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Old February 18th, 2008, 07:48 PM   #1321
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Didn't knew that there are so many projects going on in NYC. O= Nice Also many buildings topped out in 2006/2007
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Old February 18th, 2008, 11:40 PM   #1322
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NYC is the home of skyscrapers, that's like it has to be
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Old February 19th, 2008, 02:11 AM   #1323
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yea for those who say that New York is a development and an architecture ghost town, you just have to start looking at the reality.



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Old February 19th, 2008, 08:39 AM   #1324
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/17/re...ref=commercial
In Hotel Design, He’s Mr. Prolific

By FRED A. BERNSTEIN
Published: February 17, 2008


Gene Kaufman Architect

The architect Gene Kaufman is designing 36 hotels in Manhattan, including three that will share a single building on West 39th Street near Times Square, right, and three more on West 40th Street.


IN his SoHo office, the architect Gene Kaufman is presenting drawings of his latest buildings.

“This one is for Marriott in Chelsea,” he said, pointing to a rendering of a slender, gray tower. “This is a Sheraton on Canal Street. This one’s a Doubletree in the financial district ...”

Mr. Kaufman is just getting warmed up.

Many architects would be happy to design a single hotel in Manhattan; his firm, Gene Kaufman Architect, is designing 36 of them. Nearly all are for national brands that are trying to establish beachheads in the city.

On one block near Times Square — 39th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues — Mr. Kaufman, 50, has five hotels under construction.

Three of the hotels will share a single, 36-story building on the north side of the street. When it is completed, it will contain a Holiday Inn Express, a Candlewood Suites and a Hampton Inn. Each will have its own signs and lobby, and guest rooms that are outfitted in its signature style.

“But,” Mr. Kaufman said, “we have found there are huge economies in building it, structurally, as one building.”

The Holiday Inn Express will be covered in red and black brick (alternating in three-story stripes); the Hampton Inn, in white and black brick; and the Candlewood Suites, in silvery metal. The effect of putting three different facades on a building just 110 feet wide may be jarring. But it is economics, not aesthetics, that is driving the projects.

As Mr. Kaufman explained it, the three-in-one approach will help the eventual owner — in this case, Gemini Real Estate Advisors — improve the building’s occupancy rate. That’s because three reservation systems, not just one, will be helping to fill the building’s 600 or so rooms.

Mr. Kaufman has designed another trio of hotels just a block away, on 40th Street. “It’s becoming a hotel district,” he said, while showing off designs for adjacent Four Points by Sheraton, Fairfield Inn and Staybridge Suites hotels, each more than 30 stories tall.

The chains, which are striving to maintain customer loyalty, want to be able to offer hotels in as many locations as possible. Building several small hotels in different neighborhoods, instead of a single large hotel, helps them achieve that.

The developer of most of Mr. Kaufman’s projects is the McSam Hotel Group, which is based in Great Neck, N.Y. Its chief operating officer, Gary Wisinski, said Mr. Kaufman “has a wonderful and deep knowledge of Manhattan, and is well respected at the Buildings Department.”

McSam is developing some 30 hotels in Manhattan, Mr. Wisinski said, and Mr. Kaufman is the architect “for 90 percent of them.”

Bill Ryall, a partner in Ryall Porter Architects in Manhattan, said that in a city filled with talented architects, “it is a sadly missed opportunity that most of these new hotels are designed by just one architect.”

But Mr. Wisinski said he and his colleagues at McSam were pleased with Mr. Kaufman’s designs. “We look at all of them like our children,” he said. “I know some people would like us to build the Plaza. But we’re not. We’re building mid-price-point lodging facilities.” Rooms in the hotels, he said, will command $240 to $350 a night, depending on the time of year.

Mr. Kaufman’s first hotel, in 2003, was a Hampton Inn on West 24th Street in Chelsea. Until five years ago, the chain had more than 1,000 hotels nationwide, but not a single location in Manhattan. The 24th Street property is now one of the highest-performing Hampton Inns in the country, according to Charmaine Easie-Samuels, a spokeswoman for the chain, which is owned by Hilton Hotels. Since then, Mr. Kaufman has designed four more Hampton Inns in Manhattan.

What he brings to the table, he said, is the ability to maximize the number of hotel rooms on a given site. Recently, he said, a client showed him another architect’s plans for a hotel in Lower Manhattan; Mr. Kaufman was able to alter the plans to squeeze in 25 percent more rooms. In the current market, a mid-range Manhattan hotel room — typically 250 square feet — is worth $400,000 to $500,000 to the developer, he said.

“If you get one more room for floor, and you have 20 or 30 floors,” he said, you may be adding $10 million or $15 million in value.

But maximizing the number of rooms, he said, involves more than just making them smaller. He said buildings could be organized in ways that eliminate “uninhabitable space.”

For hoteliers, Mr. Kaufman provides entree into the sui generis Manhattan market. “The prototype hotel, for almost any chain, is a low-rise building with a parking lot and swimming pool,” he said. “We have to adapt that to Manhattan, but still meet all their standards.”

The chains control every detail, he said, “down to what kind of breakfast they serve.”

“If you don’t meet their standards,” he added, “you can’t put their name on the door.”

Mr. Kaufman found his niche in 1999, when Sam Chang, the founder of McSam, asked him to design a hotel for a narrow site on Pearl Street in the financial district. As Mr. Kaufman recalled it, “Sam said, ‘I’m doing you a big favor,’ and he was right” — by allowing Mr. Kaufman to get in on the ground floor of a hotel boom that almost no one was predicting.

“Until then,” Mr. Kaufman said, “the prevailing wisdom was New York City did not need more hotel rooms.”

