Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Long-Delayed Tower at 50 West Street Resurrected

After 30 years of waiting, work on a new 63-story condominium tower will soon be getting under way at 50 West Street in Lower Manhattan.  Developer Time Equities has secured $400 million in construction financing to build the 725-foot-tall building, which will include retail space, a restaurant, health club, one floor of office space, plus the usual luxury amenities. The project also calls for a public plaza to be built, along with a pedestrian walkway that will connect West and Washington streets. 

In what has become a typical tale for the New York City market over the course of the financial crisis, a hotel and condominium project in Manhattan that froze in 2009 due to economy, has now found a lender willing to make it become a reality.

Time Equities has owned land at 50 West Street since 1983, and has held on to plans for the site through economic turmoil that took down many other developers.

Now, the developer’s patience is about to be rewarded.

For years, the plan had been for a 65-story hotel-condo tower that will overlook Battery Park and the Hudson River.  Now the project has changed in favor of a 63-story luxury condominium, minus the proposed hotel. 

The 487,000-SF residential high-rise will include 194 condominiums and is expected to receive LEED Gold certification. The sixth floor will house the building's mechanical elements, tucked safely away from potential storm surges in the wake of superstorm Sandy.

Construction is set to begin in this spring, and will become part of the skyline by 2016.

The project is just one of many new residential buildings springing up in the Financial District. In May, developer Larry Silverstein received a $660 million loan to start building the 82-story Four Seasons Hotel and Residences at 30 Park Place. 

The 926-foot tower, which is set to be the tallest residential building downtown, was initially planned years ago. Like 50 West Street, construction was put on hold when the economy tanked. 

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Two New 12-story Projects to Begin on West 35th Street

The gravitational pull of the Hudson Yards mega-project on the surrounding neighborhood is getting more obvious. Two new luxury buildings, totaling 300 units, are set to rise on a stretch of West 35th Street between Ninth and Tenth avenues. Construction on the sibling buildings is scheduled to commence next month. 

411-421 West 35th Street will be getting a 12-story, mixed-use development. The new 178,405-square-foot building is slated to have 187 luxury rental units. 

The corner lot is currently used as parking. The project will have underground parking, bicycle storage, a recreation room and 14,586 square feet of commercial space. 

Construction is scheduled to commence in January.

Across the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, we have 445 West 35th Street. This corner property will grow a new 12-story, 125-unit building. 

There will be 92,500 square feet of residential space, 4,920 square feet of commercial space and 1,200 square feet of community facility space.

Joining the flurry of activity in the area, Hudson Yards developer Related Companies recently picked up another building site in the neighborhood at 517 West 35th Street. Details on this development project are expected shortly.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Developer Selected for New City Island Bridge

The city has picked a developer to construct a controversial new $102 million bridge to link City Island to the mainland. Tutor Perini will replace the antiquated span with a futuristic cable-stayed bridge that many residents say is out of context with the island's rustic charm.

The new bridge, crowned by an off-center 180-foot high H-shaped tower, has been compared to a giant Honda logo. The design, which is intended to look like a sailboat, would dwarf the one- and two-story Victorian homes, bait shacks and seafood restaurants on the island.

While the cable-stayed design would be the first of its kind in New York state, the bridge's height would be nearly triple the 35-foot maximum on the island—though it's a big improvement on the original, 450-foot-high design.

A temporary three-lane bridge would be erected during construction. The temporary bridge will be constructed next to the current bridge from Pelham Bay Park to City Island Avenue and the new span will be built where the existing City Island Bridge now sits.

The $102.7 million price tag set by the firm was the lowest of 11 bids, according to the Department of Transportation. When completed, the new span would be the first major cable-stayed bridge in the state, with federal funding covering $100 million of the project cost.

The three low bidders were:

•    Tutor Perini Corporation               $102,688,00.20
•    Judlau Contracting                      $128,733,00.00
•    City Island Bridge Constructors    $132,588,552.05
Cable-stayed bridges are similar to typical suspension bridges in that the weight of the roadway is borne by cables. But in the newfangled version, all the weight-bearing cables are anchored to the tower itself rather than hanging off a main cable.

