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Old March 12th, 2008, 03:59 AM   #1361
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I would rather have Manhattan residents using mass transit rather than having cars, b/c they really don't need them.
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Old March 15th, 2008, 04:09 AM   #1362
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http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_254/mixeduse.html
Volume 20, Number 44 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | MARCH 14 - 20, 2008

Mixed Use

By Patrick Hedlund

Luxury Katz

A lot has been made of one of the Lower East Side’s newest developments, The Ludlow, a 23-story luxury residential building at Ludlow and E. Houston Sts. that has leased more than half its units after opening in September.

Advertisements for the 243-unit development — which invite tenants to “Live like a Rockefeller” and “Party like a rock star” — have helped the building reach the 60 percent-leased mark after sellers began offering incentives for residents to offset a slow opening.

The Ludlow includes studios, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms starting at $2,890 per month and going up to $5,800, with some units featuring home office space. According to Erik Rose, vice president of real estate for developer Edison Properties, only one one-bedroom with a home office component remains, while all the studio/home office units have been leased.

Incentives such as a month’s free rent, suspended broker fees, free moving services and free storage have been offered to lure potential tenants, reportedly as a way to combat any possible ill effects of an unpredictable market.

The luxe high-rise sits across the street from the historic Katz’s Deli in what has become a hotbed for development and nightlife activity. Amenities at the building include a fitness center and yoga studio, a multimedia lounge and billiards center, 24-hour concierge and valet service, common roof deck and building-wide wireless Internet service. Everything Rockefeller/rock star could ask for.


Courting the cognoscenti

District, the swanky 10-story condo development at 111 Fulton St. wrought through a partnership of design and nightlife impresarios, announced recently that over 75 percent of its units have been sold since hitting the market six months ago.

The 163-unit building — which has been “discreetly marketed and popularized primarily through the buzz among cognoscenti familiar with the works of renowned international interior designer Andres Escobar, lifestyle doyenne Amy Sacco and award-winning architect Karl Fischer,” to quote its verbose press release — contains one-bedroom to penthouse units priced between $515,000 and $3.395 million.

The amenity-stacked project, marketed by JC DeNiro and developed by Leviev Fulton Club, L.L.C., includes a fitness center with indoor pool, 16-jet spa and cold plunge; a screening room; a lounge/library with fireplace and billiards table; and a 12,000-square-foot roof terrace with panoramic views, four lighted reflecting pools, chaise lounges and eight cabanas.

Interior aficionado Escobar and nightlife maven Sacco lend their name cachet to Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev’s effort to court the Financial District’s increasingly upscale gentry, although Mixed Use wonders how much rooftop “reflecting” high-end tenants will be able to enjoy with the seemingly endless amount of construction work on Fulton St.


McSam hits Water

Hotel magnate Sam Chang — he of the semi-eponymous McSam Hotel Group—has scooped up the five-story property at 6-12 Water St., between Moore and Broad Sts.

According to reports, the prolific hotelier who has battled Downtown residents over the years purchased the 21,000-square-foot property for $27 million, which fittingly for McSam includes a two-story McDonald’s restaurant on the building’s ground floor.

A future hotel would add to the steady stream of new projects announced over the next few years in Lower Manhattan, with total rooms expected to double and nearly 20 new Downtown projects under construction or announced.
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Old March 15th, 2008, 10:58 PM   #1363
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The 16th through 57th floors of 20 Exchange Place are being converted into residential space. As partmof this conversion, the building's exterior is being restored, including cleaning the building's bricks, which had turned black during the building's life, to their original white colour.
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Old March 15th, 2008, 10:58 PM   #1364
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/16/re...ref=realestate
A Barometer in Williamsburg

By JOSH BARBANEL
Published: March 16, 2008


A rendering of the Edge in Williamsburg

WHAT housing turmoil? Despite a rising inventory of unsold condominiums in Brooklyn, one of the largest new condominium projects in recent memory is about to go on sale at the Edge, two glass and concrete towers along the Williamsburg waterfront, about a half mile north of the Williamsburg Bridge.

The project’s success — or failure — in selling its 575 apartments in one 15-story and one 30-story tower of blue glass facing a new pier, a new park and the Manhattan skyline may be a good barometer of the state of the New York real estate market over the next year or more.

On the one hand, the developers say they have come up with the right mix of apartments (most with balconies or terraces), views and amenities (pool, spa, fitness center, lounges) to capture the imagination of younger buyers who are gravitating toward the industrial heart of Williamsburg.

On the other, the developers postponed the start of a sales campaign they had originally penciled in for last September after problems surfaced in the subprime mortgage market and buyers suddenly became afraid to make a commitment.

Sales at the Edge will begin in early April.

“Obviously, in general, the housing market has been under pressure,” said Jeffrey E. Levine, the principal of Douglaston Development, which is putting up the towers as part of a project that will eventually include 1,085 market-rate condominiums, 347 subsidized rental apartments, parking for 700 cars and a retail complex.

But Mr. Levine said the Williamsburg waterfront and Long Island City, Queens, have captured the imagination of “younger people — Generation X, echo boomers, the children of the baby boom.” Many are buying their first apartments and looking to parents to help with down payments, he said.

At the Edge, the developers have come up with a mix of prices, about $950 per square foot, that average nearly 20 percent below the average price per square foot in Manhattan (though above average prices in Harlem and Washington Heights).

Mr. Levine and the brokers marketing the building, the Developers Group of Brooklyn, have learned some lessons from the experiences of the other large waterfront development next door, the Toll Brothers’ Northside Piers.

Sales on that project began in early 2007, and 70 percent of the 180 apartments have been sold in its first 29-story glass tower, now under construction. But last year, Toll Brothers cut prices on some apartments with limited views and some larger, more expensive apartments.

“The Edge has obviously learned from our experiences there, and so have we,” said David Von Spreckelsen, a senior vice president who oversees the Toll Brothers’ New York office.

He said the second phase of Northside Piers would have more studios and one-bedrooms — so far the sweet spot in the Williamsburg market — and fewer two- and three-bedroom apartments. More apartments in the next phase will have river views, he said.

Brokers say the rising inventories in Brooklyn have caused some sales to slow and some projects to cut prices, but other projects have continued to sell well. They attribute much of the glut to listings by less experienced developers of small buildings without river views. Still, prices remain far higher than they were in Manhattan four or five years ago, and many buyers feel priced out.

At the Edge, apartments were designed in a wide range of sizes and prices. Studios are $420,000 to $630,000, and one-bedrooms $650,000 to $885,000. The prices for two-bedrooms range from $670,000, for a particularly small unit, to $2.29 million. The most expensive three-bedroom apartment is listed at $2.83 million.

But Mr. Von Spreckelsen said the competition at the Edge could actually help sales at Northside Piers, by creating a “critical mass” to convince buyers who wonder whether the new Williamsburg is there yet.

