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Kris
February 10th, 2003, 06:51 AM
February 10, 2003

Grand Vision for Remaking the West Side

By CHARLES V. BAGLI

Where some people see the far West Side of Manhattan as a low-slung district of tenements, small shops, warehouses and parking lots, the Bloomberg administration envisions a neighborhood transformed.

Tonight at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, city officials plan to publicly unveil an ambitious proposal to redevelop the area between Eighth Avenue and the Hudson River, from 28th Street to 42nd Street.

The plan, which would require billions of dollars in public investment, calls for a $1.5 billion subway extension, new office towers along 11th Avenue, opposite a greatly expanded convention center, and a commercial corridor stretching from Madison Square Garden on Seventh Avenue west to the Hudson River, between 30th and 34th Streets. A new boulevard with a tree-filled center median — similar to Park Avenue — would be built between 10th and 11th Avenues and run from 38th to 34th Street to help ease traffic congestion between office skyscrapers to the west and new apartment buildings to the east.

There would be a waterfront esplanade, ferry terminals at 38th and 34th Streets, hotels and residential buildings along 10th Avenue and small parks throughout the district, which now has few such amenities.

Some elements, like a $1.2 billion stadium over the West Side rail yards, have already generated resistance from local residents, business executives and politicians.

But the deputy mayor for economic development, Daniel L. Doctoroff, argues that the transformation of the West Side over the next several decades is critical to the city's future growth. If companies that are pressed for space in other areas of the city cannot expand when the economy rebounds, he said, their jobs will go to the suburbs in New Jersey and Connecticut. Many proposed public investments would also provide the foundation for Mr. Doctoroff's bid to bring the 2012 Summer Olympics to New York, though he says the plans are not dependent on New York's being chosen as the site of the Games.

"The West Side presents the best opportunity for the city to invest in its future and grow," Mr. Doctoroff said in an interview. "Our highest priority is to create jobs for people, to develop businesses and to provide places for people to live. There has not been a time in the city's history when relatively virgin areas did not grow and develop after the extension of mass transit and public investments. This is the best return on our investment we can get."

Development in the area has been hobbled, he said, by outdated manufacturing zoning and a lack of public transportation. To catalyze the vast development envisioned, the Bloomberg administration would overhaul the zoning and together with the state extend the No. 7 subway line from Times Square to 34th Street, where plans call for the establishment of a transit hub that would link the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North and the subways and would be several blocks west of Pennsylvania Station.

Plans also call for a $1 billion public investment to double the size of the convention center, to approximately 1.6 million square feet, by expanding it northward and linking it to the new stadium to the south, over the rail yards.

The planned Farley post office project would provide the link between the current site of Madison Square Garden and the stadium, which is proposed for a massive deck that would be built over the rail yards.

These projects, city officials said, would spur the private development of roughly 28 million square feet of office towers and thousands of apartments.

"This is an area where the public sector can make an investment," Mr. Doctoroff said, "and have it returned many times with new jobs and new businesses that generate an enormous amount of tax revenue."

The administration likens the potential effect of its proposal to how the construction of Grand Central Terminal in the late 1800's on a one-time rail yard and the sale of development rights over the tracks heading north sparked the development of the city's premier business district, along Madison, Park and Lexington Avenues.

But critics have questioned whether the city even needs a stadium and another business district, as well as how much commercial development such a district would generate.

Because the proposal is subject to the city's land-use review process and approval by the City Council, and because state assistance would be needed to expand the convention center and extend the subway line, the Bloomberg administration is waging an intensive campaign for official and public support as it also faces huge budget deficits and a recession.

City officials have been meeting privately with hotel and real estate executives, and officials from the hotel construction and restaurant unions, in an effort to sell what the city is calling the Hudson Yards Master Plan, to evoke the image of change coming to the rail yards rather than the entire neighborhood. And the word stadium has been banished in favor of "multi-use facility."

Not everyone is impressed.

"They've gone through a bunch of euphemisms," said Simone Sindin, the chairwoman of Community Board 4, which covers the West Side. "They've been instructed to drop the word stadium from their lips. I call it the 900-pound gorilla in the room."

The stadium, which would be built as an Olympic stadium and a home for the New York Jets football team, is the lightning rod for opposition to the plan, be it from local residents fearing the destruction of working-class housing in favor of tall towers, or Broadway theater operators who are worried that further traffic congestion will discourage patrons from coming to Times Square.

One opponent, State Senator Thomas K. Duane, has called for a "movement like the one that stopped Westway," a reference to a successful 10-year campaign against a $4 billion federal landfill and highway project along the Hudson River from the Battery to 59th Street. And John Fisher, a founder of the Clinton Special District Coalition, has organized a Web site for the opposition, www.hellskitchen.net .

Ms. Sindin complimented the City Planning Department for meeting with community leaders and incorporating some of their recommendations. But she has not been won over.

"One of the positives I see is that they're planning for a great swath of green to run southwest across the district," she said. "They've also added housing on the side streets between Ninth and 10th Avenues. But they're still married to the esplanade of skyscrapers along 11th Avenue. What does not impress me is the stadium. It doesn't belong here."

A business executive who is active in civic affairs and generally supports the West Side planning effort also questioned the wisdom of building a stadium there. "We should be planning for future growth in an orderly manner so that when the time for expansion comes we're not caught flat-footed," said the executive, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because he often deals with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. "But I think the stadium would be better elsewhere, like in Queens."

While the Jets have told the city they would be willing to finance much of the cost of a domed stadium, which could replace Madison Square Garden, taxpayers would still have to pay for the $250 million deck on which the stadium would be built.

Jonathan Bowles, research director of the Center for an Urban Future, a nonprofit urban planning group, says he doubts that the billions of dollars worth of infrastructure projects will spark the 30 million square feet of commercial development the Bloomberg administration foresees over the next 30 years.

"Their plans look great, with all the parks and esplanades," Mr. Bowles said. "But this is about office development. Economists see very little growth in the financial industry. If Wall Street isn't going to grow, will there be enough jobs created in the service sector?"

Mr. Doctoroff said the city's projections are based on a study of the historic growth of office buildings, hotels, retail and housing in the city by Cushman & Wakefield, a real estate firm, and Economics Research Associates, a consulting firm. He said that based on very conservative assumptions, the city estimates that from about 2010 through 2040 New York will need an additional one million square feet of commercial space and roughly 400 apartments each year on the West Side.