It’s not the first time Tutor Perini has been involved in New York bridge drama. Last month, the firm was blasted for outsourcing a $235 million MTA contract to work on the Verrazano Bridge to two Chinese steel companies.

The bridge proposal did not go through the Uniform Land-Use Review Process because it is merely replacing an existing bridge — the 17-foot-tall, 112-year-old metal swing bridge that currently connects City Island to the rest of the Bronx.

Construction is set to begin in 2014 and is scheduled for completion in 2017. 

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Checking-Inn: New Hotel Construction Projects

Looking for room at the inn? It'll soon be easier... New York is experiencing its biggest hotel expansion in a generation, attracting a host of developers betting that the good times will continue to roll. New hotel construction is booing throughout the city. As the pace increases, we are tracking approximately fifty hotel projects in various stages of development that will open over the next 18 months.  We have selected five projects which are about to begin construction for our list below:


Glassy 8-Story Addition for 17 John Street 

Earlier this year, Prodigy Network bought 17 John Street with plans to convert the existing 15-story brick apartment building, along with a dormitory at 84 William Street, into an extended-stay hotel.

Not only will the art deco building be converted, the developer is hoping to add an unusual penthouse — an eight-story glass tower topped with a rooftop deck and pool. Upon completion, the new building will stand 23-stories high.

The extended-stay hotel, designed by Dutch architect Winka Dubbeldam, is planned to meet the demand generated by the World Trade Center buildings nearing completion less than two blocks to the west.


Water Street Hotel to Rise in Dumbo

A building at 247 Water Street in Dumbo will soon be the site of an eight-story hotel featuring a roof deck and pool, along with private terraces with sweeping views of Manhattan.

The new 46,000-square-foot hotel will include a gym, restaurant and multiple lounges. The new building is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.

Standing beside the Brooklyn Bridge, the building previously housed a coffee processing plant, and most recently it contained apartments.

The landlord was accused by tenants back in 2001 of using tactics including filling their hallways with garbage, letting rats loose in their apartments and taking doors off their hinges in a bid to force them to move out of the building.

In 2004, just days after the owner paid tenants to vacate the building, it mysteriously caught fire, and was subsequently boarded up.


Under Construction in Long Island City 

Guess what is coming to 40th Avenue in Long Island City. Another hotel!

A new 10 story building designed by Michael Kang Architects will soon begin to rise at 29-12 40th Avenue, right off 29th Street.

Construction on the 76-room hotel is expected to last until the very end of 2014.


65-room Hotel to Rise in Queens Plaza

Big surprise! Yet another hotel is coming Long Island City.  Arc Architecture + Design is planning a 14-story, 65-unit hotel at 41-32 27th Street, between Queens Plaza North and 41st Avenue.

This is just a few blocks away from Hotel Vetiver, the 12-story, 116-room project which is presently under construction at 38-28 27th Street.

The chain which will operate the new 34,272 square feet hotel has not yet been disclosed.


Spaceship Hotel to Land in Sunset Park

North Brooklyn may be having a hotel renaissance, but let's not forget about the rest of the borough. In Sunset Park, a futuristic six-story hotel will soon be rising at 457 39th Street, between Fourth and Fifth avenues.

Work has recently begun on the Swiss cheese-like building designed by Michael Kang Architects.

The 70-unit hotel project will include 20,000 square feet of commercial space, an exercise room, restaurant and outdoor parking lot.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Brooklyn on the Rise at Atlantic Yards

Huge doings in Brooklyn: Almost a year after breaking ground for the first of 16 planned modular apartment towers adjacent to the Barclays Center, developer Forest City Ratner hoisted the first piece into place yesterday. When completed next year, the 32-story B2 tower will be the tallest modular building in the world, standing 322 feet at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street.

Construction of the 363-unit apartment building begins the arrival of the affordable housing that was promised for the site, only to be delayed by the economy and a shortsighted drive to block the entire $4.9 billion, 22-acre project, including the Barclays arena.

Half of the units in the initial tower will have rents that are in range for working- and middle-class New Yorkers.

