Friday, January 31, 2020

Master Plan for Williamsburg Waterfront Development

A new waterfront park and two mixed-use towers will soon come to the Williamsburg waterfront, north of the Domino Sugar Factory redevelopment site.

Developers Two Trees Management—also behind the Domino megaproject—unveiled a proposal to build two mixed-use towers, up to 650-feet-tall, and a six-acre park with access to the East River. The waterfront development will stretch from Grand to North 3rd street on River Street.

“We put a world-class team here together ... and really challenged ourselves to build another park with the impact and significance and social benefits as Domino Park,” said Jed Walentas, principal of Two Trees Management, at a project presentation.

The new towers will have 1,000 residential units, 250 of which will be below-market rate. They will also include a 47,000-square-foot YMCA, 30,000 square feet of retail space, and 57,000 square feet of office space.

One of the main missions of the project is to close the gap between Grand Ferry Park and the North 5th Pier to create a “continuous journey” of public space along the waterfront.

Perhaps one of the most noteworthy aspects of the project is its public waterfront park, which will have a circular esplanade extending into the East River, a sandy beach, tidal pools, a fishing pier, salt marsh, a boating cove on North 1st Street, and an amphitheater. 

There will also be community kiosks with 5,000 square feet worth of space available to community partners, kayak rental, among other things.

One of the project’s goals is to increase resiliency on the waterfront, to really expand the river in order to create a softer shoreline and have one that has active ecological benefits as well as access benefits, and part of this strategy, is really to increase resilience.

Built on the former Con Edison North First Street terminal site, the developers will seek a rezoning to get approved in the next two years, and that construction should take around five years. Two Trees recently bought the 3.5-acre site for $150 million.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Major Revamp Slated for Chelsea’s Terminal Warehouse

Chelsea’s historic Terminal Warehouse, a remnant of the area’s industrial past, will soon get a revamp. The Landmarks Preservation Commission recently approved plans to revitalize the site and add more commercial and office space.

Developers L&L Holding and Normandy Real Estate Partners, who bought the building last year for $880 million, are spearheading the project.

The massive 1.2-million-square-foot structure—which sits between Eleventh and Twelfth avenues and West 27th and 28th streets—was first owned by the New York Terminal Warehouse Company and built between 1890 and 1891. It’s part of the West Chelsea historic district.

The developers will transform 500,000 square feet of the building’s storage sections into office space and a courtyard. The train tunnel with exposed rails inside the building will be restored while shops and restaurant space will be added to the surrounding space.

The plan also includes refurbishing the building’s brick and exposed rail tracks and restoring its arched entrances on both Eleventh and Twelfth avenues, while reclaiming and reusing as much of the interior’s heavy timber as possible.

Through a revitalization plan that emphasizes restoration, authenticity, massive open floor plates and natural sunlight, the Terminal Warehouse will be artfully transformed from a purpose-built storage facility into a thriving state-of-the-art workplace that also celebrates its place in New York’s remarkable history.

The building once played a vital role in goods entering and leaving NYC as it served as a tunnel passage with twin rail tracks running across the building, connecting the Hudson River’s docks to the freight line along Eleventh Avenue—but business at the warehouse declined with the collapse of the Eleventh Avenue rail line.

A large part of the building’s space has been long dedicated to storage (Chelsea Mini Storage is still located in the building) and between 1986 and 2001, it served as the home of the fabled Tunnel nightclub. The building now has commercial and office space, with tenants like Uber and L’Oreal.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Two New Towers with 800 Apartments Slated for Pacific Park

In the 13 years since the megaproject formerly known as Atlantic Yards was granted city and state approval, work at Pacific Park has progressed in fits and starts.

Construction was originally due to begin in 2004, but was delayed for a number of reasons. It was only in 2014, after China-based Greenland Group came on board, that construction really began.

Now, four buildings are finished and another two are under construction. In the next year, work will also begin on two parcels at 615 and 595 Dean Street, located between Carlton and Vanderbilt avenues. 

In advance of the anticipated groundbreaking, the developers have unveiled renderings of those two buildings, once known as B12 and B13 to longtime followers of the site’s saga.

