Friday, January 31, 2014

High Rises Set to Change Face of Queens Skyline

The Citibank Building in Long Island City is about to make some new friends. From Hunters Point to Rego Park, Queens mega-developments — some soaring 40 stories or more — are sprouting up across the borough, promising to transform one of New York City’s least distinguished skylines. A 500-foot-tall skyscraper being built in Court Square is destined to become Queens’ tallest residential building when completed in 2016, while five blocks away, a pair of 41- and 48-story towers are to rise near Jackson Ave.

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“It’s going to put eyeballs on Queens,” say real estate brokers of the gravity defying new additions now under construction in Queens. “It’s just not on everybody’s radar the way Brooklyn and Manhattan are.”

Destined to become Queens’ tallest residential building when its completed in 2016, a 500-foot-tall skyscraper being helmed by Rockrose Development will stand side by side the Citibank Building in Long Island City. [See ElectricWeb|Blogger, May 27, 2013]

At 658 feet tall, that 24-year-old skyscraper — officially known as 1 Court Square — was erected in 1990 amidst what real estate professionals at the time predicted would be a major building boom in Queens. That boom never came.

After the financial crash of 2008, people were a little slow to start developing because it wasn't that easy to finance a 40- or 50-story tower. But now banks are a little more lenient, so here’s going to be a lot more skyscrapers in the area.

Only five blocks away, a pair of 41- and 48-story towers are to rise from the ashes of 5Pointz, the famed graffiti mecca the owners of the site are razing near Jackson Ave. The $500 million G & M Realty project will include roughly 1,000 new housing units in the luxury complex that will include a tennis court, pool and billiards rooms. [See ElectricWeb|Blogger, May 1, 2013]

“It’s going to spur development,” said G&M Realty president Jerry Wolkoff. “It'll bring a tremendous amount of people.”

At its tallest, the retail and residential complex planned for Hunters Point South will soar 41 stories once the first two phases of the project are completed within five years.

The 30-acre waterfront complex will add about 5,000 new apartments, 60% of which will be affordable housing, the largest such swath of units built since the early 1970s. [See ElectricWeb|Blogger, Dec 5, 2013]

Meanwhile, a $3 billion Willets Point project, near Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, will create another 2,500 housing units in buildings growing as high as 20 stories.

The mall targeted for a CitiField parking lot, will add more than a million square feet of retail space when its completed in 2020, officials have said. [See ElectricWeb|Blogger, Oct 9, 2013]

“Queens is undergoing significant economic growth right now,” said an Economic Development Corp. spokeswoman. “Hunters Point and Willets Point are creating entirely new neighborhoods.”

In neighborhoods affected by construction, developers hope to spur new business — not destroy it.

The $1 billion Hallets Point project will spread 2,400 apartments across seven towers, some reaching 31 stories. It will also include a new school and waterfront promenade with shops and cafes.

Construction is slated to late this year and be completed by 2018. “It’s going to revive a community that’s been relatively isolated,” said Joel Bergstein, president of Lincoln Equities Group, which is developing the project.
[See ElectricWeb|Blogger, Sept 29, 2013]

Next door, another five towers are expected to be completed by 2015. The Astoria Cove project will add an additional 2,400 units, with buildings topping 30 stories.
[See ElectricWeb|Blogger, May 15, 2013]

Meanwhile, construction will begin this spring on the $850 million Flushing Commons plan, which will replace a parking lot in the neighborhood with 600 luxury condos.

The project will include a YMCA, the creation of a 1.5-acre town square, 1,600-space parking lot and a retail complex. The entire project slated for completion by 2020.
[See ElectricWeb|Blogger, Jan 8, 2014]

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ronkonkoma Plans $475M Transit Village Development

The Long Island Regional Planning Council voted unanimously to name the 50-acre housing and retail development proposal known as the Ronkonkoma Hub a project of "regional significance," a designation sought by town officials. The $475-million Ronkonkoma plan calls for nearly 1,500 apartments, 195,000 square feet of retail space and 350,000 square feet of office and medical facilities. The project is expected to take seven years to complete.

The redevelopment of the Ronkonkoma Hub area around the Ronkonkoma train station, will be built by a Setauket company, Tritec Real Estate. and is expected to take seven years to complete.

The development will cost an estimated $475 million and feature a mix residential, commercial, hospitality, retail and entertainment among other possible uses for the area.