The city's plan estimates that the stadium would be completed in 2009 and the convention center in 2010, which alarms the hotel industry because it is far in the future.

"The industry is still focused on the Javits expansion as something that could be started almost immediately," said Jonathan M. Tisch, chairman of Loews Hotels and the city's convention and visitors bureau. "It might take a couple of years to build, but it would send a message to booking groups that New York City is serious."

Mr. Doctoroff has long said that the public investments would be recouped by the sale of development rights and new tax revenues from rising real estate values within the district, a phenomenon known as tax increment financing, or TIF. The redevelopment area would be the largest so-called TIF district in the country, but state officials have expressed some doubts about the marketing of bonds based on revenues expected from taxes based on increased property values. In any event, such revenues would not cover the $1 billion cost of expanding the convention center.

City and state officials have talked to hotel and tourism-related industries about a dedicated tax, say $1 per hotel per night, that could finance the center and a marketing budget. Mr. Doctoroff said the city was still revising its financial plan, which will be completed in six to eight weeks.

"The assumption remains that we'll finance this through incremental tax revenues generated as a result of our investment in infrastructure," Mr. Doctoroff said.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Kris
March 14th, 2003, 08:13 PM
March 11, 2003

Midtown's Final Frontier

Forty years isn't very long in the life of a city, but it's long enough to reinvent an entire district. So the Bloomberg administration hopes. Recently city officials, including Amanda Burden, head of the City Planning Commission, and a deputy mayor, Daniel L. Doctoroff, unveiled the Hudson Yards Master Plan, the city's vision for the redevelopment of Midtown West. Merely to walk out of the Javits Convention Center into the low dark streets that surround it is to understand why this section of the city, between 28th and 42nd Streets west of Eighth Avenue, is regarded as the last frontier in middle Manhattan.

No subways serve Hudson Yards. As the name suggests, much of the area is taken up by rail yards, parking lots and warehouses. The core of the Hudson Yards Master Plan is to extend and connect the transportation links that run nearby. This means, especially, an extension of the No. 7 subway line into the heart of the district. By itself, that would prompt a lot of development. But to their credit, city planners want to guide growth so the district becomes a coherent neighborhood, shaped by new streets, new open spaces and new public buildings.

Much of this plan makes sense. The Javits Center would expand northward and add a hotel that would give it access to 42nd Street. There would be serious efforts to bring the waterfront into play. On the other hand, the city's plan to create a double row of skyscrapers flanking 11th Avenue unfortunately recalls the street-level dreariness of the Avenue of the Americas in Midtown.

But for now, the big question is the "multi-use facility," which still amounts to a stadium, possibly for the Olympics and certainly for the Jets. Officials have said that the Hudson Yards plan does not depend on the stadium, but they also argue that the logic of the redevelopment design makes much less sense without it. Its feasibility will clearly depend on two things, a financing plan that does not depend on public money and a way of making "multi-use" more than a euphemism. No one wants a publicly financed hulk that sits empty most of the time and floods the city with traffic when it is being used.

The plan will have to compete with the city's other big redevelopment program, the plan to rebuild the World Trade Center site. There is not enough money now to move ahead on both fronts, and there is just as obviously a pressing emotional and civic need to make sure that ground zero comes first. Phasing is a word we are all going to learn the nuances of in the next few years. One of the virtues of the Hudson Yards Master Plan is that its phasing takes us all the way to 2040.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Kris
March 29th, 2003, 07:45 AM
March 30, 2003

Far West Side: a Vision of the Far Future

By DAVID W. DUNLAP

http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2003/03/30/realestate/30COV.468.jpg
Rendering of the proposed Jets stadium shows the two panels making up the retractable roof.

"This project, more than any other, is the single best investment in our future that this city can make," Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff told a planning conference at Baruch College last month.

He was not talking about the World Trade Center site.

Instead, he was talking about the far West Side, where the Bloomberg administration envisions some 28 million square feet of commercial development and 12 million square feet of residential development by midcentury.

Radiating from a plaza at 11th Avenue and 33rd Street would be an exoskeletal stadium, arena and exposition hall to serve the New York Jets and, if the city lands them, the 2012 Olympics; a new four-block-long boulevard lined with very large office towers and apartment buildings; a transportation hub reached by an extended No. 7 subway line; and an expanded Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

In the name "Hudson Yards" and features like the plaza and the new boulevard between 10th and 11th Avenues, the project can be traced to Mr. Doctoroff's campaign to lure the Olympics, which began in 1996 and involved Alexander Garvin, who now directs planning for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. The Olympic bid meshed with the Giuliani administration's hope of redeveloping the area as an extension of Midtown, an effort that needed a catalyst. The current project is an alloy of these plans, said Vishaan Chakrabarti, director of the City Planning Department's Manhattan office.

Zoning details are evolving. "We have all the ingredients, but I don't know what the bouillabaisse is going to be yet," said Alexander Cooper of Cooper, Robertson & Partners, design consultants to the planning department and the Economic Development Corporation, with Arquitectonica and the Olin Partnership.

Even in broad outline, the Hudson Yards project has already attracted criticism for the gigantism and density of the buildings that might result, for the novelty of its $3 billion economic underpinnings, for the prospect that it will divert municipal resources from more urgent needs and for the possibility that it would disrupt and displace residents and small businesses in Clinton and Chelsea.

Mr. Doctoroff is pressing ahead, however. In an interview on Monday, as the dimensions of the Iraq war were becoming evident, he conjured up the construction of Central Park during the Civil War and the Empire State Building during the Depression. "What really defines this city," he said, "is the ability at critical junctures to take fear, to take tragedy, to take economic woe and channel it into the accomplishment of magnificent achievements that truly set a different course for the city."

One tangible sign of a new course locally is Hudson Crossing, a 15-story, 259-unit apartment building at Ninth Avenue and 37th Street that will open next month. A lottery for 52 apartments set aside for lower-income tenants attracted about 4,000 applicants. Rents for the market-rate apartments begin at $1,495 for a studio.

"Olympics or no Olympics, the city has obviously decided that the whole area is going to be redeveloped," said William P. Dickey of the Dermot Company, developers of the $74 million Hudson Crossing.

