Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Two Cooper-Clad Towers To Rise on First Ave

The 9.2-acre former ConEd site on First Avenue between 35th and 41st Street will be an eyesore no more. Two luxury rental towers, developed by JDS Development, will rise along the FDR Drive on a site that has sat empty for more than a decade. The curving, copper-clad buildings will be the stars of the East Side, according to the developer. The 49- and 40-story towers at 616 First Avenue will hold 800 new high-end rental units and be connected by a sky bridge that has an indoor pool and lounge. The first shovels hit the ground in mid-July, and the buildings should be complete by 2016.

The story of these towers actually began way back in 2000, when developer Sheldon Solow partnered with the Fisher Brothers to purchase the three parcels from ConEd for $600 million.

The partnership eventually fell apart and Solow went it alone, demolishing the ConEd buildings and cleaning the site. He finally won approval for a 7-building development, but that went nowhere.

Things have been quiet for a few years, until Solow sold one of the parcels to JDS Development last year. The developer is now in talks to acquire the two remaining parcels.

Since the site has been rezoned for mixed-use, the towers are rising as-of-right. Located just a block from the East River, the site flooded during Hurricane Sandy, so mechanical systems are being placed on the second floor.

JDS wants to install eight-foot floodgates in addition to backup generators and special outlets in every unit that would still work during a blackout.

The rooftop will feature an infinity pool, fitness center, squash court, and boxing gym. Other amenities include a movie screening room.

The development will also have an elementary school (opening this fall) and a public park, which still awaits City Planning's approval.