Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Under The Radar: Giant High Rise To Grow In Brooklyn

New York's Steiner family is moving from movie studios at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to an apartment high rise on a low-rent stretch of Flatbush Avenue, just blocks from the Brooklyn Academy of Music. David and Douglas Steiner expect to break ground this fall on a new $350 million, 52-story tower called The Hub, at the corner of Flatbush and Schermherhorn Avenues.

It's a sure bet that there is enough demand for residential development in Brooklyn that people will begin to move beyond more traditional neighborhoods like Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, and Fort Greene. 

The Steiners' development company purchased the lot at Flatbush and Schermherhorn Avenues for $30 million and razed all the the existing buildings. They expect to be ready to break ground on the new project early in the fall.

The tower will cost between $325 and $350 million, with the
720 units planned to rent at market rates. Plans to build the Hub as a rental property come at a time when rents in New York, and Brooklyn in particular, are soaring. Rents across Brooklyn increased 6.6% in 2011 and are expected to continue to grow. 

Even construction of new housing inventory like the Hub should not relieve upward pressure on rents, as new development will just lure more residents to Brooklyn from higher-priced Manhattan.

Monday, February 27, 2012

180 Broadway / Pace University Dorms

Pace University is erecting a new, 24-story dormitory at 180 Broadway in the Financial District. Located at the southeast corner of Broadway and John Street, the new dormitory will be the fourth for Pace in Lower Manhattan, and will replace one being leased in Brooklyn Heights.

The Karl Fischer-designed 24-story tower dormitory for Pace University is now beginning to rise at 180 Broadway and John Street.

Our photos show the first three floors going up at the construction site - all of which is slated for retail space. The remaining 21 stories in the new building will be constructed as a dormitory, housing more than 600 college students.

Tishman Construction is building the tower at the corner of John Street and Broadway following the demolition last summer of  two low-rise buildings that occupied the corner lot. 
Construction is slated for completion early in 2013, with student occupancy anticipated by the end of first quarter of 2013.

Friday, February 24, 2012

After Ten Years, 400 Park Avenue South Moves Forward

Christian de Portzamparc's 42-story residential tower project on Park Avenue South has been in development for ten years, and it looks like shovels finally are nearing the ground with the help of Toll Brothers and Equity Residential. The two firms are building a $190 million, 42-story, combination condo-rental building.

Toll Brothers and Equity Residential are partnering for a new building at 400 Park Avenue South, on the spot once slated for another Christian de Portzamparc-designed tower, by the previous developer Roy Kalimian. 

Like that tower, the Toll/Equity project—the two companies just closed on the lot for $134 million—will have 42 stories, except this one will be a mix of condos and rentals. Equity will control the bottom 22 floors, with 285 luxury rentals and the building's retail space, with Toll Brothers adding 151 super-luxury condominium units on the upper floors. 

This will be the fourth major project in Manhattan by Pritzker Prize winning architect Christian de Portzamparc, who designed  the jagged 19 East 57th Street; the skyline-redefining and outrageously priced One57, now rising a few blocks to the west; and a daring complex of five towers at Riverside South, abutting the Hudson River.

The new tower will include street-level retail space and feature a dramatic new subway entrance to the 28th Street station on the Lexington Avenue line.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Manhattan To Get Another New Hotel: Hotel 38

By now we know, there are definitely no shortages of new hotels opening in New York City. And yet we've just learned of a new one opening at 45 West 38th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The 21-story commercial office building which was bought by Lodgeworks in September 2011 for $48 million and razed, will become the site of the new 180-room, Hotel 38.

The new building will host a fitness center, restaurant, an open business center and rooftop bar. Construction is expected to commence shortly, with a tentative opening date early in first quarter of 2013.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Update On The New 7-Line Extension

Presently, the #7 train can carry you from Flushing to Times Square, but in a couple of years you'll be able to ride it another mile and a half, all the way to 34th Street and 11th Avenue. Let's take a quick tour and see how it's coming along.