Mr. Dickey, a Bronx native who was formerly a partner in the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore and then a managing director of Credit Suisse First Boston, founded Dermot in 1991, naming the company for his father, Joseph Dermot Dickey. The name now does the double duty of honoring his brother, Joseph Jr., who perished at the World Trade Center in the Sept. 11 attack.

Although Hudson Crossing is Dermot's only project in the immediate area, the company was designated this month by the Housing Preservation and Development Department to build 600 units on two city-owned parcels on 10th Avenue, between 51st and 53rd Streets. Dermot owns buildings in Washington Heights and Astoria, Queens, and is planning 400 new units in Queens.

Dermot is associated in three projects with the A.F.L.-C.I.O. Building Investment Trust and the A.F.L.-C.I.O. Housing Investment Trust. In the case of Hudson Crossing, the building trust has made a $25 million equity investment, while the housing trust has purchased $10 million in Housing Development Corporation bonds. "Our focus is on housing because the need is so great," said Marcie Cohen, senior vice president of the housing investment trust.

Construction is running about two months ahead of schedule and may cost about $4 million less than budgeted. The chunky red-brick structure was designed by H. Thomas O'Hara. It has 5,300 square feet of retail space and a 166-stall garage.

Prospective tenants are largely in their 20's and 30's, said Stephen N. Benjamin, a principal in Dermot. "We felt this neighborhood had great promise, given its proximity to most of the jobs in Midtown," he said. "Frankly, we thought the only thing it lacked was comprehensive zoning that would encourage new development."

Hudson Crossing was built on a strip of Ninth Avenue that is already zoned for residential development. Most of the area to the west, around the Long Island Rail Road's John D. Caemmerer yards, is zoned for manufacturing. The predominant allowable density is a floor-area ratio of five to one; that is, five square feet of floor space for every square foot of land on the site.

THE Hudson Yards plan would create a high-density spine between 10th and 11th Avenues, with floor-area ratios that might range from 15 to 18 per square foot of land. This zone would extend like two arms around a medium-density area between Eighth and 10th Avenues, 33rd and 40th Streets, with a floor-area ratio of 7.5 to 10. In the center would be a lower-density district along Ninth Avenue, from 34th to 39th Streets, carrying a ratio of 6 to 7.5.

Potentially higher density, up to a floor-area ratio of 21.6, is being considered for sites closest to the proposed transportation hub at 11th Avenue and 34th Street, where the No. 7 subway line would extend beyond its current terminus at Times Square, perhaps linked to platforms for L.I.R.R. and even Metro-North Railroad trains. This very high density might also be applied to the current site of Madison Square Garden on Eighth Avenue, if the Garden moves out.

Such density is "required to accommodate long-term growth," Mr. Chakrabarti said, and is also tied to the public financing of the subway extension, new streets and parks, and the vast platform over the Caemmerer yards on which the Jets stadium would sit, through the transfer of development rights and the use of tax-increment financing. This financing technique earmarks tax revenues from increased property values to cover the debt on bonds used to pay for the infrastructure that induces new development. "If you had less density, you couldn't fund the No. 7 line or the parks," Mr. Chakrabarti said. "The density creates the revenue stream that allows you to fund the infrastructure improvements."

A financing plan should be ready by the end of April or early May, Mr. Doctoroff said. He once called for a Hudson Yards Development Authority with the power to issue bonds, acquire land, and hold and sell development rights, but now declines to be any more specific than to say that a "city-state partnership is critical."

"There is no single investment, in our view, that we can make in infrastructure in this city that earns such a high rate of return," Mr. Doctoroff said, without indicating what that would be, other than "multiples" of the $3 billion public investment.

But opponents of the project, like John Fisher of the Clinton Special District Coalition, ask what will happen if the city's assumptions prove wrong. "When you add debt on more debt, that causes interest rates to go up," he said. "The whole financial plan is a diversion of tax money that's not going to be available to the city budget.

"There is no way to print money," Mr. Fisher said. "It's all smoke and mirrors."

And, he added, intense redevelopment is simply not necessary. "They're pretending this area is empty," Mr. Fisher said. "It's not Park Avenue. But it's not empty. It's full of tax-producing businesses. You may not like a parking lot, but you need it."

In contrast, property owners in the 34th Street Partnership look at the parking lots and railyards as conveying a sense of abandonment, said Daniel A. Biederman, president of the partnership, which administers a business improvement district that runs to 10th Avenue. They generally feel "highly positive" about the Hudson Yards project, he said, but cannot foresee commercial rents reaching the levels necessary to prompt development until about a decade of steady market improvement.

That is roughly when city officials assume the first office tower will get under way on the far West Side. "We feel very comfortable that's not taking away from other important development priorities; in many ways most importantly, Lower Manhattan," Mr. Doctoroff said. "First of all, Lower Manhattan hopefully will be more or less built out 10 to 12 years from now."

An environmental impact statement on Hudson Yards is to be finished in the spring of 2004, when the project would go into land-use review, meaning that it could reach the City Council later that year. If it were approved, construction of the No. 7 line and the railyard platform might begin in 2005.

NO one expects the review to go smoothly, given the fears of neighbors that a stadium will flood the area with traffic and wall off the waterfront with its gargantuan scale. (The structure would be 600 feet across, 800 feet long and about 300 feet tall at the uppermost parapets, roughly equal to a 25 to 30 story building.) Critics are unpersuaded by an assurance from L. Jay Cross, the president of the Jets, based on polls of the patrons and studies of comparable stadiums elsewhere, that at least 70 percent of season ticket holders would use mass transit.

"I wish the city's plan was not inextricably linked to the stadium," said Councilwoman Christine C. Quinn. "It seems as though the city has carried over Mayor Giuliani's commitment to the stadium and then backed into a zoning plan."

Borough President C. Virginia Fields has offered a plan in which the Caemmerer yards would be covered by apartment towers of 30 stories along 11th Avenue, with a park to the west. Paul Buckhurst of Buckhurst Fish & Jacquemart, which prepared the plan, said, "It seemed to us that having 5,000 units with views of a park might be, from a planning standpoint, a slightly saner use than an enclosed stadium."

