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Old December 21st, 2007, 12:40 AM   #1241
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http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...-of-chinatown/
December 20, 2007, 5:05 pm

Luxury Hotel Exposes Competing Visions of Chinatown

By Jennifer 8. Lee

This must be the day for pre-holiday protests.

An 18-story Wyndham Hotel going up on the Bowery is drawing gripes from community groups in Chinatown, a neighborhood hard-hit by 9/11 that is still trying to find its economic footing. At the same time, other Chinatown groups see the hotel as a good way to diversify Chinatown’s economy, given the closing of garment factories and the loss of many local jobs.

The Wyndham Hotel is being built at 93 Bowery, the former site of Music Palace, which closed in 2000 and was the last Chinatown movie theater. (It is now also one of the sites selected by the Museum of Chinese in America for archaeological study.) The four-story movie theater was demolished in 2005.

The Wyndham, one of several under construction around the city, is part of a boom of some 5,000 new hotel rooms that are coming into service as tourism to New York City has continued to surge over the last few years. (Perhaps even more so with the weak dollar. Then again, being the Filene’s Basement of the world is nothing new.)

The protesters fear that Chinatown, home to about 100,000 Chinese residents, is under assault from the wave of luxury development. Canal Street, particularly the western part, is being squeezed by TriBeCa to the south and SoHo to the north.

“It’s about the displacement and gentrification in this community,” said Josephine Lee, an organizer with the Chinese Staff and Workers’ Association, a labor advocacy group that held a protest at the hotel construction site this afternoon. “It’s not that we don’t want development in this community, we want development of people who work here and live here.”

Ms. Lee said that rising real estate values had caused many landlords to use questionable techniques to force residents and small businesses out of their leases. She added, “This community will cater toward tourists or rich people. Pretty soon we will be driven out of our own community.” She said the neighborhood needs more low-income, not luxury, housing. She also criticized the project, saying that some of the investors owned other Chinatown businesses that have treated workers poorly.

Others maintain that the presence of the hotel will diversify the economy. “We are encouraging variety,” said Wellington Chen, the executive director of the Chinatown Partnership, a nonprofit organization that is trying to revive the economy of Chinatown after Sept. 11. “We are encouraging more choices for consumers in Chinatown and Lower Manhattan.”

Ms. Lee said that today’s protest will be the first of many at Chinatown development sites. “We want to be able to stop them and make sure that that the people who live and work here have some say over what gets built here,” she said.
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Old December 25th, 2007, 09:37 PM   #1242
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http://globes-online.com/
Ofek Real Estate gets $60m value for Greenwich Village lot

The company is planning to build a $180 million hotel on the site.

Globes' correspondent and Avi Shauly 25 Dec 07 13:01

Ofek International Real Estate Ltd. (TASE: OFRS) has obtained a valuation of $60 million for the company's lot at 133 Greenwich Ave. in Manhattan from CB Richard Ellis. The valuation was obtained in order to obtain financing for the project proposed for the site.

Ofek International purchased the lot in June for $45 million, and plans to build a 15,000-square meter hotel on the site at an investment of $180 million. The company plans to begin building during the second quarter of 2008. Construction will take two years.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 25, 2007

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2007
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Old December 28th, 2007, 03:32 AM   #1243
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Manhattan’s Year of Building Furiously


Past, present, future: the streetscape was invigorated by structures like Frank Gehry’s offices for IAC/InterActiveCorp.

By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF
Published: December 23, 2007
nytimes.com

LET’S take a minute to pat ourselves on the backs.

For decades I’ve been whining about how far New York has slipped behind other world cities in the support of serious architecture. While Abu Dhabi, Shanghai, Beijing and even Paris have been pushing the boundaries, churning out one adventurous building after another, our city was wallowing in a swamp of pseudohistoricism and corporate mediocrity that — to skeptics like me, at least — threatened to transform it into a dull theme park for the superrich.

But this year the city may finally have turned a corner. In the past nine months alone New York has witnessed the unveiling of nearly half a dozen major architectural landmarks. Frank Gehry’s headquarters for IAC/InterActiveCorp along the West Side Highway, Jean Nouvel’s luxury residential building in SoHo, Bernard Tschumi’s Blue Building apartments on the Lower East Side and Renzo Piano’s tower for The New York Times may not rank as these architects’ greatest works. But they are serious architecture nonetheless, in an abundance the city hasn’t seen in decades.

And they will soon be joined by some outright gems. Ground has been broken on Mr. Gehry’s Beekman Tower, whose crinkly, titanium facade will rise more than 70 stories over downtown; Mr. Nouvel’s 75-story luxury tower next to the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown promises to be the most mesmerizing addition to the skyline since the Chrysler Building in 1930.


Jean Nouvel’s proposed tower in Midtown.

But the revelation of 2007 was “Robert Moses and the Modern City,” staged concurrently at the Queens Museum of Art, the Museum of the City of New York and the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University. A complex portrait of the man who ruled New York’s urban development for more than half a century, the show made a strong case that Moses’ vast infrastructure and slum clearance projects were a nuanced mix of good and bad, as opposed to the outright evil depicted in other accounts. By invoking his legacy, the show raised pointed questions about today’s planning strategies, especially the government’s diminished role in shaping the public realm.


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

Like most fairy tales New York’s embrace of architecture has a dark side. If many of these shows pointed up our rich architectural past, they also served to remind us that the majority of today’s projects serve the interests of a small elite. And this trend is not likely to change any time soon. The slow death of the urban middle class, the rise of architecture as a marketing tool, the overweening influence of developers — all have helped to narrow architecture’s social reach just as it begins to recapture the public imagination. From this perspective the wave of gorgeous new buildings can be read as a mere cultural diversion.

Additionally, New York is about to embark on a handful of vast developments that could alter its character more than any projects since the 1960s. Twenty-five million square feet of commercial space is planned for Midtown. Madison Square Garden and the woeful Knicks may relocate to the site of the James A. Farley Post Office building, which was supposed to be a grand site for a new Penn Station. An enormous expansion of the Columbia University campus into Harlem has enraged local residents. And let’s not forget ground zero, a black hole of political posturing, cynical real estate deals and outright stupidity.


Train tracks leading to Penn Station, below, and the James A. Farley Post Office building, center.

