Thursday, February 20, 2020

Major League Soccer Stadium to be Build in the Bronx

After a seven-year search for a home for the New York City Football Club, the search appears to have ended right down the street from Yankee Stadium.

New York City Football Club’s circuitous search for a permanent home — a seven-year quest that generated frustration for the team, exasperation among its supporters and endless ridicule from rival fans in Major League Soccer — has come full circle.

The team’s owners, in conjunction with a group of local developers, are preparing an agreement with New York City that would allow the team to construct a privately financed, 25,000-seat stadium in the South Bronx as part of a development project costing more than $1 billion.

The new stadium, the anchor of a plan that will replace parking lots and an elevator parts factory with affordable housing units, a new school, a hotel and retail stores, would rise just a short walk’s distance down River Avenue from the team’s current home at Yankee Stadium.

The group of developers, which includes Jorge Madruga’s Maddd Equities, says the project has the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio and James Patchett, the president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation.

“It’s long past time to make the underutilized parking lots around Yankee Stadium into something more,” a representative for the E.D.C. said in a statement Friday. “The city has been approached by a team of affordable housing developers, the Yankees and the N.Y.C. Football Club.

“A deal has not been reached, and more conversations are needed. We are hopeful for a future where these lots can better serve the community. The first step toward achieving that is engaging the community on their needs and vision for this area.” 

 “We have been honored to call the Bronx our home for the last five years playing at Yankee Stadium, and we will keep our neighbors and our dedicated fans informed as we participate with Maddd and others in any related consultations and the public approval process,” the team said.

The stadium will be built on the current sites of one of the old parking garages currently used for Yankee games and the GAL elevator parts factory across East 153rd Street. 

In order to connect the two plots on which the stadium will sit, that block of East 153rd, from River Avenue to the Major Deegan Expressway, will become part of the playing field. An off ramp from the Deegan will be closed as well; it is set to become a pedestrian walkway to a new waterfront park.

Construction will not begin until 2022 and will take several years, making it unlikely the team would move in until the 2024 season.

The complicated plan was made possible when the Yankees’ president, Randy Levine, approached Maddd Equities, a developer that produces affordable housing in the city, and said the team would be willing to scale back its requirement for thousands of parking spaces in the immediate area of Yankee Stadium, allowing Maddd to purchase them.

The Yankees own 20 percent of N.Y.C.F.C., part of a joint venture with an investment group led by Sheik Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, a member of the royal family of Abu Dhabi, who also controls the English soccer champion Manchester City.

By purchasing the six scattered parking lots (five outdoors and one indoor structure) for $54 million, Maddd Equities will help the Bronx Parking Development Corporation, a nonprofit set up when the new Yankee Stadium was built, get out from under crippling debt, a problem that has vexed the city for years. Some of the lots will be used for the housing and some for the stadium and hotel.

Maddd and N.Y.C.F.C. also are in contract to purchase the GAL factory. They would then convey the property to the city, which would then lease the land back for the stadium. 

The project will be a tight fit, with everything tucked into a parcel of land a few blocks south of Yankee Stadium, hard by the Metro North train tracks and a short walk to the Harlem River.

A similar proposal for the site in 2018 collapsed, but this time the team and the developers are working closely with city and state officials, and expressed confidence that they would gain full approval. 

When New York City F.C. was founded in 2013, it arrived in M.L.S. with deep pockets and a public pledge to build a stadium within the city’s five boroughs. That proved to be a daunting task.

Every time a site was identified — in the Bronx, on the edges of Manhattan, in Queens or just beyond its borders — it was just as quickly ruled out, running up against one obstacle or another.

As the search dragged on, the team and its frustrated fans persevered in temporary conditions at Yankee Stadium that were far from perfect. Each time a scheduling conflict with the Yankees arose, it was the soccer team that hit the road: The team has played regular-season, cup and even playoff games on college fields at St. John’s and Fordham; hours away at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn.; and even at Citi Field in Queens.

When N.Y.C.F.C. joined forces with the Yankees in 2013, it not only gave the soccer club an alliance with one of the most venerable institutions in the city, but it also gave the team access to Levine, a former deputy mayor familiar with the complex web of public and private bureaucracies in the city.

Levine was part of the search for the new stadium from the beginning. He said De Blasio, Patchett and community leaders in the South Bronx were instrumental in shepherding the project, and that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s transportation team has been helpful in opening up the waterfront.

Previous plans to build a soccer stadium for N.Y.C.F.C. in Queens or Manhattan drew widespread criticism from residents and community leaders concerned about the effects on their neighborhoods. This time, the developers said, they began with community outreach and sought input long before they presented any concrete proposals.

The affordable housing units, set to be built on several existing outdoor parking lots along River Avenue and atop the site of a current self-storage facility, will be built, owned and operated by Maddd Equities, which has built and owns about 3,000 units of affordable housing units in the Bronx.

At the core of the deal, though, are the parking lots, which have been a money-losing fiasco since the new Yankee Stadium opened in 2009. 

