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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)






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http://professional.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303830204577444741379690350.html?mod=WSJ_NY_MIDDLETopStories&_nocache=1338807867628&user=welcome&mg=id-wsj&mg=reno64-wsj

NY REAL ESTATE COMMERCIAL
June 3, 2012, 10:26 p.m. ET

SL Green's Dreams of Development

By LAURA KUSISTO and ELIOT BROWN





SL Green Realty Corp., New York's largest office building owner but a relatively untested developer of new buildings, has taken a step forward in its ambitious plans to build a trophy office tower across the street from Grand Central Terminal.

SL Green has brought in one of the country's most prominent office developers, Hines of Houston, Texas, to act as a consultant on the 1.2 million-square-foot project. The team is in the preliminary stages of drawing up plans for the block-long site on Madison Avenue between 42nd and 43rd streets, according to people familiar with the matter.



Above, the block west of Grand Central Terminal where SL Green is planning to build a 1.2-million-square-foot office building.

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SL Green has assembled the prime development site across from Grand Central Station by buying up low-rise buildings over the course of more than 10 years. It closed on the purchase of the last building, at 51 E. 42nd St., in December.

Of course, SL Green will need cooperation from the economy to be able to break ground. Typically developers don't move forward with major office projects without pre-leasing a big chunk of the space. Given the weak recovery and the rival developers who also have projects on the drawing board, it could be many years before the SL Green tower is built.

Still, SL Green executives clearly want to move forward. According to the transcript of an investor conference in December, Edward Piccinich, SL Green's executive vice president of property management and construction, said the company plans to build "a spectacular trophy asset with designs inspiration from around the world," drawing on iconic modern towers such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the International Commerce Centre tower in Hong Kong.

"I imagined how the lines and the curves of these designs will make a huge impact on the city skyline. I thought about how great it would be [to] construct one of these tower over Grand Central Terminal," Mr. Piccinich said.

While SL Green owns more than 25 million square feet of office space in the city, most of its development experience has been with overhauling existing office buildings.

Development of new buildings "is not in their DNA," says Michael Knott, an analyst at Green Street Advisors. "I don't think that they have an intention to dive headlong into ground-up development. It's more of a one-off, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

Hines, in contrast, is known for designing ambitious office towers with star architects, including Philip Johnson's Lipstick Building and the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill-designed 450 Lexington Ave. Indeed, fewer than five blocks away from the SL Green site, Hines has plans to build its own office tower overlooking Bryant Park.

SL Green's site would likely be included in a proposed rezoning of the area around Grand Central that would allow larger office buildings. The details of the rezoning haven't been settled.

The city is poised to see millions of square feet of new office space hit the market in the coming years, but much of it is at the World Trade Center and on the far west side. In the past two decades, there's been very little new construction in the Grand Central area, a highly desirable location because of its proximity to the commuting hub.That's, in part, because the current zoning makes it difficult for developers to build tall new office towers. "The fact that there's someone who's willing to build a modern office building [near Grand Central], that's sending a message that this will continue to be the most important business district in the city and around the world," says Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York.

Write to Laura Kusisto at [email protected] and Eliot Brown at [email protected]

 

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faster than buildings
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Then it's a supertall.;)
Great news.
It will stand right next to the Met-Life building.
I'm looking forward for the design.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I should have started this in the supertall section. Even at 1.2m sf, this would rise to be at least 300m since the footprint is very small. However, with the rezoning, this tower likely will have 1.8m sf. The Coach tower will be 300m with 1.8m sf, yet it sits on a MUCH bigger footprint.
 

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If they're going to demolish these pre-war beauties, than it better be one hell of a tower.
I'd prefer one with a stone facade, a bit like the future 99 church street/30 park place.


Here's a crazy idea: a 300 meter tall version of the Singer building!
 

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Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
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Like many older buildings along Park Ave., these buildings are the classic steel framed boxes adorned with pre-1920s "wedding cake" masonry. Hence many of them have been allowed to be taken down or re-skinned with glass. Unless they were designed by the likes of Carriere and Hastings or McKim Mead & White, the LPC won't raise much of a fuss. And even where you do have iconic prewar architecture such as the Villard Mansion, developers can get away with massive interior or core demolition and redevelopment like the 53 story Helmsley Palace Hotel (which got grafted onto the Villard Mansion by Harry in 1980).

I would expect knockout architecture for this high-profile site, at least 1.5 million sq. ft. and yes, supertall height with minimum 60 floors of prime Class A office.

:cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I envision something like Torre Verre rising here. There are several large law firms seeking about 400,000 sf of space over the next few years. Law firms, unlike large financial firms, like small footprints, which this site and L&L's, have.

Moreover, law firms will not go to the Yards at this point. Therefore, a tower like this or L&L's proposed tower on Park and 54th will be perfectly suited to them.
 

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I'm not optimistic that something iconic will rise here, and even if it's 300M it won't be stand-out given the competition on the West Side. I guess we will have to wait and see, but it's a shame that the pre-war buildings currently on site will be coming down... there are many glass boxes along Park that are much more deserving of demolition.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
They'll start soon enough. Remember too that UBS only extended its lease in Connecticut for five years. Therefore, when the economy picks up, they will return to Manhattan and will need at least 1m sf.
 

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You can't survive the development game in NYC if you aren't prepared to endure 20 years of land acquisitions, permit requests, hearings, lawsuits, etc to put up a tower. This plot is unique and instantly marketable to almost any firm that wants Midtown cachet and GCT convenience. This proposal is total alpha.
 
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