But since the mid-90's, city officials have seen the stadium as the catalyst for larger redevelopment. "While the media played it mostly about the stadium, it was really about the growth of the city," said Joseph B. Rose, the planning commission chairman under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

The first talk was of a new Yankee Stadium. However, Mr. Doctoroff recalled his concern that a baseball stadium could not win approval. "Baseball teams play 81 home games, many of them at 7 o'clock on a weekday night," he said. "And, of course, there was the issue of wrenching the Yankees out of their historic home."

By contrast, the Jets' lease at Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands has six years to run and they would play 10 home games a year. That opened the possibility of a structure that could be used by the Olympics, as an adjunct to Javits and perhaps by Madison Square Garden, leaving the Garden's current site available for redevelopment.

In 2000, Robert Wood Johnson IV, the new owner of the Jets, brought Mr. Cross to New York from Miami, where he had helped develop the American Airlines Arena for the Miami Heat, also in the face of opposition.

"The Jets knew that to build their stadium, they would have to push very hard in the arena of public opinion and they decided to pump up the architectural vision," Raymond W. Gastil wrote in "Beyond the Edge: New York's New Waterfront" (Princeton Architectural Press, 2002).

The design of the $1 billion stadium is unlike the poured-concrete bunkers of the 1970's and the nostalgic brick ballparks of more recent vintage. Instead, it is a starkly industrial-looking steel structure, with an array of wind turbines along the top, that is meant to evoke the pier sheds along the Hudson and the towers of the George Washington Bridge, Mr. Cross said. The architects are Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, working with Heinlein Schrock Stearns, specialists in sports design. The engineers are Thornton-Tomasetti and Flack & Kurtz.

The structure would extend from 11th to 12th Avenue, 30th to 33rd Street. It would have a retractable roof and movable seats. With the stands opened to their fullest extent, some 70,000 spectators could be accommodated. With the stands compressed, a 20,000-seat arena would be created, adjoining a 120,000-square-foot exposition hall. At such times, the roof would be closed.

Mr. Cross said the structure would probably be used 14 times a year as a stadium, 55 times as an arena and 40 times as an exposition hall. The site can also accommodate 640,000 square feet of underground space that might be used as a truck marshaling area for Javits or as a new home for the city tow pound, freeing up Pier 76.

To bring crowds across 10th and 11th Avenues, the Jets propose to reuse parts of the High Line, the abandoned New York Central viaduct that runs north from Gansevoort Street and across 30th Street into the Caemmerer yards. While the Giuliani administration sought to demolish the High Line, its preservation and adaptation has been embraced by Deputy Mayor Doctoroff.

A design competition sponsored by the Friends of the High Line is open for submissions until April 25. It is the latest in a series of planning exercises for the far West Side, including 13 community-based proposals put forward last year by the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association and the Design Trust for Public Space.

In 1999, the International Foundation for the Canadian Center for Architecture sponsored a $100,000 prize competition for the redesign of the area. Peter Eisenman won with his proposal for an undulating, low-rise megastructure with a rooftop park covering a new Garden and Javits extension.

Phyllis Lambert, the founding director of the center, said at the time that the plan was "eminently realizable." But now she says that construction of the winning entry was not the point, but rather focusing architectural attention on a neglected precinct. "To me, the most important thing about the site is that this is public land," she said. "And New York needs more public space."

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

NoyokA
March 29th, 2003, 11:53 AM
It might be the sunset, but I am impressed with the rendition, its iconic, its very New York.

Fabb
March 29th, 2003, 01:47 PM
THE Hudson Yards plan would create a high-density spine between 10th and 11th Avenues, with floor-area ratios that might range from 15 to 18 per square foot of land. This zone would extend like two arms around a medium-density area between Eighth and 10th Avenues, 33rd and 40th Streets, with a floor-area ratio of 7.5 to 10. In the center would be a lower-density district along Ninth Avenue, from 34th to 39th Streets, carrying a ratio of 6 to 7.5.



This is ridiculous.
No wonder Manhattan has a virtual height limit of 750 ft.
These regulations are doing more harm than good.

billyblancoNYC
March 30th, 2003, 03:18 AM
Yeah, when are they gonna realize, a 750 ft building does no more "harm" then a 1000 footer.

Damnit, this is annoying, but 10000 times better than what is there now.

Kris
February 5th, 2004, 10:25 AM
City Hall Seeking Brand-New Avenue Between 10th, 11th

by Blair Golson

Lost in the brouhaha over the Jets stadium and the Bloomberg administration’s plan for a revitalized West Side is a broad swath of privately owned buildings in the 30’s and 40’s that the city wants to demolish to make room for a broad, park-like boulevard.

Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff’s ambitious plan calls for the city to invoke eminent domain to clear away the middle of every block from 33rd Street to 42nd Street, between 10th and 11th avenues, in order to create this long, landscaped, car-free Champs Elysées. Mr. Doctoroff, the city’s deputy mayor for economic development, hopes to see tall office buildings and residential towers sprout up along both sides of the park.

"Creating this mid-block boulevard, we believe, will create a signature address for the commercial and residential development that will occur on either side of it," Mr. Doctoroff said, "as well as a spectacular park in a neighborhood that basically has none."

And were it not for one pesky building, he would be looking at the easiest land grab since the city took Robert Moses’ bulldozers away from him.

Federal Express, the international shipping company, is gearing up for a fight over its World Service Center, which stands in the path of the wrecking ball.

The shipping company doesn’t own the building in which it is housed, a 65,000-square-foot facility at 528 West 34th Street. However, over the last 15 years, FedEx has put $54 million worth of renovations into the facility, and sources in Community Board 4, which represents that district, said that FedEx has told them it would cost upwards of $140 million to relocate.

A representative of FedEx’s landlord, a family that has owned the building for three generations, wrote in a June 16 letter to the city that seizing the site would put in jeopardy 1,000 full- and part-time jobs.

"In reviewing the impact of the Hudson Yards rezoning and as laudable as open space uses are, one must be concerned that this City continues to provide employment to all economic strata," wrote Richard Bass, a senior real-estate analyst at the law firm Herrick, Feinstein. "Sacrificing jobs for open space at this particular site is not the right decision."

Mr. Doctoroff conceded that the FedEx facility was the "largest single piece" that his office will have to deal with when it comes time to begin formally negotiating with landlords.

Path Of Least Resistance

The city hasn’t publicly disclosed exactly which—or how many—buildings are standing in its way. (Nor will Mr. Doctoroff release an estimate of how much he expects all the condemnations to cost. Suffice it to say, however, that the city stands to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to landowners who lose their properties in the ambitious move.)