These days there isn't much over there—just the Javits Center, lots of low rise industrial buildings, and the massive West Side Railyards. But if the Bloomberg Administration gets its way, the new 7 station will form the nucleus of a completely new West Side neighborhood, filled with mixed use high-rise towers. 

They have such high hopes that they've actually forecasted growth out to 2035. The MTA says that at peak, 35,000 people an hour will be using the 34th Street station at that time.

This is the new "7 Train Extension" project, weighing in at close to $2.5 billion dollars and set to open to the public some time in early 2014. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Shuttered School To Be Reborn As Affordable Housing

A long-abandoned school building in East Harlem is getting a massive $50 million makeover and will in a couple of years offer affordable housing, artists' workspaces and space for community organizations. Construction is expected to begin in the coming months and P.S. 109 will be ready for occupancy by early 2014.

P.S. 109 in East Harlem was a public school built back in 1902 which was permanently closed over a decade ago after it started to fall into disrepair. Now, the abandoned eyesore is about to get a new lease on life.

"P.S. 109 is going to be a used as a mixed-use facility," says Shawn McLearen, the project manager of ArtSpace. "It brings together affordable housing for artists and their families, live/work-spaces, with non-residential spaces for arts and community organizations."

The rundown old space on East 99th Street will soon be transformed into 90 affordable housing units that will range from studios to two bedrooms. Rents will run from $600-$1,100 dollars per month. Five units will serve as space for arts and cultural related non-profits and the building will also offer various amenities for the community.

The building has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, which means much if its architectural significance and history will be preserved in its new life.

The $50 million project is a result of a partnership between ArtSpace Projects, a national nonprofit real estate developer for the arts, and El Barrio’s Operation Fightback, an East Harlem community development organization. 

Construction is expected to begin in the coming months and P.S. 109 will be ready for occupancy by early 2014.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Steel Beams Fall 40 Stories at WTC Construction Site

A massive load of steel beams plummeted 40 stories from a crane perched atop a World Trade Center tower that is under construction Thursday morning — slamming into a flatbed truck and sending workers scrambling for cover. Miraculously, no one, not even the driver of the truck, was injured.
Work at the Tower 4 jobsite, where the crane was located, was partially shut down after the 9:58 a.m. accident as investigators from the Port Authority, FDNY,  the Department of Buildings and OSHA poured over the scene.
Witnesses said the falling beams sounded like an explosion that left them to fear the worst and sent terrified workers running from the site. 

Workers from Tower 3 halted construction and gathered in Zuccotti Park, across the street from the site, after the accident.

In Thursday's incident, the driver of the truck was not injured, although one worker at the scene was treated for minor injuries an FDNY spokesperson said. The accident happened in an enclosed section of the site that is not open to the public.

The crane, which was operated by DCM Erectors, was perched atop Tower 4, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013 and will eventually be 72 stories. Work on the tower has reached the 62nd floor. 

DCM Erectors was cited in 2007 for unsafe hoisting operations after an accident at the Goldman Sachs construction site across from the World Trade Center. 

In that case, seven tons of steel fell 25 stories onto an architect's office in a trailer next to the site. The architect was paralyzed in the accident. OSHA inspectors fined DCM $9,450 for not using proper rigging equipment.
OSHA last inspected DCM Erectors' World Trade Center site in September 2011 and found no violations. 

In the last five years, OSHA has cited DCM Erectors for seven safety violations at job sites in New York City. The company was fined $9,000 for using inadequate fall protection at 150 Greenwich Street in 2010. DCM paid a $3,000 fine for the same problem at a site at 550 W. 120th Street in 2008.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Construction Workers Injured at Two Sites in Two Days

Worker Injured at East Village Construction Site
A worker at an East Village construction site fell 15 feet Friday afternoon after the scaffolding he was standing on collapsed.The worker was standing on scaffolding near the roof inside of 710 East Ninth Street, a boarded-up former school building near Avenue C, when the structure collapsed at around 2:50 p.m., sending him plummeting to a stairwell landing below.

