Monday, May 26, 2014

Rego Center Mall to Become 24-Story Residential Tower

Vornado Development has begun work to construct a 24-story apartment building on top — yes, on top — of the Rego Center Mall. The plan, first unveiled in 2007, will build a 288-foot-tall building with 314 apartments atop the popular shopping mall at 61-01 Junction Blvd.  Vornado Realty Trust has already received the construction permits needed to start work. The mall, which opened in 2010, includes T.J. Maxx, Century 21, Costco and Kohl’s. The 287,113-square-foot project will cost around $120 million.

Work has already begun to build 314 apartment units on top of the Rego Center shopping mall in Rego Park.

An application submitted by Manhattan-based Vornado Realty Trust to construct the 24-story addition was approved in June, according to the city Department of Buildings.

The addition would be 288 feet high and will be designed by the New York firm SLCE Architects.

Residential apartments were part of the original proposal for the site on Junction Blvd. off the Long Island Expressway — once a parking lot for the Alexander’s department store. When ground was broken in 2007, Vornado officials said 400 apartments would rise on the site. But those plans went on hold after the economic downtown.

But the mall went ahead as promised and now includes a Costco, Kohl’s and Toys R Us as well several other retail shops and eateries. It is connected by a bridge to the Sears, Burlington Coat Factory and other stores built years ago on the former Alexander’s location.

The new development will not include enclosed parking space, according to city records. The mall already has a parking deck and the Rego Park Mall, in front of the center, has a four-level parking garage. The apartment piece, which was included in the original plans for the shopping center, is considered Phase-II of the center’s development.

Vornado has also proposed building a multi-use facility across the street from the mall that would include three floors of retail stores, residential housing and even a public school. The company said it would not break ground on Phase-III for at least four years.

Vornado Realty Trust first opened the shopping complex, at 61-01 Junction Blvd., in 2010. While community members were initially concerned about traffic congestion in the area, the center was a welcome addition to the neighborhood because it brought the promise of jobs.

Vornado has the right to build the tower, but locals are concerned that there is now more traffic then there was when the project was initially proposed.

According to Community Board 6 District Manager Frank Gulluscio, "Congestion is a concern." He said he has received calls from community members about the construction. "It’s a major concern for everybody,” he said.  He said board members would carefully watch the new development so they will be aware of both traffic and other quality-of-life issues.

Rego Park, named after the Real Good Construction Company that built homes in the area in the 1920s, is already flush with tall apartment towers. Massive Lefrak City sits on the other side of the expressway.

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Sunday, May 25, 2014

American Pride is Strong at DeWalt Event

DeWalt’s American Pride Event took place May 22 at the Joint Industry Board Auditorium in Flushing. The highlight of the event was guest speaker First Sergeant Matthew Eversmann (Ret.) hero of the film, Black Hawk Down, and the Battle of Mogadishu. Eversmann spoke about the three values of serving in the military and how these values also transfer to civilian life. These three values, near and dear to Eversmann, are courage, serving others and duty.

During the event, more than one hundred Local 3 members had the opportunity to demo DeWalt power tools, learn about the company’s partnership with the Wounded Warriors Project, and how DeWalt is building in the U.S.A. with global materials for select products.

The American Pride event highlighted DeWalt's promotional efforts and the importance of buying American products and building the American economy.

According to a 2013 survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, given a choice between a product made in the United States and an identical one made abroad, 78 percent of Americans would rather buy the American product.

Speakers at the event discussed what DeWalt stands for and the importance of building tools in the U.S.  It is clear to see that both innovation and productivity are mainstays of DeWalt.

When it was Eversmann’s turn to speak to the membership, he said that we have nothing to complain about here, in the U.S., when you think about people serving in the line of duty.

He continued with the three most important values he learned in the military: serving others, courage and duty.

“Courage is doing your job when you are really scared,” said Eversmann. “Duty is fulfilling your obligation. Doing what you say you are going to do. I’m going to do it no matter how hard it is. It’s important to be a part of a team and remember that everyone is the same. Even the best of the best: they are average folks committed to the mission. We should all aspire to do this.”

