The Air Up There
During the 1970s fiscal crisis, the city acquired significant quantities of property by way of owner abandonment and tax foreclosure, which it used in subsequent decades to subsidize affordable housing development. Virtually none of that land remains available today, however, and as we recently noted, the now-stratospheric cost of privately held land poses myriad obstacles to new affordable housing production, particularly in neighborhoods with good public schools, ready access to transportation and employment centers.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has prevailed in his bid to wring more affordable housing from Two Trees’ redevelopment of the Domino Sugar site on the Williamsburg waterfront, with the developer agreeing to add 40 more units—an additional 110,000 square feet—of affordable housing to the project. Of the project’s 2,200 units, 700 will now be affordable, or roughly 31.8 percent.
The move, which was seen as an aggressive gambit on the part of the de Blasio administration, sets a favorable tone for the mayor’s ambitious goal of building or preserving 200,000 units of affordable housing. It also signals that Mr. de Blasio’s top housing chiefs—deputy mayor Alicia Glen and city planning chair Carl Weisbrod—will push for similarly big affordable housing concessions from other developers.
In a city where library design seems to have taken on diminished significance in this budget-constrained era, with free-standing structures giving way to ground-floor condos in gleaming new towers, the Hunter’s Point library designed by Steven Holl and Chris McVoy stood as a literal beacon to bibliophiles. When plans were revealed in 2011, New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff lauded the design as “a striking expression of the continuing effort to shake the dust off of the city’s aging libraries and recast them as communal hubs.”
Were we Seattle-based doctors in the market for a Tribeca co-op, it would probably never occur to us to seek out an available unit inhabited most recently by a renowned architect and interior designer. But now that we think about it, that’s probably not such a bad way to go about things. Whether Linda E. Day conducted her search in quite so calculated a fashion we cannot say with certainty, but whatever the case, she’s just picked up Danish architect Thomas Juul-Hansen‘s old place at 138 Duane Street for $2.4 million, according to city records. Town Residential’s Susan Green and Brett Miles shared the listing.
SUNY agreement to enable the sale of LICH will mean a new round of RFPs. [CNY]
Couple finds pretty Park Slope one-bedroom for a mere $2,750 a month. [NYT]
Calhoun wants to modernize its landmarked UWS building. [WSR]
Man trying to stop $1 pizza on the LES clarifies that he hates all pizza, not just $1 pizza. [EVG]
The city has already filled 113,000 potholes, more than the last two years combined. [Crain's]
NYPD agrees to ensure humane treatment of the carriage horses. [Gothamist]
Also, defends right to break traffic laws when escorting the mayor around. [DNAinfo]
Prospect Park Alliance says that mechanical ice rink problems have been fixed. [NYDN]
City to remove children from two homeless shelters with excessive health and safety violations. [NYT]
MTA says it won’t remove homeless people from subways, just encourage them to leave. [DNAinfo]
Bachelor pad: Rupert Murdoch pays $57 M. for top four floors of One Madison. [WSJ]
Study finds that America’s most economically vibrant cities also have the worst inequality. [NYT]
This morning, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that a controversial restaurant will be allowed to open in Union Square Park, disappointing activists who had fought to negate a contract that the Parks Department had signed with a high-end seasonal restaurant.
The ruling, the result of an appeal filed by the city after a judge issued a temporary injunction against the restaurant in January, clears the way for the 200-seat, Chef Driven Market to open in the Park’s Northern pavilion.
In the 1980s and early 90s, when jazz greats Branford and Wynton Marsalis owned the townhouse at 374 Washington Avenue, no one dreamed that their then-gritty Clinton Hill neighborhood would soon be attracting private equity honchos and celebrity chefs. It’s debatable, really, whether your average New Yorker would even have heard the terms “private equity” and “celebrity chef” in 1983, when the Marsalis brothers acquired the house. But the state of affairs in Clinton Hill has changed; city records show that Aren and Aliya LeeKong—he a principal at the private equity firm KKR, she a chef and culinary creative director at the Michelin-starred Junoon—have picked up 374 Washington at the asking price of $3.75 million.
Home to diplomats and financial titans of yesteryear, Hollywood types and captains of industry, 1 Sutton Place South, a Candela structure dating to 1926, has ample reason to cling to tradition. “This is a very, very selective building,” June Gottlieb, a broker at Warburg Realty who has done work in the building, recently told The Observer. “It always has been. It still is. It always will be.” While other old-world co-ops like River House have relaxed once-unforgiving interview processes and begun to allow financing on purchases, 1 Sutton Place has remain unchanged. That all transactions at the building take place in cash reflects and perhaps facilitates the quiet and unflashy preferences of residents. “There is still a very elegant, understated stock of people in this building. They want to stay under the radar.” Not even the most reclusive co-op owner can hide from city records, though, and before long, the buyers of a unit in the “A line”—the building’s fanciest—last listed for $14 million and newly in contract, will be revealed. (Unless 1 Sutton does the unheard of and permits the buyer to use a limited liability corporation.)
Affordable Housing or Lack Thereof
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.
Seven years ago, when the Westside mega-development known as Hudson Yards was but a twinkle in the collective eye of real estate moguls and Bloomberg officiates, grumbling had already begun about inequality among the neighborhood’s residents. Those residents, of course, had yet to arrive. And the complaints seemed stranger still given that Hudson Yards had, Read More