Because construction is being done inside the building, firefighters removed the employee through a window on the top floor using a ladder, and then lowered the injured worker from the exterior of the building to an ambulance. 

The worker suffered serious injuries to his head and was taken to Bellevue Hospital.  A hospital spokesperson reported that the injured man was "conscious, and in extreme pain."

The cause of the scaffolding collapse was not immediately clear, and officials from the Department of Buildings and the FDNY are investigating. The injured worker was not wearing a safety harness.

The former Henry Street Settlement Day Care building is being converted to affordable housing, according workers from Clairmont Electrical Contracting
of Brooklyn, who are working at the jobsite. Contractors are adding one floor with nearly 4,000 square feet to the four-story building, which will have 45 units when the renovation is complete.

Construction Worker Injured at Midtown Jobsite
A construction worker sustained injuries from a fall on a jobsite at 57th Street and Third Avenue Monday morning. The worker fell 20 feet from a scaffold at 201 East 57th Street about 9:20 a.m., according to officials from the FDNY.

Investigators from the Department of Buildings, who were on the scene, believe the injured worker was wearing a harness, but that it was not hooked in. A worker who witnessed the accident stated that the man fell head first, and was dangling by his feet, swinging back and forth below the scaffold, but not bleeding. 
The construction worker was transported to the hospital awake and conscious, where he was treated for a dislocated shoulder. Fortunately, the injuries did not appear to be life threatening. 

Construction of 201 East 57th Street began in August and is expected to take around 14 months to complete, according to the project's general contractor, Sciame. Unity Electric is performing electrical work at the site.  

The building, a four-story, glass box will be named the Manufacturers & Builders (M&B) Building, according to developer Marx Realty.   

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Moynihan Project Scaled Back over Cost Concerns

The Moynihan Station project won’t die and can’t really move forward either. Despite a ceremonial groundbreaking in October 2010, the plan to spend more than a $1 billion without increasing cross-Hudson train capacity has hit a stumbling block. As The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, due to escalating costs, the already-modest Phase 1 is being further scaled back.
Phase 1 of the two-phase project was not a particularly ambitious set of improvements. For $267 million, the Port Authority - which now the oversees the site - had planned to build two new entrances to Penn Station from west of Eighth Avenue; double the length and width of the West End Concourse; drop 13 new access points to the platforms; double the width of the 33rd Street 'connector' between Penn Station and the West End Concourse; and make other critical infrastructure improvements. 

Now that bids are in on the work and every single one came in above budget, the PA is reducing the scope of Phase 1. 

In Saturday's edition of The Wall Street Journal, Ted Mann reported :
"State and federal officials wary about mounting costs plan to scale back the first segment of work for the future Moynihan Station, the latest setback for an ambitious project almost two decades in the making. Plans to revamp a concourse and upgrade passenger amenities in a portion of Penn Station were narrowed after officials determined that bids for the estimated $267 million project came in too high, said Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which is assuming control of the long-delayed venture…"
“The response of the federal government, state government, MTA and Port Authority to the higher-than-expected bids is a unified approach to reduce the scope of phase one and thereby reduce the amount to be spent,” Mr. Foye said in an interview on Friday. “Phase one is funded and all government parties are working closely together to move phase one forward.”
"…Mr. Foye said officials agreed to rebid the contract, focusing on the expansion of the existing West End Concourse, nestled beneath the main steps of the Farley building. Other elements of the first phase, including improvements to the 33rd Street corridor under Eighth Avenue, two new entrances to the station across Eighth Avenue and a new passenger waiting area, will follow once costs can be lowered, Mr. Foye said."
The Moynihan Station project borders on being a total waste. It’s a fancy way to fund some upgrades for the Amtrak platforms and ventilation infrastructure.

It doesn’t offer up more track capacity into or out of the city, and it seems to represent spending on a structure that would allow politicians to point to something nice but not entirely functional.