Mr. Kaufman now has 35 employees, including architects from Russia, Argentina, Colombia, Lebanon, Turkey, Nigeria, Algeria, Albania and Sri Lanka. His wife, Terry Eder-Kaufman, a lawyer, helps run the business. The couple live with their 12-year-old daughter, Maya, in an 1861 brownstone in Greenwich Village, which Mr. Kaufman has renovated in stages. (When he bought it, in 1993, he said, “We had very, very little money.”)

A Queens native and a graduate of Cornell’s architecture school, he worked for Rafael Viñoly before starting his firm in 1986 at the age of 28 — which is young for an architect to go off on his own.

“Even though it may not have been the prudent thing to do from a business point of view, it was something that I felt I had to try,” he said. “And 22 years later, I’m still trying.”

Mr. Kaufman conceded that it’s hard to make compelling architecture out of a hotel containing hundreds of identical rooms. “You can end up with a facade that’s very repetitive,” he said. But he described his buildings as positive additions to the urban fabric. Many of the sites, including two-thirds of the 39th Street property, were previously parking lots, he pointed out.

Not all of his projects are chain hotels. The 45-room Duane Street Hotel, near City Hall, is being operated independently. And he is designing apartment buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

In the case of a six-story apartment building in Williamsburg, Mr. Kaufman chose a shape based on the Villa Savoye, the house outside Paris by Le Corbusier.

Part of the facade was going to be covered in a mint-colored tile. “But we didn’t get the tile we picked,” he said, citing cost overruns.

When it comes to getting things built the way he envisions them, he said, “people don’t know how difficult that is.”
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Old February 19th, 2008, 10:43 PM   #1325
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http://www.nypost.com/seven/02192008...must_98332.htm
BUILD BECAUSE WE MUST

LOTS OF NEW BUILDINGS NEEDED TO KEEP NYC COMPETITIVE

February 19, 2008 -- THE very sight makes some builders and brokers squirm - but the best news for the city's long-term commercial outlook is steel rising for two new towers where nearly 3 million square feet of office space are up for grabs.

The projects are SJP Properties' 11 Times Square at Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street and the Port Authority's One World Trade Center, aka the Freedom Tower. (Yes, Freedom Tower structural steel is actually visible - the PA just doesn't want to make a big thing of it until it reaches street level.)

SJP has 1.1 million square feet to fill and the PA, around 1.6 million (two government agencies are taking about 1 million square feet in the 2.6 million-foot Freedom Tower).

In addition, Larry Silverstein will start on WTC Tower 4, which will add another 2.3 million square feet in 2011 - although the PA and the city plan to take about two-thirds of it for their own office use.

The projects are obviously welcome news. But they dismay real estate players who pay lip service to the need for new, state-of-the-art office buildings to keep New York competitive, but hypocritically deplore the possibility of even a single building being completed without signed tenants.

The fact is, Manhattan's pre-eminence in commercial real estate looks invulnerable only if you look at its size and ignore its rapidly aging condition.

Manhattan has 361 million square feet of office space, according to CB Richard Ellis, compared with just 225 million square feet in Chicago, the US' second-largest urban business district.

Abroad, CBRE counts only 335 million square feet in Tokyo and a mere 287 million feet each in "greater" Paris and London. Manhattan is topped only by Shanghai's 432 million feet, a figure that includes areas beyond the city's borders.

If you believe the hype, projects at Ground Zero will add 11 million square feet to New York's lead by 2015. Hudson Yards in the West 30s promises 24 million square feet on top of that. Plans are afoot for new towers at the Pennsylvania Hotel site, Penn Station/Madison Square Garden and even atop the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

But New York's 361 million feet have scarcely grown from 354 million in 1989 (compared with just 261 million in 1969). Tightened credit resulting from the subprime crisis and astronomically rising construction costs threaten the schemes now in the dream stage - especially those which are subject to political whims.

Meanwhile, as new buildings with giant floor plates rise in foreign cities - and closer, in Stamford, Conn., where Royal Bank of Scotland built itself the world's largest trading floor - Manhattan's office inventory is threatened by looming obsolescence.

CBRE Regional CEO Mary Ann Tighe notes that 64 percent of Manhattan's towers will be more than 50 years old by 2010; nationally it's 24 percent.

That matters because companies that count most to the city's economy increasingly demand brand new buildings, not buildings 50 or even 10 years old. Only the newest locations offer the 14-foot "slab to slab" floor heights needed to install modern fiber optics, among other amenities.

Developers can improve lobbies and modernize heating and ventilation systems - but an older building is still an older building.

New York developers, landlords and brokers take comfort in a "disciplined" market where new buildings rarely go up without pre- signed tenants. It's a big reason why today's vacancy rate of around 8 percent is unlikely to mushroom out of control even in the event of large-scale Wall Street layoffs.

But that same discipline - instilled after the bear market of the early '90s pushed a few new, temporarily vacant Midtown buildings into foreclosure - is also our Achilles heel, stifling urgently needed new construction.

It's ironic that for all developers' (and banks') fears of speculative building, every spec project of the past dozen years has been a howling success.

Douglas Durst's 4 Times Square instantly lured Condé Nast and Skadden Arps. Tishman Speyer's 222 E. 41st St., and Kipp/Stawski's 505 Fifth Ave. took no time at all to fill up. Silverstein's 7 WTC is well on its way to being full.

But some real estate people dwell more on a few failures 20 years ago than on the more numerous recent successes.

Get over it, guys - and be glad for the sight of rising steel. May there be more of it.

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Old February 20th, 2008, 05:56 AM   #1326
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Quote:
IN his SoHo office, the architect Gene Kaufman is presenting drawings of his latest buildings.




