Tuesday, December 27, 2016

JFK's Iconic TWA Terminal to Become a Hotel Complex

JFK International Airport is one of the few major U.S. airports without an on-site hotel, but that is about to change. This week, ground was ceremoniously broken at the six-acre TWA Flight Center with plans on turning the iconic structure into a hotel complex.

The $265 million construction project was approved The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey back in 2015 and is projected to generate 3,700 jobs.

The TWA Hotel at JFK Airport is being developed by Flight Center Hotel LLC, a partnership of MCR Development and JetBlue Airways Corporation.

MCR Development will maintain 95% ownership of the hotel and JetBlue will take 5%.

Neighboring Terminal 5 and conveniently located in the Central Terminal Area, the TWA Hotel at JFK International Airport will deliver a world-class airport hotel to New York, with 505 guestrooms.

The completely privately funded redevelopment will include 50,000 square feet of conference, event and meeting space and eight food and beverage outlets. The anticipated LEED-certified hotel will also have a 15,000 square foot public observation deck.

The complex will feature two six-story hotel towers and an energy management system that will allow the building to generate its own power.

The familiar curving 1960's-era stark white concourse with plush-red lounge area will remain in place as it has for the last 50 years due to a $20 million renovation by the Port Authority.

Built by world-renowned architect Eero Saarinen, the TWA Flight Center opened in 1962, ushering in a new era of jet air travel.

After TWA ceased operating, the terminal was closed in 2001 and has remained dark for the last 15 years.

The terminal was designated a NYC Landmark in 1994 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the New York State Register of Historic Places in 2005.

The TWA Hotel will celebrate and preserve Eero Saarinen’s masterpiece, returning the landmark to its original glory and reopening it to the public.

The complete rehabilitation of the national landmark to its 1962 glory includes restoring its iconic interiors. Plans also include an innovative museum showcasing New York as the birthplace of the Jet Age, the storied history of Trans World Airlines and the Midcentury Modern design movement.

Handling over 56 million passengers a year, JFK International Airport serves as the premiere international gateway to the United States. Rehabilitating the TWA Flight Center as JFK’s first on-site, full-service hotel will provide a game-changing amenity for travelers from across the country and around the world.

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Saturday, December 24, 2016

New Industrial Park to Bring Manufacturers to Ozone Park

A sprawling modern industrial complex housing two dozen manufacturing businesses, from wood workers to movie set makers, will soon be coming to Southwest Queens. 
The Ozone Park Industrial Center will have 90,000 square feet of space for 24 manufacturing firms that could also include metal workers, cabinet makers or shops making window displays for stores.

The city Economic Development Corporation is kicking in $10 million — the first grant given out by the city's new Industrial Developer Fund, which aims to rev up the city's struggling manufacturing sector.

The project, built by the nonprofit Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center, is expected to cost $37 million.

GMDC is hoping to begin work in June 2017 with a goal of opening in September 2018.

The modern workspace at 94-15 100th Street will be equipped with new freight elevators and tenants will get a 10% discount off regular market rents — as the high-tech building will be partially fueled by solar power.

Currently, the site is home to Worksman Cycles, a bicycle and cart manufacturer. The company recently expanded its assembly operations to South Carolina so doesn't need all of the space.

"Now more than ever, we must ensure that our economy is diverse, equitable and provides opportunity for all New Yorkers. Supporting the industrial sector is critical to that effort," said EDC President Maria Torres-Springer.

She also said the fund would "help create affordable space for small industrial businesses so that they can create good paying jobs in neighborhoods across the city."

Since 1992, GMDC has rehabilitated seven industrial buildings in New York City to provide affordable, flexible production space for small and medium-sized manufacturers ranging from custom woodworkers, set builders and metal workers to home goods manufacturers.

The new space will support around 80 workers, each making an estimated average of $51, 500 per year, consistent with tenants in other GMDC-developed sites.

The $150 million developer fund was launched last year as part of a plan by Mayor de Blasio and the City Council that also included beefing up protections for manufacturing businesses in industrial zones.

The fund aims to create 1,200 jobs and 400,000 square feet of industrial space by the year 2020, officials said.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

NYS Considers Giant Development Over Bronx Rail Yards

New York State is considering building a deck over a 13-acre rail yard in the South Bronx to allow for a massive waterfront development. The depressed urban area has been attracting more and more private investment as land costs rise elsewhere in the city.

