Friday, August 23, 2013

Riu Times Square 600-Room Hotel to Check In

The Spanish hotel developer that purchased a half-acre development site on the corner of West 46th Street and Eighth Avenue for $111 million last year has begun work to erect a luxury 300,000-square-foot, 600-room hotel tower just a stone’s throw away from Times Square. Demolition work has already reduced the existing structure at 301 W. 46 Street to its second floorThe future five-star hotel is expected to open in mid-2015.

RIU Hotels & Resorts is nearly done demolishing the five-story tenements at 301 W. 46 Street, a development site which RIU purchased after the mortgage wet into default, includes an adjacent vacant lot just north along Eighth Avenue, as well as one to the west along Restaurant Row.

Demolition work the existing structure, an eyesore whose boarded up windows, ground floor porn shop and graffiti scrawled exterior made it look like a throwback to the avenue's gritty days decades ago, has reduced it to its second floor.

The Riu Plaza New York Times Square will be located in the heart of the world’s business capital, and is one of many that have sprung up along Eighth Avenue. Recently, Boston Properties finished a new office tower at 250 West 55th St., home to the city’s major law firms, which has boosted the avenue's credentials as a destination for office tenants.

The new hotel will be surrounded by the most famous theaters on Broadway and next to Restaurant Row, an area that is home to restaurants which invite travelers to sample the latest gastronomic trends.

The hotel’s prime location is in close proximity to the city’s major attractions such as Central Park, Carnegie Hall and the luxury boutiques on Fifth Avenue.

New York City continues to attract visitors, and by 2015 there should be no shortage of people to fill Riu's rooms.

According to a recent report, New York City attracts 538,000 tourists-per-day compared to London, which had 429,000 during the Olympics. New York’s hotel occupancy was also higher at 93 percent compared to London’s 80 percent.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Retractable Roof to Be Constructed Over Tennis Stadium

After years of U.S. Open weather woes, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is ready to serve up some major changes. Engineers have finally figured out how to mount a state-of–the-art retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium – the main venue for the U.S. Open. It is considered an overhead smash against Mother Nature. For the last five years, rain has pushed the U.S. Open final from Sunday to Monday. Plans also call for 2 new stadiums where fans can view practice courts. Construction work is expected to last until 2018.

After years of rained-out US Open finals, the players are very upset about the finals’ being postponed. They have the Davis Cup tournament the next week, and that is interfered with. Fans are also unhappy and frustrated. You want to see the final, and then it’s postponed until Monday or Tuesday.

In recent years, ticket holders have been disappointed that the men’s singles US Open finals, won by Novak Djokovic in 2011, and last year by Andy Murray, were rained out, pushing the matches to Monday.

The obvious solution is to design and build a retractable roof over center courts.

The USTA commissioned a series of roof studies over the last 10 years to find a workable design, but as recently as last summer the y said putting a roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium was an engineering impossibility, and couldn’t be done.

The difficulty in building a roof, which would span five times further than the roof over Wimbledon’s Centre Court, focuses on weight. The 22,500-seat stadium, the largest tennis arena in the world, is built on swampland which experts said could sink under the additional weight of a massive roof.

But engineers now have a fix.

What they’re planning to do is take out a lot of the very heavy seating in the upper decks to reduce the weight. The rain shield will be made of a special kind of fabric and supported by eight steel supports surrounding the stadium  In the event of rain, the 400-ton retractable panels will take about five to seven minutes to shut, according to USTA officials.

The new roof -- an estimated $100 million addition to Arthur Ashe Stadium -- is part of a major facelift for the tennis center and will ensure that things run smoothly in the future. In addition, Louis Armstrong Stadium will be torn down and rebuilt, and the grandstand court will be moved to a new location. Further, a double-deck viewing area will be constructed so fans can watch players practice.

The $550 million renovation project – which the USTA is undertaking at its own expense –will feature two new stadiums and be built in three phases.

Phase 1 will commence after this year’s Open and will also include shifting a series of practice and tournament courts to allow for more viewing platforms and the construction of additional nets.

The second phase of the renovations will feature a new 8,000 Grandstand Stadium in the southwest corner of the property along with relocating some of the field courts and the construction of a new food court and merchandise locations, according to the association.

Lastly, the third phase of the project will involve the construction of the 15,000-seat Louis Armstrong Stadium.

Construction work is expected to last until 2018.