To date, there is little sign that intelligent design will play a major role in any of those projects. On the contrary, every revision heightens our creeping awareness that when serious money is at stake, business will be as usual.

But it’s the holidays. Cheer up. Drink some eggnog. There will be plenty to worry about in the new year.
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Old December 28th, 2007, 07:33 AM   #1244
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19-foot-wide apartment building planned at 1055 Park Avenue





17-DEC-07

The Department of Buildings partially approved plans November 27, 2007, for a 13-story condominium apartment building with 6 units at 1055 Park Avenue on the southeast corner at 87th Street.

A rendering of the building hangs on the exposed north side of the adjacent apartment building at 1045 Park Avenue and it indicates that the planned building will have a glass facade.

The building has 19-feet of frontage on Park Avenue and also has an address of 100 East 87th Street. It is directly across 87th Street from the lush sidewalk landscaping of 1065 Park Avenue.

H. Thomas O'Hara is listed as the building's architect and IGOC I Park LLC of which Maurice Bendrihem is a managing member and Jeffrey Gdanski is a member is the sponsor.

The construction fence surrounds the excavation.

The building is close to the 86th Street express subway station at Lexington Avenue and is convenient to numerous schools and cultural institutions in the Carnegie Hill neighborhood.


http://www.cityrealty.com/new_develo...news.cr?page=2
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Old December 28th, 2007, 07:38 AM   #1245
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Tower at 250 East 57th Street will have high hour-glass waist





17-DEC-07

The latest wrinkle in angled towers in the city is the design by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for a 59-story apartment tower for World Wide Holdings at 250 East 57th Street as part of the redevelopment of the High School of Art & Design and PS 59 at that location.

The tower appeared to have an extreme hour-glass pinched figure on its north facade based on a rendering that appeared yesterday in an article by C. J. Hughes in The New York Times. Another rendering obtained by CityRealty.com, however, shown at the right, shows the light-colored tower as seen from the East River.

The tower occupies the eastern portion of the large site on the west side of Second Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets. World Wide Holdings is leasing the site for 75 years and will make annual lease and PILOT (payments in lieu of tax) payments to the Educational Construction Fund that will cover the cost of both new schools, estimated to be $130 million, and generate additional revenues for other school capital projects.

The apartment tower and retail space and the 1,400-sear High School of Art and Design structures are being designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP and Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kihyn is designed the new PS 59, which will be expanded from 400 to 730 students.

Under the terms of an agreement disclosed in October, 2006, with the Educational Construction Fund of the New York City Department of Education, World Wide Holdings will build two new and expanded schools to replace the existing ones and the development will also contain about 170,000 square feet of retail space.

The high-rise 59-story glass tower over a retail base and according to the article David Lowenfeld, a principal of the World-Wide Group, the developer, said it will have 320 units, 60 percent of which will be condos priced at about $1,500 a square foot. Apartments will range in size from studios to three-bedroom units.

The first phase is expected to take three years and will involve the construction of the two new schools and during this phase PS 59 which is known as the Beekman Hill International School will be relocated to a new school facility in the boundaries of the existing school district.

The second phase involves the mixed-use tower in which 20 percent of the apartments available for rent will be affordable. According to the agreement, another 30 units of affordable housing will be built off-site in the boundaries of Community Board 6.

The new development will also include community meeting places.

The two schools will frame an expanded, mid-block, open space.

The fund leases air rights over schools to developers who build new schools and are able to use the air rights not used by the schools for their own purposes.

World Wide Holdings, of which Victor Elmaleh, a fine painter and former national champion handball player, is a principal, has developed more than 1,800 apartments in Manhattan over the last decade and its projects include 50 Murray Street, 53 Park Place, 88 Greenwich Street and the Milan on 55th Street and Second Avenue. It was a partner in the development of World Wide Plaza on Eighth Avenue at 50th Street.

The Educational Construction Fund was created in 1966 and it best known for its mixed-use developments such as the office-building/Norman Thomas High School on the southeast corner of Park Avenue and 34th Street and the apartment building/Robert F. Kennedy School on 88th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues.


http://www.cityrealty.com/new_develo...news.cr?page=2
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Old December 28th, 2007, 07:42 AM   #1246
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HEY! WE STILL LIVE HERE
ZUCKERMAN'S PLANS FOR NEW OFFICE TOWER HIT A ROADBLOCK



December 18, 2007

TO put up its glamorous new office tower on Eighth Avenue between 54th and 55th streets, Mort Zuckerman's Boston Properties might have to build on top of a tiny tenement at 261 W. 54th St., which is still home to two residential tenants.

That did not thrill Community Board 5 at a meeting earlier this month. When John Mills, CB 5's land-use committee chair, asked, "With the tenants still in it?" a Boston rep said the company would try to relocate them first.

The matter of 261 W. 54th St. - in the middle of the south side of the project, known as 250 W. 55th St. - is one of several puzzles regarding the development.

Last week, Boston filed plans with the Buildings Dept. for a 25-story tower at 250 W. 55th, even though it has widely been described as having 39 stories - suggesting that uncertainty over the tenement or air rights-transfer issues might force Boston to develop the project in two stages.

The Buildings Dept. filing called for a mere 609,188 square feet. Even if that swells to a larger "rentable" square-footage figure, it would barely be big enough even for law firms Proskauer, Rose and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which Boston hopes to soon sign.

Even as Boston and its partner, Gladden Properties, try to nail down 700,000 square feet of leases with the law firms, they're also battling for 160,000 square feet of air rights they need to buy from two Broadway theaters nearby.

At a meeting last Thursday, CB 5's land use committee recommended approval for Boston to transfer 109,432 square feet of air rights it would buy from the theater owners.

But the panel took no action on Boston's request to buy an additional 48,204 square feet of air rights from the Booth and Shubert theaters. That needs authorization by the Planning Dept., and requires Boston to provide a theater-related amenity.

The second set of development rights also require the OK of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and the local City Council member, who happens to be Speaker Christine Quinn.

So far, Boston has offered what some CB 5 members regard as a puny 3,000 square-foot theater space on the 54th Street side. CB5 wants Boston to "explore" coming up with a bigger space, among other things.