The Empire State Development is inviting developers to present offers for leasing or purchasing the land, decking over the yards, then building a sizable residential or mixed-use project on top.

The parcel sits along the Harlem River, just north of the Willis Avenue Bridge. It is currently used as a transfer station to move goods between cross-country trains and trucks that traverse the tristate area—a use the state plans to maintain going forward.

The site is part of a 96-acre area called the Harlem River Yards, which is owned by state Department of Transportation and leased to a private company, which in turn leases out many of the buildings to industrial tenants.

Because the zone is governed by something called a general project plan, the state does not need to get any local approvals to change the zoning—say from manufacturing to residential or retail—which can instead be implemented through a state approval process.

In addition to maintaining the transfer station beneath the deck, the state wants proposals that cover opening access to the waterfront, boosting the local economy and creating affordable housing.

At 12.8 acres, the site is slightly less than half the size of the Hudson Yards development going up over rail yards on Manhattan's west side, and is on par with the scale of a proposal released last year by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

That plan called for decking over a 13-acre rail yard near Lehman College, between the neighborhoods of Bedford Park and Kingsbridge Heights, farther north in the borough. Diaz predicted such a project could create more than 1,000 apartments.

"New deck construction has the potential to bring transformative development projects to many Bronx neighborhoods," Diaz said in a statement. "I look forward to examining the level of interest this [request] brings to the Harlem River Yards and how that interest could inform future opportunities for platform projects."

Click here to view the PDF 

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Saturday, December 17, 2016

NYU Plans Massive $1B Expansion Building with Glass Facade

New York University has announced its plans for a new $1 billion, all-glass academic building, the largest such structure ever built by the university. The 735,000-square-foot building will be located at 181 Mercer Street and is scheduled to be complete in 2021.

For the past 35 years, the Southern tip of NYU’s main campus has been delineated by a 20-foot brick wall separating the school’s campus from the neighborhood of Greenwich Village.

Now, as part of NYU: 2031, the approved 6 million square foot city wide expansion, that wall and its attached school gymnasium, the Coles Sports Center, are coming down.

The replacement will be a $1 billion translucent university compound, made of various glass shapes and sizes, opening the campus to be more inclusive and unsheltered from the outer community.

The new building will rise 23 stories and will feature an underground gym and swimming pool, 60 new classrooms, a 350-seat proscenium theater, two smaller theaters, orchestra space and practice rooms, faculty and student housing towers and a green roof, with hallways and staircases along the perimeter of the transparent facade.

University officials and designers said the see-through aspect of the building is meant to help it blend into the community, which lost a court challenge to stop the school’s plans to extend its presence in the neighborhood.

The facility, designed by Davis Brody Bond and Kieran Timberlake, will become NYU’s largest classroom building and will include 420 freshman housing units and 60 faculty apartments.
Local residents, students and preservationists had opposed the project for years, but a court decision last year gave it the green light.

Many activists, who include faculty and students as well as those from the surrounding neighborhood, said the land should be turned into a public park.

The parcel, which is part of a "super block" site established in the 1940s and 1950s when famous city planner Robert Moses proposed New York build an expressway through lower Manhattan, was purchased by NYU in the 1960s.

According to the New York Building Congress, NYU and Columbia University are leading a higher education building boom in the city.

NYBC President Richard Anderson said in April that both schools had multiyear growth plans and that the city’s university and college community overall was on track to contribute to the New York construction industry well into the future.

According to the NYBC, New York City’s investment in school construction tripled from 2014 and 2015, and it has quadrupled from the period 2010 to 2014.

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

#1 Story for 2016: 'Scuse Me, While I Kiss the Sky: One Vanderbilt

The city’s largest office landlord is now free to move ahead with construction of a 65-story tower directly west of Grand Central Terminal at 41 East 42nd Street. A lawsuit that had threatened to derail construction of One Vanderbilt was settled this week. The agreement eliminates any uncertainty surrounding SL Green's development of the 1,514-foot office tower. 

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.

Last year, the City Planning Commission unanimously approved SL Green's plans for the 1,514-foot-tall One Vanderbilt and a rezoning of the Vanderbilt Avenue corridor.