When Atlantic Yards is finished, the long-vacant tracts will be home to 6,400 total apartments, more than 2,200 of which will have city-set affordable rents, and a couple hundred of which will be affordable condos.

[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Oct 21, 2013]

All told, the 16 buildings are slated to eventually house nearly 6,500 units of housing both affordable and market-rate, 247,000 square feet of retail, about 340,000 square feet of office space and 8 acres of open space, which will proceed in two development phases.

B2, as the first tower is known, will contain 181 units of affordable housing.

The reasonably priced units can’t come soon enough. Not when one in three New Yorkers spends half of his or her income in rent. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who was a major Atlantic Yards supporter, has promised to ramp up production of affordable housing.

A key factor is summarized in a little word: prefab. The builders are saving money and time by doing almost all the construction inside a Brooklyn factory staffed with 125 skilled, unionized workers. The 363 prefabricated units are being built at a plant at the Brooklyn Navy Yard and will be trucked to the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Dean Street.

Prefabricated living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms, stairways and the like will be trucked to the worksite, complete with plumbing and electric, in the form of 900 steel-framed building blocks. Crews will then lock the components together.

The innovative technique is a potentially revolutionary way to keep costs, and ultimately rents, down. There also happens to be less noise and debris on site, a bonus for neighborhoods battered by construction headaches.

[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Dec 4, 2012]

Prefab has been in use for single-family and smaller homes for many years. At Atlantic Yards, it’s coming to scale. The tower at Flatbush and Dean will be the world’s tallest such building, and more could soon be in the offing.

This returns us to the mayor-elect, who has pledged to build or preserve 200,000 affordable housing units. None of the ideas he campaigned on, from changing zoning rules to unlocking vacant lots, would change the expensive underlying economics of erecting buildings in New York City.

Prefab just might.

There will be many public policy wrinkles to work out: how to answer challenges from workers protecting their turf, like union electricians; and how to properly inspect units built out-of-state.

[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Nov 20, 2011]

“We are excited about the potential opportunity this joint venture presents to accelerate vertical development at the project, including delivery of affordable housing,” the firm said in a statement.

All told, the 16 buildings are slated to eventually house nearly 6,500 units of housing both affordable and market-rate, 247,000 square feet of retail, about 340,000 square feet of office space and 8 acres of open space, which will proceed in two development phases.

B2, as the first tower is known, will contain 181 units of affordable housing.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Messier's Hockey Rink Grows in Kingsbridge

Kingsbridge National Ice Center will officially be coming to the Bronx after the City Council decided to support the $320 million project. The ice sports center proposed for the Kingsbridge Armory would be the largest facility of its kind in the world, with nine indoor ice rinks and an outdoor rink. NHL great Mark Messier will be the ice center’s CEO.

The world’s largest ice center is coming to the Bronx’s Kingsbridge Armory after the plan skated through the City Council Tuesday.

The Council voted 48-1 to approve the $320 million proposal to turn the cavernous armory into the Kingsbridge National Ice Center, which will count nine ice rinks and open in 2017. Brooklyn Councilman Charles Barron cast the lone dissenting vote.

[See ElectricWeb | Blogger,  Apr 29, 2013]

“This will be a world-class destination that will...revitalize the Kingsbridge Armory and bring more resources and jobs to this part of the Bronx,” said Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

NHL great Mark Messier will be the ice center’s CEO.

The vote comes four years after the Bloomberg administration’s initial plan for Kingsbridge — a mall that would have been built by the Related Companies — was defeated in the Council, where members were upset the developer refused to guarantee a living wage for jobs.

Initially, the Council was reluctant to support the project because of concerns it did not have enough parking spaces and would flood the area with traffic.

[See ElectricWeb | Blogger,  Jun 24, 2012]

Under an agreement, KNIC Partners will shell out $250,000 to create a fund to pay for traffic improvements and a study of traffic conditions.

They’ll also pay $150,000 for signs along Kingsbridge Road and $25,000 for a campaign to encourage people to take public transportation to the ice center.

Bloomberg applauded the outcome, saying it “will bring an iconic Bronx landmark back to life.”

