Thursday, January 28, 2016

70-Story Condo Tower Planned Near World Trade Center

Developer Soho Properties is preparing to build a 667-foot condominium tower at lower Manhattan's 45 Park Place. The 70-story glass skyscraper, anticipated to break ground before the end of the year, will include at least 15 full-floor super-luxury units of 3,700 square feet, with private elevators and average prices higher than $3,000 a square foot. The tower is scheduled for completion in 2017.
It's been four years since Manhattan developer Sharif El-Gamal shelved plans to build a 15-story Islamic cultural center —two blocks north of where the former World Trade Center towers stood—that drew international debate.

Protesters called it the "Ground Zero mosque" and said its placement near the site of the deadliest terrorist attacks in U.S. history would be an insult to those who were killed there.

The developer is now looking to attract a different kind of attention for his current project on the site.

The ultra-luxury focus of the building highlights the newfound allure of lower Manhattan as an upscale destination, yet it comes amid growing concern about an oversupply of apartments for multimillionaire buyers.

The planned 70-story skyscraper, with varying tiers of balconies slightly offset from its core, was designed by Michel Abboud, founder of New York architectural firm SOMA. Ismael Leyva Architects is translating the exterior design concepts into floor layouts and detailed construction plans.

Unobstructed views to the north begin at close to 300 feet, above which all the apartments will be full-floor units with private elevators. Those residences will have 12-foot floor-to-ceiling windows, offering panoramic views of Midtown, the Hudson River, and the Statue of Liberty. Two duplex penthouses will sit on the uppermost floors of the skyscraper.

Luxury amenities aim to evoke a five-star hotel, with a 50-foot Olympic-size swimming pool in the basement, concierge service, and a high- ceilinged private lounge. Adjacent to the tower, Soho Properties will build a public plaza connected to a three-story Islamic museum and prayer space to be designed by architect Jean Nouvel.

"The tower is going to be a market-maker," Mr. El-Gamal told us. "We're planning a building that's really going to share in a unique moment."

Mr. El-Gamal is now seeking to take advantage of Manhattan's luxury-condo boom and a downtown renaissance that has sent home prices up 28 percent since 2012.

The median price of apartments that sold in the area south of Chambers Street this year was $1.15 million, a 6.4 percent increase from all of 2014. In 2012, the lower Manhattan median was $895,530. The area has gained 3,000 residents since that year.

It’s been a long road toward building the tower, which is scheduled for completion in 2017. Soho Properties bought the lot in 2009 for $4.85 million. The project has $33 million in preconstruction financing from Madison Realty Capital, and construction loans will be in place shortly.

About 5,500 units are being planned or are under construction in the area south of Chambers Street, according to the Downtown Alliance.

Elsewhere in Manhattan, developers are shifting toward less-pricey condos because the surge in new units has been priced at levels that only the ultra-wealthy can afford.

Mr. El-Gamal sees a rosier picture of a neighborhood in which a penthouse in the Woolworth tower is listed for $110 million, luxury retailers are opening stores, and such media and technology companies as Conde Nast and Time are relocating.

45 Park Place will still have a lower price per square foot, on average, than the towers being constructed on midtown's 57th Street, a corridor that's been dubbed Billionaire's Row.

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Monadnock to Develop Flushing Affordable Housing, Retail Project

The city’s department of Housing Preservation and Development has selected a development team for a 208-unit affordable housing and retail project on a Flushing municipal lot at 133-45 41st Avenue, near Main Street. The project, called One Flushing, will be constructed by a team comprised of Brooklyn-based Monadnock Development, nonprofit Asian Americans for Equality and HANAC Inc., which was selected following a request for proposals process.

The development, which will be built according to the design principles of feng shui, is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initiative to create and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing in 10 years.

The development is part of an effort to build housing on vacant or underutilized property, and this particular plot was sold to the developers at an undisclosed price that was well below market value.

The Bernheimer Architecture-designed building will have large windows that are reinforced to reduce noise from the LIRR station behind the property.

The complex will have eco-friendly features such as solar panels on the roof. Amenities will include a gym, community room, laundry rooms, a 15,000-square-foot second-floor terrace and a green roof.

The complex, which will include 208 units including 60 for seniors and 147 for families with varying income levels, will be built according to the design principles of feng shui.

Feng Shui (or Wind and Water) is the Chinese practice of arranging your environment so that energy or “chi” flows gently and smoothly through your home or business environment. In this way your space just feels good–and supports what you want out of life-whether it’s a better career, new romance, improved health, or more income.

The apartments will be available to individuals earning between $24,200 to $72,600 annually and $34,520 to $103,560 annually for a family of four. Housing in the building will be divided between 60 apartments reserved for senior citizens and 147 for low and moderate-income households. There is also one unit for a superintendent.

The current parking lot on the site has 156 parking spaces on 43,200 square feet. When complete, the project will have more than the current amount of parking spots, according to HPD.

“The One Flushing development plan is an example of a dynamic proposal that encompasses affordable housing, supportive senior housing, and services for the community as a whole,” HPD Commissioner Vicki Been said.