Why do I get the feeling he was somehow deprived of the LEGO he wanted as a youngster?
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Old February 20th, 2008, 06:03 AM   #1327
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Middle-Island View Post



Why do I get the feeling he was somehow deprived of the LEGO he wanted as a youngster?
NY's most loved architect.

[IMG]http://i29.************/2rwb477.png[/IMG]

EARTH TO GENE, COME IN GENE! Man, I'd just love to smack his face. Bin Laden helped the city more.

Looks like he belongs in the engineering section of the USS Voyager.
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Old February 20th, 2008, 10:21 PM   #1328
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new tower, thread already in the highrise section:


* No renderings release yet *


Joseph Rose Plans Huge Hotel Across From Hudson River Park


BY ELIOT BROWN | FEBRUARY 19, 2008

The former director of the Department of City Planning in the Giuliani administration, Joseph B. Rose, has big plans for a full block on the far West Side, as he has filed an application with the city to build a hotel of more than one million square feet at 260 12th Avenue.

In a building permit application filed with the Department of Buildings recently, Mr. Rose and his Georgetown Company list plans for a 66-story, 828-foot hotel on the site, currently zoned for light manufacturing (unlike condo towers, hotels can often be built in manufacturing zones).

The lot sits just a block south of the West Side rail yards and across the street from Hudson River Park; Mr. Rose sits on the board of directors for the state and city agency that oversees the park, the Hudson River Park Trust.

The building would be Mr. Rose’s second major undertaking along 12th Avenue in recent years, as he was a partner in the development of the highly acclaimed InterActiveCorp headquarters, the wavy, Frank Gehry-designed office building at 18th Street.

However, his planned development on West 29th Street is sure to draw anger from some in the Hudson Square community 40 blocks to the south. The city had initially targeted Mr. Rose’s site, known in the community as Block 675, to receive a sanitation garage currently housed in the footprint of Hudson River Park.

In 2006, the city reversed course in the name of cost, choosing instead a site at Spring and Washington streets in Hudson Square, where it would put the combined garbage facilities for three districts.

Residents and landowners of Hudson Square have protested the decision, saying that the facility will harm the emerging district; the community board in Chelsea had agreed to have the garage go on Block 675, and the city has almost all the needed approvals there, they contend.

“This flies in the face of the public interest,” said Michael Kramer, a lobbyist for multiple landlords and businesses in Hudson Square.

However, the director of real estate at the Department of Sanitation, Daniel Klein, said that the cost savings would be substantial. “We get a lot more for less money at Spring Street,” he said.

Mr. Rose did not respond to requests for comment.


http://www.observer.com/2008/joseph-...son-river-park
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Old February 21st, 2008, 06:44 AM   #1329
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http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...ine/#more-2099
February 20, 2008, 10:21 am

Switching Brands in the Skyline

By David W. Dunlap


The General Motors building, left, as it appeared soon after construction, seen from Columbus Circle. At right, the building, now known as the Newsweek Building or 3 Columbus Circle, as it appears today, with the CNN rooftop sign. (Drawing by J. W. Golinkin in “Towers of Manhattan,” 1928, and photo by David W. Dunlap/The New York Times)


The General Motors Building as it looks today from 57th Street and Broadway. (Photo: David W. Dunlap/The New York Times)


Renamed 3 Columbus Circle, this is what the building will look like with a new glass curtain wall. (Photo: Gensler for the Moinian Group)


The base of the General Motors Building was originally a three-story structure called the Colonnade Building, completed in 1923. Its monumental Ionic columns are still visible today, but would disappear in the pending renovation. (Photos: David W. Dunlap/The New York Times)

The General Motors Building has already been renamed.

Harry Macklowe, the owner of the current General Motors Building on Fifth Avenue, made news last week by suggesting that buyers might reap tens of millions of dollars in extra income through the sale of naming rights to the building.

Less noticed was that the old General Motors Building at 1775 Broadway, more recently known as the Newsweek Building, was recently renamed 3 Columbus Circle as part of an extreme makeover by its owner, the Moinian Group.

(It should be noted that 3 Columbus Circle has no frontage on Columbus Circle. Instead, it sits on a block bounded by Broadway, Eighth Avenue, 57th and 58th Streets.)
A new glass facade designed by the firm Gensler will obliterate evidence of the building’s history and heritage as a hub of Automobile Row. For now, a palisade of three-story Ionic columns, supporting a neo-Classical entablature, surrounds the base of the structure. This is a visible vestige of the Colonnade Building, designed by William Welles Bosworth and developed by John A. Harriss, a deputy police commissioner who also invested in real estate.

Describing the plan in February 1921, The Times noted that the columns would not be flattened in order to increase the size of the storefronts between them: “They will be set back from the building line several inches, and a statistician could figure out without much difficulty how much prospective rent Dr. Harriss might lose by using this space for attractive architectural treatment instead of sacrificing certain artistic elements for the almighty dollar.”

Tenants were drawn to the building all the same, as Broadway was the heart of the automotive industry in New York City. In 1922, the Hudson Motor Car Company leased the Colonnade Building’s principal storefront, at Broadway and 57th Street, as a sales room for its Essex line of automobiles. (In recent decades, this space was the home of Coliseum Books. It is now a Bank of America branch.)

Until 1926, the three-story colonnade was all that stood on the site. Then, Shreve & Lamb designed a 22-story addition, principally for the General Motors Corporation. “The tenant will not only establish its Eastern executive and clerical headquarters in the new building,” The Times reported, “but arrangements will be made for private dining rooms, club rooms, barber shop and a board room seating 40 directors of the corporation.”

General Motors projected its name on the skyline from the top of the building. (That sign position, currently used by CNN, is offered by Moinian as an opportunity for “significant corporate branding.”) Eventually, G.M. occupied almost all of the building. It stayed there until 1968, when it moved across town to Fifth Avenue.