But an examination of the proposed route for the boulevard, compared with a tax map of the neighborhood, yields a fairly detailed picture of who and what will be affected by the park.

In all, the city appears to have carved a route of least resistance. Much of the park wends through aging and unused railyards, in addition to small, squat buildings with little aesthetic appeal. There are, of course, exceptions.

About 60 small-sized businesses stand in the way of the wrecking ball, but about 40 of those have short-term leases in one office building; and many of them don’t expect to be around in 2007, the earliest that construction could realistically start.

The most established businesses include a Red Cross facility, a high-end catering company, a small advertising firm, a convenience deli, a pipe manufacturer and an auto-body shop.

At least 31 rental housing units are in the way. Of those, about 25 are in a new luxury loft building, and six are located in an aging walk-up building.

Five large businesses will also have to go. They are the FedEx facility, another package-delivery service called Velocity Express, a Best Western hotel, the office building housing the 40 companies, and Splashlight Studios, a high-end, newly renovated photo studio.

Of these, the most problematic for the city is the FedEx facility, which has informally sent word that it intends to fight any eminent-domain proceeding, in which the city acquires privately held properties in the name of public good.

Another interesting negotiation may yet play out between the city and New York Waterway president Alfred E. Imperatore. Arcorp Properties, a real-estate company of which Mr. Imperatore is a principal, owns the three aging railyard lots that the city hopes to use to create its new West Side boulevard.

Separately, Mr. Imperatore’s company was served with a federal subpoena in April in connection with an investigation into whether New York Waterway inflated the ferry-service bills that it sent the Port Authority in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. At the time, the company issued a statement saying that it was cooperating fully with the Justice Department and "was confident his inquiry will confirm our good work."

The Port Authority couldn’t be reached by press time to comment on the investigation, and Mr. Imperatore’s spokesman said that there has been no development beyond the company’s April statement that he could address.

According to a spokesman, Mr. Imperatore purchased the lots some 20 years ago, and they have gone unused since then. Right now, Mr. Imperatore is keeping his plans for the properties quiet, perhaps to maintain some bargaining leverage with the city.

"We are aware of the city’s plan for the site and hope to achieve an equitable resolution so this exciting project can go forward," said the spokesman, Pat Smith of Rubenstein Associates.

West Side Settlements

On the whole, the small business owners and landlords in the area seem resigned to the city’s plan. Most said they felt certain that they would be able to negotiate a reasonably fair settlement with the city for the price of their properties, and none made any serious mention of a fight.

Ken Bookspan has owned a two-story commercial building at 527 West 36th Street for 35 years, where, until about five years ago, he ran a profitable building-materials company. He now rents it out to a similar company. Mr. Bookspan said he doesn’t want to stand in the way of progress; he just wants to make sure that he gets a fair price for his property.

"I’m a gentleman who’s 60 years old," he said. "It’s my retirement package. All I want is not to be screwed …. I don’t feel like going to court for the next 10 years."

Bill Ashe has owned his warehouse at 534 West 35th Street since 1979. Mr. Ashe, a commercial photographer, used the building as his studio, mainly to shoot cars. He first heard about the park when city officials sent him a letter this summer, informing him that they needed to check his premises for hazardous materials that might cause a snag in the park’s development. (Mr. Doctoroff said that every owner received such a letter and that the city has, to this point, opened a dialogue with about 40 percent of them.)

"If the eminent domain is a fair and reasonable thing, it might be a good idea, because someone is going to make a lot of money from this park," said Mr. Ashe. "Sadly, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be me."

One business owner who is not so sanguine about the city’s boulevard is Henry Geddes, the president of Splashlight Studios. Four years ago, after his father bought the building at 535 West 35th Street, Mr. Geddes commenced a multimillion-dollar renovation of the now-gleaming, handsome, two-story white-brick building. He said it is now arguably one of the two or three highest-end photo studios in the city, and hosts weekly shoots for magazine covers along with the occasional fashion-show event.

Mr. Geddes said his concern stems from the fact that although the city compensates landlords for their buildings, it only provides moving costs for businesses that hold leases in those buildings. So while his family, which owns the building, will probably end up all right, his business, which only finished its renovation around the beginning of 2002, may be unable to re-establish itself after the eviction.

"I’m trying to build up a brand, and they’re taking the legs out from underneath me," he said. "Every business owner who is not a landowner is going to be hurting."

Before anything happens, the Mayor’s West Side plan has to undergo the standard advisory procedure, dubbed ULURP (for "uniform land-use review procedure"). Once the application has been certified by the City Planning Commission (slated for this spring), Community Board 4 will review it and make a written recommendation. The borough president will then review the plan and submit a written recommendation back to the C.P.C., which in turn will re-review the application before sending it to the City Council and, finally, along to the Mayor.

Sources in City Hall estimate that the city won’t be able to break ground on the project for at least several years.

To date, the local community board has not taken a stance on the issue of the boulevard, saying it is too early in the process for any judgment. But the board’s district manager, Anthony Borelli, said he is drafting an initial-outreach letter to local landowners "as we speak."

Many of the potentially affected landlords have a similar wait-and-see attitude.

"I hope that it will be resolved peacefully," said Richard Quad, manager of Quadrille Realty, a two-story building at 517 West 36th Street. "We were expecting the Olympics, the Jets stadium, the No. 7 subway line. We’ve been expecting something—what, we don’t know yet. We’ll leave it in God’s hands."

—additional reporting by John Gallagher

You may reach Blair Golson via email at: bgolson@observer.com.

This column ran on page 1 in the 2/16/2004 edition of The New York Observer.

dbhstockton
February 5th, 2004, 11:21 AM
I was wondering about that...

Kris
February 9th, 2004, 02:35 AM
February 9, 2004

City Set to Create West Side Development Unit

By THE NEW YORK TIMES

Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff and the city's Office of Management and Budget are expected to announce this week the creation of a Hudson Yards Development Corporation to oversee the redevelopment of the far West Side of Manhattan, according to state and city officials.

The city will also announce the hiring of three investment banks as financial advisers and underwriters for the West Side project, the officials said. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's administration has drawn up plans for the transformation of the West Side over the next 30 years, with a stadium, hotels and new zoning to promote the development of 28 million square feet of office space and about 15,000 apartments.