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mayor Going Out with a Boom - a Building Boom

The Bloomberg administration has been pushing through billions of dollars worth of new construction projects in its waning days, trying to solidify the mayor’s claim to having transformed the face of New York City and lock in plans before Bill de Blasio takes over January 1st. This week the city gave thumbs up to three massive residential development projects in Brooklyn, totaling nearly 9,000 apartments.

The City Council voted to green light a 20-acre, 10-tower "mini-neighborhood" on the Greenpoint waterfront, proposed by Park Tower Group.

The Greenpoint Landing project will add 5,500-units of new housing on the borough’s northernmost tip.

In an agreement, the developer will donate $5.5 million for the Newtown Barge Park, and agree that 431 of the 1,400 affordable units projected will be permanently affordable.

In exchange, the developer also received approval for construction of a 640-seat public school and permission to build a mix of affordable and market-rate housing on a parcel of city-owned land it will now control.

[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Nov 7, 2013]
[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Dec 28, 2012]

Meanwhile, the Council also signed off on the rezoning of the old Rheingold Brewery site in Bushwick, which Read Property Group aims to convert to a 10-building mixed-use complex boasting nearly 1,000 apartments.

The brewery redevelopment will create about 900 market-rate apartments, and 265 permanently affordable units.

The project will also include 54,200 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 504 parking spaces on a five-block area near the corner of Flushing and Evergreen avenues.

Another winner was Two Trees Management's redevelopment of the Domino Sugar refinery.

Community Board 1 passed a resolution approving the project with conditions. That decision came despite the board’s history of rejecting large development projects.

Two Trees' current plan would bring about 2,200 apartments, including 660 affordable units, to the Williamsburg waterfront.

The developer's $1.5 billion-dollar vision for the Williamsburg site calls  for massively tall and architecturally bold skyscrapers that would redefine Brooklyn’s skyline.

The iconic landmark of Brooklyn’s industrial past will be the centerpiece of an 11-acre mega project, creating a new neighborhood with 2,284 apartments, a public school and 630,000 sq ft of offices.

[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Mar 4, 2013]
[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Jan 18, 2013]

Construction is expected to begin early next year, bringing 3,500 jobs to the area.

The Domino site is possibly the most prominent piece of real estate in Brooklyn. It sits at the dead center of the Manhattan facing waterfront, and it is what drivers on the FDR Drive see. This has the opportunity to be what new Brooklyn says to the world.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Columbia to Start Construction of New Nursing School

Columbia University announced plans to build a new home for the Columbia University School of Nursing, the oldest nursing school in the nation. The new seven-story building will be located on an existing parking lot at the corner of West 168th Street and Audubon Avenue, at the east end of the Medical Center campus. Construction on the 68,000-square-foot building will begin in late 2014.

The soaring lobby will be clad in transparent glass, offering passersby clear views in to a set of scissoring, staircases that extend upward to the seventh floor, where there is a green-roofed terrace.

The terrace flows into a penthouse that contains a student lounge and an informal event space.

The new building will provide space for research, a sunlit atrium and two-floor medical simulation center. The building will also have a café, rooftop terrace and event space.

The architecture firm FXFOWLE won the project in a competition. The university requested a three-story building of 65,000 square feet for the site, however, a taller, skinnier building was proposed that would leave half the site for future development, while resulting in a lower-cost, more efficient construction. The project will seek LEED Silver certification.

"Future leaders in nursing require technology and facilities that enable them to learn and master the skills that are needed every day in clinical practice and research," said Dr. Lee Goldman, Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences.

The simulation center will include model health care settings like a mock in-patient room, exam room, critical care unit, and an operating room.

See Columbia Schoolof Nursing-Building the Future.pdf

Three clinical teaching labs will have six beds and 14 exam tables where students can practice their skills on lifelike mannequins.