The original plan for 615 Dean Street was for a single 26-story condo tower, but current plans call for two buildings that have a similar look—slender tower rising from a blockier base—and materials inspired by the variety of architectural styles that surround the development.

The new buildings will have some 800 apartments between them, along with a 72,000-square-foot park, and ground-floor retail stores. The two new buildings will also sit atop a 455-car parking garage. 
A new outpost of Chelsea Piers will also be built, bringing youth classes and facilities to the neighborhood.

The Dean Street buildings are two of nine that are left to be completed before the megaproject is fully finished. According to the original timeline, everything would be scheduled for completion by 2025, although that may be a bit too optimistic.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Two New Residential Towers Planned for East Side

310 East 86th Street 

Another playfully designed residential building is slated to begin construction at 310 East 86th Street on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. 

Designed by ODA Architecture, the new building is reminiscent of the firm’s previous designs, which are characterized by expressive cubic features. 

The 68-unit tower will have a series of boxy setbacks and graceful cantilevers that will incorporate private outdoor spaces on the upper levels.

Plans called for a 21-story, 145,000-square-foot structure covering five neighboring parcels. 

Residential amenities include a music room, a laundry room, a children’s playroom, and a teen-oriented lounge. The building will also include ground floor retail space.

New 35-Story Residential Tower slated for Kips Bay

368 Third Avenue in Kips Bay will soon be the site of a new 35-story mixed-use residential tower. Located between East 26th Street and East 27th Street, the building is designed by SLCE Architects. 

Plans call for a 388-foot tall, 145,000-square-foot structure with 100 rental apartments, averaging around 1,110 square feet apiece.

The slender building will rise prominently over the surrounding low-rise structures, and allow it to be seen clearly from across the East River. 

Three to four apartments will cover floors 2 through 25, with two units per floor on the next six levels, and two penthouses on the top two floors. 

Amenities will feature a fitness room, a residential lounge, and a children’s playroom. The building will include 3,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

The property was formerly occupied by five pre-war structures that ranged from four to six stories high and housed 53 apartments which have been razed for the construction of the new tower.

Minrav Development purchased the site for $64 million and estimates a completion date in the fourth quarter of 2021. 

Thursday, January 16, 2020

950 New Apartments Planned Along Gowanus Canal

A decade long plan for a barren swath of city-owned land in Gowanus will soon transform the toxic site with a mix of middle- to high-rise housing.

Gowanus Green will be a sustainable mixed-use community along the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn that will feature approximately 950 new residential units, neighborhood serving retail and community space, and a future potential school across from a new public park.

Co-developed by Jonathan Rose Companies, The Hudson Companies, The Bluestone Organization, and Fifth Avenue Committee, Gowanus Green will transform the site of a former manufactured gas plant into a resilient and environmentally healthy community that reconnects the surrounding neighborhood to the Gowanus Canal.

Gowanus Green will be comprised of six residential buildings with approximately 950 units of housing serving a wide range of incomes and needs, including housing dedicated to formerly homeless, senior and extremely low-income New Yorkers. 

The development will feature retail space along Smith Street, and neighborhood serving uses and community spaces, such as early childcare, healthcare, senior programming, and a range of space for artists and makers that reflect the neighborhood theme.

The project will feature a network of unique open spaces that connect people to the proposed esplanade and public park after the site has been fully remediated, including a pedestrian-oriented Shared Street, active and meditative Rain Gardens, and other community gathering areas. 

Gowanus Green is committed to being a sustainable, resilient and environmentally healthy community that improves site resilience, generates renewable energy, and implements innovative stormwater management strategies that reduce combined sewer overflows into Gowanus Canal.

The 5.8-acre site, bounded roughly by Smith Street and the Gowanus Canal between Nelson and Fifth streets, was once a manufactured gas plant. The coal-tar contaminated land sat empty for decades until the city acquired it, designating the plot a “public place.”

Such a provision prohibits residential development unless the land is rezoned, and neighbors who had hoped the site would largely convert into parkland with low-rise buildings were skeptical of the latest vision for the “Gowanus Green” project with seven buildings that could rise from five up to 28 stories. 