If these cost overruns force the planners to take a second look at the Moynihan Station project, so much the better.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Big New Development in the Works in Williamsburg

The former Western Carpet warehouse at 204 Wythe Avenue between North 4th and 5th Streets will be demolished, and in its place, a new 5-story building with 157 condominium units will soon rise. The developer expects to break ground on 165,000-square-foot residential building, presently named 50 North 5th Street, in early spring.

SLCE Architects is designing the project, presently named 204 Wythe Avenue/50 North 5th Street, for deep-pocketed real estate developer AREA Property Partners, who recently purchased the property for $27.5 million.

Negotiations to purchase the adjacent 40,000-square-foot building running from Kent Avenue to Wythe on the north side of North 5th Street are presently underway, which could scale project up to 260,000 square feet with more than 235 condominium units.

AREA Property Partners
60 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10023
(212) 515 3400

SLCE Architects
841 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
(212) 979-8400
 SM Wythe, LLC
2 Manhattanville Road
Purchase, NY 10577
(212) 767-0960

Friday, February 10, 2012

Another Brooklyn Housing Development Breaks Ground

Workers started excavation last week on the lot at 40 Putnam Avenue in Clinton Hill in preparation for what will soon be a new affordable housing development. Construction of Putnam Court, a 59-unit, 7-story building near the corner of Irving Place, is expected to be completed within 18 months. 

Putnam Court, a new 59-unit, seven-story affordable housing project from Dunn Development - the same company building the Navy Green project - is being built next to another development that has been rising quickly. The Carlton, a Karl Fischer-designed building at 82 Irving Place, broke ground late last year and expects to have thirty market-rate rentals available later this year.

Here is a rendering of the new affordable housing project on Putnam Avenue and Irving Place, courtesy of Dunn Development and SLCE Architects.
General Contractor:
D.P. Group General Contractors
2712 Williamsbridge Road
Bronx, NY 10469
Michael Pilla, President
(718) 944-1444
Dunn Development Corp.
316 Douglass St.
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Martin Dunn, President
(718) 388-9407
SLCE Architects
841 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
(212) 979-8400

Putnam Court, LP 
40 Putnam Ave   
Brooklyn, NY 11238
(212) 791-4578

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Advertiser Spotlight - Feb 2012

The weather is turning colder, but this month's featured advertiser is turning up the heat on their marketing efforts.
TheElectricWeb.com is always excited about offering its advertisers more ways to increase their Exposure - and we are happy to say that our Advertiser Spotlight helps us do just that! 

Let's take a peek at this month’s featured advertiser:


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fresh Direct to Build New $112M Headquarters in Bronx

Fresh Direct will invest $112.6 million to build its new headquarters and operations center at the Harlem River Yards, retaining nearly 2,000 existing jobs and creating almost 1,000 new jobs. The construction of the new 500,000 square foot facility will create 685 construction jobs, with an overall economic impact to the city of nearly $255 million.

Fresh Direct, currently based in Long Island City, purchases produce, meat and dairy from over 60 New York State-based farms and serves a customer base of over 100,000 people with 97 percent of their employees coming from New York City.   

The company will build a new 500,000 square foot facility on a 16-acre parcel at Harlem River Yards in the Bronx, creating approximately 685 construction jobs.

Fresh Direct plans to purchase 10 electric refrigerated electric trucks from Smith Electric Vehicles, and five additional electric refrigeration units that can be placed on existing trucks. Smith Electric recently announced plans to build a clean technology manufacturing facility in the South Bronx that will create more than 100 construction jobs.   See Smith Electric Vehicles to Build Assembly Plant in The Bronx  [ElectricWeb | Blogger, Nov. 16, 2011]

Additionally, CSX is planning construction of a rail spur to connect the new facility to its operations in the Harlem River Yards.
From its new headquarters, the company will expand its service area to regions surrounding New York City, as well as New Jersey, Connecticut, and Philadelphia, via the new railroad link. FedEx, New York Post and Waste Management presently operate facilities within the rail terminal complex.

