Friday, February 28, 2014

Electric Shock Causes Bizarre Eye Damage

An electrician's eyes were damaged, leaving star-shaped cataracts after he received a tremendous shock from a work-related incident in California. The 42-year-old electrician's left shoulder contacted 14,000 volts of electricity, according to a report. The current passed through his entire body, including the optical nerve.

It’s what you’d expect when your favorite cartoon character gets electrocuted, but not a real man: jumping in the air, body convulsions, drooling, and stars in their eyes.

But in a case reported by the New England Journal of Medicine, a 42-year old electrician in California developed star-shaped cataracts in his eyes after being shocked by 14,000 volts of electricity while on the job. The case was featured because of the images of the eye damage.

The man's left shoulder came into contact with 14,000 volts of electricity, and an electric current passed through his entire body, including the optic nerve — the nerve that connects the back of the eye to the brain. A retinal detachment eventually developed.

"The optic nerve is similar to any wire that conducts electricity," said Dr. Bobby Korn, an associate professor of clinical ophthalmology at the University of California, San Diego, who treated the patient. "In this case, the extreme current and voltage that passed through this important natural wire caused damage to the optic nerve itself."

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of your eye. People who have cataracts usually view the world as if they’re looking through a severely fogged up window. Though it normally develops slowly, eventually it impacts people’s eyesight.

Symptoms of cataracts include clouded vision, sensitivity to light, seeing halos around lights, and double vision in a single eye. Most cataracts develop either as part of the aging process, or as a result of an injury like the one reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The only effective treatment for cataracts is surgery to remove the cataracts from the eye and implant a new lens.

The electrician underwent cataract extraction and implantation of an interocular lens, which was followed by improvement in visual acuity to 20/400, but he could only count fingers. Although legally blind, he is now able to independently commute on public transportation.

Electrical Accident Kills One, Injures 2 Others

An electrical accident at a Bossier Parish park in Louisiana killed one worker and injured two others last week.

Brandon Beaver, 34, was killed on the grounds of Cypress Black Bayou Park while working on a ground-level transformer.

There had been some electrical issues reported at the park, and three contractors were working on the equipment when the accident happened.

Park Rangers reported that two electricians had been gripped by the current flowing from a live power line through their bodies. Beaver reportedly shoulder-checked the men from the power line, but was fatally injured in the process.

OSHA is now investigating the incident. OSHA's public affairs office says investigators will interview witnesses and employees, and look for any violations at the area where the accident happened.

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Super Tall Condo Breaks Ground at 610 Lexington Ave

Excavation has finally begun for a new 712-foot glassy tower slated to rise behind the Seagram Building at 53rd Street and Lexington Avenue The vacant lot at 610 Lexington Avenue was once destined to hold New York's first Shangri-La hotel, but was stalled by the 2008 recession. Now, six years after it was first proposed, it looks like Midtown will be getting that 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.

The developer is now moving forward with plans that were re-conceived last year. The building will have a mix of residential and commercial space, and while Shangri-La was involved with the tower’s initial conception, the hotel component has now been shelved.

Of the skyscraper’s 273,598 square feet, the bulk will be dedicated to residences, while 23,267 square feet in the tower’s base will be for commercial use.

A restaurant will sit on the second floor, as well as a separate dining and wine bar, while the third story will have offices.

Residences will span the remainder, with just two ‘super-luxury' units per floor, while levels 47 through 59 will feature full-floor units. The tower will have 91 units in total.

SLCE Architects, whose past projects include the Bloomberg building at 731 Lexington, and the Top of the Rock observation deck at Rockefeller Center, designed the glassy 59-story structure planned for the southwest corner.

RFR Realty had originally planned to build a 60-story hotel tower to be operated by the ultra-luxury brand Shangri-La at 610 Lexington Avenue.

Under that proposal, the Shangri-La would have contained 200,000 square feet of space.

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

RFR Realty 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.

Completion of 610 Lexington Avenue is expected in the winter of 2017.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Silverstein's Plans for 60-Story Foursome on West Side

Construction on the Far West Side is really booming. In addition to the Hudson Yards and the Manhattan West complex, Larry Silverstein is now moving forward with a new 1,600,000 square foot development adjacent to the entrance of the Lincoln Tunnel at 514 Eleventh Avenue. The 770 foot tall project will be comprised of two 60-story luxury high-rises atop five story retail and parking base, directly across the street from his twin Silver Towers, which also rise to 60 stories. 
Click to enlarge
The new towers will have 1,350 residential units with 180,000 square feet of retail below. In addition, one tower will contain 175 units of corporate housing.