The school will also be less than a block away from Washington Heights' first hotel, a 40,000 square-foot, 11-story building at 514 West 168th Street, which is expected to be completed in 2014.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Green Housing Project Set to Grow in the Bronx

Webster Green will be a new 8-story, affordable housing development at 3100 Webster Avenue in the Bronx.  Located on a former brownfield site at East 204th Street, the project by The Doe Fund will total 82,200 square feet and consist of 82 units including studio, one- and two bedroom apartments.  Upon completion in 2015, the “L” shaped building will feature numerous green initiatives, including a 70 KW photovoltaic panel system on the main roof, an extensive green roof setback, and CFL and LED lamps installed throughout the building.

Additional green features will include: sun-shading devices on the south facing windows, wall panels and skylights to maximize daylight within the corridors, a high efficiency rooftop boiler, high efficiency cooling units for apartments, central air for common spaces.

The building's exterior will include low-E thermal windows, exterior insulation, and a rainwater harvesting system that will utilize water tanks located on one side to collect water from the roofs for irrigating landscaped areas and street trees.

Located at an intersection highlighted in the City’s Webster Avenue Vision Plan, the new development will rise one block from the Bronx Botanic al Gardens.

In addition to the residential units (36 studios, 15 one bedroom, 31 two bedrooms), the new building will also include administrative and program management offices on the ground floor, as well as a community space and laundry room.

An interior landscaped courtyard will include plants and shrubs native to New York and will provide seating areas, a playground and a series of urban gardens.

Webster Green will participate in the NYSERDA Multifamily Energy Performance Program for New Construction, incorporating at least 20% energy reduction & energy efficiency options into the building’s design and we will seek LEED Platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council.

NYSERDA Multifamily Performance Program 

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Developer to Build 1,200 Hunter’s Point Apartments

TF Cornerstone, the family-owned development firm responsible for transforming a swathe of the Long Island City waterfront, has been tapped to build the second phase of the city’s massive Hunter's Point South complex.  This part of the mega-project will create 1,193 apartments, with 796 units set aside for moderate- and middle-income families and remainder will be market-rate. The developer will construct a 36-story and a 41-story apartment building on Parcel C, located at 52-40 and 52-50 2nd Street. The first phase, developed by Related Cos, is currently under construction.

TF Cornerstone knows Long Island City well, and its six at Queens West towers dominate the waterfront skyline. The new complex will make the community on the banks of the East River more robust, since half of the affordable units will be 2-bedroom apartments, as well as 80 three bedroom apartments.

State Senator Mike Gianaris pushed hard to get the developer to increase the number of 3-bedroom units following feedback from the community.

Under the contract, TF Cornerstone will construct a 36-story and a 41-story apartment building covering a total of 1,200,000-square-feet, with 1,193 apartments. About 400 of the units will be market-rate. The remainder will be designated as affordable, most of them set aside specifically for moderate-income families. As such, the project ranks as the last and largest such development undertaken by the Bloomberg administration.

Out of the nearly 800 affordable units, 100 will be reserved for low-income seniors, leaving roughly 700 for middle-income residents, which translate to a family of four making between $111,670 and $141,735 annually. According to the city’s Department of Housing and Preservation, units will range from studios to three-bedrooms.

At the base, plans call for 28,000 square feet of commercial space, a pre-kindergarten, a medical facility, a rock climbing gym as well as new restaurants.

For the seniors, there will be an on-site recreational center run by TF Cornerstone’s partner, SelfHelp.

In addition, there are approximately 10,000-square-feet of community space for use by local arts-based community groups.

Plans also include approximately 300 parking spaces.  Other amenities include a two-level fitness facility, bike storage, rooftop garden, a children’s play room and a senior recreation center.

The project will adhere to Enterprise Green Communities Criteria which are required on all City-subsidized affordable housing new construction and substantial rehabilitation projects.

Some of the sustainable and resilience features include orientation to maximize passive cooling/heating, and gray-water recycling for irrigation. In addition, the proposal has flood mitigation measures that include locating the building’s mechanical equipment on the second floor and flood proofing the ground floor retail spaces.

ODA designed the two new towers with "stepped terraces that echo the Art Deco skyscrapers of Manhattan." The design also incorporates numerous community green spaces throughout the different levels of the building, including two urban farming plateaus and grey-water recycling for irrigation.