The first building at Northside Piers is due to open this spring, while the Edge is scheduled to open in mid-2009. “In this type of market, people who come into their sales office are not going to buy the first thing they see,” Mr. Von Spreckelsen said. “They will come and take a look at us, too.”
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Old March 15th, 2008, 11:37 PM   #1365
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NEW YORK | Projects & Construction

IS THIS JOB LISTED HERE?.. couldn't find it

http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index...id=1&aid=79456

NEW YORK, March 15 (Reuters) - A construction crane fell on a residential building in Manhattan on Saturday, killing at least two people and injuring several others, the New York City Fire Department said.

A Reuters photographer on the scene said the crane had completely crushed a building of several stories and cars on the street were also under rubble. The crane also damaged some neighboring buildings.

A Fire Department spokesman said two people were confirmed dead and a third was in critical condition in hospital. Others were injured and the rescue operation was ongoing.

The building was a small residential building between two other taller buildings on 50th Street in Midtown Manhattan between 1st and 2nd Avenues. The crane appeared to have fallen from a construction site to the north.

Local TV station NY1 broadcast an amateur video taken shortly after the collapse which showed the building completely enveloped in what appeared to be a cloud of brownish dust.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 10:23 AM   #1366
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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23649318/



Neighborhood residents said they had complained to the city several times about the construction at the site, saying crews worked illegal hours and the building was going up too fast.

give me a F***** break!!!
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Old March 16th, 2008, 05:39 PM   #1367
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Does anyone know what building was being constructed?
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Old March 16th, 2008, 10:04 PM   #1368
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303 East 51st Street

thread on SSP: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=143146
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Old March 18th, 2008, 08:57 AM   #1369
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What a shame. What can we expect construction wise from the tower, from now?
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Old March 19th, 2008, 06:22 AM   #1370
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Medusah View Post
What a shame. What can we expect construction wise from the tower, from now?
a long big ass delay
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Old March 19th, 2008, 11:18 PM   #1371
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a few weeks atleast, but probably longer i think
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Old March 21st, 2008, 10:12 PM   #1372
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http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_25...kandwhite.html
Volume 20, Number 45 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | MARCH 21 - 27, 2008

In black & White, neighbors say plan is 15 feet too high

By Julie Shapiro


Downtown Express photo by Shoshanna Bettencourt

Champion Parking wants to change the zoning for this block to allow for a 120-foot building, but neighbors and Community Board 1 think 105 feet should be the limit.


On a block in North Tribeca, residents and a developer are in agreement on almost everything — but no one is willing to budge on the details.

Both the neighbors and the developer of 84 White St. want to allow residential uses on the block, bounded by Broadway, Lafayette, White and Walker Sts. That block is zoned as a manufacturing district but has been primarily residential and commercial for years, and everyone would stand to benefit from a rezoning: some residents because their property values would go up and bring in more stores for neighbors, and developers, because they could build residential units without getting a variance.

But what the neighbors don’t like is the possible height of the new building at 84 White St., over what is now a parking lot. Under the proposed new zoning, developers could build a structure as tall as 120 feet. Champion Parking currently owns the lot and is looking to rezone it, but they have not decided whether they will build there or sell the land, said Joanna Stoica, of DID Architects, which Champion hired to work on the zoning application.

As part of the application, Stoica created a schematic design of the biggest possible building that would be allowed under the rezoning to a C6-2A district. She showed a nine-story building 120 feet tall, but she emphasized that this is just a possibility for the site, not an actual plan.

Neighbors say a building that tall would be out of context with the neighborhood, blocking light and air. Community Board 1 and at least some nearby neighbors want to see the potential building limited to 105 feet — a seemingly small difference, but neither side wants to give an inch.

Yvette Georges Deeton, who lives at 85 Walker St., is in favor of the rezoning but only with height limits.

“The developer wants to build at a height and bulk completely out of character with the entire block,” she said. “The construction alone will disrupt our lives for a very long time [but the building’s] height and bulk will disrupt our lives forever.”

After listening to several neighbors, C.B. 1’s Tribeca Committee recommended limiting the block’s F.A.R. (floor-to-area ratio) to 5.5, rather than the 6.02 allowed in a C6-2A zone, which would curtail the building’s height. Once the resolution goes to the full board at the end of March, the Department of City Planning will review the application.

Stoica is frustrated with the neighborhood opposition, especially when people suggest that the new building have lower ceilings to reduce its height. That’s not fair, Stoica said, because the surrounding buildings all have high ceilings.

The developers have already compromised, Stoica added, by not requesting rezoning to a C6-4A district, with an allowable F.A.R. of 10, which would permit much bulkier buildings. Another C6-4A district, with taller structures, is just to the south of 84 White St., Stoica said.

“We are not out of scale,” Stoica said. “We didn’t ask for any variance to go higher under the new zoning. We didn’t ask for any extra floor area or height.”

The Tribeca Committee initially agreed with Stoica and approved the zoning change in February. However, after residents and building owners complained about the potential building’s height at February’s full board meeting, the board sent the resolution back to the Tribeca Committee, where it was heard March 12.

The board’s compromise — rezoning the block but advocating a 5.5 F.A.R. instead of the traditional 6.02 — is unorthodox. City Planning usually does not depart from the definitions of zoning districts, though it is not forbidden to do so. A City Planning spokesperson would not comment on specifics of the application.

Deeton’s father, a painter named Paul Georges, bought 85 Walker St. with several friends in 1969. They created one of Tribeca’s first artist lofts before the word “Tribeca” existed, Deeton said.

Deeton calls her deceased father’s studio “a light-drenched space still in a bare-raftered funky state,” displaying Georges’s work and books. Visitors come from around the United States and Europe to see “the breathtaking [studio] with a 22-foot ceiling height under south-lit skylights,” Deeton said. She and her husband, who paints in the studio, their two young daughters, and her 86-year-old mother live in the building.

Deeton is most concerned that the new building will block sun from the skylights, which provided the setting and inspiration for her father’s work. If the building is limited to 105 feet tall, Deeton thinks the skylights will stay lit.

The rezoning of the block mirrors what the board is trying to do across the rest of North Tribeca: make the neighborhood’s zoning match Tribeca’s increasingly residential uses. C.B. 1 had even hoped to include this block when began working on rezoning North Tribeca, but City Planning repeatedly refused, said Carole DeSaram, chairperson of the Tribeca Committee.

She thinks the city sees the block between Lafayette and Broadway as more part of the Chinatown and Civic Center areas, where buildings are taller, than as part of North Tribeca.

“It’s a whole different situation over there,” DeSaram said.

Just to the northwest of the block under consideration, C.B. 1 is proposing another C6-2A district, but with a lower F.A.R. of 5.0, as part of the Tribeca North rezoning. The reason C.B. 1 was able to request a lower F.A.R. in that area is because it is within the bounds of the Tribeca North special purpose district, which allows City Planning to mix and match the details of zoning labels. The White St. block, on the other hand, is not in a special zone, so City Planning wouldn’t ordinarily modify the F.A.R.

Michael Levine, director of land use and planning for C.B. 1, saw the rezoning as a good opportunity for the community.

“All [the neighbors] will benefit — the property value will increase,” he said. Now, the only residential uses allowed are artist live-work spaces, but the new zoning would permit condos.