Silverstein Properties has already developed two large residential projects on the West Side with more than 2,000 units combined in Silver Towers, the twin-towered rental buildings at 600 West 42nd Street, and the 41-story tower at 1 River Place.

The development firm just completed the 72-story 4 World Trade Center, and the retail base of 3 World Trade Center and 2 World Trade Center to street level.

The new buildings are just part of a tidal wave of residential construction getting underway on Manhattan's Far West Side.

Brookfield Properties has changed plans for its Manhattan West project at Ninth Avenue and 33rd Street and is adding as many as 900 residential units to a formerly entirely office project.

Nearby, The Atelier II -a 61-story condominium at 605 West 42nd Street, is under construction right around the corner, and Extell Development's 52-story rental at 547 Tenth Avenue is in the works.

The project is also down the block from the 62-story MiMA tower, which means things are getting crowded by the river -- all residential byproducts of the Hudson Yards mega-project.

Silverstein is partnering with Mercedes-Benz of Manhattan, which owns the land.

The site is the former showroom for the luxury automaker, which relocated to 555 West 53rd Street last year.

Mr. Silverstein is also eager to get his old friends at the Port Authority to take space in another neighboring tower project, where he hopes they would park their buses, and presumably provide some money to finance his projects and persuade banks in making the necessary construction loans.

Now, if only they could open that extra 7-Train stop at 42nd Street...

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Massive Residential Projects Get Underway in Jersey City

Jersey City is home to the tallest building in the state — the Goldman Sachs Tower at 30 Hudson Street. Soon it will welcome New Jersey’s second tallest building, and the tallest apartment complex in New Jersey. As Brooklyn becomes more and more inconvenient due to affordability and transportation, people are warming up to New Jersey’s convenience. Jersey City is connected to Manhattan by a web of transit lines that make it an increasingly desirable location for new residents priced out of New York City. 

Developers have taken note of this trend, as evidenced by a pair of high-rise residential complexes that are being built within walking distance to the Exchange Place and Journal Square PATH stations.

When complete, the towers at URL Harborside and Journal Squared will be among the tallest buildings in New Jersey.
Developers recently broke ground on a high-rise residential complex grouped around the Exchange Place PATH Station.

URL Harborside is comprised of a triad of towers, the tallest of which will stand 69 floors and 713 feet.

The new development is only 10 minutes to the World Trade Center and 15 to Midtown Manhattan.

[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Oct 30, 2013]

Each of the planned 763 residences is designed to be energy-efficient with innovative layouts and communal amenities that appeal to flexible, urban lifestyles.

The developers received $33 million in tax credits from the state Economic Development Authority in October for the first tower. The project is expected to cost $291 million and employ about 700 construction workers.

When complete, the entire project will contain more than 2,300 units and retail space. The first phase of URL Harborside is expected to be complete in 2016.

No date has been set for the other two towers, which are expected to be about the same height. When completed, they will include about 2,358 apartments with commercial space and parking.

The tallest building in New Jersey is the Goldman Sachs office tower in Jersey City at 781 feet. The Harborside building will be 713 feet, about 13 feet taller than the Revel casino and hotel in Atlantic City, to take the state’s second tallest title.

The Journal Squared project broke ground last November. The 2.4 million-square-foot plan groups three towers around the entrance to the Journal Square PATH Station that handles 5 million train passengers annually.

Phase I of the project is now underway. The first tower, J2, will contain 540 residential units and top out at 54 floors.

The building will feature a pixilated facade of square windows accented by a dynamic lighting scheme and a series of landscaped roof terraces with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline.

Phases II and III will create two additional towers, the tallest of which is expected to rise to 70 floors and 740 feet, making it the tallest in the Journal Square neighborhood and possibly the tallest in Jersey City. The entire project will contain 1,840 units.

[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Oct 30, 2013]

Jersey City has been experiencing a residential building boom. Many of the amenities that draw people to Brooklyn already exist here, from a vibrant dining scene to tech incubation hubs.

