Thursday, May 28, 2015

City Council Approves 1,514 ft Tall Grand Central Tower

The New York City Council unanimously approved zoning changes that will allow construction of the 65-story One Vanderbilt tower to rise alongside historic Grand Central Terminal at 41 East 42nd Street. The city’s largest office landlord will invest $220 million in critical improvements to the transit hub, allowing more trains to run on the clogged subway lines. The City Planning Commission unanimously approved SL Green's plans for the 65-story One Vanderbilt in April. The 1.6-million-square-foot tower, which will be more than 450 feet taller than the nearby Chrysler Building, will occupy the entire block bound by 42nd and 43rd Streets between Vanderbilt and Madison Avenues, and would be the corporate home for TD Bank. 

The new changes to the zoning law regulate density and square footage on new construction projects, with no restrictions on building height.

One Vanderbilt will be the first tower to rise as part of the Vanderbilt Avenue corridor re-zoning.

When completed in 2020, the skyscraper's roof will reach 1,414 feet -- with its spire extending to 1,514 feet -- making it the city's third-tallest building, after One World Trade Center and the soon to be built Nordstrom Tower.

The project would transform the block between East 42nd and 43rd streets into a pedestrian plaza and create an underground connection between the new skyscraper and Grand Central.

The plan includes a public waiting room in the lobby of the tower for commuters, which would serve as a street level extension of the terminal, with its own train board.

The tower is part of a plan by Mayor Bill de Blasio to allow for new, taller office towers in one of New York’s premier office districts, while addressing the need for better transportation around Grand Central.

“We are going to keep New York City competitive, and do it through strategic investments and ground-up planning,” Mr. de Blasio said.

“These are the kind of policies that won’t just pay off today, but will lay the groundwork to keep districts like East Midtown thriving and attracting new business for decades to come.”

The initiative is designed to ensure that property owners provide for much-needed improvements at Grand Central Terminal to relieve subway station bottlenecks and create new public open space sought by local stakeholders.

SL Green will spend $220 million on transit infrastructure, which would help alleviate congestion in an area mainly served by the overburdened 4/5/6 lines, which carry more people per day than the entire transit systems of Chicago or Washington, D.C.

Former mayor Michael Bloomberg originally proposed a rezoning plan for a 73-block area surrounding Grand Central. During his election campaign, Mr. de Blasio promised to have his own plan and address community concerns.

As part of the first stage, the City Council approved zoning changes for what is called the Vanderbilt corridor, from 42nd to 47th Streets along Vanderbilt Avenue.

Developers would be allowed to build taller and larger buildings than currently permitted in exchange for substantive transportation improvements.

SL Green, the city’s largest commercial landlord, dusted off its plan to build a 65-story tower on the 42nd Street block it owns, which had been a part of the Bloomberg proposal.

Developers could buy air rights from two landmark properties, Grand Central Terminal and the former Bowery Savings Bank building at 110 East 42nd Street.
In exchange for its package of transit improvements, the city is granting SL Green 535,644 square feet of extra development rights. The company also intends to transfer the air rights above the Bowery Savings Bank building, which it owns, to construction of One Vanderbilt.

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

825-Foot Residential Tower Planned Near Madison Square Park

A developer plans to build a 53-story residential building with 188 units at 15 East 30th Street in Midtown. The 370,000-square-foot structure will rise on a T-shaped plot with entrances located on both East 30th and East 31st streets. The huge new tower will also include 4,100 square feet of ground floor retail space.
Developer J.D. Carlisle has filed plans with the city to build a 53-story, 825-foot-tall residential building just north of Madison Square Park at 30th Street between Madison and Fifth avenues.

The existing five-story buildings on the site will be razed to make way for the new tower.

The new structure, designed by Handel Architects, would soar past the 620-foot tall One Madison and the soon-to-be-constructed 777-foot tower planned for 45 East 22nd Street, making it the tallest building between Chambers Street and the Empire State Building.