The new zoning only 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 1,401 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 $210 million on transit infrastructure, which would help alleviate congestion in an area mainly served by the overburdened 4/5/6 line.

The city’s proposal revives a plan by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to rezone 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, city planners last year approved a zoning change 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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Sunday, December 11, 2016

#2 Story for 2016: AECOM Planning 45,000 Apts on Brooklyn Waterfront

Multinational engineering firm AECOM has put forth a plan to build as many as 45,000 units of new housing on underutilized Brooklyn sites owned by the Port Authority. 

The firm plans to transform a huge swath of the Red Hook waterfront into a residential neighborhood with a new subway connection, acres of parkland and protect the low-lying neighborhood from storms and future sea-level rise.

AECOM envisions building as many as 45,000 units of housing, much of it in new residential towers that would rise on underutilized Brooklyn sites owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the city.

Under the preliminary plan, proceeds from the sale or long-term lease of the land to developers, as well as other funds generated from revenue streams such as real estate taxes, would go toward upgrading the neighborhood's infrastructure, which includes extending the No. 1 train from lower Manhattan via a new tunnel under the harbor to the Brooklyn area.

AECOM's plan also involves creating three new subway stations, one at Atlantic Basin next to the container terminal, another at the Red Hook Houses, one of Brooklyn's largest public-housing complexes, and a No. 1 train station that would connect to the F and G subway lines at Fourth Avenue.

"We have to recognize that growth is necessary to create a waterfront that people can use, affordable housing and a mass-transit connection to a neighborhood where one doesn't exist," said Chris Ward, a senior vice president at AECOM and a former top executive at the Port Authority, who helped craft the plan.

If the project comes to fruition, a new residential neighborhood almost double the size of Battery Park City and several times as large as Hudson Yards on Manhattan's far West Side—the biggest development project currently underway in the city—would be created.

The plan calls for constructing more than a dozen towers that would contain as many as 45,000 apartments, a quarter of which would be set aside for affordable housing.

The new towers would sit on multiple sites: two adjacent waterfront compounds, the 80-acre Red Hook Container Terminal owned by the Port Authority, an adjacent parcel of city-owned waterfront along Columbia Street, the southern edge of the neighborhood overlooking the Gowanus Bay and unused land at Red Hook Houses.

Development at the public-housing complex could fund improvements to Red Hook Houses, AECOM said, but it is also likely to be controversial.

AECOM acknowledges that its plan lacks key details, including how much the development and infrastructure would cost; how much revenue it would generate and how to coordinate a neighborhood-wide redevelopment on land parcels that are controlled by several different stakeholders with potentially varying objectives.

But the company outlined three different scenarios for the Red Hook project. Two of the cases would provide funding for a subway extension to varying degrees; however, AECOM acknowledged that other funding sources would be necessary.

The firm predicted that the creation of 25 million square feet of new residential space would be enough to fund 2.5 miles of waterfront protection measures, 6,250 affordable housing units, and generate $50 million of annual tax revenue for the city, but not enough to pay for a subway-line extension.

A 35 million-square-foot residential development would finance 4.5 miles of coastal protection - enough to protect the entire Red Hook waterfront, 3 miles of streetscape improvements, and 50 acres of new park space and create 8,750 affordable housing units.

A project of that size would generate $90 million of revenue for the city and would partially pay for a subway extension. While a 45 million-square-foot project would create 11,250 units of affordable housing and the same level of coastal protection and fund 5.7 miles of streetscape improvements, 100 acres of new park space and would fund the bulk of a subway extension. This scenario would generate $130 million in annual revenue for the city.

"This is meant to be a starting point for a conversation," Ward said, who estimated the cost of a No.1 train station extension at about $3 billion.

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

#3 Story for 2016: Super-Tall Residential Tower Planned for Broad Street

A long-vacant lot in the heart of the Financial District at 45 Broad Street will soon be redeveloped into an 86-story residential skyscraper. 

The tower at 45 Broad Street will stretch 1,115 feet into the sky, putting it among the ranks of New York’s super-tall buildings.

The building’s 206 residential units will feature studio to four-bedroom condominiums ranging in size from 600 to 3,066 square feet that will cater to entry- and mid-level buyers.