In 2008, a development team made up of Hudson Companies, Jonathan Rose Companies, Bluestone Organization, and the Fifth Avenue Committee were selected by then Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration to realize the project. Gowanus Green would be the area’s largest affordable housing development and is on the doorstep of Carroll Gardens, one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Brooklyn.

The development will include 950 apartments, a public school, retail and community space, and a variety of resiliency measures to defend against flooding. The project could be entirely affordable, or at least have 74 percent of its units at below-market-rate. 

The Gowanus rezoning plan will boost density and encourage mix-used projects in the neighborhood. City planners expect the rezoning to create a whopping 8,200 new apartments by 2035.

“The purpose of the new density is to make it possible for people—working class folks, low- to-moderate income folks—who cannot possibly afford a unit in the district,” said City Council member Brad Lander.

The Department of Environmental Protection will oversee the remediation of the land, which is a Brownfield site due to its history as a manufactured gas plant.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Long Awaited Armory Conversion to Begin in Crown Heights

Two years after receiving City Council approval, a plan to redevelop the Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights will finally begin to materialize, as construction launches for the site’s conversion from a 20th-century cavalry base into an expansive recreation center.

The city-owned armory, bounded by Bedford and Rogers Avenues and Union and President Streets in Crown Heights, is in the midst of a transformation by developer BFC Partners and the NYC Economic Development Corporation after years of sitting vacant. 

The more than century-old castellated hall, which once hosted horse stables, a firing range, and administrative offices for cavalry troops, will soon be repurposed with several sports fields, a swimming pool, and space for local non-profits and civic groups.

Ultimately, the armory is intended as a nexus for the neighborhood, as it works to meet the area’s dearth of recreational spaces while preserving the neighborhood’s history and diverse cultural legacy.

“The community has been living with this building for decades, and to be able to bring it to fruition, we want it to be not just about the future but also have it acknowledge the history and culture of this community,” says James Patchett, the CEO of NYC’s Economic Development Corporation

Under the redevelopment plan, the project will also include 415 rental apartments—250 of which will rent at below market rate—in a pair of 8- and 15-story buildings adjacent to the armory. 

Initial plans called for 60 luxury condominiums, but officials scrapped those after fierce community pushback. New York City will retain ownership of the armory under a long-term lease.

Excavation and demolition has recently wrapped up at the site; now, the work of actually building out the armory will be commencing. 

Within the next six months, crews will carve out a space for the six-lane swimming pool and begin laying down sub-flooring. 

A smoked-glass wall will separate the pool from the main space, which will include a synthetic turf multi-sports field, three hardwood basketball courts, and bleachers throughout.

Individual organizations will operate each component: Imagine Swimming will run the pool, Globall Sports will operate the multi-purpose field, and New Heights Youth will oversee the basketball courts. Groups such as these will offer an array of athletic and academic programming. Ten organizations have signed leases—at $6 a square foot—for space in the armory, and that number could eventually triple.

The main floor also features a sort of all purpose gathering space that is expected to serve as an arts venue for film screenings, performances, and gallery space; Brooklyn Community Board 9 has expressed interest in hosting meetings there. 

Down the hall, there will be a public cafe, which currently features the remnants of a floor to ceiling fire place adorned with a painted-gold lion head.

Of what can be salvaged, BFC says it plans to preserve 80 percent of the armory’s architectural details. Those will either be revitalized or worked back into the design elsewhere. 

Nearly 100 wooden bleachers that date back to the early 1900s, for instance, will be restored and used in the rooftop gardens of the residential buildings. And salvaged brick is being re-laid in its original herringbone pattern to help divide five dance studios on the second floor, which will be run by Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy.

The revamped armory is expected to open in November 2020. The 8- and 15-story residential buildings are expected to respectively wrap up in April 2021 and April 2022.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Peninsula Hospital Gets Green Light for Massive Redevelopment

An ambitious plan to transform the old Peninsula Hospital into a massive 11-building mixed-use complex, billed as a shot in the arm for the Far Rockaway economy, has been approved by the New York City Council.

The project, dubbed Edgemere Commons by developer Arker Companies, will create 2,200 units of below-market-rate housing for those earning between 30 and 130 percent of the area median income. 

The project will also bring a new Western Beef supermarket to the neighborhood, include spaces for community facilities and local and national retailers, and create publicly accessible open space with a new playground and plaza.