The tower, designed by Handel Architects, will have 188 apartments over 370,000 total square feet.

While the developer has not indicated whether the building will hold condominiums or rentals, the 14-foot ceilings point towards luxury units. Apartments in the tower are expected to average around 1,650 square feet.

The neighborhood, around Madison Square Park, has several other new residential and hotel developments in the works as well.

Developer Yitzchak Tessler is building a condo building on Madison Avenue and 33rd Street that is expected to rise at least 40 stories and have 70 units, including six penthouses.

And on Broadway between 29th and 30th streets, a 489-room Virgin Hotel is set to rise. Richard Branson's renderings show a 40-story building with retail at street level.

Another J.D. Carlisle tower under construction recently topped out just two blocks north along Madison Avenue, between 32nd and 33rd streets.

The 42-story building at 160 Madison Avenue is on track for completion in 2015.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Proposal for $430M Soccer Stadium at Columbia University

New York City F. C., a professional soccer club jointly owned by the New York Yankees and royalty from the United Arab Emirates, is considering a move to Columbia University’s Baker Athletics Complex, at the northern tip of Manhattan. The proposal is to build a new, $430 million stadium at the 23-acre Columbia complex that could be used by the soccer club and school’s football team. Over the past four years, the $100 million team has looked into two dozen locations: from a pier on the Hudson River to a public park in Queens to a factory site in the South Bronx in its search for a permanent home.

New York City F. C. is playing its inaugural season at Yankee Stadium — an imperfect solution that will continue until a new stadium is built.

While no commitments have yet been made for the team’s move to the already sports crowded complex, club executives have said that if both sides could come to terms, it would be the best solution.

While Major League Soccer has had a club in the New York area since 1996, the league had long wanted to establish a franchise in New York City itself, a potentially lucrative market ripe for a team of its own, executives say.

In 2011, the league considered building a 25,000-seat stadium on a 14.5-acre pier at the west end of Houston Street in Manhattan.

Officials said they would rebuild the dilapidated pier and allow youth soccer teams to use the facilities. But the project, which sits in Hudson River Park, ran into local opposition.

Two years later, officials were in discussions with Mayor Bloomberg about building a soccer stadium on 10 acres in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, where a professional tennis complex and a baseball stadium already occupied land.

Promises to spend $90 million to replace and upgrade youth soccer fields at Flushing Meadows did little to quell opposition there. That project was also hampered by the owners of the Mets, who demanded a prohibitively high rent for use of parking lots at CitiField.

Team officials then considered building a stadium at Aqueduct racetrack in Queens, but failed to garner enough political support to further that proposal.

So the soccer league and the club were off to the Bronx, just south of Yankee Stadium. They obtained an option to buy a factory, where they planned to build a stadium. The factory, in turn, would be moved to a new building.

But the option expired before the team could craft a deal with Mayor Bill de Blasio, Mr. Bloomberg’s successor. The latest spot is right back where the club started in 2011: Manhattan.

Sheik Mansour, a member of the royal family of Abu Dhabi – who already owns the Manchester City Football Club of England’s Premier League - is intent on establishing a global soccer brand.

At first sight, the 23-acre Columbia University complex might not look like a suitable candidate.

The site’s sloping land, overlooking Spuyten Duyvil Creek, is already crammed with facilities for football, soccer, softball, field hockey and lacrosse. There are also a gymnasium, a tennis center, a boating center and athletic offices.

The plan, according to an executive briefed by the soccer club, would be to demolish the 17,000-seat Robert K. Kraft Field at Lawrence A. Wien Stadium and replace it with a 25,000-seat stadium that could be used by New York City F.C. and Columbia’s Lions. The new stadium could cost $400 million.

The franchise would also spend as much as $30 million to rehabilitate the surrounding fields for Columbia.