Mary Habstritt, whose husband, Gerald Weinstein, owns 80 White St. and 79 Walker St., appreciates the benefits but is wary of changes to the block. She estimated that 75 percent of the block falls into the Tribeca East Historic District and said two sides of the district directly border the 84 White St. lot.

“It really affects the block’s character,” she said of potential development. “But we could live with 105 feet.”

There are no renderings for the project yet, but only schematics showing the maximum bulk the developer could build, which Stoica would not release. Champion Parking, which hired her, declined to comment.

While Stoica is waiting to hear from City Planning, she is optimistic about the project’s future.

“We thought the zoning district proposed is the best for the area, and we think City Planning thinks the same, but we’ll see,” Stoica said. “It’s a long process.”

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Old March 22nd, 2008, 11:55 PM   #1373
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/23/re...ref=realestate
In NoHo, a Quiet Block Starts to Stir

By CHRISTOPHER GRAY
Published: March 23, 2008


Left, The Office for Metropolitan History; Right, Annie Tritt for The New York Times

THE LOFTS OF NOHO Nos. 35-43 Great Jones Street, between Lafayette Street and the Bowery, in 1936, left, and the same block today.



The Office for Metropolitan History

Most of 30 Great Jones, above in 1942, has been torn down, below.



Annie Tritt for The New York Times

WHILE Bond Street in NoHo is a wild hip party of trendy new architecture, Great Jones Street, one block north, has been as quiet as a library after closing hour. Now, the slumbering block between Lafayette Street and the Bowery is waking up.

Landmark designation is pending, but it will come too late to save a nifty little 1898 building at 30 Great Jones.

Bond, Bleecker and Great Jones Streets were among New York’s most prestigious addresses in the 1840s — the aristocratic Philip Hone, a mayor of New York and its most famous diarist, lived at 1 Great Jones, near Broadway.

Fashion soon moved uptown, and by the 1880s this block of Great Jones was populated by wagon, coffin and hat makers.

In the 1880s, a wave of development spread through the area north of Houston Street. These new buildings were of brick and terra cotta, different from the simple classical-style iron-front buildings of SoHo of the 1860s and 1870s.

Some had a “city beautiful” character, like 39 Great Jones Street, built by Joseph Buttenwieser and designed in 1895 by Brunner & Tryon, with a crisp Renaissance styling.

An unusual addition to the street was the stocky, brooding building at 37 Great Jones, designed in 1917 by Lewis Patton and used as a warehouse in the 1930s by the Philco Radio and Television Corporation.

Even then, there were plenty of the old-type businesses around. In 1936, the police arrested Louis Milstein at his shop at 31 Great Jones. He was accused of retrieving used hats and remaking them to sell as new — The New York Times referred to it as the "ashcan hat racket.” He later entered a guilty plea.

For a seven-story loft at 47 Great Jones, Cleverdon & Putzel mixed in Romanesque forms. The building was designed in 1895 for Bernhard Mayer, an investor. There, the firm framed the fourth and fifth floors in a mesmerizing matrix of Celtic swirls and lines.

It is not known where the firm’s partners trained, but by the early 1890s Robert Cleverdon and Joseph Putzel had established a flourishing practice in loft buildings of the type found throughout NoHo,

Cleverdon & Putzel also designed 30 Great Jones Street, which stood until recently in solitude on the north side of the street, a skinny weed of masonry sprouting up between two Edison parking lots.

Designed in 1897, also for Mr. Mayer, 30 Great Jones was glowing orangy-buff brick and terra cotta, with two-story-high columns and intricate ornamentation at the upper floors. By 1900, Jacob Haymann had a business making boys’ clothing there.

In October, Edison Properties, which owns 30 Great Jones, filed an application with the city’s Buildings Department for a permit to alter the building. By November, the work was under way, and by last Wednesday, only the bottom two stories remained out of the original eight.

Michael Field, a lawyer at Edison Properties, said that no one at the company would comment on the project.

No laws were broken in the demolition of the building, and it is hardly the first time such a thing has happened in New York, nor will it be the last.

The building stands in an area that is being proposed as an extension of the NoHo Historic District, a proposal now before the Landmark Preservation Commission. The historic district, designated in 1999, runs roughly from Houston to Eighth Street and from Broadway to Lafayette Street.

Since 2004, preservation lobbyists have been promoting an extension to include Bond and Great Jones east of Lafayette. If the extension of the district is approved, the landmarks commission could decide to require the preservation of what is left of 30 Great Jones.

Or it could allow the final demolition of Cleverdon & Putzel’s charming little creation, hardly a great work of architecture but the kind of building a historic district can protect.

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Old March 23rd, 2008, 12:06 AM   #1374
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/23/ar....html?ref=arts
Nice Tower! Who’s Your Architect?

By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF
Published: March 23, 2008


Andrew Rodriguez


The HL23 tower, planned for a site on 23rd Street in Chelsea, is the kind of commission Neil Denari has being waiting for his entire working life. Mr. Denari, a Los Angeles architect who once ran the Southern California Institute of Architecture, has labored on the profession’s periphery for decades. But because of a recent demand for name-brand residential architecture in New York, he is finally getting a chance to test his ideas in the real world.

Photo: Neil Denari



The Glass House building at Spring and Washington Streets was designed by Annabel Selldorf and Philip Johnson.

Neil Denari's building is part of an eruption of luxury residential towers already constructed or being designed by the profession’s most celebrated luminaries. The financial markets are in an ominous roil. But even if only a few more of these buildings are completed, the final effect could be the greatest transformation of the city’s physical identity since the 1960s.

Photo: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times



A rendering of a building on Mercer Street designed by Jean Nouvel.

Bold and formally elaborate — some would say showy — these buildings reflect a mix of attitudes and styles that the city has never seen. They also reveal an unmistakable shift in the appetites and aspirations of an elite group of New Yorkers for whom an apartment’s architectural pedigree has become a new form of status symbol. Decades from now these preening, sometimes beautiful, sometimes obtrusive towers could well be the last testament to this century’s first gilded age.



Herzog & De Meuron designed 40 Bond Street which was developed by Ian Schrager.

When workers broke ground two years ago on Herzog & de Meuron’s 40 Bond in the East Village, the building was hailed as one of the city’s first serious residential projects by an international celebrity firm. Today the cast green glass facade feels slick and mannered. An elaborate gate meant to resemble a three-dimensional work of graffiti is an embarrassing effort to tap into a bygone underground scene.

Photo: Iwan Baan



Designs for Frank Gehry’s Beekman Street Tower.

The muscular forms of Frank Gehry’s 74-story Beekman Street Tower, being built near City Hall, are like the chiseled setbacks and crisp vertical lines of Rockefeller Center’s RCA tower and the neo-Classicism of Stalin-era Moscow. Yet its crinkled stainless steel is a wonder; as light flickers across the facade, it will seem to dissolve into rivulets of water.

Photo: Gehry Partners, LLP



A rendering for Tower Verre, Jean Nouvel’s 75-story condominium in Midtown Manhattan.

Similarly the slim, tapered form of Jean Nouvel’s 75-story condominium and hotel tower, planned for a site alongside the Museum of Modern Art on West 53rd Street, is a play on traditional New York skyscrapers like the Chrysler Building. The design of its taut glass skin suggests shards of glass falling from the sky. A weblike pattern of beams crisscross the exterior, as if the building were bracing itself against psychological and economic forces pressing in from all sides.