When the new Yankee Stadium was built, the Yankees demanded about 9,300 spaces to accommodate their fans on game days, but the team has agreed to reduce the number of spaces by about 3,000 to accommodate the new project. That reduction was made possible because more people are using public transportation and ride-share options that did not exist when the stadium opened in 2009.

“That’s what made this deal happen,” Madruga said of the Yankees’ relaxing their parking covenant. “Without the Yankees, the reality is that this deal does not happen.”

Friday, February 14, 2020

Yet Another $3.5B Development Planned for Bronx

A massive $3.5 billion project to redevelop an industrial wasteland on the Eastern edge of The Bronx could soon begin construction. 

The project, known as Fordham Landing, will be located between the Harlem River and the Major Deegan Expressway, immediately adjacent to the University Heights Bridge. 

For decades, the vacant lot at 320 West Fordham Road in the Fordham section of Bronx has sat desolate on the Harlem River.

The enormous project will cover 5 million square feet, including office space, a mix of affordable and market rate apartments, a new hotel and conference center, community spaces, and 12 acres of open spaces.

Developer Dynamic Star is planning to construct several large towers on the site. One of these will hold a 700,000-square-foot Life Sciences Center for the gene therapy industry and offices. 

A total of 2,800 residential apartments are planned to be built under the 70/30 scheme, with 30 percent of units set aside as affordable and the rest as market rate. 

Additional offerings will include retail space, a hotel, a conference center, community spaces, and an e-sports stadium.

The project’s 12.5 acres of outdoor space will be transformed into a welcoming waterfront oasis with esplanades, playing fields, and water activities like kayaking. 

Additionally, a dilapidated cove between sections of the site would be turned into tidal gardens and wetlands with an urban beach and boathouse.

Fordham Landing would certainly have an impact on the surrounding community, which has not been forgotten in the plans. 

The site is very close to the University Heights Metro North stop, and improvements to the station are being planned. 

Additionally, a new K-5 elementary school is being planned for the local community.

A development this size 3 miles north from the current Port Morris/Mott Haven Harlem River Waterfront hot spot where thousands of units are planned or under construction simply demonstrates how eager developers are to develop anywhere there is sufficient land size in The Bronx.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Cylindrical 1,300-Ft Tower Planned for 265 West 45th Street

The developer behind some of New York City’s most prominent projects  - such as Central Park Tower, One57, Brooklyn Point, and One Manhattan Square - Extell Development, is preparing to raze two vacant four-story buildings at 724 and 726 Eighth Avenue in order to construct another supertall tower in Midtown West.

The photos in this article are a proposal for the chrome-clad cylindrical 1,312-foot-tall office building Extell is considering to construct on the site at the corner of West 45th Street and Eighth Avenue.
The super-slender building at 265 West 45th Street.will have sky lobbies on the eighth, 28th, 49th, 71st, and 81st floors, offices on floors 81-93, an observation deck on the 96th floor, and and underground parking garage. 

The A, C, and E trains and the buses at the Port Authority Bus Terminal are a short walking distance to the south. 

There are also connections to the 1, 2, 3, 7, N, Q, R, W, and shuttle to Grand Central via 42nd Street-Port Authority Bus Terminal. 

The heart of Times Square is to the east, while a plethora of dining, retail, nightlife, theaters, and other entertainment options surround 724-726 Eighth Avenue.

A start date to the demolition and completion of the project has not been announced yet.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Giant Waterfront Development to Rise in South Bronx

One of the largest and most expensive developments in the South Bronx is preparing to get underway. Developer Brookfield Properties has unveiled new renderings for its massive seven-building Bankside project along the Harlem River in Mott Haven.

The development will span 4.3 acres on either side of the Third Avenue Bridge, with more than 1,350 apartments (30 percent of which will be “affordable”), a new park fronting the Harlem River, and ground-floor retail that includes a tech-focused community center. All told, Brookfield will invest $950 million into the massive mixed-used project.

But Brookfield wasn’t originally attached to this development: The site was previously owned by Chetrit Group and Somerset Partners, which had originally planned a similarly enormous complex along the waterfront. 

In 2018, those developers sold the sites to Brookfield for $165 million, for reasons that were not disclosed. Chetrit and Somerset are behind a handful of other developments throughout the South Bronx, and had unsuccessfully tried to rebrand the area as the “Piano District.”

When Brookfield took over, they kept some things—including the scope of the entire development and the architect of record, Hill West Architects—but changed up others, including the number of affordable units and the energy efficiency of the towers. The developers will aim for LEED certification.

Construction is already underway, and will be completed in two phases: The first will bring 450 apartments to the north side of the bridge at 2401 Third Avenue, with an expected completion date of 2021. The rest will rise on the south side of the bridge, at 101 Lincoln Avenue, with a completion date in 2022. 

A significant chunk of space will also be given over to a new, 34,000-square-foot waterfront park, designed by MPFP, which will have sections for “passive and semi-active use,” according to the developers.