“I look forward to seeing this development take shape and will be thrilled to welcome future residents to their new homes.”

Under the deal, the city sold the land to the developers at a price that is well below market value, making the affordable-housing project financially feasible.

The city has also been looking to rezone part of the neighborhood to the north of the project site. In November, the administration announced it would study an industrial section of Flushing that sits along a polluted creek to encourage more development there and require the construction of affordable housing.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

New 47-Story Luxury Tower Slated for 126 Madison Avenue

Asian investors are going condo for Manhattan. Chinese conglomerate Fosun Group has partnered with JD Carlisle to co-develop a 47-story, 180-unit luxury condominium building at 126 Madison Avenue, in Midtown South, as it ramps up its overseas expansion. The 800-foot tall residential tower, currently in the pre-construction stage, will attract local and international buyers. Completion is expected by 2018.

126 Madison Avenue

The Shanghai-based real estate development and investment firm will own an 80% stake in the 800-foot condo tower that will rise near the Empire State Building. The tower is Fosun’s first ground-up development project in the U.S, and is a milestone in the company’s global investment initiative.

Handel Architects is designing the 350,000 square-foot residential tower, with Gachot Studios in charge of interior designs.

Amenities at 126 Madison will include a 75-foot swimming indoor pool, spa services, a fitness center as well as entertainment spaces.

The building will also boast 360-degree views, and its design offers corner living rooms in every unit.

The partnership owns multiple low-rise structures at 126 and 128 Madison Avenue, and 15 East 30th Street, which are slated to begin demolition at the end of September.

The bulk of the tower will sit just west of Madison between 30th and 31st streets, but there will be a small footprint on Madison Avenue, so that the address can be used.

JD Carlisle assembled the development sites between 30th and 31st streets in March for $102 million.

The firm is also building a new residential tower at nearby 160 Madison Avenue.

“Fosun is confident that this property will be viewed internationally as another iconic New York City tower,” said Alex Gong, executive president of Fosun Property, adding that Fosun is also open to partnering with other developers in the city.

"We have the ability to source building materials from China and also bring Chinese buyers to a development like this."

In 2013, Fosun Group bought One Chase Manhattan Plaza in downtown Manhattan for $725 million from J.P. Morgan Chase, and renamed the 60-story tower 28 Liberty. Earlier this year, Fosun signed on its first major tenant to the 60-story tower--Ironshore, a U.S. insurer in which it owns a 20% stake.

118 East 59th Street

Another Asian developer, Euro Properties, paid $49M for a building site on East 59th Street, between Park and Lexington Avenues, where it recently broke ground on a $210M tower luxury tower.

The Hong Kong-based investment firm is building a 38-story tower at 118 East 59th Street, with 29 full-floor residences starting on the eighth floor, topped off with a $30 million penthouse. The penthouse measures 4,869 square feet and has three bedrooms.

One-bedroom condos in the building will start at $2.9 million and two-bedrooms at $3.7 million. Two duplex condos, measuring 2,989 square feet, are asking $15.5 million and $16.5 million. Storage units in the building will go for $45,000.

The company razed the existing four- and six-story buildings on the site last year and is now constructing a new 76,586 square foot structure. 70,260 square feet would be residential space and 6,326 square feet would be commercial space.

SCDA Architects designed the new tower at 118 East 59th Street, not far from the high-end towers rising along Billionaire’s Row.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Arab Nation to Construct 27-story Mixed-Use Tower near UN

An oil-rich Middle Eastern nation has plans to build a huge 27-story mixed-use tower, just a few blocks from the United Nations. The United Arab Emirates will soon commence construction of a new consulate building at 315 East 46th Street, between First and Second avenues in Midtown. The 392 foot structure, designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill, will be chock-full of space for official embassy use.

The new 165,000-square-foot building will have a lobby and an auditorium on its first two floors, a conference center on the third floor, and offices on floors four through 20.

Floors 21 through 24 will be devoted to nine luxury apartments for its ambassador and embassy officials. The top three floors of structure will hold the building's mechanical elements.

Building plans also call for a 75,170 square-foot “community facility.”

The property, located between First and Second avenues, is close to the United Nations and surrounded by consulates and permanent missions.

The United Arab Emirates bought the site for $44.7 million back in 2009 from a developer who went into foreclosure during the recession, while six-stories into building a 24-story glass tower.

Still, the property traded for $3.75 million more than what was paid for it just two years earlier.

The partially built six-story tower has since been razed, to make way for the new consulate.

Fisher Brothers, a developer based in Midtown, is the development and construction manager for the Middle Eastern government.

The project is the latest instance of New York developers working with with foreign governments on Manhattan projects.

Last year, the Republic of Senegal joined forces with a New York developer to build a 22-story mixed-use tower at nearby 227 East 44th Street.