But according to the officials, the announcement, which could come as early as Wednesday, will deal with only one of three elements of the city's financing plan for the West Side: financing for a $2.5 billion plan to extend the No. 7 subway line west along 42nd Street and south on 11th Avenue to 34th Street; building a deck over the eastern rail yard between 10th and 11th Avenues; and condemnation of land in the area and the creation of public parks.

That part of the project would be financed through the sale of development rights and zoning bonuses, which allow a developer to build a structure larger than normally permitted, as well as payments in lieu of taxes from developers who commit to the West Side.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

billyblancoNYC
February 9th, 2004, 12:12 PM
Wish there was more than 15K units of residential, though. Maybe 25-35K?

Kris
February 11th, 2004, 11:53 PM
February 12, 2004

$3.7 Billion Plan to Alter Far West Side Is Unveiled

By CHARLES V. BAGLI

City officials unveiled a long-awaited plan yesterday to borrow $3.7 billion to transform the far West Side of Manhattan with an extended subway line, parks and a deck over a railyard where office buildings and a cultural institution could be built.

In a related move, Charles A. Gargano, chairman of the development corporation for the nearby Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, is to announce a conceptual plan today to expand the center to about 1.3 million square feet of exhibition space from 720,000 square feet, city and state officials said. The convention center would be linked to a proposed $1.5 billion stadium for the New York Jets. The state is continuing work on a design and a financial plan for the Javits expansion.

At City Hall yesterday, Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff and Mark Page, the director of the city's Office of Management and Budget, said the city had hired Goldman Sachs & Company, J. P. Morgan Chase & Company and Bear Stearns & Company to act as senior underwriters for the bond offering. The bonds, they said, would be paid off through the sale of development rights and zoning bonuses on the West Side, and tax revenues from new projects.

Mr. Doctoroff said the extension of the No. 7 subway line from Times Square to 11th Avenue and 34th Street, the deck over the railyard and new streets and parks would open up the West Side to development that is "absolutely critical to the future of New York City." Mr. Page said the city would ultimately issue about $2.8 billion in long-term bonds and about $900 million in "commercial paper," or short-term debt.

The city's announcement dealt with one of three elements of its financing plan for the West Side. The Bloomberg administration is developing a plan to rezone the area, from 27th Street to 43rd Street, to encourage the creation of 28 million square feet of office space and 12,000 apartments over the next 30 years. Many community groups have already formed a coalition opposing the plans, which they say would "bulldoze" a vibrant neighborhood.

In the coming weeks, the city and the state are expected to announce the two other pieces of the financing plan: the $1.4 billion expansion of the Javits center, and $600 million in public funds for a football stadium for the Jets, which would also serve as an Olympic stadium if the city wins its bid for the 2012 Summer Games. The Jets have committed to investing $800 million in the 75,000-seat stadium.

The announcements are propelled by the Jets' need to build a new stadium before the lease runs out on their current home in the New Jersey Meadowlands and the city's need to show some progress on the stadium before July 2005, when the International Olympic Committee will select the host for the 2012 games.

Mr. Doctoroff said he expected the West Side redevelopment to generate about $16 billion in revenues by 2035 to pay bondholders. But before those revenues materialize, about $1.7 billion will be needed to build the subway extension alone.

"Repayment is being tied to a stream of revenues that won't exist for at least a decade and which ultimately may or may not be sufficient," said Ronnie Lowenstein, director of the Independent Budget Office. Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, a founder of the Hell's Kitchen-Hudson Yards Coalition, also questioned aspects of the financial plan, which will bypass the City Council and be under the control of a public authority. He called "the idea of raising billions by selling development rights and then putting the money in an off-budget fund'' administered by that authority "an extraordinary departure from democratic government. A huge chunk is being siphoned off for a one-stop subway line for a stadium that should not be approved."

But the Regional Plan Association applauded the efforts to do "what it takes" to finance badly need infrastructure.

"This is a comprehensive, long-term strategy for a part of New York," said Richard T. Anderson, president of the New York Building Congress. "I haven't seen anything like it in my 40 years in the business."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

billyblancoNYC
February 13th, 2004, 02:02 AM
Newsday...

Javits Center Almost Doubles In Expansion Plan

By RICHARD PYLE

February 12, 2004

NEW YORK -- Business leaders spelled out plans Thursday to almost double the size of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, enabling the glass-walled complex to compete for dozens of prestigious trade shows and other events that now go to Las Vegas, Chicago and other cities.

The plan would extend the Manhattan facility over 10 blocks near the Hudson River in two phases _ first, southward to connect with a proposed new stadium for the New York Jets football team at 33rd Street, then north as far as 42nd Street.

The plan, adding hundreds of thousands of square feet of convention space, would cost an estimated $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion for the first phase alone, said Charles Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corp. The investment probably would be enough to finance the second part, he added.

Phase one could take five to six years, but its promised completion would draw conventions and trade shows that must plan annual meetings several years in advance, Gargano said. Most conspicuously absent are professional, medical and scientific groups.

Designed by the famed architect I.M. Pei and opened in 1986, the Javits center covers five blocks of Manhattan's scruffy Hell's Kitchen district between 34th and 39th streets and 11th and 12th avenues, adjoining the city's Hudson rail yards. At 814,000 square feet, it ranks 14th in size among the nation's convention centers.

Chicago's McCormick Place is the country's biggest convention center, at more than 2 million square feet.

Gargano and John Tisch, chairman of NYC & Company, a tourism development group, told tourism executives at a Brooklyn luncheon that years of stalled efforts to enlarge the Javits center had cost the city and state millions of dollars in potential income from conventions and visitor spending on hotels, food and entertainment.

Tisch said more than 60 of the nation's largest trade associations and other groups that hold annual conventions bypass New York because the Javits facility is too small and severely lacks meeting rooms and ballrooms essential for such gatherings.

Javits has 18 square feet of exhibit space to each square foot of meeting rooms, compared with a 5-to-1 ratio in most rival convention centers. The expansion plan calls for a more than tenfold increase in Javits' meeting spaces.

Gargano said the project, as part of a general upgrading of Manhattan's economically depressed West Side, had the strong support of Gov. George Pataki and city leaders, who are promoting the stadium as vital to New York's bid for the 2012 summer Olympics.