Ronkonkoma Hub Fact Sheet 

  •     Mixed use development on 50 acres in the Town of Brookhaven. 
  •     Located at the Ronkonkoma Train Station.
  •     Plan includes 1,450 studio, 1BR, 2BR and 3BR rental apartments. 
  •     20% will be slated as affordable housing.
  •     Rents for remaining units estimated at: studio $1300, 1BR $1850, 2BR $2450 
  •     Includes 195,000 sf retail, 360,000 sf office space and 60,000 sf flex space.
  •     Total of 615,000 square feet of commercial space over 14 acres of floor area.
  •     Buildings will be 3-5 stories in height.
  •     Project spans the Towns of Brookhaven and Islip.
  •     Islip will get a 1,000,000 gallon sewage plant and all parking for the train station.
  •     Developer has been awarded $5M in subsidies and will apply for tax abatements.

The Town of Brookhaven has named Tritec Real Estate Company, the Setauket organization that is currently building the $100 million New Village at Patchogue in the location of the former Swezey’s Department Store, as the master developer of the project.

John Durso, president of the Long Island Federation of Labor, which represents the building trades, wanted to be sure that when the Hub plans goes forward; Tritec would employ local construction workers.

It is estimated that construction will take seven years. Durso, who requested a meeting with Tritec officials said, "We want the project done correctly and with Long Islanders."

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Monday, January 27, 2014

NYC Hotel Projects Presently in Development (Part 1)

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. The number of new hotel rooms in Manhattan is expected to rise about 10% to more than 90,000 by the end of 2014. As the pace of hotel construction increases, we are tracking approximately 40 projects in various stages of development, which will open over the next 18 months.  We have selected 15 of these projects for this week's list:
Contact TheElectricWeb for more details
Times Square Hotel
400 West 42nd Street,
New York, NY 10036
Rooms: 510 
Opening: Q3 2015

CitizenM Downtown
185 Bowery
New York, NY 10002
Rooms: 300
Opening: Q2 2014
Midtown Hotel
224 West 35th Street
New York, NY 10001
Rooms: 330
Opening: Late 2014

Virgin Hotel
1205 Broadway
New York, NY 10001
Rooms: 300 
Opening: 2016
Hampton Inn Times Square
220 West 41st Street
New York, NY 10018
Rooms: 299
Opening: Q4 2014

Thompson Hotel Downtown
5 Beekman Street
New York, NY 10038
Rooms: 297
Opening: Q4 2014
Hotel Indigo
180 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002
Rooms: 290
Opening: 2015

Hilton Garden Inn Times SquareSouth
136 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
Rooms: 282
Opening: Q2 2014
Tommie / Commune Hotel
11 East 31st Street
New York, NY 10016
Rooms: 260
Opening: Q3 2014

Williamsburg Hotel
159 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Rooms: 250
Opening: Q2 2015
Hilton Hotel
6 Water Street
New York, NY 10004
Rooms: 249
Opening: 2015

Residence Inn Downtown
170 Broadway
New York, NY 10038
Rooms: 243
Opening: Q2 2014
EVEN Hotel
219 East 44th Street
New York, NY 10017
Rooms: 230
Opening: Q4 2014

Bowery 50 Hotel
50 Bowery
New York, NY 10013
Rooms: 220
Opening: 2015
Cornell University Hotel & Conference Center
Main Street
Roosevelt Island, NY 10044
Rooms: 210
Opening: 2017

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sky’s the Limit: Downtown Brooklyn’s Skyscraper Boom

There are six major projects about to get underway near the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The area, known as the Downtown Brooklyn Cultural District, is becoming a new Lincoln Center, only better, many experts say. The new mixed-use apartment towers will help bring that vision closer to reality – in part by increasing the amount of affordable housing in the neighborhood. Two of these projects have already broken ground, while the rest will be getting underway later this year. When completed, the area's population will rise from a little more than 13,000 to well over 25,000.
286 Ashland Place    

95 Rockwell Place
  250 Ashland Place

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

New 30-Story Hotel to Transform Brooklyn Cultural District

The growing cultural district near the Brooklyn Academy of Music has become such a tourist draw that it’s finally getting its own hotel. Developer Second Development Services plans to begin construction on a 200-room, full-service hotel at 95 Rockwell Place.

The hotel, which will rise 30 stories, will have a basement performing space, rooftop bar, banquet hall, and a restaurant that overlooks an outside arts plaza. Instead of totally demolishing the existing building, the developers plan to partially incorporated it into the base of the new tower.SDS expects to begin construction this fall and complete the building within two years.

The hotel should be ready for occupancy in early 2015. Instead of totally demolishing the existing building -- which isn’t landmarked -- the developers plan to partially incorporated it into the base of the new tower.

Once up, the 30-story building will feature an exterior with “a sliced facade featuring crevice-like cutouts,” according to the architect. Carrying with that theme, the hotel rooms will be unique and angular, outfitted with artwork from local artists.