The board praised the new tower's setback design by Skidmore Owings & Merrill (not yet released), which features a 57-foot high retail base "reflective of the massing of nearby townhouses."

Boston's New York development honcho, Robert Selsam, did not respond to a detailed set of questions.

CB Richard Ellis honcho John Powers, the leasing agent for the project, did not respond to calls.


http://www.nypost.com/seven/12182007...ere_945344.htm
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Old December 28th, 2007, 07:47 AM   #1247
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Trouble for Fulton Transit Center?


by patrick arden
DEC 19, 2007

MIDTOWN. Hailed as a centerpiece of Lower Manhattan’s revival after 9/11, the Fulton Street Transit Center has seen its price tag jump $138 million since 2004.

At an MTA meeting this week, board member Nancy Shevell warned some serious “soul-searching” would be required to keep the estimated $888 million tab from growing.

That cost is already $41 million higher than the federal funds allotted for the project. Working against rising real estate prices, historic preservation laws and strict demolition procedures mandated for buildings around Ground Zero, the MTA’s chief of capital construction, Mysore Nagaraja, has whittled away at the station’s size, most notably in the glass dome once meant to bring sunlight to subway platforms. A proposal to do away with one passageway connecting the R/W to the E was defeated by board members almost a year ago.

Shevell said tough choices will be discussed at the next construction meeting in January, but she would not be specific. In the East Side Access project, Nagaraja faced a lack of bidders. “The market is still very tight right now, ” he said of a contract that was 8.5 percent higher than expected.
Relief

When it’s complete in late 2009, the Fulton Street Transit Center will ease connections among the 4/5, A/C, J/M/Z, 2/3, R/W, 1 and E subway lines.


http://ny.metro.us/metro/local/artic...ter/11168.html
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Old December 28th, 2007, 07:49 AM   #1248
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Columbia's Expansion Enters Endgame
It’s been quite the battle for university president Lee Bollinger—he couldn’t please everyone in Harlem, but he’s come close enough




Columbia’s president, Lee Bollinger, said earlier this year that the university’s relationship
with Harlem was ‘quite positive … and not as appreciated as it ought to be.’



BY MATTHEW SCHUERMAN | DECEMBER 18, 2007

Lee Bollinger, the president of Columbia University, knew from the get-go that in order to expand, he had to win over Harlem. He and his aides went to great lengths to get neighborhood leaders to see what a new campus could do for them.

Somehow, months or even years later, Harlem, or at least a vocal portion of it, is still not convinced. At a Dec. 12 City Council hearing, Mr. Bollinger drew a groan from the audience when he posited that there existed “a sense that we have established trust between Columbia University and the surrounding neighborhood”—a groan that was loud enough to draw gaveling and an admonishment from the City Council member chairing the meeting.

The opposition may not matter in the end: The City Council was expected to ratify on Dec. 19 or, at the latest, by mid-January, with just a few symbolic "nay" votes, the rezoning that would make the 17-acre campus in West Harlem possible.

But why, if the university spent all this time—not to mention money—trying to reach out to Harlem, do so many people feel that Columbia has not been listening?

Early on, Mr. Bollinger spoke of the need to overcome the town-gown tensions of the past, and several instruments were set up to forge a cooperative relationship. Community advisory meetings were held and a turning point in the relationship was promised.

“I think now I was incredibly naïve in thinking that we could work together on this,” said Jordi Reyes-Montblanc, the chairman of the local community board. “They did nothing to actually change their plan when we raised objections to it.”

A pastor of a West Harlem church on the edge of the expansion zone, the Rev. Earl Kooperkamp of St. Mary’s Episcopal, was more moderate in his appraisal, though nonetheless skeptical.

“Columbia has resources and a good vision, and that’s a good thing,” he said. “But all too often there has been a dialogue to the deaf. I’m not sure Columbia has been hearing it.”

To some extent, any plan to build seven million square feet of anything anywhere would run into resistance. The transformation of the proposed site—most of it between Broadway and 12th Avenue from 125th to 133rd streets—would be total. A low-slung manufacturing area with dissolving sidewalks is about to be turned into a new-fangled campus with gleaming 25-story buildings. Just two or three historic buildings are to be preserved under Columbia’s plan. The current residents would be moved, somehow with their consent.

From Columbia’s perspective, the move would be historic, comparable to the decision to move to Morningside Heights over 100 years ago. The new campus would address a severe space deficit that Columbia says it suffers compared to other top schools, and add enough floor area to grow for another 30 years.

But in this case, Columbia’s history with the community, the nature of the opposition it faced and the awkwardness with which it stated its case conspired to make the expansion a particularly difficult sell.

It was clear from public hearings that the memory of the university’s attempt to build a gym in Morningside Park lives on strongly, even though it happened almost 40 years ago. “Don’t trust Columbia University,” Councilman Charles Barron, an East New York Democrat, proclaimed at last week’s City Council meeting. “History has shown that they cannot be trusted.”

On top of that, Harlem’s well-organized tenants groups, already upset about gentrification that it could not control, saw in Columbia an enemy it could recognize and fight. They launched a no-holds-barred assault on the plan, booing Mr. Bollinger, and even former Mayor David Dinkins, a Columbia professor, when they spoke in support of the expansion at a public hearing in August.

The opposition may have turned off political leaders, but it energized its base with a clear message: Columbia was an outsider eating up Harlem. The university tried to defuse this argument by pledging that it would not seek to use eminent domain to displace residents, only businesses. Yet the distinction was publicized only late in the game, and it did not do anything to temper the objections of two commercial property owners who did not want to sell to Columbia. One, Nick Sprayregen, hired a lawyer and publicist to fight it. The other, Anne Whitman, supported an opposition group, the Coalition to Preserve Community, by contributing money to pay for photocopies and the like, according to Tom DeMott, a founder of the CPC.

Columbia, on the other hand, seemed to be spreading several messages. One was that it was misunderstood. Mr. Bollinger, for instance, told The Observer in January that the relationship with Harlem was “quite positive, much better than it was, and not as appreciated as it ought to be.” He went so far as to say about surrounding residents, “Their lives will be very significantly improved by Columbia’s presence. If I didn’t believe that, I would not have reached the decision to go there.”

