Sunday, March 29, 2015

Former Roseland Ballroom Ready To Reach For the Stars

New Yorkers mourned when the famed Roseland Ballroom was demolished last year, but now Algin Management has unveiled plans for its redevelopment. The former ice skating rink at 239 West 52nd Street will be replaced by a 69-story, 468,000 square foot mixed-use tower. The project will have about 480 luxury apartments with retail occupying the first three floors of the base. A 750-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 approximately 480 apartments, including duplexes on the upper floors, and a super-luxury 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.

Building amenities will include a 45-car parking garage with bike storage; retail space on the lower three floors; two swimming pools; a gym and a private basketball court; a golf simulator; an outdoor roof terrace with lounges and a private dining room.

Despite standing 69 floors, the new tower will not make a significant impact on the skyline.  At 750 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 purchased 58,214 feet of transferable rights from the Majestic Theater 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 shut its doors in April 2014.

Demolition of the existing structure was officially completed in January, but no completion date has been announced for the new building.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Queens Tallest Skyscraper Planned for Long Island City

A developer has big plans for a Long Island City tower that would become Queens’ tallest building. The skyline-changing 772-foot structure will soar to 77-stories at 29-37 41st Avenue, just north of the elevated Queensboro Plaza and Queens Plaza subway stations.

Real estate firm Property Markets Group, which is constructing the 77-story tower, purchased the vacant land last year for $46.3 million. The firm also bought the iconic Long Island City clock tower building adjoining the site for $30 million.

There will be 830,000 square feet of space in the building, which will contain 930 apartments. The skyscraper will be a mixed-use structure and have nearly 15,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.

Present zoning for the site allows for construction of about 200,000 square feet as of right, while PMG's project is proposed for 830,000 square feet - about four times larger than allowed.

Since the development plan greatly exceeds current zoning regulations, Property Markets Group acquired unused air rights from an adjacent site controlled by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for its East Side Access project, this week for $56 million.

Developers buy unused rights from neighbors all over the city to increase the size of projects. For example, Extell Development spent years buying additional air rights to construct One57, which was much larger than what the property's original zoning would have allowed.

Amenities, including a pool and a health club, will be part of the building. The developers also plan to maintain Queens Plaza Park just north of the parcel, and will expand or create a new entrance to the E, M and R trains at the Queens Plaza station.

SLCE Architects, which is designing a 54-story skyscraper for Rockrose at nearby 43-22 Queens Street, is the architect on this project as well.

On the southern side of Queensboro Plaza, Tishman Speyer is planning to construct 1,600 residential units in three towers at Phase 2 of its Gotham Center project.

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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Developer to Build 800-unit Apt Tower in Williamsburg

A development firm that’s been getting busy in Brooklyn has added another project to its pipeline on the Williamsburg/Bed-Stuy borderline. The Rabsky Group has filed plans to rezone two blocks in South Williamsburg near Flushing Avenue, to build a pair of massive mixed-use buildings that would house 800 apartment units. 

The vacant sites at 249 and 334 Wallabout Street are currently zoned for manufacturing.

With approval expected for rezoning of the sites, Rabsky Group will be free to construct two buildings with a total of 622 market-rate units, 155 affordable units, and around 35,000 square feet of retail space.

The Wallabout Street sites were purchased by the developer in 2012 for $12.75 million from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which began selling off its Brooklyn properties in 2008 after shuttering its plant.

Rabsky Group is also one of the developers behind the forthcoming Rheingold Brewery redevelopment at 123 Melrose Avenue in Bushwick, a massive residential project on the former beer brewery site that will eventually house 1,000 apartment units.  Construction on that project is expected to begin this summer.

The firm has nearly completed a six-story, 24-unit apartment building just down the block at 376-382 Wallabout Street.

Other Brooklyn developments the firm is working on include a seven-story building nearby on Flushing Avenue and Kent Avenue, an eight-story building in Crown Heights, and a five-story development in Clinton Hill, at the former White Castle site on Myrtle Avenue.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

$238M NY Proton Center to be Built on East Harlem Site

It isn't easy to find a location in Manhattan for cancer-fighting equipment so huge that it takes an entire city block to house it. After years of planning, Manhattan's proton beam consortium has finally found just the spot for their $238 million proton beam therapy center. The New York Proton Center will soon be ready to break ground on an entire city-owned vacant block between East 126th and East 127th streets in East Harlem. The 115,300-square-foot structure is slated open at the end of 2016

The building requirements for proton beams are complex, given the mammoth size and weight of the equipment involved: four mobile gantries, a fixed-beam unit and special radiation shielding.

