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Breaking: Construction Workers Return to Trump Soho

Construction workers have returned to Trump Soho, a little over a month after DiFama Concrete worker Yurly Vanschytskyy fell 40 stories to his death off the building, after a wooden mold in which he was tamping down concrete collapsed. According to Newsday, the Department of Buildings is allowing Bovis, the contractor overseeing the project, to work on the first 23 floors, provided Bovis employ a full-time safety manager, train their workers better, and swaddle the upper floors of the building in scaffolding and netting. Donald Trump has never made a statement regarding the accident. Work resumes on lower floors of Trump SoHo condo after fatal fall [Newsday] Related: Intel's coverage of the accident at Trump SoHo

The General Motors Building Is Still Up for Grabs

Building
Which city billionaire will get his chubby white hands on the General Motors building? The Observer the other day suggested Daily News owner Mort Zuckerman was in the running to acquire the iconic midtown building, but his people told the Sun today that it wasn't so. (Could he be feeling so diminished by Rupert that he spread the rumor to make himself look cool? Just asking!) Quoting "sources with knowledge of the proposals," the Sun says ground-zero developer Larry Silverstein has made an offer, possibly in partnership with the California State Teachers' Retirement System, of more than $3 billion. That would not only be a record-breaking price for a building in Manhattan, but it would go a long way toward easing current GM-building owner Harry Macklowe's credit woes — he currently owes various lenders around $7 billion. And you thought your credit-card bills were high. Silverstein Bids Above 3 Billion for GM Building [NYS] Related: Harry Macklowe Takes It on the Chin

New Outdoor Concert Space Could Replace McCarren Pool

Brooklyn waterfront park

Indie-rock fans bereft over the restoration of McCarren Park Pool to a swimming (and skating) spot might have some comfort after all: A leader of the community board in North Brooklyn says the city can set up a parking lot along the waterfront between North 9th and North 10th streets for live music as early as the summer of 2009. Evan Thies, who heads the board's environmental committee, says the thicket of deals under way to convert an old gas plant to a 28-acre waterfront park has revealed a lot the city can easily acquire and clear in eighteen months. “There needs to be space for arts and music in Williamsburg and Greenpoint,” says Thies, who wants to win the district's city-council seat next year and start a progressive caucus focusing on land use. If the proposal he's sent to the Parks Department actually flies, Thies may just win himself the pivotal “dude, should we check out this band?” vote before the campaign gets in full swing. —Alec Appelbaum

McCarren Park Pool to Be Commandeered by Children, Not Just Overgrown Ones

Schwarz
Since the McCarren Park Pool was co-opted as an indie-rock venue, water sports there have been limited to hipsters spilling Brooklyn Lager and diving into that filthy Slip 'N Slide. The most up-to-date plans to turn the site back into a place for actual swimming were presented, along with the image above and a tentative blueprint you'll find after the jump, last night at Brooklyn's Community Board 1 meeting: By summer 2011, the pool will reopen with a capacity of 1,400; come that winter, people will be able to ice-skate there, too. And in perhaps the greatest insult to the band-loving libertines who ruled the space last summer, there will also be a 5,800-square-foot gym installed. —Alec Appelbaum

Jail Reopening and Expansion Proposed for the Corner of Atlantic and Smith

Brooklyn jail
Two city commissioners revived plans last night to reinvent the jail system — and, they say, gloss up Atlantic Avenue in the bargain. Martin Horn, who runs Corrections and Probation, told a roomful of architects that marooning detainees on Rikers Island thwarts justice (“Nothing angers a judge more than having a jury impanelled and a defendant stuck in traffic on the BQE”) and tempts disaster (the one bridge to Rikers evidently sits between a jet-fuel tank and what Horn describes as “railroad cars full of chlorine gas”).

Developer’s Dreams Deferred in Long Island City

Silvercup West
Long Island City won't be transitioning from Next Big Thing to Big Thing quite as quickly as some were planning. In August 2006, Alan and Stuart Suna, the brothers who run Silvercup Studios near the Queensboro Bridge, unveiled city-approved plans for Silvercup West: a new soundstage and offices and 1,000 apartments (150 priced for people of moderate means), plus retail, a gym, and an esplanade on the waterfront, all designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Richard Rogers and set to begin construction in 2008. But it's taken a year, Silvercup CEO Alan Suna says, to get permission to enter the site and test the soil around a power plant the team will have to clear. And now that the builders have gotten into the dirt, they've discovered that the bedrock was not where they expected it to be. Is there something toxic in there? Nobody will say. So when will we get this handsome new neighborhood? “We really can't give a target date at this point,” says Silvercup spokesperson Cara Marino Gentile. Adds Rogers spokesperson Paul Stelmaszczyk, “We are not currently working on any adjustments to the design.” That’s the sound of a project stalling out. LIC loft-dwellers have a little more time, it seems, to relish that pioneer spirit. —Alec Appelbaum