The waterfront development bounded by Borden Avenue, 2nd Street, 54th Avenue and Center Boulevard – once envisioned as the location for the Olympic Village in the City’s 2012 Olympic bid - is likely one of the most important to the outgoing administration.

In 2004 Mayor Bloomberg pledged to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing by the end of 2014 under its New Housing Marketplace Plan.

The administration is on track to reach that goal.

The Hunter's Point South development is the largest affordable housing project since Co-op City in the Bronx and Starrett City in Brooklyn were completed more than three decades ago.

When completed, Hunter's Point South will contain 5,000 new units of housing, with a minimum of 3,000 units, reserved as affordable for low-, moderate- and middle-income families, according to the city.

Phase I which includes Parcels A and B is currently under construction and will provide 925 permanently affordable units when complete. When the entire multi-phase Hunter’s Point South development project is completed the City will have added approximately 5,000 new units of housing to the Queens waterfront, a minimum of 60 percent or 3,000 units of which will be reserved as affordable for low-, moderate- and middle-income families.

The entire project will include more than 11 acres of landscaped waterfront parkland, new retail shops, community space and a new school.

A 7-acre waterfront park constructed by NYC Economic Development Corporation, and a new 1,100-seat Intermediate/High School 404-Q, built by the School Construction Authority and slated to open in September for the 2013-2014 school year, have already been completed as part of the Phase I master plan.

Four parcels of Hunter's Point South still remain undeveloped, and will be bid-out during Mayor Bill de Blasio' s administration.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Downtown Huntington to get $15M Boutique Hotel

The Huntington planning board has granted conditional approval to convert the historic Old Town Hall into a hotel. The owners of the property on Long Island’s picturesque North Shore plan to bring the building at 227 Main Street and Stewart Avenue back to life as an intimate 55-room boutique hotel, with a new four-story addition to be built behind the existing historic structure. Old Town Hall, built in 1910 and featuring a four-dial clock tower, ceased operation in 1979 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The developer plans to break ground early next year.

Architect Joseph Scarpulla worked with the Historical Preservation Committee on the exterior design and has been able to join the floors of the new building with the floor of the Historic building.

The two buildings will be connected by a glass atrium, allowing the two structures to stand independently, with the existing building used for a lobby, reception area, office space, conference room and bar.

The new three-story addition - with one story underground for parking (which counts as four stories), will be built above an existing parking lot on Stewart Avenue. The guest room wing takes architectural features and materials of the historic building and incorporates them into an up to date structure that brings the complex into the 21st Century.

The room section of the building will be a new wing developed on a Steel Platform rising three floors above a parking lot with Modular oversized Hotel Rooms. The rooms will be 13.5’ x 30’ and will have large bathrooms. The rooms will be developed in Berwick, Pennsylvania by Deluxe Building Systems.

The reason to use this process is time and cost. The development time should be reduced by some 7 months, and the cost is less as it is built in a factory as a process.

In addition, before the room modular is delivered, electric, plumbing, sprinkler system, flooring including marble and carpet, bathrooms and wall décor are installed within the factory process.

The hotel, which will include a roof using an environmentally friendly vegetative material to help ease drainage issues will feature high end décor and have a cocktail lounge, breakfast area, lobby, in house laundry, and meeting rooms.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

NYC's Largest Solar Energy Installation Planned For Staten Island

Between the gigantic proposed Ferris wheel and runaway zebras, Staten Island has been living large as of late. Now come plans to build the city's largest solar farm on parkland that was once the largest landfill in the world.  In an announcement last week, outgoing  Mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed that Freshkills Park will soon be home to a 10-megawatt power plant that, when completed, will have 35,000 solar panels and the capacity to produce enough energy to power approximately 2,000 homes.

On a parcel of land that was once a mountain of trash, New York City plans to build a remarkable source of clean, renewable energy.

Once world’s biggest landfill, since 2008 Freshkills Park on Staten Island has been the site of a massive land reclamation project that aims to develop a green space nearly three times the size of Central Park.

Last week, Mayor Bloomberg announced that Freshkills will also soon become the city’s biggest source of solar power.