Eversmann went on to discuss the importance of standards in today’s society.

“Values are a big deal,” said Eversmann. “And you gotta have standards!”

Eversmann said that what drew him to DeWalt is his belief in the product – good quality tools.

“It comes back to values,” said Eversmann. “Project Eagle is a big deal to me – bringing jobs back here. And dedicating money to the Wounded Warrior project. DeWalt is putting the needs of others first with no doubt.”

Wrapping up his discussion, Eversmann said to remember that it’s a good day today.

“Think about this… We all have an obligation to take care of ourselves, family, etc.,” said Eversmann. “Think of your values and they will guide you.”

Congratulations to DeWalt and VonRohr Equipment on a great success!

Special thanks goes out to Jim Karol for inviting the ElectricWeb to participate in this event, and to Robert Ayello of Local 3 who worked hard to put this event together. Much appreciation.

Information about the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP):

DeWalt is helping to support their vision of fostering the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in U.S. history.

“We feel as though the brand attributes and core values of both Wounded Warrior Project and DeWalt are complementary and consistent. We remain grateful for the service that Wounded Warrior Project Alumni have given to the USA and we know that the contributions generated by this partnership and promotion support a very important cause.”

http://toolsofthebrave.comDeWalt has a lineup of product offerings that feature the WWP logo on packaging, point of purchase, or directly on the product, and a portion of the proceeds received from the sales of these special edition products will be donated to WWP.

DeWalt is also very proud of continuing its commitment to build America.

DeWalt expanded its product offerings built in the U.S.A. using global materials to include more than 600 different cordless power tools, hand tools and accessories.

The manufacturer began production of its American-built cordless power tools in its 75,000-sq.ft. Charlotte Manufacturing Operations facility in early October 2013, using global materials. The company’s investment in the revamped facility will help boost the local economy and create more than 250 new jobs.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

South Bronx Waterfront $500M Redevelopment Plan

Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr. has announced a $500 million development proposal for a section of the Harlem River. The Special Harlem River Waterfront District plan calls for new residential towers and a waterfront esplanade to replace a dusty half-mile stretch of businesses between 138th and 149th streets. The project, which hopes to emulate the Brooklyn Bridge Park and its successful integration of former industrial area into community-used space, will bring 1,529 units of mixed-income housing and 3,500 new jobs to the Lower Concourse.

At an estimated cost of $500 million, the proposal puts to use the 2009 rezoning and will add over 1.1 million square feet of residential space, 865,000 of commercial space, and 269,000 square feet of community space to the largely neglected area.

Isolated between an active freight train line and the Major Deegan Expressway, this 10-block stretch of commercial businesses is a gritty, hard-to-access swath of parking lots, storage warehouses, homeless camps and dead-end streets.

Despite this, for many years neighborhood residents have sought access to the larger 1.5-mile section of Harlem River waterfront that includes this proposed development. Unlike the Manhattan shoreline of the river, the Bronx side has very few access points. To the south, the riverbank is closed off by a train yard and a waste management company handling demolition debris.

To the north, the expressway and a Metro North train yard block the shore. On the section in between, which includes Diaz's 10-block vision, the Harlem River is almost completely cut off by the Oak Point Link, a 1.9-mile train line built above the water.

The scale of those proposals by Bronx officials, which call for office and residential towers costing $500 million and include as many as 1,500 apartments, has lifted hopes among some owners of restaurants and other businesses that have opened in the gentrifying Concourse and Mott Haven areas.

The new businesses as well as apartment complexes built between Park Avenue and the Major Deegan Expressway have staked a claim to a gritty area filled with chain-link fences, several utility and recycling plants and the polluted Harlem River.

"It's definitely heading in the right direction," said Joe Pego, general manager of New York Recycling, which operates a recycling facility near the water and East 144th Street. "It's like what happened with Williamsburg and Long Island City, with the new businesses and residential areas. But all that change can make people uneasy."

