On the Market: City’s Design Excellence Program Proves Costly; Spa Castle Shut Down

The Department of Sanitation salt shed in Hudson Yards cost more than twice the projected costs.

The Department of Sanitation salt shed in Hudson Yards cost more than twice the projected costs. Department of Design and Construction.

Negotiations between the de Blasio administration and the City Council over the mayor’s housing and zoning plans have intensified, Politico New Yorreports, with both sides hoping that a possible deal could come as early as this Friday.

Simultaneously, the mayor has been trying to build support for his plans among seniors, Politico also reports, highlighting the need for low-income senior housing at local senior centers.

Costs for projects that are part of the city’s Design Excellence Program—which hires elite architects for city buildings—have ballooned, DNAinfo reports.  “DDC sources told DNAinfo New York that the program’s emphasis on design, as well as a problematic budgeting process, have allowed these projects and others to go far over cost and fall behind schedule. ‘I love the program, but it’s gone off the rails, particularly with NYPD and Queens Library projects,’ ” a DDC insider told them.

Spa Castle has shut down indefinitely after the near-drowning of a 6-year-old girl in one of its pools, Crain’s reports. The girl was pulled from the bottom of the pool on Feb. 19 and is in serious condition but expected to survive; last year an 84-year-old man died in one of the pools at the facility, which has racked up a large number of health code violations. “The ensuing investigation found that the suction from the pool vents was “excessive,” with two pools at the facility having been modified without approval. Investigators also found the facility lacked suitable safety standards.”

The East Village’s Stage Restaurant, which shut down last year shortly after the nearby gas explosion, will not be re-opening due to the expenses incurred in the interim, including fighting charges that it, too, had been siphoning gas, Gothamist reports.

Real estate investment firm Premier Equities has put up a portfolio of buildings by E. 74th and Third Avenue for sale, according to Crain’s, testing the luxury residential market, which has cooled in recent months: “the most likely plan for the site is to raze two of the five buildings and erect a 95,000-square-foot residential tower, 20 or more stories tall, in their place. In that scenario, three of the existing buildings would be preserved.”

Meanwhile, in Soho, developer Kevin Maloney divided the $45 million triplex penthouse in his almost-finished development at 10 Sullivan Street into two units, in deference to the slowing luxury market, Bloomberg reports. He added that he would have divided it into three had the building not been as far along as it was. “We thought it was too expensive for the market and where the market was,” Maloney told them. “The air is very thin up there in that buyer pool.”

On the Market: City’s Design Excellence Program Proves Costly; Spa Castle Shut Down