The focused beam needs a rectangle of about 40,000 square feet, so that the protons can run in a straight line to better treat patients. To protect the treatment area, the building must be enclosed in a massive cast of concrete.

The high cost of construction and the logistics of finding a site to house its mammoth machines—a cyclotron can weigh 220 tons—have made it hard to realize such a project here.

The New York Proton Center is backed by some of New York's foremost cancer centers. The hospital consortium consists of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Beth Israel Medical Center, Montefiore Medical Center and Mount Sinai Hospital.

The project at 225 East 126th Street is being developed and managed by ProHealth Proton Center Management. The hospitals hope to collaborate on research and collectively treat 1,500 patients annually.

Presently, cancer patients have to travel to Philadelphia or Boston for the increasingly popular proton therapy treatment.

The treatment cost will be an estimated $1,911.53 per visit, and at 45,388 projected annual visits by its third year of operation, that would put the profit at $5.8 million.

Additionally, the hospital consortium which will hold a 66% state in the center, will earn $62 million in annual administrative and consulting fees.

Proton beam technology allows radiation to be emitted in precisely focused cancer-killing doses. It is used most commonly to treat prostate cancer and tumors whose treatment with other methods would threaten nearby healthy tissues and organs. But finding a home for the proton beam center has proved challenging.

Originally, the consortium focused its efforts on 621 W. 57th Street, with construction slated to begin in February 2011 and the center ready for patients in early 2014.

At the time, the building was conceptualized as having 11,670 square feet of retail space on the ground floor, a two-level underground garage and two levels of medical office space.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Empire Outlets Developer Plans 214-unit Apartment Building

Another big residential project may soon be getting underway in Staten Island. BFC Partners, the same developer that is building a giant observation wheel and the Empire Outlets retail complex, plans to build an eight-story apartment building with 214 residential units atop nearly 9,000 square feet of retail space, in the Stapleton section of the borough. 
BFC Partners plans to build a mixed-use development at 475 Bay Street that will include 8,925-square-feet of first-floor retail space, with seven floors of residential units.

The structure will span 162,000 square feet and rise to 70 feet. Each floor will hold about 30 apartments averaging 750 square feet.

The site currently is currently zoned for low density manufacturing and commercial uses -– for now.

The developer will have to seek a variance or a formal rezoning to permit residential development on the property.

BFC Partners will likely win permission to build the Bay Street project, in light of Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing initiative and the city’s emphasis on growth in Staten Island.

The developer’s St. George project, Empire Outlets, will be comprised of approximately 100 designer outlet shops and a 200-room hotel on the waterfront.

475 Bay Street is being designed by Edelman Sultan Knox Wood Architects of Manhattan, and will rise along the Stapleton waterfront on Staten Island’s North Shore, not far from Ironstate Development’s Homeport complex.

The city’s Economic Development Corporation selected Ironstate for the first phase of construction at the 35-acre decommissioned Homeport naval base.

That project will soon be home to retail space and 900 units of housing, called Urban Ready Living Staten Island.

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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Four Lower East Side Towers to Break Ground This Summer

Forty-eight years after the bulldozers came through, the Seward Park area of the Lower East side is being redeveloped into Essex Crossing at a price tag of more than $1 billion. The 1.9 million square-foot mega-project will include more than 1,000 units of housing at nine sites near the intersections of Essex and Delancey Streets. The development site is the largest city-owned plot of land below 96th Street. The build out will create 250,000 square feet of office space, a rooftop farm, a Regal Cinema, a bowling alley, an Andy Warhol museum and retail stores. The project is expected to create 4,400 construction jobs, most of which will be union. 

Taconic Investment Partners, L+M Development Partners, and BFC Partners were selected through a competition to develop the project. The consortium, known as Delancey Street Associates, will invest a total of $1.1 billion in the project.

Demolition of Site 2 is set to begin at the end of January and ground breaking on Phase1 is planned for this summer.