Click to enlarge
For construction workers, these projects represent the promise of more jobs in an industry that is still struggling to recover from the recession and housing slump.

Over 5,000 residential units are under construction in Jersey City and another 12,000 have been approved.

Much of this development has centered around transit hubs in the city.

Much of this growth is due to the city’s decision to allow for increased density around transit hubs.

The planning department has pushed for more density close to transportation, and with prime land vacant available around many stations, the growth will continue.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

New Plans for Nordstrom Tower May Rise to 1,550 Feet

The Nordstrom Tower finally has all the approvals necessary to begin construction. And with new plans submitted to the city, the tower at 217 West 57th Street is now expected to rise 1,550 feet, as it glides to a pointed peak above the skyline. The 85-story building will be just up the street from One57, while construction has already risen above 750 feet on the 1420-foot condominium tower at 432 Park Avenue. When this new 1,550 foot project is completed in 2018, it will rank second only to One World Trade Center, among the city's tallest buildings. 

Click to enlarge
Extell Development is gearing up to build one of the tallest towers in the city, one that would offer sweeping views of Central Park a block to the north. The company is aiming high: a new 1,550-foot tower on the site just east of Broadway between 57th and 58th streets. 

Plans for the building are moving forward quickly at a time that a new type of skyscraper is beginning to emerge on the Manhattan skyline.

For decades, office towers accounted for most of the towers built more than 600 feet high, while top residential apartments were generally found in Upper East Side cooperatives.

But now a handful of developers are building very tall, slender luxury residential towers, betting that the wealthy will pay for great views. 

Extell, currently one of the city's most prolific developers, has been on the vanguard of this change.

A few blocks east of the Nordstrom tower site on 57th Street, the company is completing work on One57, a 1,004-foot tower, where two buyers have agreed to pay more than $95 million each, for two penthouse apartments there, a record price.

Just down 57th Street, construction of the 1420-foot condominium tower at 432 Park Avenue has already risen above 750 feet.

As with all skyscrapers, it's the economics that makes them possible - and it is a strong market. Moreover, In Manhattan particularly, people are willing to pay a great deal—millions and tens of millions of dollars for apartments in the sky. There is a huge market for that.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

City Moves Forward on Huge $700M East Harlem Redevelopment

The $700 million East Harlem Media, Entertainment and Cultural Center is a 1.7 million square foot project that is expected to include affordable housing, retail and cultural space and create at least 4,000 construction jobs  and 1,500 permanent jobs. The city recently launched eminent domain proceedings for predominantly vacant parcels on the six-acre redevelopment site in East Harlem. Construction on the long delayed mixed-use development may be possible by early next year.

The development, to be known as the East Harlem Media, Entertainment and Cultural Center, will include 30,000 square feet of dedicated community and cultural space, more than 600 affordable housing units, a public plaza, new office and retail space, and a hotel.

The $700 million project will create 1,500 permanent jobs and 4,000 construction jobs.

Construction of the entire development will be a multi-phase process with a target completion date of 2018.

Features of the development include:

  • 30,000 square feet of cultural space celebrating East Harlem’s unique and diverse cultural heritage;
  • More than 800 total housing units, 600 of which will be affordable to individuals or families with moderate or middle incomes;
  • A mid-block public plaza;
  • 50,000 square feet of retail space reserved for locally-owned businesses at below market rents;
  • 250,000 square feet of class A office space;
  • A 98,000-square-foot hotel; and,
  • A $10 million local investment fund to assist small businesses and entrepreneurs that locate in the new development.

The city's Planning Commission approved the acquisition of the property via the use of eminent domain in August 2008 with the goal of building the $700 million East Harlem Media, Entertainment and Cultural Center.

The 1.7 million-square-foot project will include affordable housing, retail and cultural space, and create at least 1,500 permanent jobs.

Previous developers have had struggles, with developer General Growth having gone bankrupt, and its development partner being acquired by another company in late 2012.

The delay left the land in limbo with rising property taxes but sapped the owners' ability to sell, develop or mortgage their land because of a blight designation, necessary for any eminent domain process.

The city would have lost the right to use eminent domain in the area on Feb. 16 without starting the proceedings, which they did on Feb. 12.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Luxury Building at 80th & Broadway to Rise 20-Stories

Development plans are in progress for the southeast corner of Broadway at West 80th Street on the Upper West Side, as Friedland Properties plans to erect a modern 20-story mixed-use building where a two-story commercial property now stands. The developer has already received a demolition permit for 2228-2236 Broadway, the former location of Syms clothing store. 

