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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Friday, November 29, 2013

MTA Tunnel Plug Will Stop Floods, Smoke and Gas

After Hurricane Sandy decimated the subway system last year, officials pledged to install new devices to help halt the rising tides—including flood gates and, more intriguingly, a device called a "tunnel plug." Although development wasn't completed in time for Hurricane Sandy, the huge inflatable plugs likely could have saved many of New York's subway tunnels from storm-related flooding. 

During a "Sandy Resilience Tour" last week, the MTA unveiled a working prototype of the plug, which was installed for testing.

The strong inflatable tube deploys from a folded-up wall panel to fill every nook and cranny of the tunnel where it's installed—halting not only flood waters, but also smoke from fires, gas attacks and other perils.

The plug was designed by a Delaware company called ILC Dover, which contracts for the Department of Defense and NASA (their logo is a tiny astronaut). In fact, the super-tough material they use to build the plugs is similar to the stuff they use to make space suits.

[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Nov 25, 2012]

Originally developed as part of a project for Homeland Security, these plugs are designed to withstand 17 pounds per square inch of force using a super-strong pressurized plug with an internal capacity of roughly 35,000 gallons, according to a government report.

Though it's unclear which subway stations the MTA plans to deploy the plugs, it seems likely that we're about to see more of them soon—the MTA and ILC Dover are testing a similar tensile curtain on the at the 207 Street subway station in upper Manhattan.

And they won't just be used in subway tunnels: Similar deployments could stop passage through stairwells, hallways, and other spaces.

Conversations with other attendees during the MTA tour yielded a single resounding comment: That thing looks like a giant tampon.

All jokes aside, there's actually a connection: ILC Dover was originally part of International Latex Corporation—which eventually became Playtex.

American engineering at work!

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Monday, November 25, 2013

City Approves New Sloan-Kettering Medical Tower

The city has approved a plan by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the City University of New York for the construction of new, 1.15 million-square-foot medical complex on the Upper East Side. The partnership will build adjacent towers along the FDR Drive on the entire block between East 73rd and 74th street,s where Hunter College will erect a 403,000-square-foot structure for its nursing school and science research labs. Memorial Sloan-Kettering will take the eastern side of the site to build a new 750,000 square-foot, 23-story outpatient treatment center. 

The city sold the 66,000 square-foot site at 525 East 73rd Street -- formerly home to a Department of Sanitation garage that was demolished in 2008 -- for $226 million, to construct the new state-of-the-art science and medical facilities.

Mayor Bloomberg called the deal “easily one of the largest real estate transactions the city has ever been involved in,” during a press conference.

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center will construct an up to 750,000 square-foot cancer care facility and CUNY Hunter College will build a 403,000-square-foot Science and Health Professions building to upgrade its science and nursing facilities. [See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Mar 6, 2013]

Preliminary work has already begun at the site, with construction planned to begin in 2014. The project, which is slated for completion in 2018, will create more than 3,200 construction jobs and nearly 830 permanent jobs according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

“Thanks to our innovative approach to economic development, today’s announcement is yet another step towards making New York City home to the world’s most talented workforce,” Bloomberg said.

“Not only will these two great institutions play a critical role in creating great jobs in one of the city’s growing industries, but they usher in the innovators and medical advancements of tomorrow.”

The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center will be well-positioned near the hospital’s main campus at 1275 York Avenue and will provide outpatient treatment programs for patients with lung, head, neck and hematological cancers and will include state-of-the-art outpatient bone marrow transplantation services.

The site will also enable CUNY Hunter to create consolidated science and nursing facilities, eliminating the need for duplicate eating halls, libraries and other facilities at the current 25th Street campus, which will ultimately be vacated.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

New Condo Tower Planned at 1010 Park Avenue

The Park Avenue Christian Church at the corner of East 85th Street is selling its rectory and parish house to Extell Development, which plans to build a 210-foot-tall building hovering over the site. The developer intends to raze the structure to make way for a $50 million apartment tower that will bend around the 70-foot spire atop the historic church. The new building would have 17 units spread over 16 floors, with amenities such as an indoor/outdoor pool, saunas, a playroom, gym, an outdoor recreation area and a private terrace.

