more than a year ago, Mr. Travis said. But Prime would not commit to the deal until the rezoning was approved.

The other participants in the project are the HRH Construction Company of New York and Acreciti Development.

Even before the lease was signed, demolition of the building began, with the city providing a $4 million loan. The partners expect to begin construction a year from now and complete the project in 2010.

City officials said they were happy that the project was going forward. “This reinforces the bigger goal that the administration has — to diversify the city’s economy not just by industry but by borough,” said Robert C. Lieber, the president of the Economic Development Corporation.

Jonathan Bowles, the director of the Center for an Urban Future, a New York City research organization, and a critic of the Bloomberg administration for abandoning the plan for the College Point mart, said he hoped the new project would make room for the Midtown Manhattan wholesalers. These businesses, which sell goods to retailers up and down the East Coast, are suffering the same displacement as other niche industries, he said.

“These industries don’t get a lot of attention,” Mr. Bowles said, “but they are not unimportant to the city’s economy.”
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Old October 25th, 2007, 02:43 AM   #1167
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What - no updates to the first post since May?
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Old October 27th, 2007, 01:06 AM   #1168
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http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_23...hungryfor.html
Volume 20 Issue 24 | Oct. 26 - Nov.1, 2007

Shoppers hungry for info as Pathmark signals it may close

By Julie Shapiro


Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert

Is Pathmark closing? Contractors used this equipment to get soil samples and said they believe the store is planning to construct a building there. Store employees have told customers that they would be closing in a few months, but Pathmark’s corporate office denies any employees have been given notice.



Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert

Pathmark shoppers


It looks like the Cherry St. Pathmark will soon be closing, and from the aisles to the parking lot, that’s all shoppers are talking about.

“I heard from people who work there,” said Renee Silverberg, who was pushing a cart of groceries out of the store Monday morning.

John Quinn, a Southbridge Towers resident, said two Pathmark workers told him that they’d been given 90 days notice. Store employees have told other locals, including residents of Knickerbocker Village, that the store will close either in late December or early January.

For the moment, Pathmark management is keeping quiet.

“Don’t know, haven’t been told, haven’t seen it in print,” said a manager who declined to give his name. “I’ve heard a thousand rumors but none coming from above me…. There’s nothing for now but pure speculation.”

Meanwhile, in Pathmark’s parking lot, workers drilled through the pavement into the ground.

Sandy Sze, a staff engineer for Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, said in general, engineers use soil samples to make sure the ground is stable enough to support the weight of a structure.

“I believe they’re preparing for a building of some sort” on the Pathmark site, she said. “But I don’t know what it is.”

Paul Mullins, one of Craig Test Boring’s drillers, agreed that engineers typically want the soil samples to design buildings.

“They tell us ‘drill here,’ and that’s what we do,” Mullins said.

Richard Savner, Pathmark’s spokesperson, denied that Pathmark employees had been given notice, but he did not dispute that the store’s contractors were making preperations for a new building at 227 Cherry St.

No matter what a new building would be — rumors focus on a residential development — Pathmark’s customers will not be pleased.

The store stands in the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge, a dense residential neighborhood dotted with corner groceries. But if Pathmark closes, residents say there is no local alternative that has the same variety of fresh food. In other Downtown neighborhoods further away, such as Battery Park City and Tribeca, there have been many complaints about shopping choices and in the past, groups like the Battery Park City Neighbors Association and the Downtown Alliance have organized weekly shuttle vans, bringing senior citizens and others to the store.

Silverberg shops exclusively at Pathmark because they sell kosher meat and fresh fish. Her friends from the Upper East Side also come to the store, drawn to its big parking lot, reasonable prices and the quality of the food, Silverberg said.

”I don’t know of any other place that has what they have,” she said.

Elizabeth Santana lives in a co-op at Cherry & Montgomery Sts. and walks to the Pathmark at least twice a week.

If the Pathmark closes, Santana will shop at “some other local supermarket,” she said. “But I won’t get the same [quality] produce or meats.”

Lydia Perednia, who lives at First Ave. and E. Fourth St., said her husband loves to shop at Pathmark even though there are stores in the East Village.

“It’s a shame because it’s a beautiful store and it’s a convenience for people in the neighborhood,” Perednia said. “There are senior citizens down there that don’t even have places to shop except for Pathmark…. Where are these people going to shop?”

As word of Pathmark’s closure spread, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver issued a statement.

“I urge Pathmark to quash these rumors of its impending closure and to remain anintegral part of our neighborhood,” Silver said.

Pathmark employees were unsettled and short on information Monday.

“I want to know [officially] because I’d have to leave,” a deli worker said.

Another employee, who was stocking shelves, was surprised at the suggestion that Pathmark might close.