Plans for the so-called Special Harlem River Waterfront District call for a publicly accessible waterfront esplanade, along with residential and office towers that could reach 400 feet, said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

Nearby, Macombs Dam Park draws thousands of visitors to its track and baseball fields, and the Bronx Children's Museum is slated to open in 2015 on city-owned parkland.

The Bronx Terminal Market-Gateway Mall was completed in 2009 on the former sites of a wholesale fruit and vegetable market and the Art Deco-influenced Bronx County House of Detention. Large tenants at the mall now include Target, Home Depot and BJ's Wholesale Club.

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thief Speeds Away With 1,000 Pounds of Copper Wire

A brazen thief was caught on camera stealing thousands of dollars worth of copper from an electrical contracting firm in broad daylight on Long Island, speeding away as workers tried to stop him. Surveillance footage shows the thief strolling into the back of the business in Wantagh, then later, driving in his SUV and loading up the vehicle with 1,000 pounds of valuable copper wire.

An employee threw a rock at a thief's Jeep Wednesday morning, smashing a mirror, but he was unable to stop the theft, Nassau police said.

The employee at JM Electrical Contractors on Wantagh Avenue noticed a surveillance camera had caught a black Jeep Liberty speeding into the rear yard at 11:15 a.m. A male got out and began loading several pounds of the company's copper into the vehicle, police said.

The owner is seen trying to stop the thief as he got back into the vehicle.

"I see the guy parked there, so I start yelling, 'What are you doing? What's going on?'" said Joe Mutino, the owner.

Mutino threw a rock at the suspect, who jumped into the car. Mutino reached into the open driver's-side window to try to stop the thief.

Some of Mutino's employees also tried to stop the thief, including his secretary, who nearly got run down by the speeding SUV.

"They said I was screaming like the kid from 'A Christmas Story,' the stuff that was coming out of my mouth was all garbled," Mutino said. "I just remember I wanted to stop him."

It was the third time in two years that scrap wire stored at the business had been stolen.

"It's easy drug money," said Mutino. "They come in, they steal the copper and go right to a junkyard."

"I didn't even sleep much last night. I don't know if it's because I let myself down that I had him" and he got away, Mutino said. 

Nassau police are now hunting the thief, who Mutino estimates made off with about $3,000 worth of wire. The business owner uses the scrap metal money every year to say thank you to his employees.

"We collect copper throughout the year, we strip up the copper, sell it off and book a trip to Florida, kinda giving something back to the guys," he said.

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

12-Story Development to Rise on Harlem Traffic Circle

Artimus Construction has been chosen by the Economic Development Corporation, to build a 125,000-square-foot mixed-use project on the site of a former BP gas station near the northwestern corner of Central Park. The 12-story building will house 56 apartments, with space for a local dance group on 110th Street and Frederick Douglass Boulevard.

The company, which has built several projects in Harlem, plans a development that is 80-percent market-rate and 20-percent affordable.

The 13,500-square-foot lot at 2040 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, described by the city as the last underutilized piece of property on Central Park, was bought by Artimus for $25 million.

2040 Frederick Douglass Boulevard will total 87,776 square feet, including a 4,677 square foot commercial component, and an 8,481 square foot community facility. A retail component with a minimum 8,000 square feet space is expected to house a restaurant.

The remaining 74,621 square feet will be divided between 56 residences, and the building will stand 12 stories and 140 feet tall.

2040 Eighth Avenue’s redevelopment is a boon for the neighborhood at large, as the BP gas station had survived long past its prime.

While the revitalization of Harlem began relatively recently, the site of FX Fowle’s latest building is situated in a prime location — the Uptown equivalent of Columbus Circle.

Given the accessibility of the site, the planned scope of 2040 Frederick Douglass is underwhelming, as the lot is literally adjacent to the B and C trains.

Many developments in New York do not meet their full potential and it is unfortunate that something on a scale befitting the potentially iconic location is not being built.