The tower planned for site at 2234 Broadway, will include commercial space and luxury apartments. The retail portion will cover 31,000 square feet on two floors above ground and two floors below.

The residential portion will rise above the retail base and include luxury rental apartments as well as condominiums units, and most will have balconies. Construction is expected to be completed in 2016.

Friedland Properties is also the developer behind The Larstrand, the 20-story luxury rental building full of fancy amenities and cabanas, located three blocks south at 227 West 77th Street.

The developer is also moving forward with its plan to build two adjacent mixed-use buildings on a parking lot in the Flatiron District.

The block-through site at 7 West 21st Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, would have 239 apartments as well as 8,200 square feet of commercial space. 

One of the buildings will be 14 stories and rise 144 feet high, according to plans filed with the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Adjacent Towers to Fill Missing Tooth in Ladies Mile

Friedland Properties is moving forward with its plan to build two adjacent mixed-use buildings on a through-block parking lot at 7 West 21st Street in the Ladies Mile Historic District The project, between Fifth and Sixth avenues, will house 239 condominiums, as well as 8,200 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. Each of the connected buildings will be 14-stories and rise 144 feet high, according to a plan approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
The Commission signed off on architect Morris Adjmi’s design which calls for two separate buildings, one at 21st Street and one at 22nd, connected by the first floor retail space.

The building’s ground floor lobby would run through the entire lot, while above the ground floor, a private courtyard will separate the two buildings.

Amenities include attended parking for 50 cars, bike storage, an exercise room, lounge, playroom, game room and a central courtyard shared by the two structures.

The project will be built under 80/20 program, with 20 percent of the apartments reserved for affordable housing.

Each building’s two facades will be identifiable as the same building, but tuned to the different streets that each building faces.

Both facades would look similar to those of the district’s historic loft buildings, with the lower portions of the buildings clad in stone and the upper portions faced in terracotta, and windows in the same proportions.

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Friday, February 14, 2014

WTC Mosque Developer to Build Hotel Tower, Synagogue

The developer, who once proposed a controversial $100 million mosque and Islamic center near ground zero, is planning to build a new home for an 83-year-old synagogue in the garment district in Midtown, while creating a sleek, 23-story retail center and hotel. Sharif El-Gamal and partner Murray Hill Properties are in contract to buy the three-story Garment Center Congregation at 205 West 40th Street from Parsons New School for Design for $61.5 million

The 83-year-old synagogue would be relocated temporarily during construction before being moved into the new building.

The tower also would include three floors of retail and a hotel with about 260 rooms.

Soho Properties and partner Murray Hill Properties plan to knock down the three-story building, which includes the Garment Center Synagogue on the ground floor, and erect a 23-story tower.

They hope capitalize on the surging hustle and bustle of Times Square, whose central location and popularity with tourists has made it an attractive neighborhood for new hotels.

Last week, the developers and the synagogue reached a deal in which the synagogue agreed to vacate its 49-year home in the coming months so that demolition could begin. The developers made a donation to the synagogue for an undisclosed amount and agreed to relocate the synagogue to temporary quarters before moving it into the new building.

The synagogue held the high cards in negotiations, since it had a 99-year lease for $1 a year. The lease specified that the synagogue would have to relocate temporarily if the building had to be demolished.

Mr. El-Gamal became an internationally known figure when he planned to build Park51, a 15-story Islamic center at 45-51 Park Place, two blocks from the World Trade Center site.

The plan faced protests from opponents who said that a mosque so close to Ground Zero was disrespectful, as well as support from former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others who said the developers had the right to build a worship space and cultural center.

The developers plan to close on the West 40th Street building in early March.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Former Roseland Ballroom Will Be Reaching For the Stars

Algin Management has unveiled plans for the redevelopment of the Roseland Ballroom. The former ice skating rink at 239 West 52nd Street will be razed and replaced by a 59-story, 468,000 square foot mixed-use tower. The project will have 426 luxury apartments with retail occupying the first three floors of the base. A 650-foot high rooftop veranda will offer residents an indoor/outdoor pool and lounge, overlooking both Central Park to the North and Midtown Manhattan to the South.

