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Hudson Yards Development: Guaranteed Green

You may have seen a bunch of renderings of potential designs for the land above the Hudson Yards in this morning's papers. But as one of the teams' lead architects pointed out to us, "The challenge is, your eye immediately goes to the buildings, but it's unlikely any of the buildings are going to look like this. That's the challenge to the MTA, to boil down fundamental issues for the public." So instead, we're giving you one of the images that probably will find its way into reality if its team is selected — one for the long, narrow green space looking eastward from the Durst/Vornado proposal. That might just be the glass arc over the proposed Moynihan Station that you see in the distance. But meanwhile, what is Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling doing in the foreground on the right? —Alec Appelbaum Related: The Next 'West' Thing [NYP] Five Companies Bid to Remake Six Blocks of Hudson Yards Area [NYDN]

Markus Dochantschi to Blend Luxury With Affordable Beside BAM

Back in April, we told you how a city competition had produced attractive, ecohealthy, and affordable housing in the South Bronx. When architect Markus Dochantschi, Zaha Hadid's onetime U.S. point man, finished second in that competition, he vowed to find another spot for his utopian plans. His sights were set on the ritzy city-owned site next to BAM, where another similar competition was running. This time, he won. Dochantschi, working with German architect Stefan Behnisch, will design 187 units, including 30 for-sale apartments and an unspecified number of affordable ones, above a retail and performance space where Fulton Street meets Ashland (near Frank Gehry's modern explosion over the Atlantic Yards). He says the scheme scatters for-sale and low-income units throughout the tower to ensure that no one section becomes less desirable than others. Instead, as the above rendering shows (and another more clearly after the jump), he "twisted the orientation" to make sure the north-south exposure was no less enticing than the east-west. As a result, he says, "hotspots" throughout the building will ensure plenty of nice light and air. He hopes the building opens by 2010. —Alec Appelbaum
Local Planner Gets the Big Job [Brooklyn Papers] Related: Mr. Ratner's Neighborhood [NYM]

Astroland Saved!

Now hear this: The city will not sell out Coney Island's Astroland. Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden told a roomful of civic heavyweights this morning that the city is weeks away from announcing a rezoning plan that will "save the amusement park, an icon of democracy which is beloved by the whole world." She continued: "The strategy will catalyze a new park which will be open year-round...and housing, in the right place." Planning insiders have long doubted rumors that Astroland would become a northern outpost of Del Boca Vista (come on, Seinfeld's parents' retirement community? Anyone?). Thor Equities, which had floated the idea of time-shares near the hallowed ground, has also been pretty quiet lately. But this hammers the point home. The devil will be in the details, as any change to Coney's curious chemistry will be hard for some people to swallow. Mayor Bloomberg, in a speech at the same conference, promised that the rezoning will "take full advantage of the wonderful new subway terminal at Stillwell Avenue." So apartments could still cluster near the Cyclone. As long as we get direct access to the boardwalk from the subway, that's fine with us. —Alec Appelbaum

Giant Residential Complex to Hit the Lower East Side

Unless you live on the Lower East Side near the river, you may not have known there was a Pathmark down there on Cherry Street. It's a large, low building among housing projects and residential towers. Now, Curbed.com reports that the supermarket is about to turn into a giant development. The lot is for sale for $250 million and the sellers are suggesting it could be used to build one or two large residential towers (which would have a fabulous view of Brooklyn and the East River, though not necessarily the best view on the street) of about 50 stories. That's big news for the neighborhood, especially since it's rumored Donald Trump is interested. With the city's planned revamp of East River Park, could this become a hot new area? Could it provide a much-needed hipster shunt from the hemorrhaging Ludlow and Essex area? Could Manhattan actually have found a new neighborhood to create? We can't wait for all the real-estate blogs to begin inevitable naming contests! LES Pathmark Site: $250 Million, 50+ Stories of Fun [Curbed]

Wall Street Bonus Drop Presaging Real-Estate Meltdown?

The annual sky-high Wall Street bonuses are falling — by an estimated 10 percent this year. So announced state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli yesterday (just in time to coincide with our Money Issue), no doubt setting off much manicured-nail-biting. What does this mean for NYC real estate, a market now accustomed to massive infusions of bonus cash? We asked around.