Photo: Jean Nouvel



Bernard Tschumi's Blue Building apartments on the Lower East Side.

Decorated in a checkerboard pattern of irregular blue and black windows, Bernard Tschumi’s recently completed Blue Building bulges out to one side as it rises above the surrounding tenements, as if trying to pack as much real estate as possible onto its Lower East Side lot. The effect of the distortions is that the building is constantly changing as you move around it, like an enormous piece of costume jewelry twinkling in the light.

Photo: John Marshall Mantel for The New York Times



Apartments on 48 Bond Street, designed by Deborah Berke and Associates.

In other cases, however, the seemingly noble aim of working within a neighborhood’s character leads to lackluster design. The scale and placement of the windows on the facade of Deborah Berke’s new limestone-and-steel apartment complex just across from 40 Bond, for example, does echo the neighboring buildings. But the results are tepid.

Photo: Deborak Berke and Associates



Julian Schnabel's building on West 11th Street.

The current infatuation with brand names has also opened up the profession to new and unexpected voices. It’s been a good while since I have written about a building as crudely cobbled together as Julian Schnabel’s Palazzo Chupi, which was completed last year on West 11th Street, for example. Still, the overblown scale and collision of styles have a refreshing bluntness; in some ways it’s closer in spirit to the vernacular architecture of the Far East, an atavistic approach that is a nice counterpoint to the hyper-modernity of so much contemporary work.

Photo: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times



Jean Nouvel's building at 40 Mercer Street.

The city has seen monuments to personal ostentation before. But for the most part, New York’s architectural achievements in the 20th century were either major civic buildings or monuments to corporate power. Today that balance has been reversed. The abundance of luxury apartment buildings and the wealth of talent enlisted proclaim their outsize significance. A generation from now we may look back at these condo buildings as our generation’s chief contribution to the city’s history: gorgeous tokens of a rampantly narcissistic age.

Photo: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times


THE HL23 tower, planned for a site on 23rd Street in Chelsea, is the kind of commission Neil Denari has being waiting for his entire working life. Mr. Denari, a Los Angeles architect who once ran the Southern California Institute of Architecture, has labored on the profession’s periphery for decades. But because of a recent demand for name-brand residential architecture in New York, he is finally getting a chance to test his ideas in the real world.

And Mr. Denari is not alone here. His building is part of an eruption of luxury residential towers already constructed or being designed by the profession’s most celebrated luminaries. In the last five years more than a dozen have been completed; maybe a dozen more are scheduled to break ground this year. They range from soaring, elaborately decorated towers by international celebrities like Jean Nouvel and Frank Gehry to smaller but equally ambitious architectural statements by lesser-known talents like Mr. Denari.

With the financial markets in an ominous roil, the realization of this boomlet is far from guaranteed. But even if only a few more are completed, the final effect of these buildings could be the greatest transformation in the city’s physical identity since the 1960s. Bold and formally elaborate — some would say showy — they reflect a mix of attitudes and styles that the city has never seen.

They also reveal an unmistakable shift in the appetites and aspirations of an elite group of New Yorkers for whom an apartment’s architectural pedigree has become a new form of status symbol. Rather than disappear behind the shielding bulwark of Park Avenue apartment houses or into anonymous loft buildings as previous generations of wealthy New Yorkers did, these residents want to live in structures that telegraph their wealth and uniqueness.

Decades from now these preening, sometimes beautiful, sometimes obtrusive towers could well be the last testament to this century’s first gilded age.

Manhattan has a long history of rich people wanting to live in the clouds, wrapped in new architectural marvels. When the city’s first luxury residential towers were built in the late 19th century, they were marketed as technological triumphs, packed with new features like elevators, steam heating and gas ranges. Hotel-style amenities like doormen and laundry services cut down on the cost of private servants. And at a time of civil unease and class tensions, the heights of such buildings (some with as many as 11 stories) were seen as a way for the wealthy to escape the grit of the street.

Over the next half century or so the obsession with technology was matched by a need to open up the booming metropolis to light and air. Within their elaborate Italianate facades, the internal courtyards of luxury housing blocks like the Dakota and the Ansonia were creative efforts to alleviate urban congestion. Later such buildings were followed by the Modernist white-brick structures of the 1960s, with their light-filled apartments and transparent lobbies overlooking garden courts.

The flamboyant exteriors of the recent crop of signature buildings represent yet another shift in architectural priorities. Whereas technological innovation once focused on the interior workings of the machine — from plumbing to structural innovations like steel frames — most of today’s architectural innovations are expressed through the buildings’ exterior forms.

Not everyone is happy with this state of affairs. Traditionalists, still stung by the rise of Modernism, see the current crop of signature buildings as a break with the historical street front. Mostly, they criticize these works on aesthetic grounds: as flashy expressions of architectural vanity.

It’s true that some of the new buildings are ostentatious. When workers broke ground two years ago on Herzog & de Meuron’s 40 Bond in the East Village, the building was hailed as one of the city’s first serious residential projects by an international celebrity firm. Today the cast green glass facade feels slick and mannered. An elaborate gate meant to resemble a three-dimensional work of graffiti is an embarrassing effort to tap into a bygone underground scene. (Nevertheless all of the multimillion-dollar units were sold before the building was close to completion.)

But the city has also been starving for innovative architecture. And to my mind the greatest residential projects of the last decade have managed to balance aesthetic freedom with a nuanced understanding of their surroundings. Rather than mimic period styles, such buildings are a physical expression of the needs and demands of the environments they inhabit.

The muscular forms of Mr. Gehry’s 74-story Beekman Street Tower, being built near City Hall, are like the chiseled setbacks and crisp vertical lines of Rockefeller Center’s RCA tower and the neo-Classicism of Stalin-era Moscow. Yet its crinkled stainless steel is a wonder; as light flickers across the facade, it will seem to dissolve into rivulets of water.

Similarly the slim, tapered form of Mr. Nouvel’s 75-story condominium and hotel tower, planned for a site alongside the Museum of Modern Art on West 53rd Street, is a play on traditional New York skyscrapers like the Chrysler Building. The design of its taut glass skin suggests shards of glass falling from the sky. A weblike pattern of beams crisscross the exterior, as if the building were bracing itself against psychological and economic forces pressing in from all sides.

Such towering aesthetic triumphs are being joined by a number of designs that combine a strong structural vision with a critique of Modernist ideas about purity. Their contorted shapes are meant to reflect the collision of forces that shape contemporary cities, from zoning regulations to the private desires of residents.

Like many of the smaller luxury high-rises being built today, Mr. Denari’s building will be squeezed onto a tiny lot — in its case, between another high rise on 23rd Street and the High Line, a park to be built on a stretch of abandoned elevated railway. Scheduled to break ground later this month, the 14-story building will twist and swell as it rises to take advantage of views up and down the park. At some junctures its metal skin will peel open to frame the views; at others, a grid of diagonal braces — their pattern reflecting the uneven stresses placed on the building’s frame — will evoke the stays of a corset.