The New York Real-Estate Market Will Outlive Us All

Heath Ledger
Looking for a spiffy new place? Corcoran has got just the thing! A three-bedroom, two-bath, 4,400-square-foot space with a gourmet kitchen, office, and balcony overlooking the heart of Soho. Amenities include fifteen-foot tin ceilings, cast-iron columns, exposed-brick walls, a wood-burning fireplace, and one unique feature that will really impress your friends and co-workers: It's the very apartment in which Heath Ledger died. Yes, a scant two weeks after Ledger overdosed in his apartment at 421 Broome Street, his place is apparently already on the market. This is New York, after all, and as one broker tells the Post, "You don't wait around in a hot rental market like this." The cocktail-party anecdote that living in the deceased actor's pad will provide is going to cost you, though: According to the Post, the place is going for $25,000 a month now, $3,000 up from what Ledger started renting it for back in September. But that’s nothing compared with what they're going to start asking for it once someone says it's haunted. Life After Ledger [NYP via TMZ]

On Victory Monday, Bloomberg Keeps His Eyes on the Convention Prize

Javits
Eliot Spitzer declared last week that the clock had run out on plans to expand the Javits Center, but Mayor Bloomberg — jazzed by the Giants' comeback win — today said that the city's hunt for a bigger convention center is far from over. After rhapsodizing for minutes at a press conference about how “Big Blue came back” in Arizona, Bloomberg took Spitzer's Javits announcement last Thursday (“that chapter has closed”) as just another stall. Even if Javits doesn't expand north because construction has gotten too expensive and at-capacity hotels have gotten too stingy to finance expansion with a surtax, the mayor says we need a bigger trade-show space if we want to keep pace with other cities. “The city could use a much-expanded convention center,” the mayor said. “I looked at the stadium in Glendale, Arizona, where one end creates a whole convention center and kept saying we could have had something like this in New York City.” So will he pursue a convention project in another borough — perhaps the oft-invoked Sunnyside rail yards? “If you want to look where else it might be, look at where mass transit goes,” he offered. “Though some cities do have convention centers outside the city.” Given the mayor's determined tone, the official reason for the press conference — naming the hard-driving Seth Pinsky to head the city's Economic Development Corporation, which steers big projects — could be the start of a something big. —Alec Appelbaum

Robert A.M. Stern Likens New Larry Silverstein Development to the ‘Titanic’

99 Church
Developer Larry Silverstein says his new deal to build a Four Seasons hotel and condo tower downtown will help steer lower Manhattan through the banking industry's crisis, but not everyone in his circle is matching his strut. At a civic-alliance breakfast this morning, Silverstein presented his plan to replace the stately former Moody's headquarters, up Church Street from the Woolworth Building, with a 912-foot stone tower by 2011, creating the city's tallest residential building. The building's design is by neoclassicist Robert A.M. Stern, who worked up 15 Central Park West — which, Silverstein crowed, "broke all records for sales." But this morning, after some lukewarm talk about assisting in the rebirth of lower Manhattan "in a way that I'm comfortable with," Stern betrayed some major butterflies. "I never thought when I was growing up in New York that I'd get to design a building taller than the Woolworth Building," he told us. "That makes for sleepless nights and exciting mornings — I'm like a guy on the Titanic, and I just hope we don't crash." —Alec Appelbaum

JPMorgan Chase Tower at WTC Site to Lose the Beer Gut

JPMorgan Chase Tower
We're no closer to knowing when the toxin-clouded former Deutsche Bank building will come down from its corner at the World Trade Center site, but we have fresh reason to look forward to the JPMorgan Chase tower that's supposed to replace it. Someone close to the process tells us that the ponderous bulge on the lower floors of the design (labeled a "beer belly" by some critics) has vanished from the plans. Early renderings indicated that the projection would hold the bank's trading floor, but it was received negatively by preservationists. The building still must negotiate a tangle of parking, security, and public spaces while offering wide, high trading floors, says our source. "Amenity floors and cafeterias and conference centers add up to different sizes," the insider explained. So some creative structuring beyond the standard straight tower model may still be required. But we have it on good authority that the architecture will be more sloping than slouching. That is, of course, if the state clears the site up before JPMorgan gets tired of waiting and starts considering other locations… —Alec Appelbaum