"There have been too many delays in expanding Javits," Gargano said, to smatterings of applause. "This is a vision that I pledge to you will become a reality."

While overall financial arrangements are yet to be resolved, Gargano said, the project should finance itself from increased revenues from the first phase of expansion.

The stadium, to be built by the Jets for $800 million, would have a special deck, paid for separately, as part of the Javits expansion _ to be used when the sports facility is idle.

The plans also envision an extension of a crosstown subway line to the far West Side, which has no subway connection at present, and a 50-story, 1,500-room hotel adjoining the northern end of the expanded Javits center.

billyblancoNYC
February 13th, 2004, 02:03 AM
More info here...

http://www.javitscenter.com/expansion.htm

billyblancoNYC
February 13th, 2004, 02:04 AM
Now, this would make it #3 after CHI and LV (CHI is planning another expansion now, I think). Is this large enough? Does anyone know if the old section will be reclad, or left alone? This is crazy, but how would a tunnel (a la the WTC) be next to the Jets and Javits... right to the park and water?

NYatKNIGHT
February 13th, 2004, 11:06 AM
...how would a tunnel (a la the WTC) be next to the Jets and Javits... right to the park and water?
It's not a tunnel.

http://www.newyorkgames.org/files/images/AIA/02a.JPG

billyblancoNYC
February 13th, 2004, 12:06 PM
Oh yeah, forgot about that platform deal. I like it. It's only for the stadium, though. Should be to the end of the Javits.

TLOZ Link5
February 13th, 2004, 01:08 PM
From the Javits Center website

http://www.javitscenter.com/IMAGES/slide33.jpg

Kris
February 27th, 2004, 11:26 AM
Swap for No. 7 Line

Plan would save MTA most of the $2B for extension

BY GRAHAM RAYMAN AND JOSHUA ROBIN
STAFF WRITERS

February 27, 2004

The city wants the MTA to hand over part of its Hudson River rail yards for development in exchange for City Hall footing the bulk of the $2-billion bill for extending the No. 7 train to the West Side.

Such a deal for the rail yards, whose development value is estimated at $1.7 billion, would not involve any money changing hands directly, officials say.

Instead, city documents detail the Bloomberg administration's view that building atop the rail yards, combined with the shift of development rights from the site to parcels along 10th Avenue, will help pay for the subway extension at a hugely reduced cost to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

"There is no specific payment for use of the rail yards assumed in the plan for the West Side," said Doug Turetsky, a spokesman for the city's Independent Budget Office. "They're framing it as the extension of the No. 7 is the payment, so to speak, for their right to build over the rail yards."

The subway extension is a cornerstone of the mayor's plan to redevelop the area near the Javits Convention Center, where he wants to place a football stadium for the New York Jets, an extension of the convention center and several new apartment and office buildings.

The parties are negotiating terms of the proposed handover of the East rail yard.

MTA chairman Peter Kalikow has appeared willing, but not eager, to extend the No. 7 train and has said the agency would sell its property only for fair market value.

Yesterday, he appeared to alter his stance when told that proceeds of the sale would be used for the subway extension.

"We think that, in the end, there'll be a process that they'll be satisfied with and we'll be satisfied with," Kalikow said.

MTA spokesman Tom Kelly said later that Kalikow's initial policy had not changed.

The plan, and private negotiations surrounding it, has prompted some elected officials to complain that the MTA might be giving up an opportunity to fund projects more popular than the No. 7 extension.

If the agency sold to another entity or developed the site itself, the thinking goes, it could use the proceeds to defray the cost of the popular Second Avenue subway or pay off mounting deficits expected next year.

"The question is 'Is the 7 extension the highest priority for the MTA?'" said city Councilwoman Christine Quinn, who represents the area.

"The city has said the MTA gets the 7 without having to pay for it, but if they are taking $2 billion of development rights away from the MTA, then it's costing the MTA almost $2 billion," added Assemb. Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), who has represented the area since 1970.

The city's plan comes as Bloomberg is asking the MTA to help pay for another costly transportation need: seven private bus lines mostly serving riders living outside Manhattan. Bloomberg has unsuccessfully pressed the agency for months to take control of the lines, which would save the city millions in yearly subsidies. The parties are negotiating the transfer.

City and MTA officials stress that no final agreement has been made on the West Side development rights.

"Any agreement that we reach with the state will be announced as part of the financing agreement for the entire convention corridor," said Jennifer Falk, a mayoral spokeswoman.

Officials also said the MTA, not just the city, would benefit from the West Side development. Said one high-ranking state official: "The economic activity will create taxes that will ultimately go to the MTA."

Plus, the official added: "They're getting a subway line for free."

The big deal

In a proposal currently under negotiation ...

... the MTA would convey to the city the East Rail Yard, which the city values at $1.7 billion.

The city sells development rights to developers for the rail yard itself, and sells remaining development rights for the site to developers of parcels along 10th Avenue.

The money goes into a district improvement fund that pays off the cost of the No. 7 subway extension and other infrastructure.

Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.

billyblancoNYC
February 27th, 2004, 04:12 PM
http://www.nypost.com/realestate

HUSTLER CLUB FOR FAR W. SIDE

By LOIS WEISS

February 27, 2004 -- Larry Flynt is close to opening an upscale Hustler Club on Manhattan's West Side, which could become the next hangout for athletes and celebrities.

As The Post first reported, the club was being built on the site of the former Stingray Club on 51st St. next to the West Side Highway. The new building backs onto an old carriage horse stable that was purchased as part of the original deal.

The porn king's plans had been shrouded in secrecy while the club was under construction, but this week neon signs went up touting Larry Flynt's Hustler Club.

The Big Apple venture is the latest for Flynt, who opened a similar club in Beverly Hills in December and has venues in San Francisco, Paris and New Orleans.

The city venture is sponsored by a Connecticut businessman. Flynt did not return calls for comment placed through his attorney.

Kris
March 8th, 2004, 02:06 PM
New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com

Smut peddlers go West

Stripclubs popping up along the waterfront

By JOSE MARTINEZ
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Saturday, March 6th, 2004

Manhattan's western fringe is turning into Skin City.

Long the turf of car dealers and cheap parking lots, the city's far West Side is firming up as a battleground for two notorious names in porn - Penthouse and Hustler.