Across town that strategy can be experienced in Bernard Tschumi’s recently completed Blue Building. Decorated in a checkerboard pattern of irregular blue and black windows, the structure bulges out to one side as it rises above the surrounding tenements, as if trying to pack as much real estate as possible onto its Lower East Side lot. The effect of the distortions is that the building is constantly changing as you move around it, like an enormous piece of costume jewelry twinkling in the light.

In other cases, however, the seemingly noble aim of working within a neighborhood’s character leads to lackluster design. The scale and placement of the windows on the facade of Deborah Berke’s new limestone-and-steel apartment complex just across from 40 Bond, for example, does echo the neighboring buildings. But the results are tepid.

The current infatuation with brand names has also opened up the profession to new and unexpected voices. It’s been a good while since I have written about a building as crudely cobbled together as Julian Schnabel’s Palazzo Chupi, which was completed last year on West 11th Street, for example. A bright pink stucco box adorned with Venetian-style arched windows, it looks as if it had been plopped atop an existing warehouse. Still, the overblown scale and collision of styles have a refreshing bluntness; in some ways it’s closer in spirit to the vernacular architecture of the Far East, an atavistic approach that is a nice counterpoint to the hyper-modernity of so much contemporary work.

As a whole, the best of these buildings are gorgeous additions to the skyline, a relief from decades of creative stagnation.

This external bravura, however, makes the mind-numbing conventionality of their interiors so much more disappointing. As a rule, most of the architectural fireworks in these buildings tend to stop at the lobby, and there are no compelling ideas about how social spaces should be organized. The interiors of these buildings could have been designed by real-estate marketers, and in many cases they more or less were. Despite the expensive appliances and luxurious finishes at 40 Bond Street, for example, the floor plans are generic: one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and town houses with loftlike living spaces and kitchens at one end. The same can be said for virtually all of the projects I have mentioned so far.

Some architects were able to work around conventional real estate wisdom by forging exteriors that would impose a specific experience on the interior spaces. By the time the consultants at Forest City Ratner, the developer behind Mr. Gehry’s Beekman building, realized that the wrinkled walls of the architect’s tower would be mirrored inside the apartments, for example, it was too late to change without a costly reworking of the design.

Similarly, the canted walls and steel cross bracing of Mr. Denari’s HL23 building will have a powerful effect on the interior. But from the point of view of a real-estate consultant, this will only make it harder to hang curtains.

Yet neither Mr. Gehry nor Mr. Denari was allowed to tinker with the actual layout of the apartments, which will be the same loftlike interiors that have become as much of an urban cliché as the gated Mediterranean community has in suburbia.

Admittedly, New York has never been known for bold experimentation in interior space. There has been nothing comparable in Manhattan to Le Corbusier’s 1952 Unité d’Habitation in Marseilles: a giant slab packed with an endless variety of intricately interlocking apartments. Technological innovations here have never been coupled with that type of social experimentation.

But the banal interiors of New York’s luxury apartment buildings may also have to do with our reactionary times. Among architects it is now common wisdom that today’s clients are less willing to upend conventional living arrangements than earlier generations were. Sulan Kolatan and William MacDonald, whose firm is one of the few that has challenged clients to be more adventuresome, have had a typically frustrating experience. In their 1991 design for the Shapiro Fields apartment on the Upper West Side, they transformed a prewar space with the typical formal entry and maid’s quarters into a fluid sequence of rooms connected by a sequence of surgical cuts and strategically spaced mirrors.

Less than two years later the owner sold it, and the new occupant immediately converted it back to its original prewar state.

Later, in the late ’90s these architects built the O/K Apartment, which featured molded orange surfaces that extended seamlessly from the bathtub to the bed to the hall. It was intended as a prototype for a new kind of millennial living. There were no takers.

This resistance may not be surprising for a class of people who increasingly want the same residential experience whether they are in Moscow, Paris or New York. Arriving in New York by private jet — or wishing they had — they tend to view their homes as personalized hotel rooms, and developers are more than happy to indulge them. Many of the new buildings provide the same kind of services you would find in a luxury hotel, from breakfast in bed to spa treatments to dog walkers.

Add to this the subtle effects of technology. The discovery of nonreflective glass has meant that the play off reflections that once animated glass high-rises has been replaced by a greater degree of transparency, one that has reinforced the buildings’ image as architecture for exhibitionists. Meanwhile the growing use of computer software has tended to smooth out designs’ rougher edges, often leading to slick, lifeless interiors in pretty wrappers.

Yet the biggest shift of all may have to do with where we focus our most valuable architectural resources today. The city has seen monuments to personal ostentation before, from the Vanderbilt chateau on Fifth Avenue at 52nd Street to the Carnegie mansion 40 blocks north. But for the most part New York’s most memorable architectural achievements in the 20th century were either major civic buildings or monuments to corporate power.

Carrère & Hastings’s New York Public Library. Reed & Stern and Warren & Wetmore’s Grand Central Terminal. Raymond Hood’s Rockefeller Center. Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram building. All were profound reflections of the cultural values of their day.

Today that balance has been reversed. While several outstanding new civic buildings have been completed here in recent years, from Sanaa’s stacked-box New Museum of Contemporary Art on the Bowery to Renzo Piano’s archaeologically artful expansion of the Morgan Library & Museum, the abundance of luxury apartment buildings and the wealth of talent enlisted proclaim their outsize significance. And some of these architects rarely get to work on the kind of public projects that probably would have been part of their portfolio in New York half a century ago.

We all like to look at pretty baubles, even if they tend to be hollow. But a generation from now we may look back at these condo buildings as our generation’s chief contribution to the city’s history: gorgeous tokens of a rampantly narcissistic age.
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Old March 23rd, 2008, 09:41 AM   #1375
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wow, nice buildings in those pic's

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Old April 2nd, 2008, 01:18 AM   #1376
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/01/ny...l?ref=nyregion
Fighting a New 125th St., Using a 110-Year-Old Law

By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS
Published: April 1, 2008


Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

Armed with the City Charter, members of a group called Voices of the Everyday People are fighting 125th Street rezoning.


The City Charter, the document that lays out the rules of city government, has traditionally been the domain of municipal lawyers and few others. Its pages are a tangle of esoteric language and run-on sentences.

But in a decision born of desperation and perhaps a touch of naïveté, a former male model, a human rights lawyer and two law school students plunged headlong into the document on a recent Friday evening as part of an effort to oppose the proposed rezoning of 125th Street in Harlem.

The rezoning, approved by the Planning Commission in March, is intended to remake 125th Street into a regional business hub with office towers and more than 2,000 new units of market-rate condominiums. Opponents say the plan would displace dozens of small businesses, does not offer enough moderate-income housing and does too little to protect the area’s historic buildings.

What the group meeting on that Friday came away with was a 110-year-old surprise that more than a few activists have dreamed about over the years: using a clause buried in a city document to try to derail a major project.