Extreme Makeover: Bowery Edition

Cooper Hotel
The Peck Moss Group, the developers behind the Cooper Square Hotel, just bought the three remaining lots between Fifth and Sixth Streets from Cooper Union. The land, which they purchased from Cooper Union for $11 million, because, a spokeswoman says, it "wasn't suitable for academic development," includes a cozy 1830s Federal-style house occupied by beloved student watering hole Asia Pub. Will the hoteliers raze the structure to build another gleaming boutique B&B? "We don't really know yet," said partner Matthew Moss. "We obviously made a huge investment in Cooper Square, and a large part of buying those lots is to control what happens on the rest of our block, to make sure someone else doesn't buy it and use it for something else." Residents of the Fifth Street block, however, said they were told by Moss that he plans to build another hotel on the lots "and that when it was all finished, we would be thrilled," said one. And the group did apply for a permit for a smaller hotel late last year, although that application was rejected. In any case, NYU underclassmen can breathe a sigh of relief: At least for the near future, the bar remains open. —Dan Levin Earlier: High-Rise Eats Tenement Related: Hotelier Assumes NoHo Will Bend to His Will [Curbed]

Glass Goes Up on Trump Soho

Trump Soho
We couldn't help but notice today that glass is finally going up on Trump Soho, the controversial hotel-tower that he has been shilling for the past few months. You can see it on the bottom of the picture to the left (it's blue!). You can bet that Soho and Village protesters will have a lot to say about this. We're not sure we have an opinion, except that this accelerated progress is only going to mean that Trump will be hanging out in our neighborhood more often. Which is never good. Earlier: The Donald Celebrates Trump Soho Sales

It's Good to Be François Pinault

Francois Pinault
François Pinault, the owner of Gucci and Christie's, Forbes-approved Richest Person, and proud grandfather to Salma Hayek's newly birthed daughter, Valentina Paloma Pinault (if this kid lived in Zimbabwe, it would totally be called Set-for-Life Pinault), has paid $16.9 million for the top penthouse in Barbizon/63, the Gothic-looking former women's hotel on East 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue that was recently converted into super-fabulous condos for super-fabulous people. Amenities include...

Jeff Zucker Snaps Up Kitty's Old Place

Kitty and Jeff
The Upper East Side home of legendary actress Kitty Carlisle Hart, who died last April of pneumonia at the age of 96, has found a buyer after just 43 days on the market. According to the Stribling.com Web listing, the unsurprisingly stately eleven-room on East 62nd Street, which has five bedrooms, four baths and a library, has a "contract signed." (It was snapped up in August.) The site has pics of the apartment, in which you'll see that when they say "apartment," they mean "well-appointed palace," and by "library," they mean, "bowling alley." The spread is in Madison Avenue's fabulous Verona building, a luxe palazzo only containing 20 apartments. The rumored future owner of this rare real estate gem? NBC chief Jeff Zucker and his wife, Karen, who've been looking since 2005, when they sold their sprawling co-op on Central Park West, says a source. The new place is just a hop skip and a jump from Rockefeller Center, so don't be surprised if you start seeing Zucker walk to work in the mornings! Okay, no, you should still be surprised. —S. Jhoanna Robledo Stribling.com [Official Listing]

Have We Found Libeskind's Manhattan Tower at Madison Square Park?

One Madison Ave
Some months ago, Daniel Libeskind told us he was designing his first tower in Manhattan. We asked where it was, and he said he couldn't tell us, yet, but he would as soon as all the official folderol allowed. A few days later, someone who knows Libeskind mumbled something to us about "One Madison," then promptly hushed up. For months, Libeskind's people have said only that Israeli developer Elad Properties is Libeskind's client for a project somewhere in Manhattan. Well, today, an Israeli news service is reporting that Elad is developing a 74-story apartment tower at One Madison Avenue. You know, that pretty landmark with the illuminated clock tower? According to the report, they'll be adding many stories to make the new structure one of the tallest residential towers in the world.

Dan Doctoroff's Plan to Move City Hall Workers to WTC

Dan Doctoroff
City Hall has finally found a way to personally benefit from the fitful rebirth of ground zero. A year ago, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff pledged that the city would rent up to a third of the office space in 4 World Trade Center if no other tenants emerge by early 2009 — a key financing commitment for the three towers that developer Larry Silverstein will soon start building. Yesterday, Doctoroff told us that the city was planning on making good on that pledge — and that relocating city workers into the new Fumihiko Maki–designed skyscraper could benefit everyone, including us taxpayers. "Too many of our workers are in substandard space," Doctoroff said, "and this gives us an opportunity to upgrade some and perhaps sell some buildings that are better used for residential." Because condo demand is outpacing the need for office space down there, this could be a deft, profitable maneuver for the city. At the same time, having a guaranteed tenant would take the heat off Silverstein (and his lenders). Since many city workers are toiling in basements and too small spaces, this could be a hat trick not even Silverstein's architects could've designed. —Alec Appelbaum

OpenHouse NY: Triple Assessment

What's a well-finished studio/loft in Tribeca worth? Jhoanna Robledo asks three brokers their opinion on one at 55 White Street in this week's installment of Open House New York, New York's partnership with LX.TV and WNBC-TV. Click through to watch the video.