Fresh Direct has exceeded the growth projections outlined in the assistance package that was approved by NYCIDA in 1999 to incentivize then start-up Fresh Direct to invest approximately $51 million to purchase and renovate a 190,000 square foot facility in Long Island City. Now, Fresh Direct has 1,963 full-time equivalent employees and by summer 2021, expects to have 2,927 full-time equivalent employees.

To encourage Fresh Direct to retain and expand their operations in New York City, a package of state and city incentives valued at nearly $130 million is being provided to augment the company's private investment. Fresh Direct expects operations at their new expanded facility to commence in 2015.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Futuristic Downtown Sliver to Begin Construction

Directly across from the new Four Seasons Hotel at 99 Church Street, a narrow vacant lot is about to sprout a 21-story condominium. ABN Development will start construction in the next couple of weeks, on a glassy, futuristic-looking tower designed by architect Ismael Leyva.

The construction site is 19 Park Place, a 25-foot wide sliver in the shadow of the Woolworth Building. Until recently, it was 3-stories of 19th century brick known as 16 Murray Street, from where Mark Twain once arranged his famous lecture tours. Demolition of the old building was completed in October of 2010.  

Recently, however, construction update signs went up around the property announcing a new 21-story, 232-foot condominium tower with 29 residential units. 

Architect Ismael Leyva has collaborated on many projects which have been changed the Manhattan skyline, including Tribeca Green, Place 57 and the recently completed 63-story MiMA Tower, at 450 West 42nd Street.

According to developer ABN Realty, construction will begin in the next couple of weeks and be completed by November 2013. Calabrese Associates of Mott Street is the general contractor for the project. 
ABN Realty LLC
420 Madison Ave, Suite 806
New York, NY 10017
Tel: (516) 825-6123

Construction Manager
Calabrese Associates Inc
128 Mott Street, Suite 307
New York, NY 10013
Tel: (212) 274-1848

Ismael Leyva Architects, P.C.
48 W 37th Street, Suite 13
New York, NY 10018
Tel: (212) 868-9381

Friday, February 3, 2012

Massive NJ Solar Facility Begins Operation

The second largest photovoltaic rooftop solar facility in New Jersey began commercial operation last week. The 4.88-megawatt solar system will generate approximately 6.2 million hours of solar electricity per year and is designed to supply more than 60 percent of the electric power needs for the White Rose grocery warehouse site in Carteret, New Jersey.

KDC Solar, headquartered in Bedminster, New Jersey, has begun commercial operation of the second largest PV roof-mounted solar system in New Jersey at the White Rose Inc. warehouse in Carteret. The new system will allow White Rose to significantly reduce its carbon footprint through the production of clean electricity

.The installation was done by Solar Power Inc. a global leader in producing world-class solar energy facilities. SPI procured over 22,000 high quality panels manufactured by LDK Solar. A ribbon cutting ceremony marking the occasion was held at the site on January 25th.

White Rose Inc. is the largest wholesale distributor in the New York metroploitan area, serving retail supermarkets through the northeast with grocery, refrigerated and frozen food products. The photovoltaic system will supply years of clean, low-cost, solar energy to White Rose.

From an electrical consumption perspective, the building has no measurable adverse impact on the environment, rather, it will significantly help the environmental by reducing the carbon footprint from its operation and creating a cleaner environment. 

The facility is a successful model which KDC Solar will replicate, which in turn will create and preserve long-term jobs. KDC Solar currently operates four facilities in New Jersey producing 12 megawatts of solar power, and is constructing more than 60 megawatts of "behind the meter" solar projects at businesses and institutions throughout the state. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Port Authority Plans New $3.6 Billion LaGuardia Terminal

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is planning a 2014 start to construction of a replacement for the cramped, outdated Central Terminal Building at La Guardia Airport. More than a dozen firms have responded with ideas for how to build—and most importantly pay for— the new 1.3 million-square-foot terminal. The schedule calls for construction to be completed by the end of 2021 at a cost of about $3.6 billion.

