Last night, nearly 500 New Yorkers gathered at the New York Public Library’s main branch for a forum on the wave of skyscrapers that are rising along the Southern edge of Central Park. Skyscrapers that will, depending on whom you ask, either transform Central Park into a gloomy airshaft or create shadows as fleeting and insubstantial as a cloud moving across the sun. Concerns were raised, grievances aired and oligarchs denigrated. Politicians vowed to defend the public good, the community’s benefit was invoked repeatedly, and Gary Barnett briefly managed to distract everyone from the matter at hand by dissing the Midtown East rezoning. All of which is to say it was a cathartic, and at times entertaining evening, but in the end a futile one. For the sunlight-blocking skyscrapers being debated are, at this point, essentially, fait accompli. Read More
Though it has been abundantly clear that Toll Brothers was planning a condo tower at 1110 Park Avenue for some time—it was, in fact, rumored immediately after mysterious entity 89 Park Avenue LLC closed on the townhouse at 1110 Park Avenue for 10 percent more than the $14.9 million ask. (While townhouse bidding wars are not unheard of, the city was just emerging from the throes of recession and Park Avenue is not exactly an ideal location for a townhouse.) When the same LLC closed on the unlisted townhouse next door—1108 Park Avenue, also for a generous price—the rumor was all but confirmed. By everyone, that is, except for Toll Brothers, which maintained a “no comment” long after the deal to buy the lots had closed and building permits were filed. Read More
The developer of a commercial tower planned to rise along the western edge of the High Line at 13th Street and Tenth Avenue has dropped its bid to build a significantly larger structure than is allowed by zoning. The proposed tower, to be designed by Chicago-based architecture firm Studio Gang, had sought a variance to build 34 percent larger than is permitted by zoning at 40-56 Tenth Avenue. However, after a number of appearances before the Board of Standards and Appeals, it became clear that approval for the variance would not be forthcoming, according to Howard Goldman, the project’s land use attorney. However, developer William Gottlieb Real Estate is still seeking height and setback variances in its modified application. Read More
At a meeting last night, members of the Art Students League approved Extell’s controversial plan to cantilever a 1,424-foot skyscraper above the school’s landmarked French Renaissance building on W. 57th Street. The Smith + Gordon Gill-designed tower, to rise at 217 West 57th Street, has now cleared the final roadblock needed to move forward with construction. Read More
Extell’s controversial plan to cantilever a 1,424-foot skyscraper at 217 West 57th Street over the Art Students League, which won city approval last fall, will be abandoned if the League’s members reject the deal at a vote tonight, according to the developer. Extell has promised to walk away from the deal, which would net the League $31.8 million, and move forward without the cantilever, if the League does not reach an agreement by Wednesday night. Read More
When we spoke earlier this month with Corcoran’s Vicki Negron about the recent sale for $7.5 million of a kingly assemblage at 164 South Oxford Street in Fort Greene—a deal on which she acted as the seller’s broker—she expressed hope that the buyer would not badly violate the neighborhood’s pseudo-countrified character. “The new owner Read More
Robert A.M. Stern’s Limestone Skyscraper at 220 Central Park South Poised to Make One57 Residents Wildly Jealous
After waiting for nearly a decade to develop its property at 220 Central Park South, tussling first with the residents of the existing building on the site, then with Extell, Vornado obviously wasn’t taking any chances when it came to the project’s design. The developer tapped Robert A.M. Stern, the maestro of historicist mega-luxury behind three of the city’s biggest hits—Superior Ink, 15 CPW and 18 Gramercy Park (though not all of his projects have been runaway successes. Ahem, One Museum Mile)—to carry off its rare foray into residential development. And, looking at the renderings, which were first published by Curbed, 220 Central Park South may be his biggest hit yet. Read More
In Manhattan, one-bedroom apartments are becoming ever-more difficult to buy, as the New York Times reported recently: “As the recession roiled the market, one-bedrooms encountered strong headwinds; many of the first-time buyers drawn to these starter apartments were unable to get loans, which caused units to linger and dip in price,” they wrote. ”Since then, in the last couple of years, as the housing and lending markets have improved, one-bedrooms have practically flown off the shelves.” And new developments are offering little in the way of redress; as families increasingly invest in units with capacity for children and the rising price of land makes one-bedrooms prohibitively expensive, developers have grown more inclined to populate buildings with larger apartments.
The trend is not confined to any particular corner of the island; recent offenders include 71 Laight Street in Tribeca, Chelsea’s Walker Tower and Extell’s One57. And if the condos at 255 Columbia Street, in Brooklyn’s Columbia Waterfront District, are any indication, it seems to be crossing the river. Read More
Reporters, PR men and honchos from Forest City Ratner and modular manufacturer Skanska gathered today in the cold and considerable shadow of Barclay’s Center to witness the hoisting into place of the first of the modular units in Atlantic Yards’ B2 residential tower, which aims to become the world’s tallest modular building upon its completion, slated for late next year. Of the tower’s 363 units, 181 will qualify as affordable housing—a considerable figure in terms of both quantity and percentage, particularly in comparison to prevailing proportions of market rate/affordable units included in new city construction.
The building schedule called today for the placement of three adjacent “mods,” Skanska’s Elizabeth Miller told The Observer, which together will compose a single apartment. Appliances, fixtures and plumbing had already been installed; all that remained to make the habitat functional was to tie into the building’s central electrical and water lines, which have yet to arrive. No word was forthcoming on whether the apartment assembled today might be one of those destined for affordable rental rates. Read More
Michael Shvo, Developer Who Brought Us That Gas Station Sheep Meadow, Makes Art + Auction’s Power 100 List
Michael Shvo, the irrepressibly showy boom-time broker who vanished in the wake of the financial crash only to return this spring as an equally flashy real estate developer is now (officially!) an art impresario. Art + Auction has named him to its Power 100 list, where he joins “a prominent group of power players who wield significant influence in the art world,” among them Jeff Koons, Larry Gagosian, Oprah Winfrey and the Aquavella family, trumpets a release about Mr. Shvo’s alleged art world coup. Read More