The building will have a futuristic form, defined by undulating curves and wide, open windows. Below, the base cascades to the street, opening up the lower retail levels.

The building’s exterior will be punctuated by extrusions that give the project a Jetsons-like feel.  The project will have 426 apartments in total, including a four bedroom penthouse.

New construction in area around the legendary Midtown ballroom has been booming since 2012, with three projects completed two blocks to the north — at 1717 Broadway, 237 West 54th Street, and 250 West 55th Street — and yet another new tower will add to the neighborhood’s heights.

Despite standing 59 floors, the new tower will not make a significant impact on the skyline.  At 650 feet tall, the building will be shorter than many neighbors. While views to the West will be mostly unobstructed, from the East, the skyscraper will be all but invisible.

To create the new tower, the developer has purchased 58,214 feet of transferable rights from the Majestic at 245 West 44th Street and another 4,015 feet from the Broadhurst Theater at 235 W. 44th Street.

A 15-year-old zoning plan allows landmarked Broadway theaters to sell and transfer air rights within the district, and not just on the same block or across the street as with regular zoning.

The subdistrict runs from West 40th to West 57th Streets between Sixth and Eighth Avenues.

The Theater Subdistrict zoning that provides for air rights transfers within an area around Broadway has enabled prominent theaters to be preserved while providing funds for other theater-related uses.

Overall, Roseland’s replacement will be a major net gain for the neighborhood as the ballroom sat empty much of the time.

After nearly a century of existence, the historic Roseland Ballroom will shut its doors in April 2014.

No completion date has been announced, but demolition of the existing structure is expected to begin this summer.

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Monday, February 10, 2014

All Along the Watchtower: $375M Six Building Redevelopment

For four years, a cluster of properties near the foot of the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges in Brooklyn has been the subject of debate about the neighborhood's future. Now, six pieces of property formerly owned by the Jehovah's Witnesses in Dumbo are officially on the road to redevelopment, as the new owners are getting their ducks in a row to begin turning the former Bible-printing plants into a Tech Hub.

Last October, a partnership consisting of Kushner Companies, RFR Realty and LIVWRK, purchased the six Watchtower sites,

The city has already approved plans for preliminary work to begin on the buildings at 55 Prospect Street, 81 Prospect Street, 117 Adams Street, 77 Sands Street and 175 Pearl Street.

The partners will undertake a $100 million renovation of the buildings, accommodating up to 5,000 bikes, creating outdoor roof space, allowing for 150,000 square feet of retail space occupied almost entirely by Brooklyn companies and installing state-of-the-art Internet connectivity.

The developers would work with the city to try to create a campus-like environment and convert some streets into pedestrian plazas.

Plans for the complex call for bigger and pricier spaces, aimed at more mature companies than most in the neighborhood, and would solidify the transformation of Dumbo—one of Brooklyn's main office districts—from its status in the early 2000s as an offbeat neighborhood for startups,  into a high-profile office destination that competes with hip Manhattan neighborhoods.

Conversion of the 30-story hotel at 90 Sands Street is scheduled for 2017, while Jehovah’s Witnesses workers transition to a new campus in Orange County. The residential tower for 1,000 workers — with gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline and the Statue of Liberty — was completed in 1995.

The area under the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridge overpasses was once one of Brooklyn's main manufacturing hubs, home to firms like Arbuckle Brothers and makers of the Brillo pad.

The cobble-stoned neighborhood went into steep decline in the late 20th Century as companies moved their operations out of the city, but it began experiencing a residential revival in the 1970s when artists started moving in.

By the 1980s, a few companies began moving in, and today the area has some 1.8 million square feet of office space.

The history of the Jehovah's Witnesses site mirrors Brooklyn's industrial decline.

The printing facility, operated through much of the 20th century, was once the largest in the city, producing hundreds of millions of Bibles, books, magazines and pamphlets, according to a church spokesman.

The organization closed its printing operations in the city in 2004 as large-scale modern equipment demanded more sprawling facilities.

New 12-Story Luxury Apartment Building

Another former Jehovah’s Witnesses property that's moving forward with redevelopment is 177 Front Street, owned by Megalith Capital Management.

The developer intends to put up a 12-story luxury building between Jay and Bridge streets, where a one story garage currently stands.