To wit, Page 74, Section 200, Subsection 3 of the City Charter says, in so many words, that if signatures opposing a rezoning are obtained from the owners of 20 percent of the property, as determined by square footage, in one of three different areas — the area to be rezoned, the area adjacent to the property being rezoned, or the area “opposite” the property (for example, across the street) — then the City Council must approve the rezoning by a three-fourths vote, instead of by a simple majority.

And the four who found the subsection, members of a group called Voices of the Everyday People, are hopeful that they can prevent the Council from reaching that three-quarters majority on the rezoning.

Since their discovery, the members of the Voices group have been going door to door seeking the signatures of property owners.

“We knew this fight would take a multilayered strategy, including political engagement, getting people involved and the possibility of litigation,” said Erica Razook, the group’s general counsel, who works as a human rights lawyer with Amnesty International. “We were trying to find anything and everything we could to throw into the pot.”

When Ms. Razook and the law students — Giselle Schuetz and Kathleen Meyers, both 24 and both in their first year at the Queens College law school — came across the confusing language of the charter’s rezoning law, Ms. Razook said she told them: “This could work. We just have to find out what it means.”

A public hearing on the rezoning, which will probably include a discussion of Subsection 3 — which dates to at least 1898 — is scheduled for Tuesday morning before the zoning subcommittee of the Council’s Land Use Committee. The full Council is expected to vote on the rezoning later this month.

City Councilman Tony Avella, the chairman of the zoning subcommittee, said he had not been aware of the clause before the opponents pointed it out recently. Mr. Avella, who announced his candidacy for mayor on Sunday, said the rediscovered clause could force city planners to change the way they go about rezoning neighborhoods.

“It will be an interesting test case,” said Mr. Avella, who said he opposes the 125th Street rezoning. “What we should be doing is working with the community and asking them what they want. Instead, the city is telling people in Harlem what’s best for them.”

Rachaele Raynoff, a spokeswoman for the Department of City Planning, said on Monday, “This comprehensive plan was developed with an unprecedented amount of outreach and consensus building with the business community, the institutions on 125th Street and the residents of Harlem, and we look forward to working with the City Council in its review.” Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn declined to comment.

The Planning Commission said the rezoning would improve Harlem’s economy by providing new jobs and offering more options for shopping and housing.

But opponents want more moderate-income housing included and want more done to protect historic buildings. About 70 small businesses would be displaced.

“It should not be that if I hire a contractor to renovate my home, that I have to move out and he moves in,” said Craig Schley, executive director of Voices of the Everyday People, who has worked as a fashion model for Wilhelmina Models and a firefighter in Georgia. He now works as a legal assistant.

The Voices group, conceived by Mr. Schley in 2001 but active only since the rezoning plan became public last autumn, decided to focus on the signatures of owners who live across from the rezoning line — instead of those who live within it, or immediately adjacent.

They believe that many of the owners of brownstones on the north side of 126th Street and the south side of 124th Street — the properties opposite the rezoning area — have reason to suspect that their property values will decline if there is a spate of construction on 125th Street.

But getting the signatures of the owners of 20 percent of the property may be a tall order.

If members of the group are able to collect enough signatures — the precise figure is unclear, so they are gathering as many as they can — then 38 of the 51 Council members would have to approve the rezoning for it to proceed. The group has until April 9 to turn in the signatures.

A crucial vote belongs to the area’s representative on the Council, Inez E. Dickens, who declined to be interviewed for this article and has not stated her position publicly. Council members traditionally defer to the wishes of a colleague who represents a district where a rezoning has been proposed.
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 01:26 AM   #1377
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http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2008...d_or_at-2.html
More than $20B in developments dead or at risk of never seeing light of day

By JONATHAN LEMIRE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Monday, March 31st 2008, 4:00 AM


Fulton St. transit hub $1.2B: Soaring costs may force a reduction to the 'gateway to lower Manhattan,' which was to feature an above ground pavilion.


Atlantic Yards $4B: Developer Bruce Ratner has conceded that the construction of many of architect Frank Gehry's buildings, including the 'Miss Brooklyn' tower, will be delayed because of financing.


Watts/News

Moynihan Station $14B: Madison Square Garden's stunning decision last week to renovate the existing arena, rather than relocate to the Farley Post Office, jeopardizes the entire project.


The boom is going bust.

More than $20 billion worth of high-profile developments across the city - many designed by world-renowned architects and touted by top officials - are dead or at risk of never getting off the drawing board.

The crumbling economy has forced developers to scale back their grand visions and has endangered projects that range from architectural marvels like Frank Gehry's Atlantic Yards towers in Brooklyn to crucial pieces of thecity's infrastructure, like Manhattan's Moynihan rail hub in midtown.

"It really was an amazing run for cities and particularly for New York," said Elliott Sclar, an urban planning professor at Columbia University. "But it appears that itmay be over now.

"The obvious fear now is that these projects won't materialize and the revenues the city expected to get from them won't materialize, either."

With the economy slowing and fears of a recession growing, the future of a slew of high-profile projects has dramatically shifted in recent weeks.

The largest - and perhaps most ambitious - of the developments is the revitalization of the area around Penn Station on Manhattan's West Side.

The $14 billion project centers on the conversion of the Farley Post Office into a soaring train station and new home of Madison Square Garden.

The gigantic project, which was to feature 7 million square feet of office space along W. 33rd St., long has been slowed by political squabbles. It may have been dealt a fatal blow last week when the Garden's owners announced they would renovate the 40-year-old arena rather than move across Eighth Ave.

"The arena is a dump and it would be disingenuous of me or any other architect to suggest that renovating it would be the answer," said Rick Bell, head of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Moynihan Station is designed to feature a glass wall separating the train station from the arena. Office towers would rise on the current site of the Garden.

Although several urban planners believe Garden owners are threatening to stay put only as a bargaining maneuver, others believe the Moynihan plan has a better chance of being salvaged if the new arena is excluded.

"Moynihan Station is absolutely necessary, and it would be a travesty if it is forestalled," Bell said. "People need to take off their Knick caps and put on their thinking caps."

A basketball arena for the Nets remains the centerpiece of Brooklyn's Atlantic Yards project, which has been delayed because of skyrocketing costs and legal fights. Developer Bruce Ratner recently conceded that several of Gehry's dynamic towers, including the signature "Miss Brooklyn" building, would be delayed.

Although he said the Barclays Center arena would be built, its estimated price has jumped to $950 million from $435 million.

'Dead in the water' at Coney

In Coney Island, the luster is offa $1.5 billion dream to bring Las Vegas glitz to the beach area. Developer Joe Sitt's plan included luxury condos, shops and housing.

A city official has called Sitt's project "dead in the water" because the developer, who has had a contentious relationship with City Hall, wanted to build 350 residential time-shares at planned hotels.

Mayor Bloomberg attempted to lure others to the area by announcing sweeping rezoning in November, but the city has struggled to find developers.

Just down the Boardwalk, a proposal to redesign the New York Aquarium into a building evoking an undulating whale has been scuttled after costs rose to $200 million.

"We're not going to throw in the towel on any of these projects, but less dramatic and less expensive designs may be needed," said Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, an urban policy group. "The last time we put major projects on hold - like the Second Ave. subway or East Side access - it took a generation to get them moving again. We can't let that happen."