Although the complex sits in the quiet Inwood neighborhood, there are subway stops for the A line and the No. 1 train within a 10-minute walk. The Marble Hill Metro-North Railroad station is also 10 minutes away. Parking, however, could be tight.

The sharing arrangement with a college would not be unusual in M.L.S. The Houston Dynamo share their stadium with Texas Southern University’s football team, and the Portland Timbers do the same with Portland State. The San Jose Earthquakes played at Santa Clara University’s Buck Shaw Stadium from 2008 to 2014 before moving into their own soccer-specific stadium in San Jose this year.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

World's Skinniest Skyscraper to Rise on West 57th

The New York City skyline is the most famous in the world, and if you look closely, there’s a new shape that’s starting to stand out. That shape? Slender. JDS Development has a project that takes that idea to a new level.  A 60-foot wide lot at 111 West 57th Street will soon be the home of the skinniest skyscraper in the world.  In addition, the building will soar to an incredible height: 1428 feet – 31 feet taller than the rooftop of 432 Park Avenue. Steinway Tower will have 3 high-speed elevators, and each floor will be its own ultra-luxury 5,000 square foot apartment. It will be the city’s tallest building ever built without union labor.

“Land is very scarce, especially in the most desirable parts in the city. That’s why you seeing this trend of taller buildings being built on smaller parcels of land,” says developer Michael Stern.

His firm, JDS Development Group, has a project that takes the idea of slender to a new level. It will even top the High Cliff in Hong Kong, currently the most slender skyscraper in the world.

When completed, the projected $1 billion tower at 111 West 57th Street will rank as the skinniest skyscraper in the world.

The property would also rank, by a large margin, as the tallest and most complex structure ever built in the city without union labor. In the process, it could throw open the door for nonunion construction firms, which typically undercut their rivals' costs by as much as 20%, to compete for the most-sophisticated jobs.

Of the seven super tall towers going up in the city, 111 West 57th is the only one to use non-union labor, and union leaders are not pleased.

In a stunning demonstration of just how far nonunion firms have come, last year one of the penthouses in the Walker Tower, another JDS Development project, sold for nearly $51 million. The price set a record for the area, and in doing so proved that nonunion workers can deliver apartments with a fit and finish capable of meeting the expectations of even the wealthiest and most discerning condo buyers from around the world.

The building will sit on a lot just 60 feet wide, and will be taller than its recently completed neighboring, One57, and even slimmer than nearby 432 Park Avenue.

At 1,428 feet, 111 West 57th Street will briefly hold the title of  Tallest Residential Building in the Western Hemisphere, trumping 432 Park by a mere 31 feet.

But come 2018, that title will pass to Nordstrom Tower, one block over at 225 West 57th Street, which is slated to rise 1,479 feet. A soaring spire will bring that building's overall height to 1,775 feet — just a foot shy of One World Trade Center.

The model-thin skyscraper will incorporate the historical base of the old Steinway Hall, with construction of 111 West 57th Street expected to begin in mid-2015. The building will offer a total of 55 units, spread between 80 floors.

Steinway Tower will become the most slender building in the world because of its very narrow floor plate. It will be entirely unprecedented in its dimensions which are 58 feet wide, while rising around 1,428 feet tall. That will give the building a slenderness ratio of about 1:25 when it is completed in 2017, while the ratio for most buildings is well under 1 to 20.

These new, slender skyscrapers are cropping up thanks to advances in building science coupled with eye-popping real estate prices. “The price that people are willing to pay for the unobstructed Central Park view is really the only reason these buildings can be economically feasible.”

Construction began in February 2014, and so far, not a lot of progress has been made. 111 West 57th Street has all the approvals necessary to begin construction, and has secured a $500 million construction loan.

The skyscraper will become the latest in a family of super-tall buildings in the area— One57, 432 Park Avenue, 53 West 53rd Street, among others.