“They didn’t tell us about that,” she said, raising her eyebrows. “I hope not.”

But not everyone is unhappy about Pathmark closing.

Mohamad Atah, owner of H & M Madison Express Inc., a corner grocery at Madison & Rutgers Sts., smiled at the thought.

“For the community, it’s bad,” he said. “But maybe my store will make a little more money.”

Atah predicted that he would sell a few extra groceries, but said that he doesn’t have enough room to stock additional items.

Even if the closure brings in some new customers, Atah said, “It will hurt the people who live here.”
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Old October 28th, 2007, 03:16 AM   #1169
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http://downtownexpress.com/de_232/st...sandrudin.html
Volume 20 Issue 24 | Oct. 26 - Nov.1, 2007

St. Vincent’s and Rudin unveil hospital, condo plans

By Albert Amateau


A rendering of the planned new St. Vincent’s Hospital on the west side of Seventh Ave., showing a partial view of the elliptical tower atop a square base; the view is from the north, down Seventh Ave., with the Church of the Village in the foreground.

St. Vincent’s Hospital and the Rudin Organization have just revealed their preliminary plans for a new state-of-the-art hospital building on the west side of Seventh Ave. and for the residential redevelopment on the east side of the present hospital complex.

The conceptual plans presented at an Oct. 10 community meeting attracted about 100 neighbors. An innovative hospital building consisting of a rectangular four-story base and an elliptical tower set at an angle to it and aligning with the Village grid south of Greenwich Ave. was proposed for the west side of the avenue.

The new hospital, which would replace the six-story O’Toole Building built more than 40 years ago for the National Maritime Union, would have a total of 21 high-ceilinged stories rising 300 feet, plus about 30 feet more on top for mechanical systems.

With four stories below grade, it would have 625,000 gross square feet, of which 480,000 would be aboveground, according to Ian Bader, who made the presentation at the meeting for the architects Pei Cobb Freed and Partners.

The elliptical tower would leave considerable space on the base for a landscaped terrace for patients, visitors and staff.

The residential redevelopment would include a 21-story building on the east side of Seventh Ave., replacing the hospital’s current 18-story Coleman building. On the 11th and 12th Sts. midblocks, plans call for 19 modern versions of low-rise townhouses, replacing the current hospital complex of buildings, which include two 15-story buildings and one nine-story building on 12th St. and a 13-story and an 11-story building on 11th St.

Rudin’s proposed building on Seventh Ave., described by Dan Kaplan, of FX Fowle architects, as a “bookend building,” would rise to a height of 235 feet, plus about 30 feet for mechanical systems. The total residential development would have about 650,000 gross square feet aboveground, plus below-grade parking.

Kaplan noted that the low-rise townhouses would re-create the old Village streetscape and allow light and air into the midblocks that are currently shaded by rows of buildings mostly more than 10 stories tall.

The Seventh Ave. portion of the Rudin development would have 15,000 square feet of street-level retail and, according to the current scenario, would include about 22,500 square feet of medical offices — for doctors connected with St. Vincent’s and perhaps medical testing facilities. The project would have between 400 and 500 apartments, depending on the actual number of square feet allowed as determined by the city’s uniform land use review procedure, or ULURP.

A collective groan arose from the meeting at the mention of the height of the residential Seventh Ave. building, three or four stories taller than St. Vincent’s Coleman pavilion and three or four stories taller that the 200-foot-tall residential building just to the north at 175 W. 12th St.

“What will you be paying St. Vincent’s for the property and what will your profit be?” demanded David Martin, a resident of 175 W. 12th St., of the developer, Bill Rudin. Former City Councilmember Carol Greitzer and others at the meeting followed with questions about necessity for height of both the residential “bookend” and the proposed hospital.

Rudin explained that he could not say what his profit would be or even how much he would be paying the hospital.

“We won’t be able demolish what’s there on the hospital site for about six years,” he said, noting that the cost of construction has been increasing annually by 10 percent or more for the past several years.

The new hospital would have to be completed and fully functioning before the old complex could be demolished and work could begin on the residential development.

First, however, the entire project, which is located within the Greenwich Village Historic District, needs Landmarks Preservation Commission approval, which could come between the middle and end of 2008. After that, the next step is an environmental impact study, followed by the ULURP review through the Department of City Planning, which could take six to 18 months. Construction of the hospital is likely to take at least two years.

According to a memorandum of understanding reached earlier this year, Rudin agreed to pay the hospital $516 per square foot of zoning square footage as finally approved through ULURP. Shelly Friedman, land use lawyer for the project, noted that zoning square footage typically is about 90 to 93 percent of the gross square foot in an architect’s plans. Zoning square footage does not include mechanical space in a building, for example, Friedman said, noting that those features have not been determined yet.