General Motors’ next move, my colleague Charles V. Bagli reports, will be to the Citigroup Center, where it is taking 135,000 square feet on a 10-year lease beginning next summer. Don’t hold your breath for a name change there.

Shreve & Lamb’s brown-brick facade was far simpler than the monumental colonnade. That incongruous combination of ornate base and spartan tower still speaks subtly — to anyone patient enough to listen — about the rise of Automobile Row in the early 20th century. But in a few months, it will be gone; another quirky corner of Manhattan that has been scrubbed, smoothed, polished, branded and lost.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 07:53 AM   #1330
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The boxy glassy building in this photo looks like rendering. It looks so good, what is it?

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Old February 21st, 2008, 07:55 AM   #1331
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^ You are probably referring to 7WTC. It is already built.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 07:55 AM   #1332
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City’s Sweeping Rezoning Plan for 125th Street Has Many in Harlem Concerned


By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS
Published: February 21, 2008

The street may not be much to look at now, say people who grew up in Harlem during the 1950s and 1960s, but back then, 125th Street seemed like the bustling center of the world.

At Moore’s book shop, a lawyer named Thurgood Marshall was often seen browsing through volumes of African-American history, while at the corner of Lenox Avenue, Malcolm X could be heard proselytizing as a young boxer named Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali, listened intently among the crowd.

Up the street, Aretha Franklin or Stevie Wonder performed periodically at the Apollo Theater, and Fidel Castro once conferred with Nikita Khrushchev over lunch at the Hotel Theresa. Blumstein’s may not have been Macy’s, but it did have black mannequins and, at Christmastime, a black Santa Claus.

The street has long been in decline, though national chain stores like Starbucks have taken an interest in it more recently. Now the Bloomberg administration has proposed the most sweeping zoning changes for the street since 1961, when there was a citywide rezoning and 125th Street was at the heart of African-American cultural life.

The rezoning, which is expected to be approved by the city’s Planning Commission in the coming weeks, is part of package of city plans that call for the thoroughfare to be transformed from a low-rise boulevard lined with businesses like hair salons and buffet-style soul food restaurants into a regional business hub with office towers as high as 29 stories and more than 2,000 new market-rate condominium apartments, as well as hotels, bookstores, art galleries and nightclubs.

The corridor between 124th and 126th Streets from Broadway to Second Avenue would be rezoned, which could ultimately force out more than 70 small businesses and their 975 workers and might lead to the razing of some of the street’s century-old buildings.


Although the city has said it will not require any residents to move out, the proposal has caused widespread fear that thousands of longtime African-American residents will eventually have to move as the area becomes more expensive. Even now, some apartments in Harlem sell for $2 million or more.

Still, even opponents of the plan agree that new development on 125th Street is necessary to reduce unemployment and to improve the area’s $17,452 median household income, which is about one-third the rest of Manhattan, according to a 1999 Planning Commission report.

What opponents say they do not want is for the street, which has been an incubator for pioneering arts and social movements, to be turned into another Manhattan cookie-cutter strip with expensive shops and shaded by skyscrapers.

“One hundred twenty-fifth Street, like everywhere in the world, must change,” said Dabney Montgomery, 84, an informal community advocate who has lived in Harlem for 52 years. “But we are interested in change that will benefit the people of Harlem. The rezoning would make 125th Street into another 86th Street. That, we don’t want.”

Amanda M. Burden, chairwoman of the Planning Commission, who since her appointment in 2002 has presided over some of the most extensive rezoning undertaken for two generations, said she was not intent on making 125th Street another generic boulevard.

Ms. Burden said she had spent more time studying the 125th Street proposal — including attending 30 to 40 meetings and walking the street on several occasions — than she had on any other project, including Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and Columbia University’s expansion in western Harlem.

“It’s one of the most renowned streets in the world, and there was a great time on 125th Street when people came from all over the world to enjoy its night life and culture,” she said. “It’s not what it was.”

Last year, the American Planning Association named 125th Street one of the “10 Great Streets in America,” calling it the “Main Street of black American culture.”

The street, the group said, has “managed to maintain a strong identity through periods of tremendous population growth and infrastructural strain, disinvestment and urban renewal.”

But residents, who often call Harlem a village and refer to 125th Street as its Main Street, say they worry that its personality will not survive rezoning.

“This would be signing Harlem’s death warrant,” said Craig Schley, executive director of a group called VOTE People, which opposes the rezoning. “It is part of the continuing ‘Katrina-fication’ of Harlem, carried out with a pen instead of a hurricane. They intend to remove people in this area, plain and simple.”

Community Board 10, which represents central Harlem, voted against the 24-block rezoning last year, saying that the plan includes far too little housing that most Harlem residents could afford and that any new housing should be placed on 124th and 126th Streets because it would harm the commercial character of 125th.

The community board also said the proposed 29-story height limit was too high and would cause cultural fixtures like the Apollo Theater and the Studio Museum of Harlem to be dwarfed. There is currently no height limit on the street, but building height became an issue recently when developers unveiled proposals for skyscrapers along the street, including a 21-story building for Major League Baseball.

“Harlem is one of the few places left in the city where you can see the sky,” said Franc Perry, the community board chairman. “You’re able to get some fresh air and see the sun, and it’s not blocked by high rises.”

City Councilwoman Inez E. Dickens, who represents central Harlem, said she was concerned about portions of the plan but believed the need for change was paramount. Ms. Dickens’s position is critical to the prospects of the rezoning because most other council members would be unlikely to oppose her when the plan reaches the City Council.

“It is quite clear to me that in doing nothing, our village loses,” she said. “Keeping 125th Street as is only satisfies the status quo. If we are truly to affect the unemployment rate, especially amongst the young black and Latino males of our community, then we must pursue our involvement in inevitable change.”