But the development is not without critics, since it encroaches on an acre or so of parkland, so as part of the deal, the USTA will fund $10 million in improvements to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

The Tennis Association has agreed to provide $350,000 for each of the next three years to seed the conservancy, followed by $200,000 annually for 20 years.

That is in addition to the $400,000 a year it pays in rent. The remaining $5 million will go toward funding capital projects.

The Tennis Association has also agreed to host an annual Queens Day, a celebration of local cultures; an annual job fair for Queens residents; as well as school programs and a giveaway of 5,000 free tickets for local youth to the Arthur Ashe Kids Day. There will also be an outreach campaign to try and bring Queens eateries, businesses and vendors into the U.S. Open, which occupies the National Tennis Center each summer.
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

LaGuardia Airport construction to create 1,500 jobs

The $3.9 billion LaGuardia Airport redevelopment project is expected to create 1,500 jobs as work begins on a six-level parking garage and an electrical substation. The $255 million project will construct a garage for 1,100 cars and replace one of LaGuardia's antiquated electrical substations. The project which is includes a new $2.4 billion Central Terminal and $1.2 billion for infrastructure and airport roadways. While a start date has not yet been set, the project is scheduled for partial completion in 2017 and full completion in 2019. 

The new Central Terminal Building will accommodate larger aircraft to meet the demand of additional passengers, whose numbers are estimated to increase over the next two decades, according to the Port Authority, which operates the airport.

In 2012, LaGuardia handled 25.7 million passengers. Port Authority officials forecast that 34 million travelers will use the airport by 2030. More than half of those passengers are expected to use the new Central Terminal Building, the Port Authority said.

The project is expected to generate $112 million in wages, the Port Authority said. The federal government will reimburse 95 percent of the project's expenditures.

The project will be done in phases, the first of which will begin this year when the Port Authority begins building a new $82.9 million parking garage that will rise on the east side of the terminal next to the Delta Air Lines terminal. That 1,100-car garage, and another that is slated to be built on the west side of the terminal, will allow the airport's main garage to be demolished to make way for the new terminal building, which will rise on that site. In all, the Port Authority has pledged to make $1.2 billion in upgrades to the airport that will lay the infrastructure for the new terminal building.

The amount of traffic that passes through the terminal has vastly exceeded its 8 million passengers a year it was designed to handle. In 2012, that figure swelled to 25.7 million travelers and by 2030, the Port Authority projects at least 34 million will pass through the terminal each year.

The new terminal will be 1.3 million square feet and boast 35 gates. The current terminal also has 35 gates but at 835,000 square feet, it is nearly 40% smaller than its planned successor.

The new building would mark a vast improvement on the existing facilities, which opened in 1964 and are universally considered to be antiquated with undersized security and baggage processing areas, as well as undersized food concession and retail areas, that in most airports are both big amenities and revenue generators.

Other work being completed includes upgrades to Terminals C and D for Delta Air Lines, the airport's largest carrier. Delta opened a new 630-foot-long pedestrian bridge in December, and in June installed a moving walkway.

The bridge connects the two terminals so passengers do not have to go through security twice, said Leslie Scott, Delta spokeswoman. Both terminals will have full service restaurants, bars and cafes -- a total of 29.

Also 2,000 iPads are being installed in both terminal waiting areas, allowing passengers to order meals that are delivered to them.

The Port Authority has shortlisted four teams of architects and contractors to design, build, finance, and operate the 1.3 million-square-foot Central Terminal Building.

The project also includes replacing frontage roads and a central heating and refrigeration plant, as well as operating and maintaining the existing Central Terminal during the construction period and the new building for a specified term.

The winning bidder will pay for the building, but pocket a cut of the revenue from airline leases and rents from stores and restaurants. The building has a projected price tag of $2.4 billion and is expected to be completed in 2019.

The finalists include the following architecture and construction firms:

  • Aerostar New York Holdings, which includes Aeropuerto de Cancun, Hunt Architects, Fentress Architects and VRH Construction;
  • LaGuardia Gateway Partners, which includes Skanska USA Building, Skanska USA Civil, Meridiam Infrastructure, Tishman Construction, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Vantage Airport Group;
  • LGAlliance, pairing Lend Lease Construction, LMB Inc., Turner Construction, Gensler Architecture and Hochtief AirPort Group;
  • LGA Central Terminal Consortium, which includes STV Inc., Ove Arup & Partners PC, and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC.