The Bronx to Get Another Golf Course in 2010

Bronx Golf Course

Today the city issued a request for proposals to create a public golf course at Ferry Point Park, a patch of covered landfill at the Throgs Neck waterfront, in two years. Would-be developers have eight weeks to propose how that course will lie. (That's golf talk, isn't it?) Plans for an eighteen-hole links course at Ferry Point Park predate Mayor Bloomberg's overarching PlaNYC, but if it gets done soon, it would be a good centerpiece for the master plan. Like many PlaNYC projects, including the conversion of Staten Island's Fresh Kills landfill into a huge and sumptuous park, this aims to green up a dead place. It's no easy task: Trees won't grow on old landfill (hence the brilliance of a golf course), and the winning developer must propose an irrigation scheme to tax the city water table as little as possible. And it must harmonize with "the principles of green design," which presumably means extra points if a windmill on the course generates electricity for the South Bronx. Is there a Bobby Jones out there for this bog? Your city needs you. —Alec Appelbaum Construction of a tournament-quality golf course at Ferry Point Park in the Borough of the Bronx [PDF]

Is the Hearst Tower Really That Ugly? Actually, Yes.

Hearst tower
Robert Campbell of the Architectural Record is befuddled by the ugliness of the Hearst Tower. "It’s as if the Pentagon, with its usual deftness of touch, had confused its maps and located this chunk of military hardware in Manhattan instead of Florida," he muses, adding that it that looks less like a building human beings go in and out of than an unfriendly "cage for a single massive object" or "the carton the real tower came in." Certainly, he says, the Hearst is no "gherkin" — referring to the affectionate nickname Brits have given their Tower of London Norman Foster's 30 St Mary Axe. "I haven’t yet heard an affectionate nickname for the Hearst," he writes. Well, we can change that! Below, a few suggestions for renaming the Hearst building. 1. The Worst Tower 2. The Crinkle-Cut French Fry 3. 57th Street's Flamboyant Hat 4. Marge Simpson's Hairnet 5. The Jerks' Tower 6. Basket of Jerks Oh, just kidding about those last two. Shout-outs to our peeps at Hearst! Why Foster’s Hearst Tower is no gherkin [Architectural Record] Related: New York's Ugliest Buildings

School Principal Single-handedly Stops Ratner Drillers

City Tech Tower
Bruce Ratner has plans to build Brooklyn's tallest structure using air rights from CUNY's NYC Technical College. The City Tech tower, to be designed by Renzo Piano, is being built with the collaboration of the school — and in return, they'll get a new class and lab building, built by Ratner. But there's one loser in this deal: George Westinghouse High School, which uses an auditorium and parking lot on the CUNY site where Ratner will be building. School officials only received a fax with the announcement a couple of days before a crew arrived to start work for excavation. "The principal asked the workers to leave the property, and they did," a community activist explained later. The school has rented the space from CUNY for years, and administrators have tried since September to learn what will happen to it. "They had one sit-down with construction people that ended poorly," says the activist. The school's PTA will meet with representatives of both Ratner and the Department of Education on January 19 (which would seem to make them more influential than dozens of celebrity protesters against Ratner's other Brooklyn projects, who can't seem to get a meeting with him). Ratner spokesman Lorin Reigelhaupt promises to restore lost parking spaces on-site or nearby, but neither Reigelhaupt nor the DOE will comment on the future of the auditorium. —Alec Appelbaum

Oy Vey! Lower East Side to Lose Streit's Matzo Factory

Streits
Well, there goes the neighborhood (again). Today, Curbed brings us the sad news that Lower East Side landmark Streit's matzo factory is up for sale. Streit's, which has been operating at the corner of Rivington and Suffolk since 1925, has lately been run by the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of founder Aron Streit, and they're asking $25 million for the building, which will likely be torn down because, Curbed tells us, the interior doesn't really lend itself to renovation (all those matzo-making machines, we guess). So probably it will become condos. But don't despair, Lower East Siders. You may be losing the neighborhood, but you're not losing the product: Streit's will continue to produce matzo and other "ethnic delights" like Manhattan-style pickles with hot peppers. They'll just do it elsewhere, probably in New Jersey. Streit's Matzo Leaving LES, Wants $25 Million For Building [Curbed]

Hotel Riverview Is All Goode (and MacPherson)

Riverview
Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode's acquisition of downtown hotels continues apace! Today's Sun confirms what Hotel Chatter swore was true the other day: The dudes behind the Maritime and Bowery hotels have added Jane Street's Riverview Hotel to their portfolio — their plans for it were approved by the community business board last night. They intend to renovate the building — the former American Seaman's Friend Society Sailors Home, which was occupied by sailors who survived the sinking of the Titanic and now houses Socialista — restoring its original, seafaring look but adding amenities like sunbathing decks for the rooms and bars that Zach Braff will undoubtedly enjoy. Hotel Riverview Could Regain Its Sea Legs [NYS]

A Guide to Dan Doctoroff's Unfinished Business

Dan Doctoroff
Dan Doctoroff is leaving City Hall with a lot of big real-estate projects unfinished, but he's done his best to make sure they have the momentum and guidance to be completed in his absence (which meant coordinating a lot of egos and favors). The mayor remains urgent about his green agenda, and the staff Doctoroff leaves behind seems to click. Plus, he’s not exactly dropping off the grid: "One of the great things about going to [Bloomberg LP] is I’m not going to be that far away," he told us, murkily. But without strong-willed Doctoroff forcing players to negotiate, will everything go according to plan? After the jump, a handy guide to Doctoroff’s key reform campaigns, with assurances from Doctoroff himself included. Think of it as a cheat sheet for who now controls their (and our) future. —Alec Appelbaum

Will Madonna's Co-op Board Push Her Love Over the Borderline?