The street, which in recent years has emerged from a years-long decline symbolized by boarded-up storefronts, has served as both Harlem’s Main Street and as a cultural touchstone for leading figures, including Bill Clinton, who has an office there.

During a recent weekend day, with temperatures hovering around freezing, members of the Communist Party were recruiting on a corner of 125th Street while volunteers for various presidential campaigns were handing out fliers on the other side of the street. A group of Black Hebrew Israelites was denouncing white people near the Apollo, vendors were selling books, incense and DVDs they had laid out on the sidewalk, and a man opened his coat to display watches for sale.

Rap, gospel and soul music came from speakers set outside the street’s small stores as visitors from Europe and Japan riding on red tour buses took it all in.

While only a few years ago pedestrians on the street had been almost exclusively black or Latino, there are now significant numbers of whites and Asians who have moved to Harlem to find apartments more affordable than in much of the rest of Manhattan.

Ms. Burden, the planning chairwoman, said the city’s proposals would help maintain the street’s vitality and culture by requiring large developers to set aside ground-floor space for arts and entertainment uses and by encouraging smaller developers to do the same through an incentive program.

Ms. Burden played down the notion of widespread displacement, saying that more than 90 percent of the housing in the area was “rent protected,” including the neighborhood’s several large public housing complexes.

The idea that the street needed development hit her, she said, when she attended a recent Roberta Flack concert at the Apollo with a friend who works on the street.

After the concert ended, Ms. Burden said, she asked her friend where they should eat. “Downtown,” the friend replied.

“There should be a million different eateries around there, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to frame and control growth on 125th Street,” Ms. Burden said. “The energy on the street is just remarkable, and it’s got to stay that way.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/21/ny...l?ref=nyregion
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Old February 21st, 2008, 08:01 AM   #1333
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Work to Begin on Platform Over Tracks on the West Side


By CHARLES V. BAGLI
February 21, 2008

Despite a flagging economy, Brookfield Properties says it will start work in June on a $600 million platform over railroad tracks near Ninth Avenue, where it plans to build two towering office buildings.

Brookfield, a major commercial landlord in Manhattan, has owned the property between Ninth and Dyer Avenues, between 31st and 33rd Streets, for more than 22 years. But it has had difficulty luring a prominent company to what has long been regarded as Manhattan’s last real estate frontier.

The company now says the time is ripe to begin work. Development is pushing westward, and the site is only one block west of Pennsylvania Station. The vacancy rate for Manhattan office buildings is still relatively low, and the credit markets should recover fairly quickly from the subprime mortgage crisis, said Richard B. Clark, chief executive of Brookfield. “For a long time, we believed that the West Side would be the city’s next commercial zone,” Mr. Clark said. “It’s clear that the time is now to make something of this site.”

Brookfield’s project is no simple matter. More than half of the five-acre site is over railroad tracks, which extend from Pennsylvania Station to the West Side railyards. Brookfield must build a three-acre platform, while trains continue to run below, before it can start putting up its first building. It hopes to sign a major tenant during the two years the job is expected to take.

Brookfield’s architect, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, has designed two towers, a 1.9-million-square-foot building at the northeast corner of the site and a 3.4-million-square-foot building at the southeast corner.

In many respects, the project is a warm-up for the West Side railyards, where five developers are competing for the development rights. At the railyards, between 10th and 12th Avenues, from 30th to 34th Streets, developers will have to build two 13-acre platforms, at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion. They would then have the right to build 12 million square feet of high-rise office and residential buildings. Brookfield is one of the companies expected to submit a second round of bids to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Tuesday. But with concerns about the economy growing, many real estate executives and government officials worry that developers may reduce their offers.

Brookfield is not alone in pushing forward with new office projects. Even so, some real estate executives warn that some of those projects could be postponed, especially if the developer lacks an anchor tenant, and new buildings may not rise over the West Side railyards for years.

Over the past five years, developers have largely ignored office projects in favor of erecting lucrative residential towers, even though the destruction of the World Trade Center sharply reduced available office space. In that time, developers built only 16 commercial buildings with a total of 14.4 million square feet, according to the Real Estate Board of New York.

As companies expanded, space became tight and commercial rents soared, with many prime buildings now fetching more than $100 a square foot in annual rent. So developers are once again putting up office towers, some without an anchor tenant. There are four towers under construction, with a combined total of 6.7 million square feet, and another four towers with 11.3 million square feet planned.

SJP Properties is building a 1.1-million-square-foot tower at Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street. To the north, Boston Properties is excavating a site between 54th and 55th Streets for a 39-story, 1-million-square-foot building that is scheduled to be finished in 2010. A year from now, Boston Properties and its partner, Related Companies, plan to start a second tower, with 900,000 square feet, at Eighth Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets.

“We obviously continue to feel good about west Midtown,” said Robert E. Selsam, senior vice president of Boston Properties.

At the World Trade Center site, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is building the 2.6-million-square-foot Freedom Tower, and JPMorgan Chase has signed a deal to erect a 1.3-million-square-foot building nearby. And on Church Street, the developer Larry Silverstein is beginning work on what will be three 60-story skyscrapers with a total of 6.2 million square feet.


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/21/ny...l?ref=nyregion
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Old February 21st, 2008, 10:53 AM   #1334
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City’s Sweeping Rezoning Plan for 125th Street Has Many in Harlem Concerned


By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS
Published: February 21, 2008

The street may not be much to look at now, say people who grew up in Harlem during the 1950s and 1960s, but back then, 125th Street seemed like the bustling center of the world.

At Moore’s book shop, a lawyer named Thurgood Marshall was often seen browsing through volumes of African-American history, while at the corner of Lenox Avenue, Malcolm X could be heard proselytizing as a young boxer named Cassius Clay, later known as Muhammad Ali, listened intently among the crowd.