LGC Central Terminal Consortium, a joint venture of Aéroports de Paris, TAV Construction, Tutor Perini, Suffolk Construction, STV, Arup and Kohn Pedersen Fox.

The project includes demolishing the existing terminal and its four concourses, garage, Hangar 1, and frontage roads; building temporary facilities; and designing and building the Central Terminal Building. It also includes constructing a central heating and refrigeration plant, utilities for the new building, hydrant fueling within the project site limits; as well as operating, maintaining and managing the existing terminal and temporary facilities during construction.

The winning bidder will pay for the building, but pocket a cut of the revenue from airline leases and rents from stores and restaurants.

The Port Authority has not indicated when it will choose the final project team.
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Forest City Ratner to Revive Aging Nassau Coliseum

The team behind Brooklyn’s Barclays Center—Forest City Ratner and SHoP Architects—will join forces again to overhaul the run-down Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island. The developer beat out the competition, Madison Square Garden, and took home the prize: a contract to manage and rehabilitate the 41-year old crumbling arena that has been home to the Islanders since the hockey team was first founded in 1972. The Islanders will be moving their franchise to the Barclays Center in 2014.

Bruce Ratner expects the entire renovation will cost an estimated $229 million, but will require no public funding. The rent from the arena, along with ticket sales and other deals, will generate roughly $195 million over the period of its 34-year lease. Madison Square Garden, however, projected that they would raise $112 million within the same time frame.

The proposal calls for slashing 5,000 seats from the arena and for a new undulating facade designed to emulate the landscape of Long Island, with visual references to the dunes, beach fencing and boardwalks.

Ratner also plans to add a new plaza, theaters, restaurants, and bowling alley, and outdoor concert venue to the 77-acre site.

The Barclays Center team has a 34-year lease on the property now, with a 15-year option to renew. Over the initial term, the county would receive $195 million in revenue, coming from a mix of rents, ticket sales and other agreements, which could rise to as much as $335 million if Barclays exercises its right to the full 49-year term. The minimum annual payment would by $4 million per year, increasing by 10% every five years. MSG offered only a 5% increase each year, for a total of $112 million the first 34 years.

The Barclays Center bid has promised a $229 million project designed by SHoP Architects that sheathes the arena in a nest of glass and steel, looking like a hypertrophied Barclays Center. The remade arena would host 309 events a year, including boxing matches, college hoops, even six games by the Islanders hockey team, which are poised to move to the Barclays Center as soon as the 2013-2014 hockey season. Concerts will be led by the Barclays partners in the bid, Live Nation and Jay Z's Roc Nation.

Local developer Edward Blumenfeld, who was one of the four original bidders for the arena, will help develop a number of restaurant and retail outlets around the arena, which will be co-managed by Barclays and Legends Hospitality, which runs concessions at Yankee Stadium and the under-construction observation deck at the World Trade Center.

The project has been seen as a boon for Long Island, even though it has lost its beloved hockey team to Brooklyn in the process.

Following the announcement of the move last fall, Forest City Ratner offered to undertake a feasibility study of what to do with the Coliseum and the 63 acres of parking lots and empty land surrounding it.

The decision was made that the best use would be keeping an entertainment venue, even without a National Hockey League team, as an anchor for the local economy.

The most enticing piece of the plan is that, for taxpayers, it is free, as the bidders all agreed to finance the project themselves. This is contrary to two proposals made in the past decade, which sought nearly half-a-billion dollars in taxpayer financing. That most recent bid was scuttled in August 2011

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Developer Plans Three New Ultra-Luxury Condo Projects

Blackhouse Development is planning to build two new luxury residential projects overlooking the High Line in West Chelsea, as well as another condominium project on the Lower East Side. Each ultra-luxury building will feature custom designed apartments with high ceilings, living-room fireplaces, and private balconies. And, get this - each unit will have its own private, in-apartment heated swimming pool. The developer will break ground on all three projects in January. Each building is expected to take about 24 months to complete.

Soori High Line, at 522 and 524-532 West 29th Street in West Chelsea is an 11-story condominium featuring 27 ultra-luxury apartments, each with 20-foot ceilings, living-room fireplaces, private balconies, and, get this - each unit will have its own private, in-apartment heated swimming pool.

Other amenities will include a Japanese restaurant and lobby bar, a concierge, library, wine cellar and gym. The building’s modern design has sweeping views of the High Line and Hudson River.