Plans call for 20 larger suites on the higher floors, a Presidential Suite on the 26th floor, and some “starving artist suites” that are small but can still fit a king-sized bed.

Finally, the developers hope to partner with a local arts or music group to program for the basement performance space and the outdoor public plaza. The plaza on the rooftop will feature local vendors selling food and drink.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Eyes on the Prize: The Hub to Rise in Downtown Brooklyn

The Steiner family is moving from movie studios at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to an apartment high rise on a low-rent stretch of Flatbush Avenue, just blocks from the Brooklyn Academy of Music at 333 Schermherhorn Street. Steiner Development expects to break ground this year on a new $350 million, 52-story tower called The Hub, at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Schermherhorn. With rents across Brooklyn soaring, the 740 planned apartments are expected to rent at market rates

It's a sure bet that there is enough demand for residential development in Brooklyn that people will begin to move beyond more traditional neighborhoods like Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, and Fort Greene. 

The Steiners' development company purchased the lot at Flatbush and Schermherhorn Avenues for $30 million and razed all the the existing buildings. They expect to be ready to break ground on the new project later this year.

The tower will cost between $325 and $350 million, with the
740 units planned to rent at market rates. Plans to build the Hub as a rental property come at a time when rents in New York, and Brooklyn in particular, are soaring. Rents across Brooklyn hit an 11-year high in 2013, and are expected to continue to grow. 

Even construction of new housing inventory like the Hub should not relieve upward pressure on rents, as new development will just lure more residents to Brooklyn from higher-priced Manhattan. 

"We called it The Hub because there are so many great neighborhoods radiating out from our site, it's got great transportation, it's got great shopping and restaurants, and now it's going to have the best-in-class buildings," Mr. Steiner said. "Downtown Brooklyn really is becoming the heart of the Brooklyn everybody's talking about."

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Friday, January 10, 2014

32-Story BAM South Tower to Climb at 286 Ashland Place

Despite protests, the BAM South development in downtown Brooklyn won approval at the City Council. The 32-story tower, which will be developed by Two Trees Management, is an extension of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, with cultural space in its base and 300 apartments above. While Councilwoman Letitta James managed to wrest some concessions from the Flatbush Avenue project, notably an agreement not to redevelop a library branch on Pacific Street, her demands that the 350-foot-tall tower at 286 Ashland Place be built with union labor, went unheeded.

Among the previous administration's agreements were that the 50,000 square feet of cultural space in the project would remain limited to that use into perpetuity, preventing it from becoming shops, apartments or other private developments. The community would be given a stake in programming the 10,000-square-foot public plaza outside.

Two Trees and the city would not agree to increasing affordability on the BAM South site, where 60 units, or 20% of the building, would be set aside as affordable housing.

Instead Ms. James said she had gotten the administration to agree to increase the affordability of two adjacent properties, known as BAM North 1 and BAM North 2, to 30% of the total units.

This is not far off from commitments already made by the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development to develop the sites, however, Ms. James said it makes a difference to have that affordability guaranteed. She also noted that 150 of the units would be set aside for low-income residents who make no more than $65,000 for a family of four. It had been higher, for middle-income rather than lower-income families.

Ms. James, who did not voice her opposition to the project until last fall, which some people have claimed, was because she is trying to win labor support for her bid to become public advocate. Requiring union construction was opposed by the developer, Two Trees, which said it could not cover both the level of affordability required by the project and to pay a prevailing wage—the firm frequently forgoes full union jobs, though it does employ union laborers for more skilled parts of projects, a commitment Two Trees reiterated in a statement.

Other projects under development include The Dermot Company's 47-story project on Flatbush Avenue, known as 66 Rockwell, the first new residential building in the area since the real estate bust, with 327 apartments coming to market later this summer.  The Hub, under development by Doug Steiner, owner of the eponymous movie studio in the nearby Brooklyn Navy Yard, will soon rise a few blocks away. That 52-story tower is slated to boast up to 750 housing units.

"We called it The Hub because there are so many great neighborhoods radiating out from our site, it's got great transportation, it's got great shopping and restaurants, and now it's going to have the best-in-class buildings," Mr. Steiner said. "Downtown Brooklyn really is becoming the heart of the Brooklyn everybody's talking about."The biggest victory is not even for Ms. James' constituents. Among the cultural groups moving into BAM South is the Brooklyn Public Library, which is opening a new branch there. The hope had been to relocate the children's library on Pacific Street and then sell off the building to raise funds for the cash-strapped library.

Related Articles:

[see ElectricWeb | Blogger, Mar 4, 2013]
[see ElectricWeb | Blogger, Jan 16, 2013]
[see ElectricWeb | Blogger, Jan 18, 2013]
[see ElectricWeb | Blogger, Sep 29, 2012]
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