Up the street, Aretha Franklin or Stevie Wonder performed periodically at the Apollo Theater, and Fidel Castro once conferred with Nikita Khrushchev over lunch at the Hotel Theresa. Blumstein’s may not have been Macy’s, but it did have black mannequins and, at Christmastime, a black Santa Claus.

The street has long been in decline, though national chain stores like Starbucks have taken an interest in it more recently. Now the Bloomberg administration has proposed the most sweeping zoning changes for the street since 1961, when there was a citywide rezoning and 125th Street was at the heart of African-American cultural life.

The rezoning, which is expected to be approved by the city’s Planning Commission in the coming weeks, is part of package of city plans that call for the thoroughfare to be transformed from a low-rise boulevard lined with businesses like hair salons and buffet-style soul food restaurants into a regional business hub with office towers as high as 29 stories and more than 2,000 new market-rate condominium apartments, as well as hotels, bookstores, art galleries and nightclubs.

The corridor between 124th and 126th Streets from Broadway to Second Avenue would be rezoned, which could ultimately force out more than 70 small businesses and their 975 workers and might lead to the razing of some of the street’s century-old buildings.


Although the city has said it will not require any residents to move out, the proposal has caused widespread fear that thousands of longtime African-American residents will eventually have to move as the area becomes more expensive. Even now, some apartments in Harlem sell for $2 million or more.

Still, even opponents of the plan agree that new development on 125th Street is necessary to reduce unemployment and to improve the area’s $17,452 median household income, which is about one-third the rest of Manhattan, according to a 1999 Planning Commission report.

What opponents say they do not want is for the street, which has been an incubator for pioneering arts and social movements, to be turned into another Manhattan cookie-cutter strip with expensive shops and shaded by skyscrapers.

“One hundred twenty-fifth Street, like everywhere in the world, must change,” said Dabney Montgomery, 84, an informal community advocate who has lived in Harlem for 52 years. “But we are interested in change that will benefit the people of Harlem. The rezoning would make 125th Street into another 86th Street. That, we don’t want.”

Amanda M. Burden, chairwoman of the Planning Commission, who since her appointment in 2002 has presided over some of the most extensive rezoning undertaken for two generations, said she was not intent on making 125th Street another generic boulevard.

Ms. Burden said she had spent more time studying the 125th Street proposal — including attending 30 to 40 meetings and walking the street on several occasions — than she had on any other project, including Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and Columbia University’s expansion in western Harlem.

“It’s one of the most renowned streets in the world, and there was a great time on 125th Street when people came from all over the world to enjoy its night life and culture,” she said. “It’s not what it was.”

Last year, the American Planning Association named 125th Street one of the “10 Great Streets in America,” calling it the “Main Street of black American culture.”

The street, the group said, has “managed to maintain a strong identity through periods of tremendous population growth and infrastructural strain, disinvestment and urban renewal.”

But residents, who often call Harlem a village and refer to 125th Street as its Main Street, say they worry that its personality will not survive rezoning.

“This would be signing Harlem’s death warrant,” said Craig Schley, executive director of a group called VOTE People, which opposes the rezoning. “It is part of the continuing ‘Katrina-fication’ of Harlem, carried out with a pen instead of a hurricane. They intend to remove people in this area, plain and simple.”

Community Board 10, which represents central Harlem, voted against the 24-block rezoning last year, saying that the plan includes far too little housing that most Harlem residents could afford and that any new housing should be placed on 124th and 126th Streets because it would harm the commercial character of 125th.

The community board also said the proposed 29-story height limit was too high and would cause cultural fixtures like the Apollo Theater and the Studio Museum of Harlem to be dwarfed. There is currently no height limit on the street, but building height became an issue recently when developers unveiled proposals for skyscrapers along the street, including a 21-story building for Major League Baseball.

“Harlem is one of the few places left in the city where you can see the sky,” said Franc Perry, the community board chairman. “You’re able to get some fresh air and see the sun, and it’s not blocked by high rises.”

City Councilwoman Inez E. Dickens, who represents central Harlem, said she was concerned about portions of the plan but believed the need for change was paramount. Ms. Dickens’s position is critical to the prospects of the rezoning because most other council members would be unlikely to oppose her when the plan reaches the City Council.

“It is quite clear to me that in doing nothing, our village loses,” she said. “Keeping 125th Street as is only satisfies the status quo. If we are truly to affect the unemployment rate, especially amongst the young black and Latino males of our community, then we must pursue our involvement in inevitable change.”

The street, which in recent years has emerged from a years-long decline symbolized by boarded-up storefronts, has served as both Harlem’s Main Street and as a cultural touchstone for leading figures, including Bill Clinton, who has an office there.

During a recent weekend day, with temperatures hovering around freezing, members of the Communist Party were recruiting on a corner of 125th Street while volunteers for various presidential campaigns were handing out fliers on the other side of the street. A group of Black Hebrew Israelites was denouncing white people near the Apollo, vendors were selling books, incense and DVDs they had laid out on the sidewalk, and a man opened his coat to display watches for sale.

Rap, gospel and soul music came from speakers set outside the street’s small stores as visitors from Europe and Japan riding on red tour buses took it all in.

While only a few years ago pedestrians on the street had been almost exclusively black or Latino, there are now significant numbers of whites and Asians who have moved to Harlem to find apartments more affordable than in much of the rest of Manhattan.

Ms. Burden, the planning chairwoman, said the city’s proposals would help maintain the street’s vitality and culture by requiring large developers to set aside ground-floor space for arts and entertainment uses and by encouraging smaller developers to do the same through an incentive program.