The firm will break ground on the project in January 2014 and have scheduled completion for January 2016.

And down the block at 534 West 29th Street, the 12-story Casa Bella Artes will feature just six (you do the math), custom-built, luxury condos alongside the High Line.

Each multi-level unit will include well-appointed design features such as 12- to 16-foot ceilings - specifically designed to allow owners to showcase their art and sculpture collections, as well as indoor heated swimming pools.

The project has the same groundbreaking and completion schedule as Soori High Line.

Maison Dragão, will be located on the Bowery in the Lower East Side, and is designed by renowned Brazilian architect Isay Weinfeld.

The condominium building will feature 25 high-end luxury units, with personalized concierge services and a high-end boutique restaurant on the ground floor.

Blackhouse’s development portfolio includes over 30 Manhattan projects including the Hotel Americano at 520 W 27th Street, which was completed in 2009.
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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New 48-Story Tower to Rise at 120 Fulton Street

The Lightstone Group plans to start construction on a new 48-story residential and commercial building at 120 Fulton Street in the Financial District later this summer. The 463-unit tower will rise 524 feet between Nassau and Dutch streets, soaring above a block populated with mostly low-rise shops and apartment buildings. The construction is expected to take two to three years.

The existing five and six-story apartment buildings that will be demolished — from 112 to 120 Fulton St. — are home to chains including Radio Shack and Five Guys Burger and Fries, as well as several mom-and-pop shoe, clothes and jewelry stores.

The Lightstone Group plans to offer 93 apartments, or 20 percent of the units, as affordable housing, giving preference to current residents of Lower Manhattan.

The narrow street has seen substantial construction in the past couple of years. Just two blocks up, the massive, $1.4 billion Fulton Street Transit Center at Broadway remains in the works, saddling locals with years of construction-related street congestion.

Several of the mom-and-pop stores on the block are now plastered with “Going out of Business” signs. As for the tenants of the soon-to-be-demolished buildings, several said those were just the breaks of being a renter in the city.

The new development will also include nearly 20,000 square feet of retail space, but Lightstone said the current tenants aren’t being given any preference for space in the complex.

The Lightstone Group, one of the largest real estate groups in the country, has recently made some big moves into the city.

The developer is planning a 12-story luxury building on the Long Island City waterfront, as well as a 700-unit residential development along the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Brooklyn’s Fourth Avenue Comes Revving Back to Life

Fourth Avenue is gaining in respectability as the auto repair shops and vacant lots are turned into glassy luxury apartments. Since being rezoned, Park Slope has seen a few apartment buildings go up, but now that the Brooklyn market is heating up, builders are crawling over each other to get a piece of the action. 275 Fourth Avenue, currently occupied by a McDonald’s will soon be replaced by a 75-unit residential building. The developer plans to build a high-end, 75,000-square-foot building with 6,000 feet of retail on the ground floor. Construction is scheduled to begin in March 2014.

The original asking price for the100-foot by 100-foot corner lot was $200 per square foot, but ended up closing for $256. This shows how land prices have escalated in just past few months.

The buyer was a joint venture between Adam America Real Estate and Silverstone Property Group, who have worked on a number of deals together in Brooklyn already.

They’ve hired ODA Architecture, a high-design firm that has worked on small- to mid-sized projects in Manhattan and the outer boroughs, to do the project—a far cry from the more budget-minded designs that have popped up along Fourth Avenue.

A few of ODA's recent projects include 241 Fifth Avenue, 5 Franklin Place in Tribeca, and St. Vincent's Hospital conversion at 101 West 15th Street.

The two developers are also working with ODA on a warehouse in Dumbo, 201 Water Street that they’re converting to condominiums.

When completed, the building will join nearby developments such as the Arias Park Slope at 150 Fourth Avenue, JDS Development’s 202 8th Street and the Landmark Park Slope at 267 Sixth Street — all rental buildings — which have transformed the avenue.

Aside from the McDonald’s parcel, properties at 245 and 269 Fourth Avenue are already in contract for residential development, along with 470 Fourth Avenue, between 10th and 11th Streets, one of the largest development sites in Park Slope, which zoned for 86,000 square feet of development.

Developers have been steadily betting on the neighborhood, including those who have traditionally operated in Manhattan. Just 10 blocks away, the Naftali Group closed on a 90,000-square-foot development site at 316 Bergen Street and is slated to build an 85-unit rental building.