What High-End Market Trouble? Plaza's Versace Units Snapped Up

Not worried by mortgage-market meltdown or stock-market volatility or spiking rates on jumbo mortgages? Still looking for a prime place to park your millions? We've got some bad news, then: The Plaza is nearly sold out. Indeed, even the two much-photographed, Donatella Versace–designed model apartments — dubbed "white" and "black" for their dominant color schemes and used by the building's hotel-to-condo redevelopers to attract potential purchasers — have been snapped up, a Plaza source told us today. The 1,212-square-foot one-bedroom unit, which faces Central Park, fetched $6.9 million, while the 2,656-square-foot two-bedroom, with both park and western views, went for $12.5. (Neither of those prices includes the Versace trimmings, which would have cost who knows how much more.) But don't give up yet, highfliers determined to live in a converted hotel space. The Pierre penthouse is still on the market, for a mere $70 million. —S. Jhoanna Robledo

Open House New York: The Future of Fire Island

The Hamptonization of Fire Island? Say it ain't so! Our real-estate guru, S. Jhoanna Robledo, discusses the dread future of the once-quiet barrier island in this week's installment of Open House New York, New York's partnership with LX.TV and WNBC-TV.

Take a Look at the Freedom Tower Lobby

Some day — one hopes sooner rather than later — the Freedom Tower will be an actual building, not just an idea to argue about, and that building will have a lobby. Daily Intel got the first look at renderings of the planned lobby, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. A 60-foot-high expanse of prismatic glass looks out on the memorial pool. "The lobby sheds light into the memorial pool," explained SOM's TJ Gottesdiener. "And the front door is celebrated." Where the old Twin Towers sealed themselves from the street, the new lobby echoes the old bustle of downtown — true to the notion that Daniel Libeskind laid out before he lost control of the building's design. "The greatest thing about Danny's master plan is that it lets streets flow," Gottesdiener said. Got that? Even more impressive than the renderings, SOM just said something nice about Libeskind. —Alec Appelbaum

Open House New York: Self-Parked Cars to Self-Cleaning Toilets

What are the latest over-the-top amenities in new New York apartment buildings? On the first installment of New York's new partnership with LX.TV and WNBC-TV, called "Open House New York," real-estate editor S. Jhoanna Robledo takes a tour of an automated parking garage in lower Manhattan, a tricked-out kids' playroom on the Upper West Side, and a space-age, remote-controlled toilet in Chelsea. The future is now, people! So take a look. Open House New York [NYM] Related: Outrageous Amenity of the Week [NYM] Open House New York [Official site]

What's That Shiny Building, and What Have They Done With Our Bus Station?

When Governor Spitzer held a press conference Friday to announce the state was opening bidding for the 12-million-square-foot Hudson Yards site, he mentioned another bit of redevelopment in the works for the West Side: an imminent overhaul of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Which promptly sent us scurrying to the Port Authority's Website, looking for details. We turned up these renderings and these optimistic stats: Apparently they're planning 55,000 square feet of spiffed-up stores, 26 new bus gates, and a bright office tower on top. Even if the building doesn't look too architecturally interesting, it's still nice to imagine a presentable depot. Just don't count on it anytime soon; feasibility studies will be ongoing till 2009. —Alec Appelbaum Earlier: You Wanna Buy a Rail Yard?

The Bike Man Cometh

The Street Wizard of Copenhagen is coming to New York. That's a big deal, and great news for bicyclists and pedestrians: Danish planner Jan Gehl made his name by formulating little fixes — a plaza here, a planter there — that vastly improved pedestrian life in his home city and others from Milan to Dublin. New Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, along with Planning commissioner Amanda Burden, took a field trip to meet him last month, and she told us last night that she's hiring him for Big Apple projects. Sadik-Khan won't say yet what he'll be working on in New York, but his firm, Gehl Architects, studies street use and designs ways to encourage it — so we suspect Department of Transportation leaders want him to make local landmarks more pleasant for walking, biking, or waiting for the light to change. Maybe he'll unchoke the Times Square bow tie, for instance, or propose ways to cross Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza in less than 30 minutes. Presumably he's open to suggestion. —Alec Appelbaum Earlier: What Does Socialite/Planner Amanda Burden Do on Vacation?

On Perry Street, the Death of Real-Estate Bling?

Luxury-condo marketing went through the looking glass at a brokers' breakfast this morning for 166 Perry Street, a new 24-loft, bumpy steel-and-glass condo set to rise just east of Richard Meier's sleek towers in the far West Village. The building has private swimming pools for its penthouse duplexes and art-installation screens over the ground floor, but, interestingly, Corcoran Sunshine marketers are pushing it as, well, simple. "There's an architecture-collector market," marketer James Lansill told us in Jean-Georges's Perry Street restaurant, which will deliver room service to the building. "It's not about bling at all." Oh, no. Not at all. —Alec Appelbaum