Just two days after Two Trees buckled under pressure from the De Blasio administration to beef up the affordable housing component of the Domino Sugar Refinery redevelopment project, the City Planning Commission has unanimously approved the developer’s plans.
Two Trees had already agreed to go well beyond the 440 required units of affordable housing and build 660 units (out of the 2,300-unit total) at the site, but on Monday it sweetened the deal by raising that number to 700 (an additional 110,000 square feet).
Still transition time
First the good news: Mayor Bill de Blasio could not have made better choices in naming Carl Weisbrod as chairman of the City Planning Commission and Vicki Been as the new head of the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Both appointees are highly qualified, creative and knowledgeable—just what City Hall needs in those critical agencies.
Mayor Bill de Blasio today appointed Carl Weisbrod, the co-chair of his transition team, to be the new chair of the City Planning Commission.
Mr. Weisbrod has more than three decades of experience in city government, which Mr. de Blasio touted this afternoon as he announced the appointment at a press conference at City Hall.
Best Laid Plans
The co-chairs or Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s transition team made their first public appearance today following their appointments, but remained largely mum on the team’s progress.
Asked how close they were to making key appointments, how many people they’d interviewed and whether they would consider any high-level holdovers from the Bloomberg administration, the chairs, Jennifer Jones Austin and Carl Weisbrod, largely deferred to Mr. de Blasio.
Last Friday night on far west Spring Street, the Ear Inn was crowded as usual. A mix of neighborhood regulars and happy-hour-indulging co-workers from the nearby loft buildings—architects, ad execs, programmers, writers—were crammed around the mahogany bar imbibing. Others were gathered outside around benches on the uncrowned sidewalk two blocks from the West Side Highway.
The bar has been there for 195 years, but forget asking for some sort of mixological cocktail that could be found at hundreds of establishments citywide pretending at this sort of authenticity. Above the bar, beyond the shelves of dusty liquor bottles, are glass carboys, ruddy green and brown glass, the size of harbor buoys. They held wine more than a century ago and disappeared into the bowels of the basement, only to be excavated in the 1970s when the bar was made over by a band of eccentric artists. One of their rank tended bar until five years ago. He has since moved upstate. Things change, then they don’t.
“We’ve gotten the holy trinity of Pret a Manger, Starbucks and Hale & Hearty soups, but otherwise the neighborhood looks the way you imagine it did 100 years ago,” said James Parvin, a segment producer at NBC who lives in a loft he converted himself on nearby Charlton Street.
Trinity Church had a problem. The venerable Episcopal parish of lower Manhattan was possessed of the largest single real-estate portfolio in the neighborhood, and one of the largest in town, including some six million square feet of office space in the 27-block waterfront area west of Soho called Hudson Square. But vacancy rates were lagging, Read More
“Guess what? The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation just gave away $28 million to all sorts of groovy cultural groups downtown. They are really going to make that neighborhood exciting.”
“Oh, yeah. Let me guess. Was the Tribeca Film Institute one of them?”
“Uh, yeah. How’d you know?”
“Well, Read More
Community benefits agreements—contracts between real estate developers and grassroots organizations to provide jobs or housing for local residents—are popping up all over without anyone much agreeing what they are and what they should and can do. Aside from a handbook published last May by some of the people who created the Read More
No, not Iris Weinshall, as once widely rumored. The new head of the Alliance for Downtown New York, the largest business improvement district in the city, is Eric J. Deutsch, the president and CEO of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation, the Alliance announced today. The spot’s been open Read More
Talk about downtown office vacancies! Carl Weisbrod starts his new job as executive vice president for real estate, at downtown land moguls Trinity Church, on Monday, leaving headless the Alliance for Downtown New York, the largest business improvement district in the country.
An alliance spokesman assures The Real Estate that a Read More