Meanwhile, other officials and university brochures tried to play up how much the school already was doing for Harlem by advertising its community health services, a legal aid clinic and the fact that 30 percent of its workforce lived in Upper Manhattan. They trumpeted a “Columbia-assisted” public high school that would be located on the new campus—although, the university’s senior executive vice president, Robert Kasdin, said last week that Columbia is not paying for the construction of the school, just the property on which it will stand.

At the same time, when Columbia tried to work with Harlem, that cooperation occasionally bit back. The school incorporated suggestions it heard from a series of public meetings four years ago into the design of the expansion: ground-floor retail, an absence of gates, and green space, all intended to open up the proposed campus in a way that the current 116th Street one is not. Yet those elements were almost taken for granted by the time the proposal made the rounds of the community board.

What is more, Columbia agreed early on to negotiate a “community benefits agreement” under which the university would promise job-training programs and support for affordable housing. But in pledging to negotiate with only one organization that claimed to represent the community, it had little choice but to shut down discussions with others—one of whom, the Rev. Calvin O. Butts III, the prominent pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church, complained publicly about the shut-down on cable television. (At the same time, however, Columbia went ahead with separate negotiations with Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer when it was his turn to weigh in on the proposal. He endorsed it.)

Perhaps the biggest complaint among dissenters was Columbia’s reaction to the local community board’s 32-2 vote against the expansion in August. The board attached 10 conditions that it wanted changed, ranging from forswearing eminent domain to a higher standard of environmental design than what the university has committed to. While Columbia has made a few gestures to address a couple of these items—such as building more than 800 apartments on the new campus to house university affiliates—it has so far stayed silent on others, such as landmarking historic buildings in the footprint.

“I think Columbia was probably even more arrogant than Forest City Ratner,” said Ron Shiffman, a Pratt Institute professor who acted as a consultant to the community board, referring to the developer of Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn. “They completely disregarded all of the modifications that the community board suggested.”

Last week, Columbia took a potentially huge step to reduce the need for eminent domain when it began negotiating with Mr. Sprayregen, owner of Tuck-It-Away Self-Storage, to trade properties instead of seizing them. But it remains to be seen whether those negotiations continue after the City Council vote, or were merely a way to look cooperative.

THE UNIVERSITY SEEMED to make it easier for those opposed to it by rolling out its plans early; taking a long time to get its paperwork finished; and only belatedly lining up supporters who would be willing to take to the mike at public hearings. It hired former David Dinkins aide Bill Lynch as far back as last December to form a coalition, although it took until this August for the group to go public. The Coalition for the Future of Manhattanville now lists 20 groups or individuals, some of them quite prominent—like Hazel Dukes, the president of the New York State conference of the N.A.A.C.P.—yet the very manufactured characteristic of this coalition has given die-hard opponents another reason to grumble.

La-Verna Fountain, a Columbia spokeswoman, questions the depth of the community opposition.

“I think it is interesting that when people say ‘community,’ they paint it with very broad strokes,” she told The Observer. “There are certainly very strong, viable voices that are very much in support of this.”

Certainly, among the strongest voices are the ones who are voting and making decisions on this matter. No matter how hard Columbia found it to convert certain elements of the community, it reached out early to the most prominent elected officials and won their support, among them Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Congressman Charles Rangel. City Council members were attracted to the promise of 6,000 new jobs and a substantial contribution to an affordable housing fund.

But Columbia wasn’t able to convince everybody.


http://www.nyobserver.com/2007/colum...ame?page=0%2C0

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Old December 28th, 2007, 07:56 AM   #1249
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Design of condo tower planned at 303 East 51st Street changing


19-DEC-07

Plans for the condominium tower planned for 303 East 51st Street by Kennelly Development Company LLC have changed slightly.

Garrett Gourlay, the project's architect, told CityRealty.Com today that the slender tower will be clad in a "silvery" glass and that it will be distinguished by many balconies, the fronts of which will be angled slightly differently to create not a fractured effect but one that adds a vertical dynamic to the facades.

Initial plans called for a 40-story building highlighted by pilasters and they have been revised and the tower will now be 43 stories plus a roof level for tenant amenities and no pilasters.

Marketing for the 117-unit building is expected to begin shortly when new renderings are available, Mr. Gourlay said.

His other recent projects include the recently completed residential condominium project known as Vesta 24 at 231 Tenth Avenue at 24th Street and 611 Avenue of the Americas, which is known also as 100 West 18th Street.

Kennelly Development's other residential projects include Block Hall at 21-23 South William Street in the Financial District, a recent conversion of a Tudor Revival-style former club building, and the Sycamore at 250 East 30th Street, a recently completed new condo apartment building.

The attractive, new building, which will have no setbacks except at the roof level, will join several other new towers in the neighborhood such as 310 East 53rd Street and the Veneto at 250 East 53rd Street.

Jim Kennelly is the principal of Kennelly Development.


http://www.cityrealty.com/new_developments/news.cr
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Old December 28th, 2007, 08:00 AM   #1250
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Tessler Development plans mixed-use tower at 855 Sixth Avenue





20-DEC-07

A mixed-use tower is planned by Tessler Development at 855 Sixth Avenue between 30th and 31st Streets.

Costas Kondylis is the architect of the tower which will have more than 240,000 square feet of retail space, according to Benjamin Fox, the president of Winnick Realty Group, a leading specialist in retail real estate that is also handling the retail space at another major new mixed-use tower designed by Mr. Kondylis at 885 Sixth Avenue on the southeast corner at 32nd Street overlooking Greeley Square.

The building at 855 Sixth Avenue, which also has the addresses of 101-113 West 30th Street and 106-8 West 31st Street, will have an unusual form with a setback tower rising from a low-rise retail base that cantilevers slightly on its south facade and has a setback on its east facade that also has a narrow northern section that angles outward and then inward.

The Winnick Realty Group website indicates that the project would be finished in January 2010.

The Department of Buildings issued a permit for a construction fence for the project November 15, 2007. It disapproved a new building permit for the project the same day and that plan called for a 30-story building with 197 apartments. The website for Pavarini McGovern, which shows the rendering at the right for the project, indicated today that the project would be 35 stories with 632,000 gross square feet and that the developer is seeking a silver LEED certification and that the building would have a garage and office space on floors 3 though 16.