The Park Avenue Christian Church is selling its five-story annex building at 1010 Park Avenue, which houses the school, to raise money for its small congregation, according to church officials.

The buyer, Extell Development, intends to raze structure to make way for a $50 million apartment tower.

The new 105,000-square-foot building would have 17 units spread over 16 floors, with amenities such as a pool, saunas, a playroom, gym, an outdoor recreation area and a private terrace.

Extell’s original design called for a mindboggling 210-foot tower that cantilevered over the landmark church, wrapping around its 70-foot spire and blocking a wall of stained glass windows on the south side of the church. The Upper East Side house of worship, completed in 1911, is known for its famous stained glass windows designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Because of the backlash, Extell and the church agreed to hold off on development until it drafted a less controversial proposal. They hired preservation experts Beyer Blinder Belle to design the new building, and in a statement, the developer said they want to "find a solution that preserves the church and is acceptable to all parties."

click to enlarge
Few obstacles stand in the way of the project, as the church buildings themselves are not landmarks.

In an unusual arrangement, however, Extell agreed to a last-minute request by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission not to alter the church itself, which dates to 1911 and features Tiffany windows, without a thorough review.

More churches are considering deals with developers as land prices reach historic highs, paving the way for disputes between builders, strapped-for-cash religious institutions, preservation groups and neighborhood residents.

The congregation of Park Avenue Christian Church said it needs money to keep the institution afloat.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Construction to Start on $80M Soundview Housing Project

The first phase of construction at a new affordable housing community in the Bronx has begun. The NYCHA has broken ground on Soundview Family Housing; an eight-story building that will house 120 low-income families, and is the first in a multi-phase development.  A second phase of the project, that would provide 86 units of affordable senior housing, is expected to break ground by the end of December. A third phase would create 16 two-family market-rate townhouses.

A joint venture between L + M Development and The New York Housing Partnership, the $80 million housing project will be developed under the New Housing Marketplace Plan, Mayor Bloomberg’s multi-billion initiative to finance 165,000 units of
low-income housing by the end of 2014.

Soundview Family Housing will be located at 1610 Randall Avenue next to Soundview Park, a 205-acre green public space along the Bronx River.

Scheduled to be built in three phases, Soundview Housing will provide 206 units of affordable housing for the borough’s low-income families.

The project’s first and largest stage of construction will cost $46.9 million to build.

Phase I will include 24 one-bedroom, 78 two-bedroom and 18 three-bedroom apartments.

Construction is slated to be completed by fall 2015.

The second phase of the project, a $34 million complex called Soundview Senior Housing, will break ground by the end of this year and will include 86 affordable senior housing units.

Phase III of construction, which would comprise 16 two-family market-rate townhomes, will be developed depending on market conditions.

The development site, which is also a stone's throw from the Bronx River and a city composting facility, is a strip of vacant land owned by NYCHA, and wraps around three-quarters of the authority's Soundview Houses complex starting from the corner of Rosedale and Lacombe avenues.

Designed by Magnusson Architecture and Planning to reference mid-20th century brick structures already existing in the area.

The eight-story building will comprise 120 rental units of various sizes which will be available to families earning less than $51,540 annually for a family of four.

Residents will also have access to 42 parking spaces.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Hotel Development: Three New Projects in Design

New hotels get built in places where the occupancy rate is high enough to indicate there is more business to go around. And no city in the United States has more new hotel construction than New York. By year end, the city will have 22 new hotels – adding more than 5,000 rooms. 

And that number is expected to jump. The number of hotel rooms in Manhattan is expected to rise about 10% by the end of 2014. This week, TheElectricWeb looks at two new, ground-up hotel projects presently in development, and a mega-renovation at a stately Art Deco property in Midtown. 

New 399-room Hotel near Hudson Yards 

A new Marriott hotel project is afoot at 461 West 34th Street, just a block from the Javits Center on Manhattan’s Far West Side.

Also known as 428 Tenth Avenue, the new 29-story building will boast 399 rooms, according to the developer, Atria Builders. The corner site is presently a vacant lot.