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

$1.5 Billion Mega-Project Breaks Ground in Queens

The massive $1.5-billion Hallets Point mega-development on the Astoria waterfront is scheduled to break ground Thursday morning. The Durst Organization paid $15 million for the land at 1-02 26th Avenue for construction of 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 huge 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

click to enlarge
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.

click to enlarge
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 on both construction projects, which are expected be fully completed by 2022.

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Monday, January 11, 2016

NYU Langone to Build $204M Center at Former LICH Site

The 12-story-tall Long Island College Hospital building located at 339 Hicks Street in Brooklyn will soon be demolished to make way for an NYU Langone Ambulatory Care Clinic. The new $204 million facility will rise five floors and span 160,000 square feet at 70 Atlantic Avenue.

The new building will be a vast improvement for the neighborhood.

With large plazas around buildings, Long Island College Hospital was not aesthetically pleasing and out of character with the Cobble Hill area. The Perkins Eastman’s plan is to construct the new building to be flush with its neighbors.

A multi-colored glassy facade will yield to a bright lobby with large floor-to-ceiling windows, which will look appealing when viewed from Atlantic Avenue.

The new building will contain:
  • A new emergency department on the first floor, which will include two inpatient beds for those who need to stay the night, as well as 10 patient bays, two resuscitation room, two triage rooms, a decontamination room, and 12 other treatment spaces.
  • An outpatient surgery center on the third floor, with four operating rooms and two endoscopy rooms.
  • A cancer center on the fourth floor with space for 22 patients, plus a pharmacy, and a laboratory.
  • A diagnostic imaging center on the lower level of the new building.

One of the stipulations of the sale of LICH’s main campus was that the community would still get medical services in the area.

NYU Langone will house those services at the corner of Atlantic and Hicks streets at 70 Atlantic Avenue, formerly known as 339 Hicks Street.

NYU Langone says the overhaul is necessary because the current site is "less than an ideal space and will not be able to accommodate the projected visit volume or provide amenities that patients expect.

The current freestanding emergency department opened last October. It has since accommodated 4,400 visits, and will have a projected 10,600 in its first year of operation.

In January, Skanska USA was selected as the winner of a $120 million contract to build the ambulatory care facility. Construction is should be completed in late 2017, with the clinic expected to open in 2018.

Fortis Property Group bought Long Island College Hospital for $204 million, and the hospital closed its doors back in May of 2014.

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Another Mega-Project to Rise in Downtown Flushing

While the Willets Point Redevelopment project is nearing construction, progress is also imminent at another major development site across Flushing Creek, dubbed Two Fulton Square. Developer F&T Group, which constructed One Fulton Square, and is working on the huge Flushing Commons project, is preparing to construct Two Fulton Square on the site at of the old Flushing Mall at 133-15 39th Avenue in downtown Flushing.

Two Fulton Square is a Flushing mega-project that includes residential, office and commercial space.

The project is the latest exciting development to come to downtown Flushing, and will play an important part in the growth and development of the surrounding area.

Two Fulton Square will be constructed in two phases;  The first phase of construction will bring a 13-story condominium building with 192 units. The new building will include more than 190,000 square feet of residential and retail space.

The second phase will include construction of 200 additional condominiums, a 200,000 square foot commercial component for entertainment and international retail, plus a 240-room themed hotel.

The project will be built atop of a three-level glass retail podium, and feature expansive roof-top outdoor gardens and an indoor swimming pool located on the top floor of the tower with spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline, accessible only to hotel guests and residents.

Building amenities will include a fitness center, a game room, daycare center and a laundry facility. The developers are also building a 377-car garage on the property.

The plaza at Two Fulton Square provides a public space for local events and gatherings, bringing the community together through concerts, family activities, and cultural festivals, in addition to the expansive shopping experience that the retail spaces will provide.

The new plans follow completion of F&T’s One Fulton Square, designed by architect Daniel Margulies, which is one block away.

It includes 43 condominiums, a 10-story and 168-key Hyatt Place, and a three-story retail podium, totaling over 346,000 square feet.

F&T Group is presently updating its plans to make full-use of the site’s potential.

Two Fulton Square will be significantly larger, and will nearly occupy two entire blocks. The retail podium will dominate the streetscape, though cut-throughs will open up the entirety of the site to pedestrian access.

F&T’s plan will be a major improvement compared to the parking lots and low-rises that are currently on-site, and multiple levels of outdoor space will activate the development’s significant retail component, energizing the surrounding neighborhood.
The buildings will appear drastically different depending on the viewing perspective; vantage points will reveal undulating structures uncharacteristic of new construction in Flushing.

Elevated parks will be interspersed throughout the complex, and solar panels will sit prominently atop the high-rise component.

Phases I and II are designed to link with waterfront luxury residential towers with pedestrian bridge access to Willets Point, CitiField and the USTA National Tennis Center.

The Willets Point’s redevelopment presents a significant opportunity for Queens, and current plans for Two Fulton Square are no less than impressive. Both projects promise to revitalize a stagnant area of Flushing.

No completion date has been announced for Two Fulton Square.

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Welcome to 2016 - Are You in Violation of the Code?

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