Tessler Developments' other projects include 260 Park Avenue South, 240 Park Avenue South, the Windsor Park on the southwest corner of Sixth Avenue and 58th Street, 150 Nassau Street, and 66 Leonard Street. It planned a mixed-use tower at 400 Fifth Avenue with Lehman Brothers Holdings on the northwest corner at 36th Street, but sold that property in August, 2006.

Earlier this year, Joseph Chetrit had purchased this site from Baruch Singer for about $140 million, according to an article by John Koblin in the March 18, 2007 edition of The New York Observer.

Mr. Fox told CityRealty.com today that both 855 and 885 Sixth Avenue are significant additions not only to the enormous retail presence at Herald Square anchored by Macy's but also to the impressive redevelopment of the city's former flower district on the Avenue of the Americas above 23rd Street with residential towers with large retail bases.

The area to the west is in a very fluid state of flux with very ambitious plans for the former James Farley Post Office Building, the MTA's rail yards, the High Line elevated park, the Hudson Yards zoning district and an expansion/renovation of the Javits Convention Center.


http://www.cityrealty.com/new_developments/news.cr
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Old December 28th, 2007, 08:04 AM   #1251
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December 2007 Issue

High hopes for latest wave of Harlem hotels
After years of failure, three projects move forward



By Janet Huege

An Enrique Norton-designed hotel, part of the stalled Harlem Park complex
Developers are moving ahead with three as-yet-unnamed developments that they think will fill an unmet demand: 5-15 West 125th Street off Fifth Avenue; 2296 Frederick Douglass Boulevard between 123rd and 124th streets; and 233-237 West 125th Street, the old Victoria Theatre at Seventh Avenue.

"Over a million people visit Harlem a year," said developer Paul Reisman of New Jersey-based Reisman Properties, which is building the hotel at 5-15 West 125th Street, "and there is no meaningful lodging facility to accommodate them."

Demand for lodging in Harlem is currently being met though a variety of small establishments, said Tamara Marotta, principal broker for the Marotta Group, a leading real estate agency in Harlem. "We have seen many bed-and-breakfasts, apartment-style rooming house/hotel conversions and modern high-end youth hostels in the neighborhood in order to deal with the demand, but no boutique hotels yet."

Room rates for the new hotels have not been set, but developers may be able to draw tourists priced out of more expensive hotels in Manhattan, where according to Atlanta-based PKF Consulting, the average room rate is $276.58 per night.

If the idea of luxury hotels making their way to Harlem feels familiar, it should. The buzz about Harlem hotels began back in 2003, with a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony -- featuring both the mayor and the governor -- for Harlem Park at 125th Street and Park Avenue. That much-talked-about $236 million development included a proposed 34-story building with office space, condos and a Marriott hotel. The project would have been the first new major hotel in Harlem in 40 years, and it promised to bring 2,500 jobs in a prime location, next to the Metro North station at 125th Street.

But the proposed 2006 opening date passed with no major progress while the developer, Michael Caridi, was indicted on felony charges for allegedly defrauding HUD on another development. Caridi, who declined to address why Harlem Park stalled, sold the property later in the year to Vornado Realty, which now plans to build a 21-story office building on the site. "We're not in the hotel business," said project manager Barry Langer.

As a result of this kind of ill-starred development, many in the neighborhood, including state senator Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan), have come to consider hotel projects the "old bait and switch" -- meaning developers purchased a parcel, got the authority to build a certain type of property at a certain height and then flipped the land, increasing the value of the property without actually bringing any development to the community.

Builders of the new projects, however, are encouraged by the increase in tourists visiting the area, which include many Europeans, architectural buffs admiring the untouched McKim, Mead and White 1890s townhouses on Strivers Row, and various travelers who want to sample the flavors of Sylvia's soul food and the sounds of the Apollo Theater.

According to the community group New Harlem, tourism in Harlem is up 20 percent from last year, with the number of annual visitors reaching more than 1 million. And 65 percent of tourists list Harlem as one of their top three "must-see spots" while visiting New York.

At 5-15 West 125th Street, Reisman will finish construction on a full-service, 252-room hotel by the end of the year; the hotel has a January 2010 completion date. The 18-story property will feature 20,000 square feet of conference rooms, 10,000 square feet of outdoor terraces, a high-end 120-seat restaurant and a third-floor pool, lounge and café.

Reisman has yet to finalize an official hotel partner, if he indeed picks one. "We may run it as a boutique hotel or affiliate with a higher-end flag," he said. "That decision will be made within the next six months."

The development is being designed by Handel Architects (the architects behind the Ritz-Carlton Downtown and the Trump Soho Hotel Condominium New York as well as 40 Bond Street).

Also checking into the Harlem scene is the development at 2296 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, the site of a former Associated Supermarket purchased in February 2007 for $3.9 million.

Shlomo Levy of Hotel 124 LLC is the official owner. Shuster Management is currently the developer, although it might not be for long. "We are still considering it," said Tali Israeli, Shuster's vice president of operations.

At one time, Shuster had teamed with Starwood Hotels -- owners of the "W" and "Aloft" brand hotels -- and planned to build an Aloft on the site. (According to a page on the Shuster Web site that has since been removed, the "ground-up, mixed-use project of 137,000 square feet will be used as a high-end residential condo project and ... 120-key Aloft hotel.") However, according to Roxanne Rabasco, Starwood's senior manager of public relations, Starwood has "no confirmed projects for Harlem."

Construction has been ongoing since this summer, according to the Department of Buildings, so it looks like Hotel 124 is looking for a new flag or developing it themselves as a boutique property.

The third hotel project in Harlem -- one that has been talked about since 2004 -- is the redevelopment of the old Loews Victoria Theater at 223-237 West 125th Street, on Seventh Avenue next to the Apollo Theater. In October, the Harlem Community Development Corporation and its parent company, Empire State Development, which have owned the property for years, voted to designate Danforth Development Partners LLC as the conditional preferred developer of the project.

Danforth is known for its reconfiguration of the United House of Prayer, a Pentecostal church on 125th Street, and a studio for music mogul Sean Combs in Midtown West.

Danforth's hotel proposal also includes condominium residence units and cultural arts space for the Classical Theatre of Harlem, the Harlem Arts Alliance and the Jazz Museum in Harlem.