Construction at sites 1, 2, 5 and 6 should be finished by 2018, with the entire project anticipated to be complete by 2024.

The project’s amenities will include a bowling alley and movie theater. A site has also been reserved for a public school, which will be developed by the School Construction Authority.

The Essex Street Market will relocate across Delancey Street, doubling in size to approximately 30,000 square-feet on the ground floor, plus a mezzanine of roughly 7,000 square feet.

The new market, anticipated to open in 2018, will accommodate all the existing market vendors at the time of the move and provide room for new vendors in a range of sizes.

The project will include an extensive assortment of retail and commercial uses, including the unique space to be known as the Market Line, a subterranean esplanade with vaulted archways that weaves from the second floor through the cellar of the three sites south of Delancey between Essex and Clinton Streets.

[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, June 6, 2012]

The natural light-filled, continuous Market Line will include a variety of spaces, consisting of small- to medium-sized vendor stalls with tenants that include retail and food-oriented uses, a culinary incubator and a center dedicated to encouraging entrepreneurs to learn craft skills and produce and sell hand-made merchandise.

In addition, approximately 40 retail spaces will be developed in the Market Line. The project also includes a large grocery store.

But one big concern is a lack of additional parking in the development plan.

Isaac Henderson, project manager of L+M Development Partners, said the developer consortium has been working with DOT on traffic issues. He explained that after talks with the DOT, they determined that with the congestion around the area of the Williamsburg Bridge, it wasn’t safe to include more parking.

Long known as the Seward Park Renewal Area project, the city has wanted to redevelop the sites since 1967, when it began tearing down old tenement buildings that were occupied by working-class immigrants.

The Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Project grew out of collaboration between community leaders and elected officials, who have worked on the Essex Crossing plan for more than seven years. [See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Nov 13, 2012]

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Court Clears Way for 24-Story Luxury Hotel by AirTrain

A luxury hotel in Queens will rise after the project cleared its last legal hurdle. The Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Jamaica will rise 24 stories and have 240 rooms. A legal battle was settled, allowing the Greater Jamaica Development Corp. to move ahead with Able Management to start construction of the four-star hotel. The hotel will be located directly across the street from the Air Train station in downtown Jamaica, allowing travelers a quick trip to JFK Airport.

Plans to build the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Jamaica were blocked by a legal battle between the Greater Jamaica Development Corp. and Robin Eshaghpour, who owned a portion of the property at 93-43 Sutphin Blvd.

Even though Eshaghpour had sold the property, he tried to hold onto a 99-year lease he had for the site.

A state Supreme Court judge ruled Eshaghpour had to accept the $444,000 payment for his remaining interest in the property, opening the way for Greater Jamaica to sell the entire property - including the land - to developer Able Management Group for $4.5 million.

"This is the first of what will be many positive and productive developments that take advantage of Jamaica's unique transportation assets for the benefit of all those who live, work and visit the area," said Greater Jamaica president, Carlisle Towery.

The 240-room hotel will rise 24 stories across from the Air Train on Sutphin Blvd. — a 10-minute ride to JFK Airport and a 22-minute commute to midtown Manhattan via the Long Island Rail Road.

Officials hope the 4-star hotel will lure business travelers and others to the once-rundown area that is now being redeveloped into a destination.

In a neighborhood once plagued by empty storefronts and rundown 99 cent stores, the development is considered a major coup in its bid to rebrand itself as a thriving community of shops, restaurants and hotels.

Business leaders expect it to have a domino effect of spurring new development in the area. It’s a sign that Jamaica, once a middle-class community filled with department stores, is on its way back.

City tourism officials believe the new hotel will be a hit with budget-conscious travelers looking for an easy airport commute.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Plans to Build Three Apartment Towers atop East River Plaza Mall

Harlem’s popular East River Plaza mall could be getting some very tall neighbors. Forest City Ratner and the Blumenfeld Development Group are planning to construct three huge residential buildings atop the East Harlem shopping center located at 520 East 117th Street. The towers would rise 48, 42 and 36 stories with up to 1,100 apartments on the roof of the existing mall. The three building addition would add about 1.1 million square feet to the complex. The developers plan to set aside 25% of the units for affordable housing.