Property owner Peninsula Rockaway LP plans to construct 2,220 housing units and 72,000 square feet of retail, including a supermarket, and 77,000 square foot of space for community facilities on the site bounded roughly by Beach Channel Drive and Rockaway Beach Boulevard between Beach 50th and Beach 53rd streets. The buildings, which will include below market-rate housing and units for seniors, range in height from eight to 19 stories.

City Councilmember Donovan Richard, who represents the area, backed the effort and says it will jump start the local economy with amenities the neighborhood truly needs.

“This neighborhood has always had the potential to not only serve as a retail destination for the local residents but as a tourist attraction,” Donovan said during Thursday’s Council vote. “I want my community to know we heard you loud and clear on the need to ensure we just aren’t building housing, but addressing the needs of the community as well.”

The massive mixed-use development will eventually include 11 buildings—to be built in five phases—along six new streets, with completion expected for 2034. 

Resilient design is a key component of the waterfront complex, with measures such as “Bioswales”, a bioretention rainwater system, and backup generators to ensure crucial functions remain operational during a Hurricane Sandy-level storm.

Edgemere Commons will not only help to rebuild the Rockaway Peninsula but will also revitalize the neighborhood and bring in a new era of economic growth.

As part of the project, Arker has agreed to launch a $2 million Community Benefits and Youth Development fund and will build a community center within Edgemere Commons.

Arker and Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation partnered to buy the former hospital site for $19 million in 2016. 

In recent months, NEBHDCo’s troubled record has taken fire. The affordable housing nonprofit, of which a NEBHDCo remains owner, has racked up a slew of housing code violations and debt to city agencies. Arker Companies has ceased working with NEBHDCo on Edgemere Commons and in the legal process of removing them from the project.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Lenox Hill’s $2.5-Billion Expansion Aims High

Lenox Hill Hospital is planning a colossal $2.5-billion expansion beginning with a new 41-story residential building on part of the hospital’s Upper East Side property. The 490-foot-tall condominium tower will sit on the corner of East 76th Street and Park Avenue and include about 200 units.  

A second 30-story tower will be built on the opposite Park Avenue corner at East 77th Street. 

The building will feature a new Mother-Baby Hospital, increasing the emergency room to nearly four times its current size to 56,000 square feet, as well as new operating rooms, and patient rooms. 

Plans call for a total of 1.3 million square feet, up from the hospital’s current 780,000 square feet at 100 East 77th Street.

Lenox Hill plans to build on its reputation for maternity care—BeyoncĂ© delivered her first child at the hospital in 2012—with a new Mother-Baby Hospital, which will have a separate Park Avenue entrance. The hospital will add labor and delivery suites and expand its neonatal intensive care unit.

Northwell is also building a block-long, 250,000-square-foot outpatient care facility on Third Avenue between 76th Street and 77th Street. That facility will include a cancer and ambulatory surgery center, as well as medical offices.

Off-street ambulance bays for six ambulances, larger, deeper loading docks, subway station improvements, an atrium and other publicly accessible spaces are also part of the ambitious project.

“Lenox Hill Hospital is one of the most storied institutions in Manhattan, serving communities throughout the city for over 160 years,” said Michael Dowling, president and chief executive officer of Northwell Health, adding that the residential tower was added to “offset costs for rebuilding the hospital.” 

"We have spoken to some of the top real estate people," Dowling said. "That building would throw off a substantial amount of money."  

Lenox Hill's campus occupies a city block from East 76th Street to East 77th Street between Lexington and Park avenues. Its campus is made up of 10 buildings—the newest one built in 1972.

The project will take an estimated six to eight years to complete, and has been broken up into three phases to allow for the continued operation of hospital facilities while the new development is constructed. 

Northwell Health expects to begin construction on the first tower next year. 

Since acquiring Lenox Hill Hospital in 2010, Northwell has spent more than $200 million on renovations. 

But to make the facility's patient rooms private, rather than multi-bed, and to add technology to its operating rooms, a more complete overhaul is needed. 

It will cost approximately $2.5 billion to completely rebuild the iconic Upper East Side institution, which was founded in 1857.

Northwell Health is the largest private employer in the state, with 68,000 employees.