Monday, January 9, 2012

Cornell to Pay $10M Next Week to Start Construction Process

Cornell University will pay the city $10 million by next week as the first step in getting its new Roosevelt Island campus off the ground, according to a lease agreement released Monday. The university must submit a $5 million pre-development deposit and a $5 million security deposit by January 17. The deal includes stiff penalties if Cornell does not adhere to a detailed timetable to get the project off the ground quickly.

Cornell has until November 10 to submit its Uniform Land Use Review Procedure application, or face fines of $1,000 a day, increasing to $6,000 a day after 10 months. A late draft environmental impact statement would cost it another $1 million.

The deal calls for three phases of construction, with the first commencing January 1, 2015, and including 300,000 square feet of space to be built by June 30, 2017. By the time the third phase is completed,  the campus will encompass some 1.8 million square feet of buildings.

To accelerate the project, the agreement includes many provisions that are typically negotiated at a later phase. Construction workers must be paid at prevailing wage or via approved project labor agreements and there must be M/WBE participation to ensure minorities and women are included in the construction process.

Cornell, teaming up with Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and will get $100 million from the city to help defray infrastructure costs. The mayor has not ruled out selecting a runner-up or runners-up from among several remaining contenders.

Another West Side Mega-Project Gets Underway

The far west side of Midtown, notable for being home to the Javits Center and the city’s few remaining stables, is quickly becoming known for huge residential projects like Silver Towers, MiMA, and Mercedes House. Now comes Gotham West, a vast $520 million complex which will fill almost an entire city block between West 44th & 45th Streets and 10th & 11th Avenues.

The LEED certified mega-project at 550 West 45th Street will include apartment 4 buildings, a 200 space parking garage and ground floor retail space. Construction of Gotham West will involve a feat of engineering: the extension of a platform over below-grade railroad tracks that bisect the site.

Expected to open in 2013, Gotham West is packing a remarkable amount of housing onto 4 acres. Its 1,263
units will include luxury market-rate apartments, income-restricted apartments, as well as condominium units.

According to renderings from the developer, Gotham Organization, 556 luxury market-rate apartments will be clustered in a single U-shaped brick building - varying in height  from 7 to 31 stories - on the west side of the development.

The project will include ground floor retail, a supermarket and a landscaped, Wi-Fi-enabled two-level private courtyard.

But the bulk of the project will be affordable housing units, 682 of them, or more than half the total homes. In fact, Gotham West represents the largest-ever affordable project undertaken in New York by a private developer, according to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which previously controlled the site.

An additional 243 affordable apartments will be built in a pair of 14-story towers on the development's east side, over the railroad tracks. Finally, 25 condos will be created in the former PS 51, a 50,000-square-foot red-brick building on West 45th Street. 
Behind the recently vacated school, construction of a new 95,000-square foot replacement school is being overseen by the City’s School Construction Authority. The new school will have approximately 630 seats. 

The site was condemned by the city in the 1970s and largely cleared, to make way for new buildings that never materialized, despite a range of proposals.   

The most recent one, in the early 2000s, was to erect Studio City New York, a 15-story complex with 7 film and TV soundstages as well as a restaurant and shops.

Instead, the site has been a place to park cars and board police horses. What changed is Hudson Yards, the mega-development planned for a few blocks south. As part of the deal that allowed that area to be rezoned for offices and homes, Clinton residents were promised more below-market-rate housing, which led to the approval of Gotham West.