The slowing economy also has jeopardized the rebuilding of perhaps the city's most sacred site, Ground Zero.

When JPMorgan Chase took over Bear Stearns, Chase announced it would move its investment banking unit into the busted company's headquarters.

Chase had planned to build a 42-story tower on Liberty St. The building, designed with a bulging middle to accommodate new trading floors, won't be constructed. But Chase said it would still build something at the site.

A few blocks away, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Fulton St. transit hub has been drastically scaled back. It was supposed to include a glass-domed building soaring 10 stories above Broadway.

When projected costs rose to $1.2 billion from $750 million, the aboveground portion of the project was scrapped.

Some urban planners say projects like Moynihan Station, Atlantic Yards and another mega-proposal to redevelop Willets Point, Queens, are struggling to get off the ground because plans have grown too bloated.

"All of these projects have been driven by a form of planning called fiscal planning, where the city is not concerned with the physical structure of spaces but only maximizing real estate values or tax revenues," Sclar said. "That's not the right way to promote healthy development."

Still, several experts argued that an economic slowdown is the time to build, citing the aggressive construction program triggered by President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal during the Great Depression.

"Now is the time to accelerate those projects and help prop up a weak economy," said Mitchell Moss, professor of urban policy and planning at New York University, before sounding an optimistic note.

"This city is still a very powerful economy, and we're able to absorb these shocks," he said. "This is a resilient city - nothing stops New York."

[email protected]

With Jotham Sederstrom and Pete Donohue
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 05:23 AM   #1378
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/01/ar...gn/01pres.html
In Village, a Proposal That Erases History


Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

The 1963 O’Toole Building, threatened by development.



Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers

A rendering of a plan for St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Greenwich Village. The lines indicate the elevation of existing hospital buildings. A hearing on the project is scheduled for Tuesday.


Correction Appended

The passionate battles surrounding the birth of New York’s preservation movement nearly a half-century ago seem like distant memories now. For some New Yorkers the main threat to architecture in the city is no longer the demolition of its great landmarks, but a trite nostalgia that disdains the new.

Well, think again. Over the last few years the growing clout of developers has gradually chipped away at the city’s resolve to protect its architectural legacy. The agency most responsible for defending that legacy, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, has sometimes been accused of putting developers’ interests above the well-being of the city’s inhabitants.

A proposal before the commission to tear down several buildings in the Greenwich Village Historic District is shaping up as a crucial test of whether those critics are right. A hearing on the issue is scheduled for Tuesday morning, and New Yorkers would do well to follow the proceedings if they care about the city’s future.

The application by the St. Vincent Catholic Medical Center calls for the demolition of nine structures on West 11th and 12th Streets, near Seventh Avenue, to make way for a towering new co-op building and a hospital. The threatened buildings range from the 1924 Student Nurses Residence Building to the 1963 O’Toole Building, one of the first buildings in the city to break with the Modernist mainstream as it was congealing into formulaic dogma.

The question facing the commission is which, if any, of these buildings contribute to the character of the neighborhood, a protected historic district. (If the agency sides with preservationists, the battle is not necessarily won; St. Vincent’s, which is financially troubled, still has the option of pleading economic hardship.)

Sadly, the hospital’s application reflects the pernicious but prevalent notion that any single building that is not a major historical landmark — or stands outside the historical mainstream — is unworthy of our protection. Pursue that logic to its conclusion, and you replace genuine urban history with a watered-down substitute. It’s historical censorship.

St. Vincent’s board would like you to believe that this is a purely practical decision. The project, planned in partnership with the Rudin Organization, a local developer, would be built in two phases. In the first the five-story O’Toole Building would be demolished to make room for a 21-story tower that would house the entire hospital. (Because of the floors’ unusual height, this is roughly equivalent to a 30-story building.) A 21-story residential tower, flanked by rows of town houses, would replace the hospital’s seven other buildings between 11th and 12th Streets.

The hospital expects to get $310 million from the sale of that land, which would go toward the construction of its new $830 million tower. (It would raise the remainder through private donations and other sources.)

In patronizing fashion, hospital officials have suggested that preservationists are choosing buildings over lives, as if the two were in direct opposition. This is the kind of developer’s cant that is ruining our city. The addition of up to 400 co-op apartments is about money, not saving lives. There are plenty of other ways that the hospital could upgrade its facilities.

The existing buildings that make up the hospital’s main campus east of Seventh Avenue do not rank as major historic landmarks. Even preservationists concede that the George Link Jr. Memorial Building, a bland brick box dating from the mid-1980s, is not worth saving.

But it is not their status as individual objects that makes these buildings important; it’s their relationship to the historic fabric of the neighborhood. The designation of the neighborhood as a landmark district in 1969 was intended to protect humble structures like these. Established after local activists brought attention to the destruction wreaked by urban renewal projects, the designation was an affirmation that the city’s character is rooted in the small grain of everyday life.

The threatened demolition of the O’Toole Building is most troubling of all. Designed by the New Orleans architect Albert C. Ledner, it is significant both as a work of architecture and as a repository of cultural memory.

It was built to house the National Maritime Union, as the era of longshoremen and merchant sailors was nearing an end. Its glistening white facade and scalloped overhangs, boldly cantilevered over the lower floors, were meant to conjure an ocean voyage and a bright new face for the union. (Think of “On the Waterfront.”) Its glass brick base, once the site of union halls, suggests an urban aquarium.

In short, you don’t need to love the building to grasp its historical value. Like Ledner’s Maritime dormitory building on Ninth Avenue or Edward Durell Stone’s 2 Columbus Circle, the O’Toole represents a moment when some architects rebelled against Modernism’s glass-box aesthetic in favor of ornamental facades.

Viewed in that context, the O’Toole Building is part of a complex historical narrative in which competing values are always jostling for attention. This is not simply a question of losing a building; it’s about masking those complexities and reducing New York history to a caricature. Ultimately, it’s a form of collective amnesia.

At St. Vincent’s, the damage is likely to be only compounded by the design of these new co-op buildings, a sentimental faux version of the past.

If we continue down this path, we’ll end up with the urban equivalent of a patient on meds: safe, numb, soulless. Is this choosing lives?

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 2, 2008

The architecture column on Tuesday, about a development proposal by St. Vincent’s Hospital Manhattan and the Rudin Management Company, misstated the number of buildings they are seeking to raze to make way for a new hospital and residences in Greenwich Village. It is nine, not eight.
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 05:25 AM   #1379
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/02/re...ref=commercial
Working Broadway’s Strange Angles Can Be a Challenge to Developers

By C. J. HUGHES
Published: April 2, 2008


Handel Architects L.L.P.

An architectural rendering of a building planned for Broadway at West 72nd Street shows it taking advantage of street angles.


Positioned like a sash across the torso of Manhattan, Broadway seems like an affront to those who favor a perfectly aligned grid of streets.

Also miffed, perhaps, may be residential developers, who at certain locations may have a tough time fitting square-roomed apartments on oddly shaped lots.

But commercial builders apparently are not so squeamish. They have exploited the unusual dimensions of some castoff blocks to put up some of the city’s well-known landmarks, like the Flatiron Building, wedged at East 23rd Street, and One Times Square, the island site of the dropping ball on New Year’s Eve.