The city plans to lease 47 acres of the park to private solar-farm developer SunEdison, which will design and install a solar power facility big enough to increase the city’s renewable energy capacity by 50 percent.

The farm’s 35,000 solar panels will generate 10 megawatts of power — more than any solar energy system in the city and enough to power approximately 2,000 homes.  Energy generated from the array will be fed directly into the city's Con Edison-managed electrical grid.

“It is only fitting that Freshkills, once a daily dumping ground, will become a showcase urban renewal and sustainability,” Bloomberg said in an announcement at the park.

In a city where basking in the sunshine can be a hard luxury to come by, New York City has found a way to effectively kill two birds with one stone: create much-needed green space while simultaneously forging ahead with the city’s long-term sustainability plan, PlaNYC.

In recent years, the plan has implemented a number of solar energy initiatives aimed at scaling up the use of solar energy at city sites and creating a market for renewable energy.

The dramatic reduction of the cost of solar panels has made solar power an increasingly attractive option for cities that want to fortify their power grids.

Construction on Freshkills’ solar energy facility will break ground in 2015 and the plant should open in 2016. In addition to the solar facility, city officials will move forward with steps to add 1,500 acres to Freshkills Park, bringing the total site up to 2,200 acres of parkland.

“Not long ago, few could have imagined that Freshkills would be transformed into a park, let alone into a clean-energy facility,” said Mayor Bloomberg during the announcement. “This is one of the most exciting clean-energy projects in development in the entire city, and it will serve as a powerful symbol of the environmental renaissance now underway on Staten Island.”

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Falchi Building to be Reborn as a Chelsea Market Clone

A former warehouse in Long Island City that’s owned by the developers of the Chelsea Market will be transformed into Queens’s version of the celebrated food paradise. Jamestown Properties is already bringing in food makers to occupy the ground floor of the famed Falchi Building on 47th Avenue near LaGuardia Community College.

With Long Island City quickly becoming a popular alternative to Manhattan for both work and play, Jamestown Properties acquired the Falchi Building, a five-story 657,660-square-foot office and manufacturing facility at 31-00 47th Avenue, for $80 million last year.

“They’re going to bring a whole new dimension to the neighborhood,” said Dana Frankel of the L.I.C. Partnership. “It aligns well with the neighborhood’s history and culture of creating things.”

Long Island City has been transformed from manufacturing to luxury towers rising on the waterfront — and trendy boutiques and restaurants have followed.  

But the Falchi Building, which occupies a full city block at the epicenter of robust development, has not enjoyed the renaissance until now.

Built in 1920, the building was the main warehouse and distribution facility for the famed Macy's department store.

Click to enlarge
In the late 1980s, it was converted into a multi-tenant asset with Carlos Falchi, the handbag manufacturer, as one of the building's first occupants. 

The Falchi Building now serves as a lower cost alternative to Manhattan for an eclectic mix of government, medical, media, engineering, and jewelry manufacturers.

Envisioned by Jamestown as a mixed-use property with retail, office and light manufacturing elements, the redeveloped property is expected to be a hit with area residents and office workers — as well as foodies seeking out hand-crafted products.

[Image courtesy of Commercial Observer >

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Incandescent Bulb Production to End Forever on Jan 1st

In just 30 days, it will be the end of the light bulb as we know it. With new, stricter efficiency standards almost upon us, it's time to think differently about your lights. In 2007, the US Congress under President George Bush passed the Energy Independence and Security Act. Key among its provisions was a series of regulations mandating the phase-out of the manufacturing, importation, and sale of inefficient lighting. We've already said goodbye to 75- and 100-watt incandescent bulbs, and on January 1, 2014, we'll be bidding adieu to 40- and 60-watt bulbs as well.

Thomas Edison first tested his version of the incandescent bulb in October 1879. Ever since, the screw-in bulb that’s cheap has been the most popular way of lighting homes.

The humble Edison light bulb has enjoyed a long lifespan, seeing only modest changes while technologies like television and radio have been drastically revised over time.

But the familiar bulb's long, uninterrupted reign could finally be under threat as LEDs appear poised to become the new standard.