Ms. Burden played down the notion of widespread displacement, saying that more than 90 percent of the housing in the area was “rent protected,” including the neighborhood’s several large public housing complexes.

The idea that the street needed development hit her, she said, when she attended a recent Roberta Flack concert at the Apollo with a friend who works on the street.

After the concert ended, Ms. Burden said, she asked her friend where they should eat. “Downtown,” the friend replied.

“There should be a million different eateries around there, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to frame and control growth on 125th Street,” Ms. Burden said. “The energy on the street is just remarkable, and it’s got to stay that way.”


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/21/ny...l?ref=nyregion
I'd love to see Harlem. The area has created so much modern history, and given rise to many powerful figures. It's sad that the epicenter of the black rights movement has gone into decline, it's not like the Black Panthers are all over the streets anymore. I just hope this development will stay true to the spirit of the area, and embrace the black community with its history, rather than gentrify the area so that white middle class yuppies can move in.
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Old February 21st, 2008, 10:42 PM   #1335
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http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...ry-goes-condo/
February 21, 2008, 10:32 am

A Notorious Harlem Shooting Gallery Goes Condo

By Timothy Williams


The 91-unit luxury condominium complex SoHa118 will be opening soon in Harlem, in a part of the neighborhood that was, until recently, a drug trade center. (Photo: G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times)

It wasn’t long ago that if someone who lived downtown mentioned needing to make a trip to the corner of Frederick Douglass Boulevard and 118th Street, it was likely that he or she was not making the trip to buy groceries. That’s because no grocery stores were near there.

Until recently, Frederick Douglass Boulevard, sometimes called Eighth Avenue, had been one of the centers of Harlem’s heroin trade since at least the late 1940s.

The thoroughfare is featured prominently in Claude Brown’s autobiography about ghetto life in the 1940s and 1950s, “Manchild in the Promised Land.” In one passage, Mr. Brown observed: “The junkies were committing almost all the crimes in Harlem. They were snatching pocketbooks. If a cat took out a $20 bill on Eighth Avenue in broad daylight, he could be killed.”

Later, the same area was the focal point of Frank Lucas’s heroin operation. Mr. Lucas, portrayed by Denzel Washington in the recent film “American Gangster,” has told interviewers that he would often sit unnoticed in a beat-up Chevrolet he called “Nellybelle” at the corner of 116th Street and Eighth Avenue and watch junkies nodding off mid-stride, their bodies suspended in motion like a scene from a science fiction movie.

Such sights might have made Harlem notorious, but they pleased Mr. Lucas because it meant his heroin was particularly potent. And that meant turn-away business for brands he would sell labeled as “KKK,” “Could Be Fatal” and “Harlem Hijack.”

In 1979, David Anthony Kennedy, a son of Robert F. Kennedy, was found after having been mugged in what police described as a shooting gallery at 116th Street and Eighth Avenue in a place called the Shelton Plaza Hotel. Mr. Kennedy was not charged with a crime. He died of an overdose of cocaine and other drugs in 1984.

Cut to Harlem 2008 and the corner of Frederick Douglass Boulevard and 118th Street.
A 91-unit condominium complex called SoHa118 — short for “South Harlem” and 118th Street — is nearly completed, but not yet open.

Still, in a supposedly tight real estate market for luxury units, just 27 units remain unsold. The building features apartments with terraces, washers and dryers and mini-backyards with fences.

“If you haven’t checked out South Harlem, or SoHa, now is the time to do so,” says the condominium’s soha118.com Web site. “The people, the culture, the cafes, the nightlife, the energy. South Harlem is happening, and nowhere will capture its essence better than this exciting new condominium, SoHa118.”

The 15-story building has apartments that range in price from a $240,000 two-bedroom “affordable” unit (all of which have been sold out for two years) to a $3.5 million penthouse with three terraces whose combined 800 square feet are as large as many one-bedroom Manhattan apartments.

Three apartments have been sold for $2 million or more, said the building’s sales associate, Michelle Mizrahi, of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

In fact, Ms. Mizrahi goes so far to say that the street, once well-known for its heroin-addled zombies, is now called “the Fifth Avenue of Harlem.”

“We definitely believe it’s the best avenue in Harlem,” she said.

In addition to prices that are often more than 50 percent lower than other parts of Manhattan, Ms. Mizrahi (no relation to the designer) said that SoHa118 is a good deal because all tenants will receive a 25-year real estate tax abatement under the city’s 421A plan because of the 39 apartments in the building that have been deemed “affordable.”

(As an aside, Ms. Mizrahi asked that any mention of these “affordable” units include the proviso that they are no longer available — in fact, when they were on the market in 2006, there were 4,000 applicants for them, she said. The interview and selection process for those apartments is continuing; none of the successful applicants have been picked yet.)

A majority of buyers have been young professional couples from the Upper West Side, she said –– and oftentimes, the wife is pregnant and the family is looking for more space.

The building has a 24-hour doorman and a live-in superintendent, and each unit has a tiny color video intercom at the door that allows tenants to not only see who might be at the front desk calling up, but also to peek around the corners of the building, via the building’s security cameras. The system also allows the doorman to leave text messages, like “Your dry cleaning is waiting downstairs.”

The floors are Brazilian cherry wood (not environmentally friendly perhaps, but they sure are pretty), the units have dishwashers and most of those remaining have washers and dryers as well.

Downstairs, there is a big, well-lighted laundry room, alongside a “media” room that has a flat-screen plasma television monitor and movie-style seats. There is also a children’s play room and a gym with exercise bikes, weights and treadmills.

Some of the apartments have Jacuzzis and panoramic views from the George Washington Bridge to Midtown. Because there are so few tall buildings in Harlem, sunlight is unimpeded.

