In our recent profile of Gary Barnett, The Observer included a litany of things done by Extell that Mr. Barnett considers to be “the best.” It is easily his favorite phrase, so a number of these superlatives were left on the editing room floor—the piece would have been twice as long, otherwise.
One of those “bests” was 500 West 34th Street, previously known as the World Product Centre. “It’s the best site in all of Hudson Yards,” Mr. Barnett told us at the time. “It’s overlooking everything, and it’s right on top of the new subway.”
That is almost exactly what he told the Post‘s Steve Cuozzo in revealing that the project is back on. So singular is the project Extell is now calling it One Hudson Yards. As you can imagine, the developer across the street actually developing the 26-acre megadevelopment of the same name was none too pleased with the announcement.
Courtney Sale Ross may not be getting the full $60 million ask for her deluxe duplex apartment at 740 Park Avenue, but the sale will still set a record at $52 million, the highest price ever paid for a co-op.
While last week brought rumors that a buyer with deep-pockets had fallen in love with the sprawling apartment, The Journal reports that the feeling is mutual, and the famously picky co-op board has given the nod of approval, culminating in the signing of a $52 million contract.
It’s not only the bright, shiny and new buildings like 15 Central Park West and One57 that are topping the $50 million mark these days. Rumor has it that the massive 740 Park Avenue home of Courtney Sale Ross has found a buyer willing to pay the $60 million asking price
Gadabout Michael Gross, the author of the consummate book on the consummate building, reports that he’s heard from a reliable source that the unit, a deluxe duplex, has gone into contract for the full asking price.
Mr. Ross' Neighborhood
Steve Ross sure knows his way around City Hall (part of the reason he has become one of the most successful developers of his generation). From his start in affordable housing to megadevelopments like the Time Warner Center, Hunter’s Point South in Queens and Hudson Yards, Mr. Ross, chairman of the Related Companies, always seems to get just what he wants when the city is involved. One sore spot was the fight over the Kingsbridge Armory, in the Bronx, which was unexpectedly rejected by the City Council three years ago.
The fight centered around whether workers at the armory project, which was to receive a considerable amount of public subsidies, would have to be paid more than minimum wage, something labor unions were lobbying heavily for. That fight led to the eventual proposal of a living wage bill. In an unexpected, if unsurprising, twist, it now turns out City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has carved a portion of Hudson Yards out of the living wage bill, according to The Times.
While Walmart refuses to say if, when or where it might finally open a store within the five boroughs, one of its favored sites is the Related Company’s Gateway Center Mall in the far reaches of Brooklyn. The area is economically depressed, meaning the cheap jobs and cheap merchandise are (theoretically) desirable. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union sees Walmart jobs as junk, and they have been campaigning against the store since it resurfaced a two years ago.
Today, they made things personal, not just with Steve Ross, Related’s founder and CEO, but also his more than 7,200 tenants in the New York area.
Mayor Bloomberg has set an ambitious agenda for his final two years in office. No, not finally fixing the schools, reforming the pensions or redeveloping Willets Point. Those are the easy ones.
“You should know that Frank and I had a conversation backstage,” the mayor said at the opening of the Signature Theater today, “and we both committed to each other that we would get 10 more Frank Gehry projects going here—in the next 700 days. If my math is any good, Frank, that is one every 70 days, so we should meet some time later today to get going.”
New York has actually faired quite well in the Frank Gehry department.
The Observer is not sure which is worse: a Tommy Hilfiger-themed hotel or just another blasé Marriott. The fashion designer had planned to tranform the Madison Square icon into a red-white-and-blue boutique hotel before he backed out. A plan to turn the landmark into condos already failed, but the owners have found a new buyer who still wants a hotel overlooking Shake Shack.
This comes from a story in The Journal today about Mr. Ross’ efforts to launch a fund to invest in troubled banks. It did not pan out, but it did present the editors over on Sixth Avenue with perhaps their best photo-op since the paper’s controversial Elena Kagan cover.
Affordable Housing or Lack Thereof
The Related Companies is synonymous with flashy, glassy luxury apartment towers, from the sentinels of Columbus Circle to the Best Building downtown. But within this cool facade beats a caring heart.
It is one of the most mythic and elusive redevelopment projects in the city, the plan to restore at least some of Penn Station’s former glory with a new station inside the old Farley Post Office. But this train could be delayed for good.