The Details

The bottom six floors of the 80-story building will be retail, while the remainder of the tower will house a total of  55 full-floor and multi-floor apartments with 15-foot ceilings and unobstructed views of Central Park across to Long Island City, and out to Long Island. The penthouse will sit over fourteen hundred feet in the air.

And the views from this extraordinary perch in the sky? They’re likely amongst the best in Manhattan. “There’s just going to be nothing like it across the entire city,” says Stern.

“You really get this floor-through experience that you’re floating in the city. It’s going to be truly spectacular.”

But building such a slender apartment tower is not always so easy.

Engineers on the project have to deal with a variety of issues ranging from dampening the impact of wind on such a slender structure, to making it feel not so slender. A huge steel weight will be suspended within the top of the building to stop it from swaying in the wind.

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Port Authority to Select Winner for $2.5B LaGuardia Project

The Port Authority is expected to select a project team of architects and contractors to design, build, finance, and operate the 1.3 million-square-foot Central Terminal Building at LaGuardia Airport at the end of this month. The $3.9 billion LaGuardia Airport redevelopment project will include a new $2.5 billion Central Terminal and $1.2 billion for infrastructure, airport roadways and space for a future direct subway line. While a start date has not yet been set, the project is scheduled for partial completion in 2017 and full completion by 2021, and is expected to create around 1,500 jobs.

Click to enlarge
The new Central Terminal Building will accommodate larger aircraft to meet the demand of additional passengers, whose numbers are estimated to increase over the next two decades, according to the Port Authority, which operates the airport.

The winner of the bid will replace the current antiquated facility at LaGuardia Airport—recently compared by Vice President Joe Biden to that of a third world country—with a state-of-the-art successor.

The new terminal will also be larger, 1.3 million square feet, more than a third bigger than the present building. In addition it will likely feature more amenities and revenue-generating operations such as retail space and food concessions.

In 2012, LaGuardia handled 25.7 million passengers. Port Authority officials forecast that 34 million travelers will use the airport by 2030. More than half of those passengers are expected to use the new Central Terminal Building, the Port Authority said.

The project is expected to generate $112 million in wages, the Port Authority said. The federal government will reimburse 95 percent of the project's expenditures.

The project will be done in phases, the first of which began last year when the Port Authority began building a new $82.9 million parking garage that will rise on the east side of the terminal next to the Delta Air Lines terminal.

That 1,100-car garage, and another that is slated to be built on the west side of the terminal, will allow the airport's main garage to be demolished to make way for the new terminal building, which will rise on that site.

In all, the Port Authority has pledged to make $1.2 billion in upgrades to the airport that will lay the infrastructure for the new terminal building.

The amount of traffic that passes through the terminal has vastly exceeded its 8 million passengers a year it was designed to handle. In 2012, that figure swelled to 25.7 million travelers and by 2030, the Port Authority projects at least 34 million will pass through the terminal each year.

The new terminal will be 1.3 million square feet and boast 35 gates. The current terminal also has 35 gates but at 835,000 square feet, it is nearly 40% smaller than its planned successor.

The new building would mark a vast improvement on the existing facilities, which opened in 1964 and are universally considered to be antiquated with undersized security and baggage processing areas, as well as undersized food concession and retail areas, that in most airports are both big amenities and revenue generators.

Other work being completed includes upgrades to Terminals C and D for Delta Air Lines, the airport's largest carrier. Delta recently opened a new 630-foot-long pedestrian bridge and installed a moving walkway.

The bridge connects the two terminals so passengers do not have to go through security twice. Both terminals will have full service restaurants, bars and cafes -- a total of 29.

Also 2,000 iPads are being installed in both terminal waiting areas, allowing passengers to order meals that are delivered to them.

The Port Authority has shortlisted two teams of architects and contractors to design, build, finance, and operate the 1.3 million-square-foot Central Terminal Building.

The project also includes replacing frontage roads and a central heating and refrigeration plant, as well as operating and maintaining the existing Central Terminal during the construction period and the new building for a specified term.