The 197,253-square-foot project will be called Courtyard by Marriott at Javits Convention Center, according to Manhattan Regional Center, which is partnering with Atria Builders on the 312-foot tower.

The hotel is being partially funded through the Federal EB-5 program, which grants visas to foreigners who invest $500,000 or more in an American business. From 2008 to 2012, Marriott International has endorsed at least 14 projects using EB-5 financing.

Half a mile from the new project is another Courtyard by Marriott hotel at 307 West 37th Street.

Another Trendy Hotel Planned for Williamsburg 

Synapse Development has announced plans to construct a new 65,000-square-foot building on a development site at 280 Meeker Avenue and 646 Lorimer Street in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

The mixed-use project includes a new 100-room boutique hotel with indoor/outdoor restaurant space, ground floor retail space, and a 10-unit luxury condominium.

The two adjoining sites – located at a crossroads between Williamsburg and Bushwick, just off the Brooklyn Queens Expressway — were recently assembled after closing transactions with the two landowners.

"As Williamsburg has transformed over the past several years, developers have largely focused on residential projects. Our team sees tremendous value in providing a unique lodging option with a substantial food and beverage component to the area," states Justin Palmer, a partner at Synapse Capital.

The property, located three blocks from the Lorimer stop on the L train, is just two stops from Manhattan, and is close to numerous residential development projects in the area that will continue to create 24-hour demand for retail, food and beverage services in the area.

Once-Ritzy Hotel to Get Mega Makeover

The New Yorker Hotel, a property once so glamorous that Joan Crawford and John F. Kennedy stayed there, is trying to recapture some of its former stature.

But the 83-year-old property, with its signature red neon sign on the roof, sorely needs an upgrade.

The Art Deco hotel, located on Eighth Avenue between West 34th and West 35th Streets, is sinking tens of millions into a major renovation that will double the number of rooms it operates, to 1,800—and make it the third-largest hotel in the Big Apple.

Rather than courting celebrities and tourists—the hotel will now target business travelers.

The megaproject at 481 Eighth Avenue will take five years to complete. Phase-I is a $30 million conversion of nearly a third of its space, much of it vacant or occupied by commercial office tenants, to new hotel rooms.

By February, the New Yorker will unveil 114 new rooms and roll out another 174 rooms by June. It will continue to add rooms over the next five years, until it stands behind only the Hilton New York, at 1,981 rooms, and the Marriott Marquis Times Square, at 1,957 rooms.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Super Tall Hotel-Condo Slated for 610 Lexington Ave

Equipment is on-site at 53rd and Lexington to begin excavation for a new 712-foot glassy tower slated to rise behind the Seagram Building.  The vacant lot at 610 Lexington Avenue was once destined to hold New York's first Shangri-La hotel, but the recession put a hold on the plans. Now, six years after it was first proposed, it looks like Midtown is going to get a tower after all.

RFR Realty recently secured a $70 million bridge loan from the Union League Life Insurance Co. to begin construction at the long-vacant lot that it owns on the corner of East 53rd Street.

SLCE Architects, whose past projects include the Bloomberg building at 731 Lexington, and the Top of the Rock observation deck at Rockefeller Center, have released renderings of the glassy 65-story structure planned for the southwest corner.

Typical hotel amenities, like a bar, restaurant, pool, fitness room, spa, and business lounge are expected.

The hotel's common spaces and rooms will span from a ground-level lobby up to the 52nd floor, and above that will be apartments - with just two per level - up to the 63rd floor.

Oddly, there is no indication of a luxury penthouse at this time.

Presuming the transfer of unused air rights from nearby properties, the new tower could contain approximately 350,000 square feet.

RFR Realty had planned to build a 60-story hotel tower to be operated by the ultra-luxury brand Shangri-La at 610 Lexington Ave. Under the proposal, the Shangri-La would have contained 200,000 square feet of space.

That plan fell through during the economic downturn and the developer had to scramble to hold onto the property, ultimately arranging a deal with lenders

It isn't clear when RFR Realty, which owns a collection of well-known buildings in the city, including the Seagram Building on the western side of the same block and Lever House across Park Avenue, plans to begin construction on the long-stalled project.