No completion date has been announced.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

30-Story Apartment Building Announced for West 38th Street

A 225-unit rental building will begin rising later this year at 509 West 38th Street west of 10th Avenue, one of dozens of developments that are planned in the Hudson Yards district over the next several years. Plans for the residential tower were revealed last night at a Community Board 4 meeting. Iliad Development hopes to break ground in the fourth quarter on the building on 38th Street, which will have 225 rental apartments, mostly studios and one-bedrooms.

Of the 225 apartments, 46 will be affordable—15 studios, 25 one-bedrooms, and two-bedrooms. Theses homes will be affordable to families make no more than 60 percent of the Area Median Income, which means the studio units will start at $800, and the one-bedrooms at $1,000

Floors three to five of the building will be held as community facilities, providing 29,000 square feet of space. The developer has signed on the Fencers Club, a NYC non-profit established in 1883, to occupy 20,000 square feet.

The 30-story building will also include an outdoor roof garden, a screening room, a party room and a gym.  Ismael Leyva Architects designed the façade which will be built of brick, steel, and glass to "reflect the nature of the Hudson Yards area" and provide some relief from the ubiquitous, super reflective glass buildings that seems more at home in Miami.

The site, which was previously occupied by a four-story industrial building, is located in the Hudson Yards Special Zoning District. Iliad Development contributed to a district improvement fund and designated 29,000 square feet of its plan to community facilities, to ensure maximum height and additional air rights.

The 2005 rezoning allows developers to pay into a district improvement fund in exchange for additional air rights for a “community facility,” like a performance space or museum. Buying the air rights raises the overall height of the building and pushes skyward the apartments that sit atop the space, allowing for better views and potentially higher rents.

The zoning also requires 6,000 square feet of retail space. The site also has a valuable billboard that faces out to the Lincoln Tunnel entrance, which will be available to a tenant.

With the No. 7 subway extension on schedule to open, the third section of the High Line moving ahead and residential and commercial development within the Hudson Yards themselves advancing, the neighborhood’s transformation is starting to come into focus after a city rezoning to residential and commercial from manufacturing.

Since the main rezoning of the area from 28th to 43rd Streets and west of Eighth Avenue in 2005, more than 5,000 apartments have been built and more than $5 billion in private development has poured into the area, according to the Hudson Yards Development Corporation, a city entity overseeing the area’s redevelopment.

Pre-construction work at the site has been ongoing since 2012.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

More Hotels Planned For Williamsburg Brooklyn - Part 2

Recently, developers have caught wind of the fact that Williamsburg is a place where out-of-towners might like to stay and have started slapping up hotels left and right. In addition to the big name projects, there are a bunch of lesser known jobs that are already in the pipeline and ready to be developed.

Hotel Series - Brooklyn, Part 2 


55 Wythe Avenue

A one-story warehouse at 55 Wythe Avenue is being replaced by a 20-story, 183-room luxury hotel. The 150,000-square-foot project will rise 250 feet between North 12th and North 13th streets, one block from the Wythe Hotel.

The Jetsons-like building will have underground parking for 218 cars, 20,000-square-feet of ground floor retail. The development will also house a bar/lounge and a banquet hall, along with offices on the fifth through ninth floors.

The Level Hotel will start on the 11th floor and continue up through the 20th floor.

The futuristic-looking building will have 18-23’ ceilings throughout, and will be capped by a 20,000-square-foot landscaped rooftop deck, with a restaurant.

The developer, Zelig Weiss, is no stranger to Williamsburg. Along with a partner, Weiss opened The Condor Hotel at 56 Franklin Avenue in 2010. The Condor caters to the needs of observant Jews, as well as travelers of all faiths who don’t want to shell out major cash to stay in a Manhattan hotel.

95 Wythe Avenue

Another new hotel planned for Wythe Avenue may wear its insides on the outside.

Adventurous architects HWKN have released designs for Heritage Equity Partners' new 150-room hotel planned for 96 Wythe Avenue, between North 12th and north 11th streets in
Made of brick, the 50,000-square-foot funky hotel is to be topped with steel bones, graced with balconies on one side and topped by a steel topiary that resembles a bell tower.