Click to enlarge
The winning bidder will pay for the building, but pocket a cut of the revenue from airline leases and rents from stores and restaurants. The building has a projected price tag of $2.5 billion and is expected to be completed by 2021.
The two finalists competing to win the $3.9 billion job to renovate the terminal, agreed to extend their bids, - which was supposed to conclude in April - to the end of this month, giving the Port Authority time to reconcile the design competition's recommendations and the existing plans to redevelop the facility.

The remaining finalists include the following architecture and construction firms:

  • LaGuardia Gateway Partners, which includes Skanska USA Building, Skanska USA Civil, Meridiam Infrastructure, Tishman Construction, Parsons Brinckerhoff and Vantage Airport Group;
  • LGA Central Terminal Consortium, a joint venture of AĆ©roports de Paris, TAV Construction, Tutor Perini, Suffolk Construction, STV, Arup and Kohn Pedersen Fox. 

The project includes demolishing the existing terminal and its four concourses, garage, Hangar 1, and frontage roads; building temporary facilities; and designing and building the Central Terminal Building. It also includes constructing a central heating and refrigeration plant, utilities for the new building, hydrant fueling within the project site limits; as well as operating, maintaining and managing the existing terminal and temporary facilities during construction.

The winning bidder will pay for the building, but pocket a cut of the revenue from airline leases and rents from stores and restaurants.

The Port Authority is expected to select the winning project team at the end of this month.

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Gigantic $550M West Side Project About to Begin Construction

TF Cornerstone has landed a $384 million construction loan for its massive 1.2 million-square-foot development at 606 West 57th Street in Hell's Kitchen. The  $550-million rental building will contain 1,028 rental units, with 206 of those set aside for residents earning 60 percent of the area’s median income. The property will also house 38,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, parking for 400 vehicles, and a public pre-kindergarten school.

Standing just 42-stories, height is not the focus here... the structure is about sheer density.

606 West 57th Street will be composed of two 28-story structures with a 14-story cube cantilevered on top; it seems that even when overhangs aren’t necessary, they are becoming a common feature to new construction these days.

The stacking of multiple boxes will help to create a building that isn’t completely overbearing, allowing light and air through the structure itself.

The committee vote came after reaching a deal with the developer that adds an additional 10,000 square feet of “affordable housing” that would be affordable only to the top end of middle-income families, earning roughly $150,000 a year.

Those 15 new units would bring the total amount of affordable housing to 206 units.

The council members were focused on the neighborhood surrounding the West 57th Street development, where they feel there is a need for moderate-income housing that could go to people who presently live in the community.

Extell Development’s massive Riverside Center South on the Hudson River, between West 59th and 72nd streets, already includes hundreds of such, so-called, "affordable" units.

The developer agreed to a smaller garage with fewer parking spaces, to build a public pre-Kindergarten school, and to employ only union builders and staff the complex with 32BJ employees. The project will include 38,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and underground parking for up to 400 cars.

The site is currently occupied by several low-slung buildings, and plans are moving forward for demolition.

TF Cornerstone anticipates construction will begin later this spring and will take two years to complete.

Across the street, another transformative residential project – The Pyramid – is moving forward. Most of the attention 57th Street receives is focused between Broadway and Park Avenue, but the street’s largest developments are, in fact, on the Hudson River.

Demolition on an existing garage structure and shuttered car dealership is still underway. TF Cornerstone will begin construction this spring and expects the rental building to be completed in the spring of 2017.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

You May Be In Violation of the Code Without Even Knowing It

Effective October 1, 2014, section 3303.16 of the NYC Building Code has been revised to require non-combustible shanty construction whenever a contractor’s shanty/office is within 30 feet of another shanty/office or within 30 feet of new construction or existing buildings.

