Monday, September 19, 2011

AvalonBay Pulls Plug on Big West Side Project

After three years on hold, plans to construct a 44-story tower with 700 rental apartments on a block between Eleventh and Twelfth avenues are abandoned.

AvalonBay Communities has nixed plans to build a new luxury rental development on Manhattan's far West Side. The big real estate investment trust decided not to lease four parcels of land owned by Four Plus Corp. located on a block bounded by West 56th and West 57th streets and Eleventh and Twelfth avenues.

The site is across the street from The Helena, the Durst Organization's LEED-Gold-certified luxury rental complex. A lease deal had been pending since February 2008, but it was put on hold due to the recession. The land is currently occupied by auto dealerships and parking garages.

According to reports, AvalonBay had planned to build a 44-story rental development with retail on the ground floor and roughly 700 apartments, including some affordable-housing units, on the site.

Officers of AvalonBay have confirmed that the company is no longer working on the project, stating that AvalonBay is focusing its efforts on projects where it owns the land. That includes its new 691-unit Chelsea development near the High Line and a planned 800-unit rental development called AvalonBay Willoughby in downtown Brooklyn, blocks away from its recently completed Avalon Fort Greene tower.

According to sources, TF Cornerstone is interested in leasing and developing the site.

While the 56th Street site is ideal for residential development, there is one downside. The property is adjacent to a city-owned garbage truck station. Supermarket magnate and one-time mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis owns two properties on the southeast corner of the block. His company Red Apple Group is headquartered at one of them, at 823 Eleventh Ave.

Four Plus owns properties valued in excess of $100 million in NYC. The Durst Organization's residential building, The Helena, stands on a 160,000-square-foot plot that it leases from Four Plus. 

Crain's New York Business