Although this insane design did not pass muster with community, there is still going to be a hotel built on the site - albeit, somewhat revised.

The developer has clarified that these renderings were purely speculative and that they will not be used. While the building is slated for completion within 24 months, HWKN is no longer the architect on the project.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Huge Astoria Cove Project Closer to Breaking Ground

The march of development along the Brooklyn and Queens waterfront is heading further north. Plans for Astoria Cove—a one-million-square-foot, mixed-use development in Queens—has been approved by the Department of City Planning, moving it one crucial step closer to breaking ground. The plan calls for three residential towers, commercial space, a school, and green space on the currently industrial site along the East River.

The Astoria Cove project, along with the Hallets Point Redevelopment - which has a green light from the city, will transform a gritty waterfront stretch of Astoria off Roosevelt Island.

Astoria Cove calls for 1,689-units of housing in a combination of 8-story townhouses, and waterfront towers rising between 12 and 30-stories.

Plans also include 117,000-square-feet of retail space, a new school and a public park.

Hallets Point will add an additional 2,200 units of housing and a supermarket to the Astoria waterfront, as well as an esplanade along the East River.

The twin projects have been generously planned in terms of public passive recreation and would be a boon for the city.

The East River waterfront would get a major facelift to accommodate eateries and increase public access. 

Astoria Cove would bring 1,689-units of housing in a combination of townhouses and towers along 26th Avenue, between 9th and 4th Streets.

The inland buildings would top out at 8-stories, while the apartment buildings near the water would rise between 12-30-stories. 259 apartments would be set aside for affordable housing. 

The development would include public access to the waterfront, a 25,000-square-foot supermarket, and 117-square-feet of retail space with a 456-seat elementary school.

The developer is also exploring options for a residents-only shuttle service to and from the 30th Street N/Q station, about a mile away.

It's one of two major housing developments proposed for the Hallets Point peninsula — a chunk of land that juts out into the East River, just south of Astoria Park - a stretch of the waterfront that is largely desolate except for the NYCHA Astoria Houses, which takes up the other half of the Hallets Point peninsula. 

The peninsula certainly needs development.  Presently, the site is a mix of vacant lots and underused industrial structures. Area residents welcome the new amenities development would bring — particularly schools and supermarkets — as long as they were accessible to NYCHA residents as well.

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

WTC LEDs to Turn Skyline Into a Dazzling Lightshow

The Empire State Building’s energy-efficient LED lights have been adding a bright burst of color to the NYC skyline, and now it looks like One World Trade Center will be joining in on some of the luminous fun. The Durst Organization, a part owner of One World Trade Center, has already fitted LEDs onto the spires of its other buildings at 4 Times Square and One Bryant Park, and the tallest skyscraper in the western hemisphere will be getting the same treatment. 

The city’s skyline is becoming a rainbow of dancing colors as more tall towers add programmable LEDs to their tops and antennas.

What was once stagnant and mostly white or a primary color is now alive with tints and effects heretofore only seen on the Broadway stage.

Soon the nightly dance led by the Empire State Building will include the top of One World Trade Center, where the hues and swirling lights may be coordinated with those enlivening 4 Times Square and One Bryant Park — all owned in full or in part by the Durst Organization

At 1,776 Feet, One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the western hemisphere.

The height is a skyscraping salute to the nation’s founding, but the real symbol of New York’s resilience sits atop the building’s 408-foot spire—a rotating white beacon composed of 264 50-watt LED modules that make it visible from as far away as Connecticut —a feature planned, but never implemented, for the original twin towers.

As for the spire, it contains about 1,500 LEDs of its own—which will allow for a breathtaking light show.

“We can define any hue or brightness level,” says Mark Domino, the digital-media artist behind the building’s illuminations, and son-in-law of Douglas Durst. “There’s an RGB value charged to each light that can be controlled independently.”

The result is millions of potential color combinations and even animation. Domino has real-time control over the lighting program via his Android phone.