The 105-unit building will be designed by Aufgang Architects and host a restaurant on the ground floor, as well as a rare and coveted commodity in prime Brooklyn: parking

One- and two-bedroom apartments in the new building are expected to rent for between $3,000 and $6,000 per month. The project will be built under the so-called 80/20 program, meaning 20 percent of the apartments will be affordable and the balance will rent at market rates. 

The project, which will be built in partnership with Manhattan-based developer Urban Realty Partners, is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Cornell's Roosevelt Island Tech Campus Taking Shape

The first three buildings and first phase of development for the new Cornell NYCTech campus on Roosevelt Island have been revealed. Morphosis Architects is designing the largest building, which will include classrooms, labs, and collaborative educational spaces. Weiss/Manfredi Architecture is designing a hybrid educational and commercial incubator building on the Queens facing side of the island. Handel Architects are designing a tower adjacent to the Queensboro Bridge for student and faculty housing.

Morphosis' trapezoid building features a central core that aligns with 57th Street on the Manhattan Street grid.

The residential and incubator buildings frame another view corridor out to Queens.

A vast super structure supports a giant solar array, which will allow the building to produce as much energy as its occupants consume.

[see ElectricWeb | Blogger, April 24, 2013]

"Aligning with Cornell Tech’s interdisciplinary academic mission, the design merges site planning, building planning, engineering, and architecture into an integrated and performative solution," says the architect.

A ground floor cafe, accessible to the public, will help link the campus back to the more developed northern end of the island.

Weiss/Manfredi’s seven-story building, dubbed the “Corporate Co-Location Building,” will contain spaces for research and development projects for industry and the academy.

It too features a large rooftop solar array and is aiming for net-zero energy use.

The designer called the building “a flexible platform bringing industry and the academy together.”

The residential building is only in the schematic phase, but Handel Architects emphasized that there will be apartments of all sizes, from large faculty apartments suited for families, to modest studios for students. The building is expected to house about 550 people.

The project has the goal of creating a carbon neutral facility and strategies are being put in place to retain all storm water onsite.

Park space will total two and a half acres.

At the unveiling, the developers discussed plans to improve connectivity to the island, with a pedestrian and cyclist connection off the Queensboro Bridge and adding ferry service.

While the island’s population and activity will grow with these first three buildings, they are only the beginning. The full campus will eventually include five additional buildings, for educational use as well as private industry.

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

East Side Access Balloons to $11B, 7 Extension Delayed

Long Island Rail Road trains had been scheduled to arrive in Grand Central Terminal in 2019 at a cost of $8.3 billion, but officials now say it is going to take more time and money to finish the gargantuan East Side Access project. The MTA originally said it would be completed in 2009 and cost $4.3 billion. Now, the MTA's director of Capital Projects says the project is running over budget and behind schedule, estimating East Side Access might not be completed until late 2023 at a cost of $10.8 billion.

When will the nation’s biggest infrastructure construction project be finished, and how much will it cost?

The issue of budget and schedule has been continually eluding us,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Tom Prendergast recently told an MTA committee.

After four extensions of the completion date and price tag revisions for the East Side Access project, the MTA Capital Construction Company reported to the MTA committee as recently as October that the project should be finished in 2020 or 2021 and cost between $9.3 billion and $9.7 billion.

[see ElectricWeb|Blogger, March 8, 2013]

But now, the Federal Transportation Administration has chimed in, estimating the project might not be completed until late 2023 at a cost of $10.8 billion.

An independent consultant hired by the MTA agrees, and has advised the agency that it needs to strengthen the management group overseeing the project.

The East Side Access extends from the yards in Sunnyside to Grand Central Terminal and required excavating seven tunnels. The project will include a new Long Island Rail Road station in Sunnyside at Queens Boulevard and Skillman Avenue.

Planners predict that the East Side Access will save some 160,000 riders from Queens and beyond at least 40 minutes on their commutes by arriving in Grand Central rather than Penn Station and taking alternate transportation or walking to destinations on Manhattan’s East Side.
LIRR trains will arrive at a new station 100 feet below Grand Central Terminal and reach street level by elevators.

Meanwhile, the opening of the No. 7 train extension project on Manhattan’s far west side will also be delayed, according to the MTA Capital Construction Company.

Although the No. 7 project was to have opened in June, it will likely be held up by “possibly as long as three months due to problems workers encountered in connection with the installation of an elevator,” an MTA Capital Construction spokesman said.