Madonna
Madonna managed to get something else done this week while she was in town for the premiere of Guy Ritchie's movie, Revolver. She filed suit against her Central Park West building's co-op board, saying they blocked her from buying a neighbor's apartment, which she had been planning to adjoin to her current 6,000-square-foot spread. (Hey, a girl needs room!) We imagine she feels the old biddies on the board should be grateful for her presence: After all, her building, Harperley Hall, 41 Central Park West, "was not one of the area's more notable buildings until she put down roots there in the early 1990's," the Times said in 2003, noting that after her arrival, property prices had gone up by about 25 percent. Madge has had bad luck with co-ops before — she was rejected by the San Remo in 1985 — and was looking at townhouses earlier this year. “I believe she’s looking on the Upper East Side,” publicist Liz Rosenberg told New York back in March. Could this be the conflict that pushes Madge out of the Upper West Side for good? If so, we have two words for her: Palazzo. Chupi. Madonna Sues Co-op Board [NYP] There Goes the Nabe: Up, Up, Up [NYT] Related: Madonna’s Condo Ray of Light [NYM]

Dan Doctoroff May Still Save Us

Dan and Mike
Dan Doctoroff insisted at today's quickie press conference that "everything will keep going" on the city's construction front despite his departure. But is the position he's leaving one that requires his specific personality? As the mayor noted, Doctoroff broke the patronage-or-paralysis mold that used to define big city projects. "By integrating economic development with city planning, affordable housing, and parks for the first time, Dan created a new model," said Bloomberg. "His best was as good as it gets." (The famously droll mayor seemed genuinely cranky at chatter when the meeting started and misty when he summed up his adieu.) And Doctoroff may still retain the power to help patch up the city's cracked infrastructure.

‘Schneighbors’ No More?

Schneighbors
Friends, we have sad news. Last night at the GQ Man of the Year awards in Los Angeles, a member of Intel's West Coast bureau — okay, fine, kidding, we don't have a West Coast bureau; it was a USC journalism student named David Davin — intercepted auteur and art legend Julian Schnabel and asked him, quakingly, about his West Village development, Palazzo Chupi. Occupied by Schnabel, Richard Gere, and Credit Suisse cheese William J.B. Brady, the ginormous pink building is not only a monument to midlife crisis, it's the set of Intel's favorite (pretend) reality show, Schneighbors, which is why we were so excited when we heard that Bono had bought one of the two remaining condos. But we couldn't find any records of the sale, so…did he? "No, Bono is not going to be there," Schnabel said. He was wearing green sneakers, a bathrobe, and yellow-tinted glasses, and as he shuffled away he seemed oblivious to the fact that, 3,000 miles away, our hearts were shattering into a million pieces. But then we looked on the bright side: Could not Bono's loss be Salman Rushdie's gain? Related: Look Who's Schneighbors!

Rem Koolhaas to Rediscover the ‘Mid-rise’

Rem
Slazer Enterprises announced last night that Rem Koolhaas's firm would design a mid-rise condo over a Creative Artists Agency screening room on 22nd Street next to its looming 60-story One Madison Park, and we've learned that this will be something more tasteful than your standard glassosaur. Koolhaas, after all, has seen preservationists kill his Manhattan commissions before; remember his proposed extension to the Whitney? So his local guy, Shohei Shigematsu, promises a bolt of wacky probity. The project, for which Shigematsu hopes to reveal designs by March, will stand behind One Madison Park. Quietly. "Rather than endless high-rise, we would like to have some new discovery of mid-rise," Shigematsu told us. That might mean zigzag units with different ceiling heights or balconies that stretch across multiple floors. And what about Daniel Libeskind, rumored to be working on the island's tallest condo nearby for Elad Properties? "We are interested in the identity of this place because it used to be a very prominent shopping street in the early conception of Manhattan," says Shigematsu. "Libeskind is part of the fact that the area is becoming more interesting." All this classy restraint makes us that much more suspicious that the preservationists are just waiting in the bushes armed with obstacles for both architects. —Alec Appelbaum Related: Rem Koolhaas Tackling New One Madison Park Building [Curbed]