The building’s pièce de résistance is the $3.5 million penthouse, which contractors were still working on today, and will probably not be finished for two to three months.
Once complete, the 3,500-square-foot apartment will have a gas fireplace; four full and two half bathrooms; subzero kitchen appliances; and a wraparound terrace with views of Central and Morningside Parks. Ms. Mizrahi calls it a “celebrity apartment.”

Mr. Lucas, who claims to have been making $1 million a day from his heroin operation on 116th Street, will apparently not be among those vying for the place. When he was released from prison in 1991, Mr. Lucas found that after the government had confiscated his money and property, he could not even afford to buy a pack of cigarettes.
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 03:46 AM   #1336
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http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...ine/#more-2099
February 20, 2008, 10:21 am

Switching Brands in the Skyline

By David W. Dunlap


The General Motors building, left, as it appeared soon after construction, seen from Columbus Circle. At right, the building, now known as the Newsweek Building or 3 Columbus Circle, as it appears today, with the CNN rooftop sign. (Drawing by J. W. Golinkin in “Towers of Manhattan,” 1928, and photo by David W. Dunlap/The New York Times)


The General Motors Building as it looks today from 57th Street and Broadway. (Photo: David W. Dunlap/The New York Times)


Renamed 3 Columbus Circle, this is what the building will look like with a new glass curtain wall. (Photo: Gensler for the Moinian Group)


The base of the General Motors Building was originally a three-story structure called the Colonnade Building, completed in 1923. Its monumental Ionic columns are still visible today, but would disappear in the pending renovation. (Photos: David W. Dunlap/The New York Times)

.

How freakin backward. Raping the beauty from this building. This kind of shit happened in the 1970's. This is anything but progression.
Goodbye to another part of NYC history.
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 06:31 PM   #1337
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why they dont keep the "podium part" like it is-----historical looking-----and only reclad the upper part of the building, this would combine futurism and history.....i also think that the contrast would look very good.
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 08:17 PM   #1338
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That would still be an insult but better than covering it all up. The base seems to be the most important part of this building but it flows with the rest of the building's stone look. Covering it with glass would clash with the building's base.
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 11:05 PM   #1339
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http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_25...tysignson.html
Volume 20, Number 41 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Feb. 22 - 28 , 2008

University signs on to a pact to reduce its impact

By Albert Amateau


N.Y.U. is thinking about building a tower over its Coles Sports Center at the corner of Houston and Mercer Sts.

It could be the end of years of bitterness between New York University and its Village neighbors.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and New York University President John Sexton on Jan. 30 signed what they characterized as “historic town-gown principles” that set guidelines for the future expansion of N.Y.U. for the next 25 years and take into account neighborhood concerns about the scale of development.

The planning principles are the result of more than a year of meetings between N.Y.U., local elected officials and community associations in Stringer’s Community Task Force on N.Y.U. development.

“Everyone came to the table with an agenda but also with an open mind,” said Stringer. “That allowed us to hammer out a set of principles that will serve the university’s need to expand to meet its academic needs and local residents’ desire for real input into development that directly affects their lives and their neighborhood,” he said at the Jan. 30 ceremony in the N.Y.U. School of Law across the street from the southeast corner of Washington Square Park.

“I believe that today we are turning a corner toward a new and harmonious relationship between N.Y.U. and its neighborhood,” said Sexton. “This is a step to correct some of the errors of the past on both sides. Trust has begun to develop.”

Under the new planning principles, the university, which projects a need for 6 million more square feet of new space for the coming years to 2031, will pursue reuse of existing buildings before building new ones and will actively pursue academic and residential centers outside the Washington Square area. In addition, the principles emphasize contextual development and commit to mitigating the impact of construction on the neighborhood. The principles also call for community consultation and for N.Y.U. support of community sustainability, including preservation of local retail business and affordable housing efforts.

Elected officials who took part in the drafting of the principles include State Senators Tom Duane and Martin Connor, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Councilmembers Alan Gerson and Rosie Mendez, Assemblymembers Deborah Glick and Brian Kavanagh and Congressmember Jerrold Nadler.

Community Boards 2 and 3 were involved in developing the principles, along with the American Institute of Architects, the Carmine St. Block Association, the Coalition to Save the East Village, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, the Soho Alliance and the Noho Neighborhood Association. Other endorsers of the principles are the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce and the NoHo NY and the Village Alliance business improvement districts.

“We on Community Board 2 have been grappling with N.Y.U. for 25 years, and this agreement may mean we’re beginning a more harmonious relationship,” said Brad Hoylman, C.B. 2 chairperson. He recalled the conflict seven years ago over the demolition of the Poe House on W. Third St. to make way for the Law School annex. Hoylman noted that Sexton, then the Law School’s dean, was instrumental in preserving the Poe House’s facade in the Law School annex.

Andrew Berman, executive director of G.V.S.H.P., commended Stringer for organizing the Community Task Force and creating a dialogue between the public and N.Y.U.

“Change is long overdue, and while not yet providing final resolution to all the society’s concerns about N.Y.U.’s ongoing expansion, we recognize that this is a first step which will hopefully lead to further progress,” Berman said. “We also expect that N.Y.U. will be accountable to not just the letter but the spirit of these principles.”

Sexton said N.Y.U. is committed to maintaining New York City as the world’s greatest city and the city’s place as “an idea capital” of the nation and the world.

N.Y.U.’s president contrasted the space that N.Y.U. has with the space available to Columbia University. The Columbia campus provides between 230 and 240 square feet of space per student, while N.Y.U. provides 95 square feet of space per student, Sexton said.

“But we’ll make it work in a harmonious relationship with the community where we work and live,” he said.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 10:06 AM   #1340
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so much going on with new york blows me a way its still one of the best skyline that is going to get better and better
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