In good company


The hotel developers are following in the footsteps of many national retailers who have made their way to Harlem to open shop, including Starbucks, New York Sports Clubs and Bank of America.

Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy's, Target, Best Buy and Home Depot are scheduled to open stores in 2008.

Residential growth, including luxury condos, has also come to the neighborhood. According to Jonathan Miller of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel, the average price per square foot for Central and East Harlem condominiums rose 39.5 percent between 2005 and 2006, the biggest increase for a neighborhood in Manhattan.

Also encouraging to developers is a proposed rezoning of 125th Street, first discussed in 1993, that may finally get approval. The plan, which would allow for increased density, more mixed-use and commercial properties, taller buildings and more crosstown transportation, is expected to be passed in the spring of 2008.

And with fewer undeveloped parcels left in Manhattan, Harlem makes sense.

"There isn't a lot of room to build in Midtown," said Adam Weissenberg, a managing partner of the U.S. tourism, hospitality and leisure practice at Deloitte & Touche. "Hotel developers are seeking opportunities in nontraditional areas of the city such as Harlem."


http://www.therealdeal.net/issues/De...1196821773.php
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Old December 28th, 2007, 08:09 AM   #1252
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Columbia Expansion Gets Green Light





By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS and RAY RIVERA
December 20, 2007

The New York City Council cleared the way Wednesday for the largest expansion in the history of Columbia University. The university plans a $7 billion project over the next 25 years that will transform a section of Upper Manhattan now dominated by warehouses and auto body shops into a campus with glass-walled high-rise buildings, tree-lined thoroughfares and student dormitories.

“The university’s expansion is critical,” Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff said, “because the success of this city in the future will be a function of us having a diversified economy, and having science and technology as a key component of that diversity.”

A month earlier than expected, the City Council voted 35 to 5 with 6 abstentions and 5 absences to rezone a 35-acre swath of Harlem from light manufacturing to mixed use. Columbia has said it plans to extend its campus onto 17 of the rezoned acres, bounded roughly by Broadway on the east, Riverside Drive on the west, West 129th Street on the south and West 133rd Street on the north. Columbia now occupies about 36 acres ending about 5 blocks to the south.

All but about three buildings will be torn down to make room for the new campus, which Columbia officials said would eventually include many of the university’s science and research laboratories.

While the rezoning removes the last significant hurdle to the university’s expansion, some elements of the plan remain to be settled, including whether the university will seek to use the power of eminent domain to force the removal of commercial property owners who have so far refused to sell to Columbia.

City officials said the university has tentatively agreed to spend $150 million as part of a community benefits agreement that will contribute to providing low- to moderate-income housing and expanded educational opportunities.

Still, the expansion is bitterly opposed by some in Harlem who have objected to the potential use of eminent domain. Others fear that the residents of some of the last working-class neighborhoods in Manhattan, which lie to the north of the expansion zone, will be displaced by students and administrators who can pay far more than the typical neighborhood resident.

“I’m sure there will be lawsuits coming out of this, but we will continue to try to get Columbia to be a good neighbor,” said the Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, rector at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, who is opposed to the expansion.

The university owns about 90 percent of the private property in the 17 acres. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Con Edison also own some of that acreage.

Opponents said they were surprised to learn that the City Council had voted Wednesday even though several council members said they had been told the vote would be in January.

“I don’t think we should rush to give Columbia University a Christmas present,” Councilman Charles Barron said before he voted against the plan. “We’re here to support the people’s right to participate in this process.”

Many council members dissented or declined to vote, saying they opposed what they said had been a rushed approval process and the possibility that eminent domain would be used.

About two dozen protesters sat in the balcony throughout the hearing.

Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn said the plan would solidify the city as one of the world capitals of higher education and hailed the jobs the project is expected to create. “That’s something that is a benefit to our city at any time, but given the dark economic times that are on the horizon is incredibly important right now,” she said.

The university has said the expansion is necessary if it is to remain competitive with its Ivy League peers, including Pennsylvania and Harvard, which are in the midst of expanding or are considering expansions.

Only this year Yale acquired a 136-acre pharmaceutical company site near New Haven, including state-of-the-art laboratories, that the university said would hasten its progress in science research by 10 or 15 years. Harvard has begun work on a new science complex on its new 300-acre site in the Allston neighborhood in Boston.

Columbia has also made a new science complex a priority. It plans to build a center for research on the brain and neurosciences as part of its first phase. Also in the first phase are a new home for its School of International and Public Affairs, a new site for its business school, and one for its School of the Arts.

Also as part of that phase, it says it plans to provide open space for the community and the university and a permanent site for the new, university-assisted public secondary school for math, science and engineering.

Columbia was faced with significant mistrust in the neighborhood, the result of its historically poor relationship with Harlem, including a 1968 battle over the university’s plan to build a gymnasium in Morningside Park, which set off violent protests.

Several current Columbia administrators, including President Lee C. Bollinger, were students at the university at that time, and said they had made it a point now to involve the community in the university’s plans.

“This is a great moment for the university, for the city and we hope for the communities around us,” Mr. Bollinger said late Wednesday. “Expansion is a critical requirement for us to remain one of the great universities of the world.”

The university has said the expansion will create 6,000 jobs. Parking and utilities will be housed underground.

During the second phase of the expansion, the university will build housing for graduate students and faculty, as well as lab space for disciplines including biomedical engineering, nanotechnology, systems biology and urban and population studies.

Much of the fiercest opposition to the proposal arose out of Columbia’s refusal to pledge that the university would not seek eminent domain rights in order to obtain land it does not already own. The school has promised not to request that the state invoke eminent domain for residential buildings, but has refused to make similar promises regarding commercial properties.

Councilman Vincent Ignizio, Republican of Staten Island, warned his colleagues: “Be very concerned about what you do, because the bullets you put in the gun of government today when pointed at somebody else may one day be pointed at you.”

While the remaining property owners in the expansion zone have said they will not sell to Columbia, the university has been in negotiations in recent days with the largest remaining private landowner, Nicholas Sprayregen, owner of Tuck-It-Away Self-Storage.

Mr. Sprayregen called the City Council’s vote “anticlimactic,” and said it would not affect his discussions with the university and the Empire State Development Corporation. He has proposed trading some of the 300,000 square feet in five buildings he owns in the area for some of Columbia’s land on the east side of Broadway.