The developer has yet to announce which chain will operate the new hotel.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

At Long Last, Celebrations at Ground Zero

There have been moments -- many moments -- when it seemed the rebuilding effort at the World Trade Center site might never be finished. But this week, more than twelve years since the 9/11 attacks, two important milestones for lower Manhattan are reasons to celebrate. 

One World Trade Center, which has dominated the headlines about the 16-acre site's redevelopment, has been officially recognized as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Now, attention turns to its sister tower, the 978-foot-tall 4 World Trade Center, which officially opened its doors on Wednesday. The long-awaited tower is the first to open in the new World Trade Center complex at ground zero.

4 World Trade Center

Another office tower has opened at the Ground Zero site in lower Manhattan.

A ceremony was held Wednesday for the 978-foot 4 World Trade Center. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer were on hand to cut the ribbon.

The tower, all 72 stories and 2.5 million square feet of it, cost $1.2 billion and took nearly four years to build.

4 WTC sits on the southern boundary of the complex and features a dramatic lobby with soaring 46-foot tall ceilings and a wall of black granite that provides a mirror-like reflection of the World Trade Center plaza and National September 11 Memorial.

[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, June 22, 2012]

The opening of the property will also mark the rebirth of a stretch of Greenwich Street that was eliminated more than 40 years ago to make way for the original Trade Center complex.

Check out these amazing photos

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which lost its home in the twin towers during the 2001 terror attacks, expects to move into the 72-story building in 2015. The official opening means it can start building out its new office space.

4 World Trade Center faces the 9/11 Memorial's south reflecting pool, near 1 World Trade Center -- formerly known as the Freedom Tower. That tower was declared the nation’s tallest this week and is expected to open next year.

7 World Trade Center, a 49-story 741-foot tower located a block north of Ground Zero, opened in 2006.

The Verdict is In: New York 1, Chicago 0

The long-running debate is finally over. But the tedious argument has only just begun.

The Height Committee of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat declared Tuesday that One World Trade Center is the nation's tallest building.

The 408-foot spire nudged 1 WTC over the top, despite the fact that the nation's now-second-tallest building—Chicago's 1,451-foot Willis Tower—eclipses the 1,368 feet of the 1 WTC building sans antenna.

Counting the mast, 1 World Trade Center soars to its full patriotic height of 1,776 feet.

The Council, which is the authoritative body on building heights, determined that the spire on 1 WTC was a structural component of the building. The antenna at the top of Willis Tower, on the other hand, was deemed communication components, mere afterthoughts from a structural point of view.

[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Jan 7, 2013]
[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, May 16, 2012]

Stoking the uncertainty was a decision by the building's developers, a partnership between the Durst Organization and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, to do away with an ornamental fiberglass sheathing envisioned by the building's architect, that more seamlessly integrated the antenna with the building's architecture.

Critics said the change was made to shave costs on the nearly $4 billion tower, which is the most expensive office building ever built.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The High Line Continues to Sprout Luxury Condos

Thanks to Manhattan’s red-hot real estate market, developers and architects continue to announce new condominium projects which have changed the West Chelsea neighborhood as dramatically as the High Line’s own transformation. These buildings are clearly intended for the privileged few, with average asking prices ranging between $3.75 million and $9 million and include such features as private, in-apartment pools.

Let’s take a closer look at two new luxury projects which are which are slated to begin construction along Tenth Avenue next year.

Casa Moderne High Line Condominiums

Casa Moderne is a new condominium project by Black House Development currently in preconstruction at 534 West 29th Street in West Chelsea.

The all-residential property, located between 10th and 11th avenues, will have only six apartments spread across ten floors, a mix of customizable duplexes and triplexes, ranging in size from 1,500 to 3,000 square feet.

Many of the units will have outdoor space including terraces and gardens, while the penthouse unit will have a roof deck with a pool.

The developer is shooting for a High Line double play with the renamed luxury condominium development —formerly known as Casa Bella Artes – overlooking the elevated Chelsea park.