The $2.4 billion extension, paid for by the city, brings the line from Times Square to 34th Street and 11th Avenue.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hudson Spire: Potential Future Tallest Tower in U.S.

Rarely does an opportunity become available to build a city's tallest tower, especially in New York City, which is known for its iconic buildings. The Hudson Spire could one day become the tallest building in the United States surpassing One World Trade Center, thus making it the world's fourth-tallest building. The conceptual mixed-use tower will rise 108 floors and over 1,800 feet, making it the tallest tower in North America. The 1.22 million square foot building, located at 435-447 Tenth Avenue, is being designed by MJM + A Architects.

This mega development will take place in the Hudson Yards, epicenter of Manhattan's New West Side which will include over 26 million square feet of office space, 20,000 new residences, luxury hotels, and two million square feet of retail.

In addition, there will be a 750-seat public school. According to Forbes, the Hudson Yards is the largest private real estate development in the United States and the largest in New York City since Rockefeller Center.

The site at 435 Tenth Avenue faces Hudson Boulevard, running from 501-507 West 34th Street to 510-528 West 35th Street. In the years ahead, the Hudson Yards district will be the most dynamic neighborhood in the City.

Construction activity is beginning to boom in the vicinity, as the 7-line’s 34th Street extension is set to open this year. The station will anchor a new business district, and the corresponding skyline will become the neighborhood’s defining feature, as it will likely host the tallest buildings in New York City.

Hudson Yards will be New York City's next great neighborhood. The area will be an exciting hub of connectivity, community, culture and creativity. It will reshape Manhattan's west side and the impeccable New York City skyline. The neighborhood will be an exciting hub of connectivity, community, culture and creativity; and it is expected to have over 24 million visitors every year.

Is One World Trade Center's height getting trumped already?

The Hudson Spire would certainly represent an upwards leap. The height reduction of Related’s tallest tower — at 30 Hudson Yards — will also allow any tower to enjoy completely unobstructed views from a relatively low 1,227 feet.

The building highlights luxury residences from the tower's 80th to 108th floors, with an observation deck. The views would definitely be the driving motive behind extreme verticality.

Two major drivers in the area are the High Line and the 7 train extension.

The High Line's third and final phase is expected to open later this year. It will loop around Hudson Yards as it turns to the Hudson River at West 30th Street, culminating at Twelfth Avenue and West 34th Street.

Hudson Yards will be the most accessible neighborhood in New York City with unparalleled connections to commuter rail, subway, traffic, and ferry system along the Hudson River. The entrance to the newly extended 7 train will be only one block north from this site.

Hudson Yards has already established itself as a highly sought after location for office tenants who desire to be in state of the art space amongst a well thought out urban plan.

Whether the first residential towers of the Hudson Yards can justify astronomical pricing remains to be seen, but the effort to transform the neighborhood is already beginning, and several new projects are about to sprout.

Coach purchased a 740,000 SF condo in Related Companies first tower, currently rising on West 30th Street. L'Oreal, the Paris based cosmetic company, followed suit with a lease of 402,000 square feet. SAP also leased 115,000 SF in the top tower.

Most recently, Time Warner has announced it will move its 5,000 employees into 30 Hudson, which will be Related's tallest tower at the southwest corner of Tenth Avenue and West 33rd Street. The tower will rise 80 stories to 1,227 feet. Time Warner will ultimately own 40% of this building.

The Hudson Spire is located at a focal point of Hudson Yards being only one block north of the 7 train extension and Related's 26 acre, 17 million SF mega site, which runs from West 30th to West 34th Street.

The Jacob Javits Center, New York City's largest convention center, sits one block to the West with the Hudson River beyond.

Most importantly, the site faces the 12 acre Hudson Boulevard Park, which will run from West 33rd to West 38th Streets, splitting the blocks between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues. Finally, the site is only a few blocks away from the new High Line extension entrance.

The Spire’s imminent potential also harkens to the dramatic quality gap emerging between the Far West Side and Midtown East, and as New York’s flagship companies begin migrating to the glimmering buildings of the Hudson Yards, the area surrounding Grand Central will appear increasingly antiquated — though if the re-zoning does pass under DeBlasio, Park Avenue’s prospects will become much brighter.

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Since October 1, 2011