“I have no problem with Columbia building here; I think there’s room to share,” said Mr. Sprayregen.

The community benefits agreement that was completed Tuesday night calls for Columbia to grant $150 million to residents of the area during the next 12 years, said Councilman Robert Jackson, the Manhattan Democrat whose district includes most of the expansion area.

Of that sum, $76 million would go into a flexible benefit fund to be overseen by a committee of community and Columbia representatives; $50 million would be dedicated to in-kind services, including $30 million toward a school for kindergarten through eighth grade; $20 million would be set aside for a housing fund; and $4 million would go toward legal services to help those displaced by the development.

Despite complaints that the process had been hurried, Mr. Jackson said the rezoning plan had been well studied.

The expansion, he said, had been “discussed, rediscussed, put in the washing machine and the dryer and thrown in the washing machine again and again and again.”

He added: “There is nothing that has been said that I have not heard myself.”

The local community board, which voted against the Columbia expansion proposal earlier this year, had submitted its own development plan for the area. That proposal highlighted building more low- and moderate-income housing and retaining the area’s light industry.

The City Council approved both the community board’s and Columbia’s development plans, although council members acknowledged that the plans appeared to contradict each other.


http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/20/ny...&%20ref=slogin
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Old December 28th, 2007, 08:13 AM   #1253
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47-story mixed-use tower planned for 885 Sixth Avenue





20-DEC-07

A 47-story, mixed-use tower is planned by Atlantic Realty Development on the southeast corner of the Avenue of the Americas and 32nd Street overlooking Greeley and Herald Squares.

The building has an address of 885 Sixth Avenue and is also known as Tower III as it extends through to 111 West 31st Street.

According to Benjamin Fox, the president of the Winnick Realty Group, a leading specialist in retail real estate that is handling the retail spaces in the project, the building has been designed by Costas Kondylis.

The building will have more than 31,000 square feet of retail space on three levels with 100 feet of frontage on the avenue and 150 feet of frontage on 32nd Street.

The tower at 885 Sixth Avenue will have retail on the ground and second floors, offices on the third floor, a fitness center on the fourth floor and rental apartments in the glass-clad tower that is setback above the fourth floor, according to Mr. Fox.

The project is as-of-right, that is, it needs no zoning approvals.

It is close to another large project at 855 Avenue of the Americas that when completed in 2010 will have more than 240,000 square feet of retail space on several levels and Mr. Fox told CityRealty.com today that both projects are significant additions not only to the enormous retail presence at Herald Square anchored by Macy's but also to the impressive redevelopment of the city's former flower district on the Avenue of the Americas above 23rd Street with residential towers with large retail bases.

Calls by CityRealty.com to Atlantic Realty Development, which is based in New Jersey, were not returned.

This block of 32nd Street is distinguished by the city's most impressive skybridge that used to connect two buildings belonging to Gimbel's, the famous competitor to Macy's. It also a large, new, mid-block rental building known as the Epic and at Seventh Avenue the Hotel Pennsylvania that was designed by McKim, Mead & White that some preservationists would like to see made an official city landmark.

885 Sixth Avenue will have views to the northeast across Herald Square that not only include dramatic vistas of the Empire State Building but also of the former Martinique and McAlpin hotels whose facades are among the finest on pre-war non-office buildings in Midtown West.

The area to the west is in a very fluid state of flux with very ambitious plans for the former James Farley Post Office Building, the MTA's rail yards, the High Line elevated park, the Hudson Yards zoning district and an expansion/renovation of the Javits Convention Center.


http://www.cityrealty.com/new_developments/news.cr
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Old December 28th, 2007, 08:16 AM   #1254
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Ratner’s ‘Mr Brooklyn’ deal gets sweeter



City Tech’s Klitgord Auditorium, would be replaced by a new tower built by developer
Bruce Ratner.



BY ADAM F. HUTTON
The Brooklyn Paper

City University is offering to sweeten its deal with developer Bruce Ratner, The Brooklyn Paper has learned.

Last month, CUNY’s Board of Trustees voted to pay Ratner $307 million to build a new 11- to 14-story laboratory and classroom building for City Tech in Downtown Brooklyn — a whopping $221 million more than the $86 million the university system originally offered the developer in 2004.

The request for additional cash will be taken up by the state legislature next month.

In addition to the fee for constructing the new college building, Ratner would also get control of a lucrative site on the southeast corner of Jay and Tillary streets — a Downtown plot where he is reportedly planning the city’s tallest residential tower, the so-called “Mr. Brooklyn.”

CUNY selected Ratner’s development company to build the 335,000–square-foot building in 2005. Since then, the university and Forest City Ratner have been in negotiations that led to last month’s proposal to increase Ratner’s take.

A CUNY spokesman said that the university’s request for more money from the state does not seal the deal. What Ratner will eventually be paid for his construction services will not be finalized until more negotiations between CUNY and the developer are concluded, he said.

But at this point, negotiations have been going in Ratner’s favor. CUNY’s original 2004 request for proposals promised the winning developer $86 million to build the City Tech lab on the southeast corner of Jay and Tillary streets, plus 1 million square feet in development rights.

The cost of the building has swelled to more than $300 million — and in addition to the extra cash, CUNY is offering to enhance Ratner’s “Mr. Brooklyn” project by building a park on Tillary Street between Jay and Bridge streets.

With his development rights, Ratner is reportedly planning a 700- to 1,000-foot residential behemoth designed by Renzo Piano, the same starchitect behind his well-received Times Tower in Manhattan.

Mr. Brooklyn would include 600 market-rate apartments and serve as a shimmering new corridor into Ratner’s Metrotech Center, an office complex that covers 10-block swath of Downtown.


http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories...atnerdeal.html
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Old December 28th, 2007, 08:21 AM   #1255
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Javits Center expansion plans 'dead'


By Marlene Naanes
December 21, 2007

Plans to significantly expand the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center have been scaled back and will now only amount to a renovation and a modest addition to the West Side facility, officials said Thursday.

The Empire State Development Corporation is considering several smaller-scale alternatives to the original plan, including an expansion of about 100,000 square feet. More than half of the $1.6 billion set aside in funding will go toward renovations and repairs, including fixing the center's leaky roof, development corporation chairman Patrick Foye said at a state assembly hearing discussing the project.