East River Plaza currently houses stores such as Target, Burlington Coat Factory, Old Navy and Costco, but residential development has always been contemplated. The five-story, 500,000 square foot complex, which opened in 2009 was designed and built to support potential residential buildings.

"The infrastructure is there, the property has water views, is next to the FDR Drive and would be an iconic property," said David Blumenfeld, a principal of Blumenfeld Development Group, which owns the mall at 116th Street and the FDR Drive along with Forest City Ratner Companies, one of the city's largest developers.

The underlying zoning of the property is already designated for residential use and would only require a modification of the special permit used to build the retail center.

The project, designed by architect Enrique Norten of TEN Arquitectos, includes “La Plaza,” which will turn a cobblestone cul-de-sac at E. 118th Street into a community square with cultural and retail space.

The plaza will include public art displays and will also be the main entrance for residents.

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“Affordability will definitely be a part of any residential project at East River Plaza,” said Blumenfeld, adding that the company was looking to do a higher rate of affordable housing than the standard 80 percent market rate and 20 percent affordable split.

The developers have promised about 25% of the units — or 275 — will be set aside for residents who earn 30%-60% of the area median income, which is $18,000 a year for an individual or $52,000 for a family of four.

“We are dedicated to creating a thriving, mixed-income community,” said Melissa Burch, executive vice president of residential and commercial development at Forest City Ratner.

But some in the community aren’t buying it.

“Those buildings are going to shut out all the daylight in the neighborhood,” said a member of the NERVE community housing group. “It’s going to be like a shadow curtain.”

Elsewhere, East Harlem is booming with new, tall residential towers.

Continuum Company is planning two 32-story residential towers at Park Avenue and 125th Street. The $415 million, 600,000-square-foot development will have 650 units.

There's only one way to expand on the island of Manhattan and that's up. When complete, the 48-story tower will top-out at 575 feet, making it the tallest building in the neighborhood— even taller than 1800 Park Avenue.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has said his administration is willing to let developers build higher in exchange for increased affordable units. The mayor has set a goal of building and preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next decade.

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Friday, March 6, 2015

Massive Hallets Point Project Ready for Construction

The massive $1.5-billion Hallets Point mega-project on the Astoria waterfront is ready to begin construction, now that the Durst Organization has acquired the final piece of the real estate puzzle. The developer paid $15 million for the land at 1-02 26th Avenue, and will go forward with the 2.5 million-square-foot residential and retail development. The project will bring more than 2,400 residential units to the heavily industrial area. Another mega-development, called Astoria Cove, is planned for the opposite side of the Hallets Point peninsula. That project, spearheaded by the Alma Realty Corp, will add seven buildings and 1,723 new apartments at a cost of nearly $900 million.

What is Hallets Point? It’s a new development planned for the waterfront along the Queens waterfront called Hallets Point, a peninsula that juts out into the East River just south of Astoria Park.

The mixed-use towers would share the peninsula with Astoria Houses and bring along much-needed amenities like a grocery store, retail and plans for a school in the process, according to the developer and representatives from the community, who have long complained about a sense of isolation.

Here are some project details:

  •     The Durst Organization is the developer
  •     Costs are estimated at $1.5 billion
  •     The development will create jobs though construction and later, retail
  •     The mixed-use development is slated to have twelve buildings on ten acres
  •     Three of the buildings would be on existing NYCHA property (Astoria Houses)
  •     Seven of the buildings would be residential, containing 2404 apartments
  •     483 units would be affordable housing, geared toward seniors
  •     1,921 units would be market rate housing
  •     A few waterfront townhouses are also planned
  •     Heights of the buildings would range from 20 to 40 stories

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The project is situated on 26th Avenue between the waterfront and as far east as 9th Street, and the Astoria Houses development is on the project’s south side.

Other elements of the development include construction of a K-8 public school on the Astoria Houses campus; retail, including a supermarket, drug store and restaurants; and a landscaped public esplanade along the East River. Underground parking is also planned for the development.

City and federal officials are looking for funding from Washington to expand the East River Ferry, pushing a plan that would bring the waterway service to Astoria’s developing Hallets Point peninsula and several other city neighborhoods.