Henry Amoroso, chief executive officer of St. Vincent’s, said the hospital was depending on the sale of the property to Rudin to produce as much revenue as possible, which he said would cover at best 40 to 50 percent of the hospital cost, estimated at $700 million. Private fundraising and loans are projected to cover the rest, he said.

Amoroso said later that St. Vincent’s chose Rudin among several other developers because the hospital felt Rudin would best understand and respect the concerns of the neighborhood and realize as much return as possible for the hospital.

But, despite some community members’ requests, neither affordable housing nor an elementary school are possible given the economics of construction and the need of St. Vincent’s to build a 21st-century hospital, Rudin said.

The neighborhood’s chance for public space in the project rests with the St. Vincent’s Triangle on the west side of Seventh Ave., across 12th St. from the present O’Toole Building, Amoroso said. But the triangle currently has a loading dock with underground storage and a tunnel across Seventh Ave. to the main hospital campus for deliveries. The loading dock would also likely serve the new hospital. Nevertheless, St. Vincent’s hopes to make the most of the triangle, the site in years gone by of the Sheridan movie theater, turning it into a public park, Amoroso said.

“We’ve heard that before,” declared a heckler, referring to the promise of a park on the triangle that St. Vincent’s made when the Coleman building was built 20 years ago. Amoroso, who became C.E.O. of the hospital three months ago, said he couldn’t answer for the past but pledged he would do what he could to create the triangle park.

The triangle, however, is not likely to accommodate a proposed New York City Transit ventilation plant for the I.N.D. and I.R.T. subway lines as some Villagers had hoped, Amoroso said later.

Amoroso said every possible effort has been made to include only what is necessary to make the hospital efficient. It is expected to have 365 beds, almost half as many as in the current hospital. Negotiations are underway to relocate psychiatric beds to Cabrini Hospital on E. 19th St.

Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said later, “The big questions this proposal raises are whether the 300-plus-foot-tall tower design for the new hospital is appropriate for the Greenwich Village Historic District, whether the very, very large new approximately 250-foot-tall apartment block planned for Seventh Ave. is appropriate, and whether, in fact, none of these buildings, which are all within a historic district, merit preservation. I am very sympathetic to the need for St. Vincent’s to modernize their facilities. But this is also the largest development project planned in Greenwich Village in over 50 years, since the Robert Moses superblocks south of Washington Square, and we have to get it right, not only for the hospital, but the neighborhood. The question is, with this plan, are we there yet?” But G.V.S.H.P. has not yet taken a formal position on the project, he added.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Arthur Webb, executive director of Village Center for Care, which runs nonprofit nursing and AIDS residences, in an interview. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a hospital design as creative and practical and flexible,” said Webb, who before he came to Village Center for Care 14 years ago had been a New York State healthcare official for 18 years.

“On the Rudin side, opening up the midblocks to light and air was incredibly responsive to the community. And to build a hospital and be economically viable, the Rudin part has to be maximized to the degree that it fits in the community,” Webb said. “I think they’ve listened and responded beautifully.

“The best thing about it,” he added, “is it won’t get any bigger.”

Florent Morellet, a member of the G.V.S.H.P. board of directors, said the floor plan of the hospital convinced him that if he were sick it was where he’d like to be.

“I prefer to seek a beautiful elliptical tower with a few more stories than a building like Coleman [across the avenue] that is ugly, ugly, ugly,” Morellet said.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 09:12 PM   #1170
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http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2007...er_to_c-3.html
City neighborhoods losing character to condos, chain stores
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BY MAGGIE WRIGLEY
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

Sunday, October 28th 2007, 4:00 AM

For 20 years, I have followed two neighbors, Robert, my locksmith, and Boris, my shoe repair guy, from place to place as they struggle to remain on the lower East Side.

The last time I took my boots to Boris, the gates were down and the store was gone. Robert recently set up shop on Rivington St., but he looks sadder every time I see him as he contemplates an imminent - and impossible - doubling of his rent.

Robert and Boris are, for me, the tragic faces of a new New York - a city that, neighborhood by neighborhood, is being washed over by a bland sea of chain stores, luxury condos, restaurants, bars and upscale boutiques.

I see a city that's losing its texture, its character, its grit. Yes, New York City is still the greatest city in the world. But it is no longer the most exciting and surely, it now ranks as the most heartbreaking.

In 1984 I walked a New York of fabled, unique neighborhoods - Hell's Kitchen, Harlem, Loisaida, Alphabet City. It wasn't always pretty and you had to watch your step, but the mix of cultures, the music and language in the red-brick tenements and grand brownstones communicated a rich history.