Once 1 WTC’s 1,776-foot-high spire lights are added to the skyline, its nighttime silhouette will appear even taller than during the day, just as the Empire State Building’s full antenna lights make a dramatic difference, showing off its full height of 1,454 feet.

Currently, the 1,776-foot-tall building is still lit by construction lights with a single red dot atop its spire to signal airplanes.

The Empire State Building recently went through an LED makeover. 

Beforehand, the landmark building used floodlights, which were fitted with colored gels that only came in 10 primary colors. But now with over 1,200 LEDs, the Empire State can display 16 million colors in vivid combinations.

On top of its colorful light shows, LEDs have helped Manhattan’s most famous landmark save $4.7 million in energy savings within the first two years following the green retrofit.

Click to enlarge

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Friday, May 9, 2014

Committee OKs Rockefeller University FDR Expansion Plan

Rockefeller University is one step closer to approval for its plan to construct two new buildings above FDR Drive on the east side of Manhattan. The City Council’s Committee on Land Use gave the green light for the school’s $240 million plan to expand its 14-acre campus and raise a two-story research building and one-story conference center over the stretch of parkway from East 64th to East 68th streets.  

The 160,000-square-foot structure, housing two dozen labs and 440 scientists, would be built on a deck over the thoroughfare and span 927 feet. It would follow the platform the university built in 1989 over the thoroughfare for the Rockefeller Research Center.
The plan takes advantage of two, 1970s-era rulings that essentially gave Rockefeller University control of the airspace above the East Side traffic artery in order for it to expand, which it insists it desperately needs to do.

Such expansion is not unheard of—the university is sandwiched between highway platforms built by the United Nations and Weill Cornell Medical Center. However, the caveat has always been that the school would develop waterfront park space in exchange for the privilege.

Founded by John D. Rockefeller in 1901 to promote medical research, the school plans to construct three new buildings.As the university has done in the past, two of those buildings, a one-story conference center and a two-story research building boasting a green roof and rooftop pavilions, would be constructed atop a platform over FDR Drive.

Extending approximately four blocks from East 64th Street to East 68th Street, the new platform would join two other Rockefeller buildings straddling the highway, stretching from 62nd Street to 64th Street.

The third new building, an athletic center for students, would replace a faculty parking lot in the northwest corner of the existing campus.

"The new building is critical to maintaining the university's excellent standards for research and teaching, by allowing for the recruitment of new faculty to replace those lost by attrition, and for the renewal of laboratory space that is outdated and poorly suited to modern science," said a spokesperson.

“The low-rise buildings would not impede views of or from Manhattan, nor would they expand the university's size "in terms of personnel or activities."

This is thanks to an innovative design from local architect Rafael Viñoly, where the two-story building will actually be built into the platform, so that the roof is level with the rest of the campus. This will create a larger quad without taking up space on the expanded campus.

This is the not the first time the university has expanded over the busy highway below. In 1987, a dormitory building opened atop a platform over the southbound lanes of the FDR between 62nd and 63rd streets.

Five years later, a new research building was finished over both lanes of the highway at 64th Street. The new platform will extend from there all the way up to the northern edge of the campus.

The full Council is expected to approve the plan next week.

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Marriott Jetting In for LaGuardia Airport Redevelopment

LaGuardia Airport, Manhattan's closest airport and one often ridiculed for its lack of amenities and overall appearance is on the verge of a huge $3.6-billion renovation, which will include a new Central Terminal. News of the seven-year project is now drawing in hotel investors and developers. 

Marx Development recently acquired a development site near the airport where they plan to build a $40-million hotel.

The site at 112-24 Astoria Boulevard in East Elmhurst will house a new AC Hotel by Marriott and have 126-rooms.

David Marx purchased the 16,141 square foot lot for $5.5 million, securing a $3.75 million loan with Maxim Capital to finance the purchase.

The prolific builder intends to source a bigger construction loan for the project by the end of the year.