The NYC Department of Buildings is trying to move the industry toward non-combustible construction in the majority of installations. New York City Shanty is the only compliant company.
Click above for more information

Monday, May 4, 2015

Trinity Church to Build 44-Story Tower in the Financial District

Trinity Church has decided to knock down its 90-year old administrative office building at 68-74 Trinity Place to make way for a new 350,000-square-foot, 44-story mixed-use tower to be designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects. The new building will soar more than 450 feet and include a seven-story base dedicated to church activities and offices, topped by a 37-story condominium tower that will pay for the project and help keep the church coffers full.

Nestled amid the towers of the world’s biggest banks and finance companies, Trinity Wall Street, a relatively diminutive neo-Gothic structure built in 1846, might seem quaint.

But with assets estimated at more than $4 billion -- thanks to a colonial land grant of some 215 acres of downtown property by Britain's Queen Anne dating back to 1705 --Trinity Church is right at home with its wealthy neighbors.

Though its bank account would be the envy of most congregations, it is generating internal strife since the church must now decide how to best deal with its considerable real estate holdings.

The source of tension is the building code of its 90-year-old administrative office at 68-74 Trinity Place. Faced with a $33 million price tag for building-related work aimed at meeting 2018 code compliance, the church has decided to raze the existing structure and build a new, fully-compliant one for an estimated $250 million.

The church board voted on Wednesday to move forward with the project instead of embarking on a renovation of the two buildings that currently sit on the site.

The new structure will include a seven-story base dedicated to mission activities and related offices, topped by a 37-story residential tower, said a church spokesman, noting that "it will provide a source of revenue for the expansion of the church’s core ministry activities, which include philanthropic grant-making and homeless outreach."

The entrance to the residential tower will be on Greenwich Street, while the entrance to the church space will be on Trinity Place, with access via an existing pedestrian bridge across Trinity Place.

It will house a parish hall, facilities and offices for Trinity’s expanding ministry, the Sunday school and rooms for community organizations.

Pelli Clarke Pelli beat out a competing bid from Cook/Fox to design the building.

The next step in the process is the selection of a development partner said Trinity Real Estate President Jason Pizer, who anticipates a demolition of the existing buildings later in 2015, and completion by 2018.

In addition to its project in the Financial District, Trinity Real Estate is also looking into developing up to four luxury towers near the entrance to the Holland Tunnel.

The church was a major player in the 2013 rezoning of Hudson Square that will allow the institution to convert some of its 5.5 million-square-feet of office space in the neighborhood to residential use.

The church is presently seeking a partner to construct a 430-foot-tall, 300,000-square-foot residential building in Hudson Square, on a plot framed by Sixth Avenue and Canal, Grand and Varick streets.

The new tower will have a 444-seat public school at its base.

Trinity also has plans to develop 4 Hudson Square, a 1 million-square-foot development site between Hudson, Varick, Spring and Vandam streets where they plan to build one residential and one office tower.

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Plans for Another 1,000-ft Apartment Tower near Hudson Yards

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 1,100-foot tall project will be comprised of a single 100-story luxury high-rise atop a five story retail and parking base, directly across the street from his twin Silver Towers, which each rise to 60 stories.

The new tower will have at least 900 residential units with 300,000 square feet of retail below. In addition, the tower will contain 175 units of corporate housing.

The building will take up the whole block between 40th and 41st streets, and between 11th Avenue and an on-ramp to the Lincoln Tunnel.

The entire project is expected to be completed by 2020.

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 completed the 72-story 4 World Trade Center, and the retail base of 3 World Trade Center as well as recently opened 2 World Trade Center.

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

Last year, Brookfield Properties 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 largest residential tower under construction in Manhattan recently topped out at 605 West 42nd Street. The 60-story tower, formerly known as Atelier II, will house 1,174 apartments.
Extell Development's 52-story rental tower at 551 Tenth Avenue is quickly rising just a block away.

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

Larry Silverstein bought the former Mercedes-Benz dealership on the Far West Side for more than $100 million.

The site was formerly a 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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