Casa Moderne is the firm’s second development on the street, following Soori High Line, an 11-story condo at 522 West 29th Street slated for completion in early 2016.

Blackhouse plans to break ground on both projects in January 2014.

Developer Plans Luxury Condo at Getty Station 

Shvo Realty & Development plans to build a high-end art-themed luxury condominium project at 239 Tenth Avenue in Chelsea.

The 12 story luxury building, which borders the High Line, will contain 12 to 15 units and 8,000 square-feet of retail space.

Michael Shvo, and partner Victor Homes, plans to break ground on the building early next year, in time for an opening in the fall of 2015. Apartments will range from two-bedrooms to four-bedrooms.

The target buyers are art collectors. And it's a building that's going to be designed specifically for people who are art collectors.

The property will include systems for getting art in the building, custom climate controls and window systems, as well as high-end security features.

The building will include high end boutiques located in 4,000 square feet at the base and 4,000 square feet below grade.

In line with the art theme, the construction site – formerly a Getty gas station – has doubled as an art exhibit made up of late French artist François-Xavier Lalanne’s concrete sculptures of sheep. This will be the first of several art shows set to occur at the site as construction goes along.

The gas-station sale set a record price per square foot for a development site in Chelsea. It was listed for $18.95 million, but sold for far more, $23.5 million. Negotiations are presently under way to purchase additional air rights.

Though the developers paid a record price of $800 per buildable square foot for the parcel, Mr. Shvo dismissed concerns that his target buyers would scoff at the presumably sky-high prices for the future homes.

“It’s not about the dollar per square foot,” he said. “When you go buy a hand bag at Hermès, you’re not calculating how much you’re paying for every inch of your bag.”

Shvo plans to begin building early next year and will soon announce an architect for the project.

The developer is also planning two more projects in Midtown and a 300,000-square-foot Soho development in partnership with Keystone Group.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Another Day, Another New Building near Hudson Yards

The Hudson Yards haven’t even been built yet, but they are already fueling a development boom on the Far West Side. But, while new development projects may stem from the overall construction boom in New York City, the only place in Manhattan -- outside the World Trade Center -- where you have enough space for major developments are on the West Side. Here are just a few of the new projects getting ready to break ground in the area next year:

Parking Lots to become 12-Story Building and a Hotel

Architect Ariel Aufgang sure is busy in the Hudson Yards area these days. He is currently at work on the design for a new hotel at 444 Tenth Avenue for an unknown developer. And now, he’s beginning a new 12-story, 187-unit building just a block away at 411 West 35th Street.

The hotel will have 65,000 square-feet and rise 17 floors, complete with a garden terrace and a first-floor restaurant.

Construction is estimated to be complete by December 2015 and is projected to cost $19.5 million. The site is currently a parking lot.

The 178,405-square-foot project at 411 West 35th Street will have 187 residences over twelve floors.

Residential apartments will take up 162,911-square-feet, plus 908-square-feet of community space and 14,580 square-feet for commercial use.

The 27,500 square foot corner development site, which consists of several adjacent tax parcels at 411-421 West 35th Street, is currently being used as a parking lot.

The lots are adjacent to Dyer Avenue, which will someday become a neighborhood park.


Developer Buying another Prime West Side Lot

The Related Cos. is snapping up a prime development site on the far West Side along what will be the area's new grand boulevard.

The developer will pay $75 million for a block-long site between West 35th and West 36th streets, further consolidating its control of the burgeoning Hudson Yards neighborhood.

The company is in contract to purchase 517 West 35th Street, a parcel of land that runs through the block to West 36th Street and will occupy the entire block along Hudson Park and Boulevard, a new street and a band of parkland that the city is spending millions of dollars to build between 10th and 11th Avenues.

The building site can accommodate about 235,000 square feet of development.

The site is among a handful that will become prime locations in the far West Side when the extension of the No. 7 subway line opens midway through next year. The site is catty-corner to the northern entrance of the new subway station, which will be on Hudson Boulevard between West 34th and West 35th streets.