And builders are still looking for sites...

Saturday, August 10, 2013

New York City's Top 10 Largest Builders

Construction spending in New York City hit the $30 billion mark for the first time since 2008, and is expected to continue to increase this year. The value of new projects grew by 5 percent from 2011 to 2012 to reach $16.1 billion, according to the New York Building Congress. The growth was driven by a 54 percent surge in new residential construction, which totaled $5.1 billion—more than double the amount in 2010. 

The number of residential projects grew for the second year in a row, but are still 14 percent below 2008 levels. New construction starts are up overall, despite declines in public and commercial work, which have been falling for the past 4 years.

Biggest Projects in 2012

New construction projects in the public and commercial sector took the top spots for the biggest in 2012. The renovation of Macy’s Herald Square retail flagship ranked number one at $400 million, followed by a $325-million project to build entrances to the 96th Street subway station along Second Avenue and a $250-million renovation of the Winter Garden in Lower Manhattan.

Two residential high rises in the top 5, include the $211-million Avalon West Chelsea, which broke ground in February 2012, and the $200-million Baccarat luxury hotel and condominium.

The Top 10 Largest

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Oops! Builders of Spanish Skyscraper Forgot the Elevator

The builders of the Intempo, a 47-story skyscraper in Benidorm, Spain forgot to design working elevators above the lower floors. It’s a blunder of astounding proportions for the troubled luxury project with a lovely beach view. Initially the building was designed to be merely 20-stories tall -- now it boasts 47-stories, and will include 269 homes. But when developers decided to move skyward, they neglected to reconfigure their plans for the necessary elevators -- and it doesn't have any extra space to accommodate the equipment.

When you construct a building, you have to make sure that everything is right. You confirm that it is structurally sound, that every bolt and screw is tight, and that you didn't miss any spots on the walls when you were painting.

And if you’re building a skyscraper, you should also probably remember to leave room for elevators.

Unfortunately, the planners behind the Intempo never worked out a way for people to get up and down the building’s 47-stories, and it doesn't have any extra space to accommodate elevator equipment, so it seems that if you want to get above the 20th floor of the building, you’d better be ready for a long stair climb.

The Intempo was designed to be a striking symbol of hope and prosperity, to signal to the rest of the world that the city was escaping the financial crisis. However, the entire construction process has been plagued with problems for some time. 

The scandal exploded into public view early this month when Spanish newspapers revealed that the upper flights of the building lacked elevator access above 20 stories.

Now, the awful architectural blooper is earning international fame after being picked up by worldwide media services.

The original design obviously included specifications for an elevator big enough for a 20-story building.

In the process of scaling things up, however, nobody thought to redesign the elevator system—and, naturally, a 47-story building requires more space for this equipment.

Sadly, that space doesn't exist.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the architects working on the project have resigned, and it remains unclear exactly how the developers will solve the problem. Can we recommend stairs?

What happens with the building remains to be seen, but at the very least, prospective tenants can get rid of their Stairmasters.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

NYC Developers Subpoenaed by Anti-corruption Committee

The Moreland Commission is probing possible links between campaign donations from developers and huge tax breaks they were granted on luxury apartment towers they are building. Subpoenas were sent to several high-profile Manhattan developers involving projects at 30 Park Place, One57 and 520 Fifth Avenue. Buildings in high density neighborhoods like the financial district and midtown, where the buildings are located, are normally disallowed such credits.

The Wall Street Journal has reported the names of three of the firms: Silverstein Properties, Extell Development and Thor Equities, all of which had been served concern ultra-luxury towers they are either building or planning to build.

Fisher Brothers was also subpoenaed, in its case for a residential tower rising at 86 Trinity Place, the former home of the American Stock Exchange. Friedman Management was also subpoenaed, in its case for a project it is building at 113 Nassau Street, also in lower Manhattan.

At issue is the inclusion of the five buildings in state legislation that will allow them to receive negotiable certificates to substantially lower their tax bill. Buildings in high density neighborhoods like the financial district and midtown, where the five buildings are located, are normally disallowed from using such credits.

The Moreland Commission, an investigatory panel put together by Gov. Andrew Cuomo late last year to uncover state corruption, plans to examine whether campaign donations to lawmakers in the state assembly and senate could have swayed them to make the exception for the five buildings, where apartment units will sell for millions of dollars each.

The big tax breaks at properties like One57, whose penthouse sold for a whopping $90 million, has raised eyebrows among government watchdog groups.

Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause New York, which presented data on campaign giving to the Moreland Commission, said there has been a pattern of giving from the city's powerful real estate industry to far-away state legislators. The contributions, she said, allow the industry to sway officials who can adopt the industry's position without having to suffer the potential consequences of that advocacy at the polls.

"Our research shows that 75% of the contributions from the real estate industry is made to state senators and legislators outside of the city," Ms. Lerner said.

In a report, Common Cause tabulated contributions by the Real Estate Board of New York and its affiliates to various campaigns across the state. The good-government group noted that the donations went largely to candidates outside of New York City, mostly rural and suburban Republicans, who dilute or block legislation that runs counter to real estate's interests, such as pro-tenant rent-regulation bills.

Others have argued that developers like Extell Development were right to be awarded the tax benefits. The company broke ground on One57 in 2009 during the depths of the downturn and when it was uncertain whether the development would be a financial success. It created much needed construction jobs at the time and was at the forefront of residential development that has rebooted the city's residential development pipeline.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Born in America – Made in America

Although you do not often hear about growth in domestic manufacturing here in the United States, the electrical and lighting industry is steadily growing and re-establishing a manufacturing presence here at home. The electrical and lighting industries were born of U.S. ingenuity and R&D, and are now riding the crest of a nationwide trend toward American manufacturing and production.

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Friday, August 2, 2013

Stacks on Stacks: Apt Building Rises in 19 Days

Prefab construction has made a spectacular entrance in New York City. Nineteen days. That is all the time it took to put up a 28-unit, seven-story apartment building in the Inwood section of Manhattan this summer. This summer, prefab is yielding its first real fruits. The secret? Modular construction. The Stack, a 38,000-square-foot project comprised of 56 modules, was constructed on a 50x150 foot lot at Broadway and Academy Street, and is one of more than 17 modular projects underway in the city.

Working Monday through Friday from June 20 to July 18, a crew of just eight iron workers, a crane operator, and half-a-dozen helpers installed the 56 modules that make up the apartment building at 4857 Broadway.

Each 12-foot-wide prefabricated box was easily guided by the workers with a slight push, as it was suspended from a crane.

In a bow to the property's innovative construction technique, the building is to be known as The Stack. It was created by a partnership of developer/builder Jeffrey M. Brown Associates and Gluck+ architects.

Despite the touted economy of off-site, prefabricated housing, the methodology has made limited inroads in New York, stunted for decades by bureaucracy and a public that preferred flashy condominium projects.

Recently, interest in modular construction is catching on in a big way. That interest grew more urgent after Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the city, leading officials to re-examine prefab disaster-housing schemes.

Part of modular construction's appeal of is that by building in a factory, the modules—as well as carpenters, plumbers, electricians and others building them—are protected from the elements, which helps ensure quality control and quicker construction. Door bells, lights, switches, bathrooms, tiles, kitchens, everything's in there already - even the first coat of paint.

And when it comes time to put the pieces together, a building can blossom in just a few weeks.

In the case of The Stack, it only took a few months to prepare the site and lay the foundations, and all the while crews were busy building the modules at a factory in Pennsylvania. The small modules do mean low ceilings, however—necessary, in part, to make it across the bridge to the city.

Watch slideshow below

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Audubon Hotel Breaks Ground in Washington Heights

A former parking lot on West 168th Street is not really worth checking out the way it looks now. But soon people will be checking in, when a hotel stands there. Several elected officials and community leaders gathered on July 30 to celebrate a groundbreaking for Washington Heights' first hotel. The $25 million project signals a new kind of development for the area. 

Moinian Group is building the hotel on a parking lot, located at 514 West 168th Street, between Amsterdam and Audubon Avenues.

The 54-room hotel will cater to the medical community and accommodate families of patients in hospitals on the nearby New York Presbyterian campus.

Construction of the project is expected to last 16 months. When it is completed, the 40,000 square-foot hotel will feature 11 floors and 54 rooms. 15,000 square feet will be dedicated to medical offices.

A permanent name has been chosen for the property, tentatively called The Audubon.

The developer is in currently in negotiation with a major chain to operate the hotel at a three-star level, comparable to a Courtyard by Marriott.

The hotel will be only the second hotel to be built north of 110th Street and is expected to be completed in late 2014 or early 2015.

Moinian Group expects the project to create 50 construction jobs and 25 permanent jobs.