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The project’s architect, Jay Valgora, who also designed the nearby 1,723-unit Astoria Cove development, is working on seven different projects that will help transform the city’s 528 miles of waterfront over the next 30 years.

City lawmakers have already given their approval for both projects.

Construction is expected to break ground later this year, and both projects should be fully completed by 2022.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Developer Breaks Ground on Huge Domino Sugar Project

Just a year after it looked as if the massive redevelopment project on the Williamsburg waterfront may never happen, Two Trees Management has broken ground for the first of five giant towers planned for the site. Construction of the zinc and copper-clad building - with hole in the middle like a giant doughnut - will begin rising at 329 Kent Avenue, a vacant lot bordered by Kent and Wythe avenues and South 3rd and 4th streets. The building at Site E, which will have 500 rental units, including 105 affordable units, is expected to be completed by spring 2017, at an estimated cost of more than $200 million.
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Now that demolition has been completed at the 11 acre Domino Sugar Refinery site, Two Trees Management has begun construction on its first new building at the 2.95 million-square-foot waterfront complex — a 16-story apartment house with approximately 105 units earmarked for low-income New Yorkers.

The building at Site E, between South 3rd and 4th Streets, will be the only tower not located on the waterfront. 
The developer has also announced plans for a 30-story building at 262 Kent Avenue, which will be a mixed-use tower rising 320 feet and holding 281,869 square feet, split equally between commercial and residential space.

The building will host about 142,000 square feet of office space on the second through 17th floors in the structure’s north wing -- the most office space within the new towers. 

The remainder of the space will be spread out among 93 residential units beginning on the fourth floor of the building’s south wing.  Rental apartments will be relatively large, averaging about 1,500 square feet. The tower will also house commercial and retail space on the ground level.

Office space is a key component of Jed Walentas’ vision for the mega-development. Earlier this year, he asked the city for a rezoning of the property, allowing for an additional 382,000 square feet.

The majority of the project’s office space will be housed in the renovated refinery building. Two other buildings planned for the site, while larger, will be more residential-oriented.

The project’s southernmost building will be constructed on Site D, located at 320 Kent Avenue. That tower will climb 36 stories and house 470,106 square feet of space, more than 90% of which will be residential apartments. The building will have 41,801 square feet of commercial space.

The bulky 35-story building at 2 Grand Street will contain approximately 785,888 square feet, housing 658 residential units (half of which will be reserved for below-market rentals),  with a public school below.
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Plans for the tower which will rise on Site B, located between the factory and 262 Kent Avenue, are expected to be announced later this year.

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Monday, March 2, 2015

$1B Proposal to Refurbish and Build Hotel at Industry City

Industry City, the 16-building manufacturing complex on the Sunset Park waterfront, is about to get a major facelift. Jamestown Properties, developer of the bustling Chelsea Market, has plans to spend up to $1 billion for improvements to the 6-million square foot property. Jamestown, along with partners Belvedere Capital and Gordon & Co., plan to build a hotel within Industry City, which they hope will attract even more businesses to lease office space there. The trio estimates the project will create some 20,000 jobs in the largely industrial area.

Jamestown Properties, Belvedere Capital and Gordon & Co., the partnership that purchased a 60 percent stake in the 32-acre facility in 2013, has raised $1 billion to refurbish the sprawling Sunset Park facility.

The trio of partners behind Manhattan's popular Chelsea Market plan to apply its successful blueprint to the long-derelict waterfront complex, and build a hotel.

The redevelopment is expected to create nearly 20,000 jobs in the area.

 “A hotel could benefit the area as it becomes a more active and populated office and manufacturing neighborhood,” said Carlo Scissura, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

 Because of zoning regulations in the manufacturing district, the partnership has formally requested permission from the city for a variance.

The partnership has asked the city to address infrastructure upgrades needed in the surrounding area, including the Gowanus Expressway, which runs parallel to Industry City, as a condition for making the $1 billion investment.

“We all want something to happen with the Gowanus Expressway,” said Scissura. 

In particular, they hope the Gowanus Expressway and Third Avenue can be "brighter and safer and more bike-friendly."

Since 2013, Industry City has attracted new tenants from Rooftop Films to bakeries to 3-D printing house MakerBot.

Last year, the Brooklyn Nets signed on to open a 70,000-square-foot training facility at the complex.

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