After breaking ground on the West Side rail yards earlier this year, ushering the beginning of the largest new development project in Manhattan, Related has doubled down on the area, buying up land just north of the rail yards in the vicinity of the subway. In recent months, the company acquired a 1.7 million square-foot development site between West 33rd and West 34th Streets and between 11th Avenue and Hudson Boulevard from developer Extell Development.

The company also controls the super block directly east, on the other side of the boulevard. Related is believed to be negotiating to further increase its holding by buying a McDonalds restaurant on the corner of West 33rd Street and 10th Avenue.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Two Colossal Waterfront Projects Get Green Light in Brooklyn

To the surprise of no one, the City Planning Commission gave a green light to both Greenpoint Landing and Waterfront at Greenpoint, two huge residential projects that will bring thousands of new apartments to the North Brooklyn waterfront. The 10-tower Greenpoint Landing mega-project, with multiple 30 to 40 story towers, will house some 5,000 units, while 77 Commercial Street will contain 720 apartments. The controversial projects will be among the last big approved under the Bloomberg administration.

The City Planning Commission unanimously approved a pair of big, controversial residential projects slated for the North Brooklyn waterfront.

Greenpoint Landing is proposed by developer Park Tower Group, while Waterfront at Greenpoint is a separate project planned by the Chetrit Group, at 77 Commercial Street.

Now that the commission has given its blessing to about 700 of the roughly 5,500-units in the Greenpoint Landing project, along with the 720-unit 77 Commercial St. development, the City Council has 50 days to make the final call.

Should they gain ultimate approval, the projects, which include multiple towers of 30-to-40 stories, would be among the final significant changes to the city's waterfront approved under the Bloomberg administration.

Greenpoint Landing

Greenpoint Landing will ultimately include almost 5,500 apartments, including more than 1,300 units of affordable housing, ground floor retail, a 640-seat public school with 4 acres of open space.

The application will also allow the transfer of city property to Park Towers to build 431 units of affordable and 276 units of market-rate housing.

[see ElectricWeb | Blogger, Nov 7, 2011]
[see ElectricWeb | Blogger, Dec 28, 2012]

Waterfront at Greenpoint

77 Commercial Street will feature a six-story base building containing 200 units of affordable housing, about 25,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, community space and a garage. Two towers will house 520 units of market-rate housing.

The apartments will not actually be all that affordable in any meaningful sense, as recent report found that about two-thirds of the city’s "affordable units "are too expensive for the majority of local neighborhood residents.

In line with 2005 rezoning, the Chetrit Group purchased air rights from the adjacent MTA bus parking lot at 65 Commercial Street for $8.2 million.

The density from the lot is being added on to their proposed 30 and 40-story structures, while the city will use the cash to develop the 2.6-acre Box Street Park.

Both projects will feature public waterfront access.

Click photos to enlarge

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Glimpse of the Future Second Avenue Subway

Deep beneath the Upper East Side, workers are digging out what will become the stations of the Second Avenue Subway. The MTA this week released dramatic pictures showing the progress of the $4.6 billion mega-project, offering a view from 160 feet below the streets of Manhattan. The photos include shots of the tunnels at the future 86th Street station, where the excavation and lining contract is almost 65% complete.

Progress has also been made at the future 96th Street station. The contract for main site work there — relocating utilities, installing concrete slabs for the station’s outer shell and excavating entrances — will be fully complete this week.

The MTA says the stations, along with a third one at 72nd Street, are on track to open by December 2016.

The MTA says the construction of the Second Avenue subway is on track and released 22 photos showing the progress being made at two new stations.

The photos, which were taken throughout the month of October, reveal the latest construction happenings at the 86th and 96th Street stations. According to the MTA, the impressive project, which will bring more public transportation to Manhattan's East side, is on track to be completed by December 2016.

At the future 96th Street station, crews are finishing the main site contract work — including excavation, relocating gas and water pipes, and putting in concrete walls to hold the structure together. Visible are the first rails delivered for the project, which happened to arrive that day.

Photos can't convey the awe you feel when you step out of an elevator into the 65-foot-tall cavern that will become the 86th Street station

Construction on the first phase of the Second Avenue Subway, which will cost an estimated $4.8 billion, began in 2007. Local residents and business have complained about the noise, pollution and other violations that the massive project has brought to the area.