The Little Italy of wiseguys and grandmothers with babies, sitting outside butchers and barbers, has given way to slick restaurants and "Sopranos" souvenir shops.

The lower East Side and East Village, once full of Jewish hatters and tailors, Polish bakeries and Ukranian diners, have been crammed with boutique hotels, expensive bars and destination restaurants named for the places they've displaced: Barrio, Mission, Tenement. Rents are astronomical.

The fabled shopping district of Orchard St. exists now only on historic signposts.

Harlem, the beating heart of black history, was once rich with churches and mosques, soul food and fried fish, hip hop and James Brown. Now the black vendors are losing their leases and black residents their homes as condos go up and real estate speculation steps in.

The Meatpacking District and the Fulton Fish Market, pre-dawn furies, have become a luxury shopping destination and a seaport theme park. The Bronx Terminal Market, wholesaler of ethnic foods - gone. Manufacturing in the city - endangered.

Some call it simple gentrification - but what we're witnessing is much more profound. In the city I remember, people found each other. The punks had CBGB and St. Marks Place. Christopher St. and the West Side piers were fiercely gay. Storefront clubs lit up abandoned downtown with art, music and dancing. Squatters renovated abandoned buildings - teaching each other skills, recycling materials, raising families. Community gardens bloomed on empty lots.

Real estate is king in the new New York. Too many immigrants can't afford to come in. Too many longtime residents are driven out. We are losing our sky to a hideous skyline and our streets to a generic wash of prefab apartments, banks and storefronts.

As Manhattan is squeezed, so suffer the outer boroughs. The Italians and Poles of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Brooklyn, are dislocated by hipsters whose creative lives are emphatically commercial. Every possible place is built on, or up. The Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn promises the same on a massive scale.

Rents in Queens and Brooklyn are skyrocketing. Coney Island - which I suppose was too real - is poised for annihilation.

In just the last decade, I have seen New York morph into a wealthy, homogenized, tourist-friendly town. This place - that birthed the Beats and Be-bop, Harlem and hip hop, that defined the gorgeous melting pot - has become the billionaires' city. Its new mantra seems to be: Pay to stay.

We've lost our shopkeepers, barbers, cobblers, diners, record stores, our butchers and bakers. We've lost the vibrant mix that made the city unique, the spontaneity that gave New York its edge.

Have we even lost our soul?

Maggie Wrigley, a writer and photographer, is a contributor to the book "The Suburbanization of New York: Is the World's Greatest City Becoming Just Another Town?"
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Old October 28th, 2007, 11:10 PM   #1171
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Many new towers planned! Is there a recent list of tower projects UC or proposed somewhere on the internet? The list on the first page is a bit old and so incomplete, and I totally lost overview of what is going on in the greatest city on earth...
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Old October 28th, 2007, 11:27 PM   #1172
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I am actually in the process of updating page 1. I have been busy lately. And this takes time for me. So hopefully in a couple of days, the changes will be made. I promise.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 11:30 PM   #1173
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That would be great, must be a hell of a job! Even a list of projects only, without renderings, would take hours to make...

So good luck!
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Old October 29th, 2007, 12:55 AM   #1174
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what do you estimate how many buildings over 12 storeys are actuall UC in NY krull? 100? or more?
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Old October 29th, 2007, 01:02 AM   #1175
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WAY too many to all have a picture of on the first page. Way too many to all keep track of.
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Old October 29th, 2007, 11:41 PM   #1176
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, i know...but that is NY
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Old October 30th, 2007, 12:21 AM   #1177
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The article that I have posted on what would go where Pathmark is doesn't speak of a rendering or even a height, but I doubt that it would anything special for being in that location.
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Old October 31st, 2007, 12:26 AM   #1178
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what is this?
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El edificio se alzaba, alto y brillante, con sus 125 plantas, desde el suelo hasta el mástil de la radio y televisión que se clava agudo en el cielo. En comparación con las masas gemelas del cercano centro de comercio, el edificio parecía delgado, casi delicado, pero con ocho sótanos bajo la calle, sus raíces estaban profundamente clavadas en el suelo rocoso de la isla; y su núcleo y esqueleto externo, cuidadosamente diseñados, tenían la fuerza del acero de muelles laminado....


RASCACIELOS
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Old October 31st, 2007, 05:05 AM   #1179
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OMG good found kozi. i dont know. but the height looks fantastic.
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Old November 3rd, 2007, 06:20 AM   #1180
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Quote:
Originally Posted by germantower View Post
OMG good found kozi. i dont know. but the height looks fantastic.
that one is sherwoods 2.5 million sq. ft. office tower. i made a thread on it at ssp.
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