Because the Central Terminal would need to remain in operation during construction, the Port Authority sees work taking place in phases. A contractor would knock down part of the terminal while keeping the rest in operation, construct part of the new building, and then move onto the demolition of another piece of the old one.

The existing central terminal, which opened in 1964, is outmoded and overcrowded. Half of La Guardia's 72 aircraft gates, built originally to accommodate smaller planes, are located at the Central Terminal Building. When it opened, the facility could handle eight million passengers annually, a figure surpassed in 2006, when nearly 13 million passengers passed through the terminal. Last year, more than 24 million passengers used the 46-year-old Central Terminal.

The aircraft that use La Guardia today are about 20% wider and 15% longer, according to the Port Authority. The bigger planes carry more passengers, making the inside of the current terminal overcrowded. Modern airport security requires more space than the Central Terminal Building can allot for it. In addition, the terminal lacks the bevy of shops and restaurants that are common in newer structures. All those things conspire to make La Guardia one of the lowest-rated and most delay-riddled airports in the U.S.

But a fix has been hard to come by. There's not much free space at La Guardia, which is hemmed in by the Grand Central Parkway on one side and Bowery and Flushing bays on the other. The Port Authority has weighed a replacement for years but hasn't had the money to pay for one.

The Port Authority wants that building to be designed in a way that would allow for a rail connection, in case the city and state ever find a way to pay for one and figure out where to put it. Plans for subway link to La Guardia have long been discussed, but never been implemented because of lack of funds and neighborhood opposition.

The Port Authority is planning a similar project to overhaul Newark Liberty International Airport's Terminal A beginning in 2015.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

World-Class Design Flaw Discovered at 1 WTC

The loading docks at 1 WTC can't be connected to the underground Vehicle Security Center that the Port Authority is building. The temporary PATH station stands in the way of the vehicle tunnel and cannot be dismantled until the huge, way-behind-schedule Transportation Hub is completed — which won't happen before 2015. Even after the temporary station is taken down, the Port Authority still will not be able to build the underground road until a foundation is poured for the Performing Arts Center, which will stand where the PATH now stands.

Contrary to what has been expected at all the new WTC towers; the temporary dock won’t connect to the underground Vehicle Security Center that the PA is building just south of the 16-acre WTC site. 

The underground loading dock to 1 World Trade Center, future home of Condé Nast, can’t be finished in time for the media company and other tenants to use the planned 13 cargo bays to move in equipment to build out their space. As a result, the Port Authority is scrambling to construct a temporary, aboveground loading dock with just five bays. The unexpected change in plans will add “tens of millions” of dollars to the cost of building 1 WTC.

Although all vehicles bound for the towers are supposed to be screened for bombs and other terrorist threats at the
Vehicle Security Center, the NYPD — that is responsible for security at the WTC in collaboration with the Port Authority — is said to have no objection to the aboveground dock. Commissioner Ray Kelly in the past strongly asserted the NYPD's role at the site — even requiring the redesign and relocation of 1 WTC seven years ago, when it was still called the Freedom Tower.

The temporary dock also means that workers will need to wheel equipment in and out through a door in the tower’s base, which is being clad in a glass-and-concrete facade. Although the design has yet to be shown, it is intended as an important aesthetic element of the project and was not supposed to host cargo deliveries.

A spokesperson for the Port Authority said the loading dock problem was not recognized until about a year ago. Why it took so long to figure out was unclear.

On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that 1 WTC’s construction cost recently rose by $700 million to $3.8 billion. Now we know where some of that increase came from.

Unlike the WTC Transportation Hub nearby, which is costing nearly as much, 1 WTC is a project with a purpose: to provide state-of-the-art office facilities in a city desperately in need of them. However, news of a rushed change in plans as the tower nears its 104-story height is the last thing the embattled
Port Authority, facing a scathing audit, needs.

Port Authority officials insist the dock delay will not interfere with tenants moving into their space by early 2015 — or with leasing the roughly 900,000 square feet that remain up for grabs in the 3.05 million square-foot tower.