[see ElectricWeb | Blogger, Mar 23, 2013]
[see ElectricWeb | Blogger, Feb 03, 2013]

The Second Avenue Subway will have no subway grates. It will employ a dedicated ventilation system which is, in part, necessitated by how deep it is.

The new line is expected to reduce overcrowding along the Lexington Avenue line.

The MTA has said that from the day it opens, the line will have a daily ridership of 200,000, alleviating congestion on the 4, 5, and 6 trains.

Presently, the Lexington Avenue line has a daily ridership greater than all of Chicago and Boston's subways combined.

When the first phase opens, there will be four stations of Q train service, bringing the line from the existing station at 63rd Street and Lexington Avenue to the new station at 72nd Street and 2nd Avenue, and up to new stations at 86th Street and 96th Street.

Future portions of the subterranean endeavor will stretch the line up to 125th Street, down to Houston Street, and further down to Hanover Square. The Second Avenue line running from 125th Street to Hanover Square will be known as the T train.

While nothing surprising was found during excavation, portions of the project had unstable rock, which was then shored up by freezing it to negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Workers also found remnants of both the hops dumped by the old breweries of the Upper East Side, and the supports for the old Second Avenue El.

Check out the impressive photos
And finally, a little trivia:
It's estimated that 55,000 elephants could fit in the 72nd Street station.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

World's Skinniest Skyscraper to Soon Rise on W 57th

The New York City skyline is the most famous in the world, and if you look closely, there’s a new shape that’s starting to stand out. That shape? Slender. JDS Development has a project that takes that idea to a new level.  A 60-foot wide lot at 111 West 57th Street will soon be the home of the skinniest skyscraper in the world.  In addition, the building will soar to an incredible height – over 1300 feet– taller than the rooftop of the Empire State Building. Steinway Tower will have 3 high-speed elevators, and each floor will be its own ultra-luxury 5,000 square foot apartment. Construction is expected to begin early next year.

“Land is very scarce, especially in the most desirable parts in the city. That’s why you seeing this trend of taller buildings being built on smaller parcels of land,” says developer Michael Stern.

His firm, JDS Development Group, has a project that takes the idea of slender to a new level. It will even top the High Cliff in Hong Kong, currently the most slender skyscraper in the world.

If all goes according to plan, a lot located at 111 West 57th Street in midtown Manhattan, will be the future home of the skinniest skyscraper in the world.

The building will sit on a lot just 60 feet wide, and will be 200 feet taller than neighboring One57, which is on the verge of completion, and even slimmer than nearby 432 Park Avenue.

The model-thin skyscraper will incorporate the historical base of the old Steinway Hall, with construction of 111 West 57th Street expected to begin in 2014. The building will offer a total of 100 units, spread between 74 floors.

Steinway Tower will become the most slender building in the world because of its very narrow floor plate. It will be entirely unprecedented in its dimensions which are 58 feet wide, while rising around 1300 feet tall.  That will give the building a slenderness ratio of about 1:23 when it is completed in 2016, while the ratio for most buildings is well under 1 to 20.

These new, slender skyscrapers are cropping up thanks to advances in building science coupled with eye-popping real estate prices. “The price that people are willing to pay for the unobstructed Central Park view is really the only reason these buildings can be economically feasible.”

The Details

The bottom six floors of the 74-story building will be retail, while floors 7-16 will each hold two residential units. The remainder of the tower will house full-floor apartments with 15-foot ceilings and unobstructed views of Central Park across to Long Island City, and out to Long Island. The penthouse will sit over twelve hundred feet in the air.

And the views from this extraordinary perch in the sky? They’re likely amongst the best in Manhattan. “There’s just going to be nothing like it across the entire city,” says Stern.

“You really get this floor-through experience that you’re floating in the city. It’s going to be truly spectacular.”

But building such a slender apartment tower is not always so easy.

Engineers on the project have to deal with a variety of issues ranging from dampening the impact of wind on such a slender structure, to making it feel not so slender. A huge steel weight will be suspended within the top of the building to stop it from swaying in the wind.

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