Related to Build Giant West Side Tower With Theaters

Some marriages were meant to be.

Signature Theater Company has been something of an orphan of late, having been invited to, then booted out of a planned World Trade Center performing arts center last year. It has a home on the West Side, but has been looking for a bigger one in which to expand.

At the same time, the Related Companies has been hanging its head low since the Bloomberg administration and community members scoffed in 2006 at its plan to put a Cirque du Soleil theater in the base of a new West Side tower, thereby getting a special theater development "bonus" for the site. Related has since been looking for possible theater tenants, as no theater would mean no bonus, which would mean less development, which would mean less revenue.

Now the pair have found each other.

In the works for months, Related and Signature announced on Wednesday that the two companies have reached an agreement in which Signature would build three theaters at the base of a new 58-story residential and hotel tower at 42nd Street and 10th Avenue. (We have more background on this in an earlier story we did on the deal in July, when the sides had not yet reached an agreement.)

Assuming a small zoning modification goes through and the deal is finalized, as is expected by all sides, the Signature theaters will give Related bonus development rights of about 15 percent.

The deal was laid out at a Community Board 4 meeting last night, where representatives of both organizations spoke.

The $900 million project stands to be one of few moving forward at a time when new projects have come to a standstill amid turmoil on Wall Street and much tighter lending markets. Related reached financing deals for the project before the fiscal crisis hit, including more than $275 million in bonds related to low-income housing in the building.

Other details of note:

  • Signature’s $60 million new space will include two 199-seat theaters and one 299-seat theater, with the interior all designed by Frank Gehry. It is unclear how all of the money will be raised by the group, especially in tough economic times, though Related is giving Signature $16.6 million in below-market-rate loans (Related is also selling the theater space to Signature at a low cost).
  • Related said the foundation for the tower will be done in two months, and the Arquitectonica-designed building should start to open up in 2011.
  • The full-block tower is slated to have 774 units: 623 rental (163 below market rate) and 151 condos at the top.
Related to Build Giant West Side Tower With Theaters