Now, Broadway may be getting a neighborhood-defining structure at the place where it slashes through the junction of Amsterdam Avenue and West 72nd Street on the Upper West Side. A 19-story glass-and-steel tower on the southwestern corner of Broadway and 72nd, with a wide 112-degree angle facing the intersection, will feature stores and apartments.

“We think it’s one of the most significant corners to be developed in New York,” said Lynette Tulkoff, a director at Rhodes NY, a Manhattan development firm.

The Philips International Holding Corporation and the Gotham Organization, both also based in Manhattan, are joining Rhodes on the $220 million project, which is now being excavated, with completion set for the fall of 2009.

The residential portion of the building, which has not been officially named yet, will have 192 luxury rental apartments on 16 floors, ranging from 500-square-foot studios to 1,600-square-foot three-bedrooms. Bearing an address of 200 West 72nd Street, and given a working name of 200 West, the high-rise will also have an upper-floor setback with two sharply beveled edges that are intended to accentuate the building’s notable corner, said Gary Handel, president of Handel Architects, its Manhattan-based designer.

The bottom three floors as well as a basement and subbasement will offer 50,000 square feet of commercial space, to be taken by just three retailers, said David Picket, president of Gotham, the lead developer. Two of the spaces cover 20,000 square feet each.

Possible tenants cannot be identified while negotiations are going on, said Mr. Picket, who added that they would not be “big box” stores. He specifically ruled out Target and Home Depot; they generally require footprints in excess of 100,000 square feet, brokers say.

Still, in Manhattan, where stores average 2,500 square feet to 5,000 square feet, a 20,000-square-foot retail space is comparatively large and can appeal to only a few tenants, said Jeffrey Roseman, an executive vice president with Newmark Knight Frank Retail, which is not involved with the project.

That short list of possible tenants, he said, includes H&M or Marshalls, clothing stores, or Circuit City, the electronics retailer.

Averaging $550 a square foot annually, 200 West’s rents are likely to be the highest on the West Side between 59th and 110th Streets, where rents had previously topped out around $300 a square foot.

One attraction of 200 West will be a glass curtain wall, whose eye-catching 230-foot length, split into two 17-foot-tall bands, will wrap the corner.

Because the site is near so many public spaces, including two heavily traveled streets, a pair of low-slung subway shelters and Verdi Square, a bench-lined park to the northeast, “you will be able to see this from pretty far up Broadway and pretty far down 72nd Street,” Mr. Picket said. “It’s an outstanding obtuse angle.”

That visibility may be critical to the project’s commercial success, as multilevel retail spaces in Manhattan have historically been a dicey venture, said Michael Beyard, a senior resident fellow with the Urban Land Institute in Washington, who specializes in shopping centers and malls.

Department stores like Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s have generally fared well, but Mr. Beyard said some have struggled, like the Manhattan Mall, with four levels and 38 stores and restaurants, a result of a 1980s conversion of the former Gimbels department store at Herald Square, near Broadway.

Even the popular Shops at Columbus Circle, the six-level mall inside the Time Warner Center, at another prominent Broadway juncture, has experienced turnover of its restaurants since its 2004 opening.

“Manhattan has never been mall town, more like a European city, where people like to shop on the street,” Mr. Beyard said.

For his part, Mr. Picket points out that 200 West is not a mall, as no shared hallways will connect its stores.

Indeed, there will be three separate ground-level retail entrances at 200 West. Inside, one store will be mostly arrayed on the upper floors, another mostly below ground and one primarily on the sidewalk level. To get from one store to another, shoppers will have to leave the building and re-enter through another door, Mr. Picket said.

At 200 West, the ground-floor ceilings are to be 22 feet high, instead of the more typical 15 feet, which the developer said would allow extra flexibility in displaying merchandise. Columns there, meanwhile, will be spaced up to 25 feet apart, which is almost double the width in a typical building with apartments upstairs, Mr. Picket said.

No matter what products are sitting in the windows, 200 West is likely to put upward pressure on local commercial rents, says David Kevelson, a director with Manhattes Group, a commercial brokerage firm, who focuses on the West Side, and some tenants, particularly along West 72nd Street, may bear the brunt.

Still, turnover may not be unequivocally harmful along a shopping corridor that has been hobbled by a lack of diversity, according to brokers, developers, and longtime residents. Nail salons and dry cleaners abound on nearby blocks of 72nd Street.

Then again, wide east-west thoroughfares that allow car travel in both directions, like 72nd Street, but also, say, 34th and Canal Streets, may always struggle to attract upscale shoppers, and thus high-end retailing.

In fact, according to Mr. Beyard of the Urban Land Institute, these streets are often limited by the same qualities landlords promote as their assets: lots of vehicle traffic.

Nevertheless, he is bullish on 200 West’s prospects, whether for shopping or living. “If you can find that large a location in such a high-visibility site,” he said, “it seems like a no-brainer.”
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Old April 9th, 2008, 05:00 AM   #1380
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http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/...ca_queens.html
'Airport village' in Jamaica, Queens

BY DONALD BERTRAND
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Tuesday, April 8th 2008, 4:00 AM


Rendering of Merchandise Mart on Sutphin Blvd. in Jamaica.

Major hotel development - including a 16-story Marriott Courtyard with 172 rooms, a 150-room Residence Inn and a third 150-room hotel - is planned for a proposed "airport village" in downtown Jamaica, Queens.

The sudden boom is the result of the rezoning of some 368 blocks in downtown Jamaica last year, said Carlisle Towery, president of the Greater Jamaica Development Corp.

"The bottom line is that the rezoning has definitely had a stimulative effect. The phone rings off the hook here. Of course, some are fishing expeditions; some are real developers, and some are people who own property and think they have struck gold," Towery said.

Greater Jamaica Development officials would also like to see an upsurge in housing construction within the rezoned area, noting that the nearby AirTrain light rail system makes it a very desirable location for airport workers. They're hoping that airline industry-related commercial development will also be attracted.

South of the Long Island Rail Road/AirTrain complex on Sutphin Blvd., Jamaica-based developer Graham Associates is planning a two-phase project that includes the Marriott Courtyard and a tower with a 150,000-square-foot retail base and 348 units of affordable housing.

Plans call for work to begin in about a year, with the $70 million hotel up and running in 21/2 years.

Diagonally across Sutphin Blvd., between 94th and 95th Aves., is the site of a proposed 13-story, $260 million international merchandise mart, where a long-vacant, recently demolished meat-packing plant stood.

"We think our site is a tremendous opportunity to realize economic development objectives for Jamaica and we are very excited about it," said Raffaela Dunne, a senior vice president of Washington Square Partners, developers for the merchandise mart site.

Construction of the new complex is to begin in the third quarter of this year and is scheduled to take about three years.

A former parking garage site that sits on Archer Ave. with its rear facing the LIRR tracks just across from 148th St. is being eyed by Chris Xu, owner of Flushing-based C&G Construction, for the Residence Inn and a second hotel.

However, said Xu, neither hotel is expected to open for at least three years.

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