Luxury amenities will include a 60-foot indoor swimming pool, an outdoor garden, a library, a fitness center, two lounges, a game room and media and entertainment areas located on the ninth, tenth and eleventh floors.

Although the building is being marketed as 86 stories, it will only have 66 actually floors.

CetraRuddy is designing the building, which will be a towering, gold-framed colossus with a slim midsection and a hulking top.

CetraRuddy is the design firm behind One Madison and Walker Tower.

45 Broad Street will be crowned by a distinctive pitched roof and an angling cantilever located 400 feet above street level.

As a result, a substantial number of 45 Broad’s units will possess incomparable views of the harbor and skyline.

Residential super-towers that flare outward as they rise or cantilever over their neighbors have grown more common in the city as development sites have grown tighter and developers aim to maximize the amount of square footage placed in valuable, view-capturing upper stories.

Prices will be relatively low compared to recent projects, with average asking prices below $2,000 per square foot.

Pizzarotti’s website states that units “will be priced to sell to young singles and family buyers at very affordable prices in today’s market.”

The average asking price for units will be $2.7 million.

By contrast, the average price for units at nearby 50 West Street is nearly $4 million. Sales of units at 45 Broad Street are expected to raise $560 million.

To finance the project, the developers are seeking to raise $75 million from Chinese investors, who will contribute money through the EB-5 visa program.

Madison Equities and Pizzaroti Group, which purchased the 12,603 square foot site last fall for $86 million, expect to break ground in late 2016.

When completed in 2019, 45 Broad Street will be the city's sixth tallest building - and the highest condo in Downtown Manhattan - towering over its neighbors at 40 Wall Street and One Wall Street.

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Friday, December 2, 2016

#4 Story for 2016: Developer to Build Twin 27-Story Towers in Queens Plaza

Tishman Speyer has secured a loan from Bank of the Ozarks and anchor tenants, including WeWork, to construct a pair of new office towers in Long Island City. The 1.1 million-square-foot, $700 million office project will break ground early next year.

The 27-story buildings, which will sit atop a four-story retail base, will rise at 28-10 Queens Plaza South, adjacent to a 700,000-square-foot office building that Tishman Speyer built in 2011.

They will be located across the street from three large residential spires that the firm is in the process of erecting.

In the early 2000s, Tishman Speyer won a bid to acquire the city-owned sites where the new office tower, the recently-built office tower and the residential buildings are located.

As part of that deal, the developer received tax breaks for the projects.

The developer will save nearly $65 million on 28-10 Queens Plaza South—that includes an exemption of roughly $4.5 million in mortgage recording taxes, which would normally be assessed during Tishman's purchase of the site, and nearly $4 million in sales taxes for construction materials for the development. It also got more than $56 million in property-tax discounts for 30 years. 

"Thanks to the city of New York's investment in the area's infrastructure, enlightened policy decisions and the active support of the New York City Economic Development Corp., the local community and its elected officials, Long Island City has become a model for 21st-century urban development," said Rob Speyer.

"Tishman Speyer is proud to continue our role in unlocking the area's full potential as one of the most dynamic, live-work-play neighborhoods, not just in Queens but in all of New York City."

Tishman Speyer is seeking $145 million in EB-5 funding for the new twin-spire office property. That controversial program allows developers to tap foreign investors in exchange for allowing them to apply for green cards.

The developer has partnered with a Qatar-based investment firm, Qatari Diar, to construct the project.

Additionally, WeWork will be one of the project's anchor tenants and will take about 250,000 square feet. The developer said that 800,000 square feet of the two towers' 1.1 million square feet has already been spoken for.

"This will be a fantastic space for us to bring our community of creators to this thriving and dynamic neighborhood,"  WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann said in a statement.

Tishman Speyer built the neighboring office tower after it secured a deal for the city's Department of Health to take the entirety of that building's space. The three residential towers, which together will hold 1,900 rental apartments, received 421-a benefits before the tax-abatement program expired at the beginning of the year.

However, because of loopholes in the 421-a program, none of the towers' units are required to be affordable in return for the tax breaks.

The buildings at 28-10 Queens Plaza South, designed by architect Raul De Armas of MdeAS Architect, are expected to be finished in 2019.

The properties will be connected by 40,000 square feet of retail at the base, which will feature a food hall, space for a major restaurant and shops, and a parking garage.

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