“We see the LaGuardia market as under served, especially in terms of there being really no new-construction hotels there that are up to par with the needs of the modern traveler,” said Marx.

“That coupled with the huge investment that’s being put into LaGuardia … this development has all the right ingredients for us.”

The new 126-room AC Hotel by Marriott is planned to open in early 2016.

Meanwhile, preparatory work for the LaGuardia Airport makeover is expected to commence later this year.

That plan, in the process of being arranged by private financiers, aims to rebuild the main terminal by 2021, dramatically upgrading a facility that Vice President Joseph Biden compared to an airport facility in a third world country last year.

"Our project coordinates with the airport improvement," Marx said. "The timing definitely works out."

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Monday, May 5, 2014

More Hotels Planned For Downtown Brooklyn, Williamsburg

There are 22 hotel projects with 2,208 rooms in the pipeline in Brooklyn as of May 1, according to data from the lodging industry. That represents a spike in room count from 1,370 last year, and an uptick in the number of new hotels from 14. Of the 22 current projects, ten (with 821 rooms) are in the final planning stages and 12 (with 1,387 rooms) are in construction. 

Hotel Series - Brooklyn, Part 1

Recently, developers have caught wind of the fact that Williamsburg is a place where out-of-towners might like to stay and have started slapping up hotels left and right. In addition to the big name projects, there are a bunch of lesser known jobs that are already in the pipeline and ready to be developed.

500 Metropolitan Avenue

A huge fenced-in lot at 500 Metropolitan Avenue in Brooklyn, will be getting a 14-story hotel with spaces for restaurants/bars and retail, with a 182-spot garage below and residences on top.

The Chetrit Group is gearing up to start work on the massive Williamsburg development once dubbed “The Gateway to Williamsburg”. The long-stalled project between Union and the BQE has been on ice for years.

The development will rise on the same block as Kellogg’s Diner in an extremely prime location next to the Metropolitan-Lorimer G and L-train stop.

500 Metropolitan will be a 14-story triangular structure with tiered setbacks covering 146,040-square-feet.

The 150-foot-tall building will house 50 condominium units above the eighth floor, with 188 hotel rooms below. The fourth floor will have a pool, accompanied by a restaurant/bar with a 311-person capacity.

On the second floor, there's a planned terrace with basketball and tennis courts, and the ground floor will have 56,600 square feet of retail. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2015.

This area is hopping with construction. Another hotel, with 52 rooms, is going up across the street.

The Chetrit Group has been in the headlines lately for its tactics involving longtime tenants of the Chelsea Hotel following its purchase of the Manhattan landmark.

155 Broadway 

A 250-room hotel will go up next to the historic Williamsburg Savings Bank building in Brooklyn

The 40 story goliath is in the final planning stages and slated to rise on a site adjacent to the domed bank building, at 175 Broadway, which has undergone an extensive renovation and will open later this year as an event space.

Developer Juan Figueroa purchased the 137 year old landmark from HSBC in 2010, for $4.5 million.

Proximity to the Williamsburg Bridge and Peter Luger Steakhouse should help boost the hotel’s profile. The development site is one block south of the bridge, at Driggs Avenue.

There had been speculation that the developer might convert the bank itself into lodging; however the air rights acquired from the historic structure will let the developer build a much taller hotel next door.

Back in 2011, Miami-based architecture firm Oppenheim A+D won a competition to design a boutique hotel on the lot. The firm's winning structure would measure 86,000 square feet and rise 440 feet

Figueroa expects the Williamsburg Hotel to be ready for business by late 2015.

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Tishman Speyer to Build Massive 1,800-foot Westside Tower

Tishman Speyer Properties, owner of Rockefeller Center, plans to develop a tower in the fledgling Hudson Yards district on the far west side of Manhattan.The developer has bought a block of undeveloped land stretching from West 34th to West 35th streets for $438 million to build the 2.85 million-square-foot Hudson Spire. The conceptual mixed-use tower will include offices and street-level retail, rising 108 floors and over 1,800 feet, making it the tallest tower in North America.

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 2.85 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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