"So Javits is dead," said Assemb. Richard Brodsky (D-Westchester), who conducted the hearing.

The final details of the center's renovation will be released in the coming months.

Officials learned earlier this year that the cost of expansion under the original plan could cost up to $5 billion. The development corporation had estimated the original plan would add about 600,000 square feet of space. In the end, the financial benefit of expanding the center did not justify the costs, Foye said. The hotel industry also refuses to pay higher taxes to help fund a costlier expansion.

Gov. Eliot Spitzer's administration put the project on hold earlier this, citing underestimated costs and poor design.


http://www.amny.com/news/local/am-ja...,2431628.story
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Old December 28th, 2007, 08:26 AM   #1256
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Queens Shopping Center Gets $350M Construction Loan


Dec 24, 2007
By Scott Baltic

Alexander's Inc., Paramus, N.J., has closed on $350 million in construction financing for its shopping center in the Rego Park neighborhood of Queens, New York City. Situated at the Long Island Expressway between Junction Boulevard and 97th Street, the 600,000-square-foot, four-level retail center will be anchored by a Century 21 department store, a Home Depot and a Kohl’s. It’s scheduled to open in 2009.

The loan, according to a statement by Alexander’s, has an interest rate of LIBOR plus 1.20 percent and a term of three years, with a one-year extension option. No further information was available at presstime.

Alexander’s is a REIT that owns seven retail and office properties in New York City. Its activities are conducted through its manager, Vornado Realty Trust, New York.

The new center is directly across 62nd Drive from the Rego Park Center, where a Sears store occupies the former site of an Alexander’s department store. The REIT evolved from a department store chain (as did Vornado) that was founded in 1928 and at its peak owned 15 stores, mostly in the New York metro area. Fortunately for Alexander’s future, the chain owned all of the land on which its large stores had been built, and after the stores began faltering in the 1970s, the company was able to profit from its real estate assets.


http://www.commercialpropertynews.co...5d8b9223d59083
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Old December 28th, 2007, 08:30 AM   #1257
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Building Permit Granted for Flatbush Flatiron




December 26, 2007

Last Wednesday, the Flatbush Flatiron was officially cleared for take-off. The DOB permit green-lights a 21-story building with 108 units (exactly what The Sun reported ten months ago). The height is 262 feet, substantially less than the 400 feet that The Real Deal reported 18 months ago. The building will be a total of about 150,000 square feet. Any bets on how long it'll take to build?


http://www.brownstoner.com/brownston...ing_permit.php
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Old December 28th, 2007, 08:51 AM   #1258
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http://www.nypost.com/seven/12272007...nza_120670.htm
BROADWAY BONANZA

NEWSWEEK BUILDING GETS A MAJOR FACELIFT, NEW TENANTS


1775 Broadway now...


... and 1775 Broadway after its 2008 redesign.

December 27, 2007 -- THE Newsweek building at 1775 Broadway is in for a new look, new tenants, and even a new address.

A $60 million upgrading in 2008 will transform Joseph Moinian's beat-up-looking, pre-war brick office building that takes up the whole block bounded by Broadway and Eighth Avenue and West 57th and 58th streets.

Moinian bought the property for about $130 million eight years ago. His planned recladding will give it a gleaming glass skin designed by Gensler Architects. The 26-story, 625,000 square-foot address will also get a new lobby and elevators. A new address - 3 Columbus Circle - has been approved by city officials.

As my colleague Lois Weiss has reported, Newsweek, the largest tenant, won't renew its lease when it expires soon, and is looking downtown.

Newsweek's and other lease expirations will free up at least 400,000 square feet of space at 1775 Broadway. A Newmark Knight Frank team led by Jimmy Kuhn and including Michael Dreizen and Andrew Udis will handle marketing.

Kuhn said another current tenant, Comedy Central, will be gone soon and, "we'll deliver the new building by the first quarter of '09."

Kuhn said asking rents haven't been finalized but will likely be in the $100-$125 a square foot range. As for Newsweek, which moved in years ago when rents were below $50 a foot, "There was no indication they ever considered renewing."

Like other owners active in the area, Moinian aims to exploit 1775 Broadway's proximity to reborn Columbus Circle, anchored by Time Warner Center.

Last year, we reported that investment firm Gilder Gagnon How & Co. had re-upped for the top floor of 1775 Broadway at an average rent over 10 years of $100 a square foot. And Chase paid around $325 a square foot for a 10,000 square-foot retail branch. Both will remain after the redesign.

*

The Buildings Dept. has slapped a stop-work order on the big apartment building development at 2075 Broadway, and revoked permits it issued earlier for excavation and foundation work.

Locals had wondered why nothing was happening in the big hole at the southwest corner of Broadway and 72nd Street months after images of the new, curved tower appeared on cur bed.com and retail leasing agent Robert K. Fut terman had sent out flyers.

As we re ported on Nov. 20, Lynette Tulkoff, devel opment director for the $200 million joint-venture by Philip Pilevsky, Rhodes NY and the Gotham Organization, said excavation would start "just after Thanksgiving or even this week."

But the corner site remains idle. Practically no work has been done since several old buildings were demolished a year ago. Mystified neighbors flooded us with e-mails after we wrote the job was finally set to go.

In November, Tulkoff denied the go-slow up till that point was because of reported damage to the wall of adjacent 214 W. 72nd St. - it was just a matter of "teeing up" the new project.

But on Dec. 7, the Buildings Dept. issued a stop-work order for "failure to protect the adjacent property during construction."

Then, on Dec. 12, it revoked permits for excavation and foundation installation after the partners "failed to address objections raised by the department during an audit of the plans."

Steve Solomon, a spokesman for the project on behalf of Gotham, the development's managing partner, said:

"The DOB issued excavation and foundation permits earlier in the year. From what we understand, the DOB conducted an audit of the permits, and it recently raised questions that we are responding to."

The owner of 214 W. 72nd St., Peggy Ma, could not be reached.
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Old December 28th, 2007, 08:07 PM   #1259
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fantastic news for NY
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Old December 29th, 2007, 04:34 AM   #1260
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wow what a big day
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