Thanks, Mr. Edison. Incidentally, you’re fired.

The reason is simple: Traditional incandescent light bulbs lack the efficiency that one would expect of nearly any other piece of modern technology. In fact, about 90% of the energy they use is wasted as heat, with only the remaining 10% actually producing light.

Back in 2007, Congress passed a law setting higher energy efficiency standards. That has led to the phasing out of the production of traditional incandescent bulbs.

Already there are restrictions on the production of 100-watt and 75-watt bulbs. And in 30 days, traditional 60-watt bulbs will be the next to go, followed by 40-watt bulbs on February 28, 2014.

Some have already converted a percentage of the lighting fixtures in their homes to either compact fluorescent or LED lamps. In the long term, the consumer is going to win. But the change could be a tough sell. One retail chain recently cleared out their stock of traditional 60-watt and 40-watt bulbs by selling a four-pack for $0.88, or 22 cents a bulb.

But the problem with a typical incandescent light is that most of the energy needed to light the bulb is lost through heat. Both CFLs and LEDs are much more expensive to buy, with some CFLs selling for about $4 and LEDs anywhere from $10 to $20.

“It’s so easy for a customer to look at just the sticker,” one supplier concedes. "Over the lifetime of the bulbs it’s a different story, financially, because the bulbs are much more energy efficient. The savings to the nation are really substantial,” he said.

LEDs are the energy-saving solution that compact florescent bulbs weren't

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The most obvious change since 2007 is the wide arrival of high-efficiency LED bulbs that only use a fraction of an incandescent bulb's wattage, and promise to last up to 20 years or more.

Take note, LEDs don't suddenly "burn out" the way that traditional incandescent do. Instead, their brightness fades slowly over a long time period.

Manufacturers can calculate how long it will take the light to fade to 70 percent of its original brightness, and this point, known as L70, is the current definition of an LED that's reached the end of its life.

The LED lamp is not a new invention. But an inexpensive LED is quite new.

Using a seven-watt LED instead of a 60-watt incandescent lamp over the life of the LED can save approximately $130 in energy costs.

[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Feb 1, 2013]

LED bulbs last even longer than CFLs, and are more than twice as efficient. Plus, LEDs come in shapes like traditional bulbs, unlike the squiggly, spiral look of CFLs.

Those are the good things about compact fluorescent; now for the bad.

Clear the room

Some people don’t care for the light the CFLs produce, finding that the traditional incandescent bulbs are brighter.

Worse, there is a tiny amount of mercury vapor in CFLs. It is the size of the period ending this sentence. But it’s nothing to take lightly: Mercury is a toxic element.

So if you drop a CFL and it shatters, you have a problem.

[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Aug 8, 2011]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends having people leave the room of the shattered bulb, especially pets and children, who are more likely to be injured by mercury vapor than adults.

The EPA said air out the room for 5 to 10 minutes, shut off the central heating or cooling system, and use damp paper towels and stick tape to put the mess into a plastic bag or a glass jar with a metal lid. Do not vacuum the material. It could spread the mercury vapor, and you will have to throw out the vacuum.

Mercury can also be produced by burning coal to produce energy, so the use of more energy efficient bulbs could reduce that. Ironically, the CFL bulb may contain about the same amount of mercury as the coal that was saved by switching light bulbs. If disposed of correctly, then almost none of that mercury will ever escape to the environment.

LEDs don’t have mercury. And, unlike CFLs, they stay cool and can be used outdoors and in cold temperatures.

Indoors, the light from an LED is directional, which is great if you want to light one area of a room. But that means LEDs don’t spread light around a room like an old-fashioned incandescent bulb.

If that’s a problem for you, you may want to consider, believe or not, an incandescent light bulb -- but an energy efficient one.

The law doesn’t ban incandescent bulbs - just energy wasters. It will not be illegal to have the bulbs; however, they no longer will be produced.

There are some incandescents available that are halogen-based. These bulbs cost more than traditional bulbs, but give off the same warm light as the older bulbs.

That’s one choice. But it may not be right for you.

The math is clear

In the long run, consumers are going to save money choosing LEDs.

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