In a rivalry no longer confined to newsstands, the struggling skin magazines have tagged their names on two "gentlemen's clubs" within 6 blocks of each other.

"There will be girls, girls, girls," crowed Larry Flynt, head of the Hustler porn empire.

The trend is alarming local politicians who instead have fantasies of high-rise developments and an Olympic stadium for the area.

"These types of [clubs] are the last thing you want near a new, world-class park," said City Councilwoman Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), referring to the Hudson River Park.

Flynt's Hustler Club on W. 51st St. and the West Side Highway is opening March 17. The Penthouse Executive Club on W. 45th St. opened last summer. Farther south, Scores West, the W. 28th St. outpost of the East Side strip club, is primed for a March 16 launch.

"I happen to enjoy spice," said Cal, a Manhattan financial executive making his 10th visit to the Penthouse locale. "And let's face it, guys like being surrounded by beautiful women."

The topless clubs' arrival is part of a transformation of the area west of 10th Ave. - one of the last spots in the city where adult businesses can operate with few limits.

Zoning changes passed in 1995 restrict new adult establishments to manufacturing districts, provided they don't come within 500 feet of schools, houses of worship and residential areas.

"Sex sells — it always has and always will," said Angelina Spencer, executive director of the Association for Club Executives National, a trade group. "Is there room for more in New York? Oh my goodness, yes."

The new clubs are joining an already busy scene on the wild West Side that includes nightclubs and two other so-called gentlemen's clubs, Privilege on W. 23rd St. and Legz Diamond on W. 47th St.

"The customers will have a lot of choice," said Mike, a Manhattan lawyer sipping a $14 glass of Johnny Walker Black at the Penthouse spot. "The good thing is they're in a part of town where they're not in the face of families and tourists."

But some worry that revved-up patrons will turn the one-time wasteland into a red-light district not far from the now cleaned-up W. 42nd St.

"If a bunch of guys are in a strip club getting turned on, it's not like they're turned off the moment they walk out the door," said state Sen. Tom Duane (D-Manhattan).

The new spots are hardly the seedy joints from New York's past.

For one, patrons need credit cards or wads of big bills - not sweaty singles - to watch women strip down to G-strings and 6-inch heels. And the clubs are targeting high-rollers with pricey steaks, wine cellars and dress codes. A Budweiser costs $9.

"We're looking for the upscale clientele," said Mark Yackow, chief operating officer of the Penthouse place. "The businessmen, the Wall Street professionals, the brokers."

The 10,000-square-foot Penthouse Executive Club - which shares its first name and logo in a licensing deal with the bankrupt magazine — has imported leather and marble interiors. It houses Robert's Steakhouse, where clients dine on prime cuts while showgirls shed their gowns on a stage one floor below.

Scores has spent $10 million to outfit an 8,700-square-foot club with Spanish marble and South American leather. The Hustler Club is opening a 5,700-square-foot club with Flynt's name in neon and carvings of nude women overlooking the West Side Highway.

But Flynt, the paraplegic pornographer who also deals in adult films and erotic stores, isn't too worried if New Yorkers get all hot and bothered by the sights.

"They should close their eyes when they drive past," Flynt said of his many critics. "They'll get over it."

Where the girls are

1. Hustler Club 51st St. and West Side Highway.

2. Scores West 28th St. between 10th and 11th Aves.

3. Penthouse Executive Club 45th St. and 11th Ave.

4. Privilege 23rd St. and 11th Ave.

5. Legz Diamond 47th St. and 12th Ave.

Kris
March 9th, 2004, 06:23 PM
Some fear parking rules will worsen area’s congestion

BY GRAHAM RAYMAN
STAFF WRITER

March 8, 2004

The city's West Side plan proposes construction of thousands of new commercial and residential parking spaces - a move that critics say would reverse decades of zoning policy.

The city does not require developers to include parking in the high-density areas south of 96th Street, as a way of discouraging the construction of such facilities and encouraging use of public transportation. The city's own zoning handbook says such construction adds to traffic congestion.

Under the West Side plan, however, city planning officials have included a parking requirement that calls for 9,300 to 14,000 commercial spaces and 3,000 to 6,000 residential spaces in the district over 20 to 30 years. At the same time, the plan also requires the extension of the No. 7 subway line into the district at a cost of $2 billion.

In a draft letter to City Planning Director Amanda Burden obtained by Newsday, Community Board 4 officials object to the parking requirements, particularly in commercial buildings.

"Required parking contradicts transit-oriented development," the letter reads.

They point to the city zoning handbook, which says that for the area south of 96 Street: "Experience has shown that if such parking were available, it would increase traffic congestion by attracting cars into the heart of the city."

Traffic concerns have emerged as a major issue in the debate over the stadium, and the overall re-zoning plan.

"We are not aware of a study that supports a change in this long-standing policy," community board officials wrote in the letter.

Planning department spokeswoman Rachaele Raynoff said the actual net increase in spaces will be about 8,000 spaces from the existing figure.

"We're talking about 12,600 new apartments and 28 million square feet of office space," Raynoff said. "A net increase of 8,000 spaces is smart planning. Even though most people will rely on public transit, it is prudent to plan for the small percentage who will use cars."

In the short term, the city plans to green light up to 500 spaces in the rail yard, and another 950 spaces in a garage between 34th and 36th streets underneath a new road to be created under 10th and 11th avenue. Those spaces would be built long before new development emerges, prompting critics to contend that the spaces are solely for the stadium.

"It certainly contradicts the argument that people are going to go to the stadium on mass transit," said Daniel Gutman, a member of the community board.

Raynoff, however, said the underground garage will be built below a new public park.

"We're doing that up front for good sense of place, and to accommodate higher density buildings, some of which won't be able to have parking underneath," she said.

Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.

Kris
March 19th, 2004, 07:20 AM
March 19, 2004

East Side, West Side: 7 Line's Fate Pits City Against State

By CHARLES V. BAGLI

http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2004/03/18/nyregion/17SEVEN.map.jpg
The city's plan is a new stadium for the Jets and possibly for the 2012 Olympics.

For two years, officials of the Bloomberg administration have said extending the No. 7 subway line west to the Hudson River is central to their vision of a redeveloped West Side, including a new stadium for the Jets atop a rail bed, an expanded convention center and blocks of new office towers.

The city has even taken the unusual step of offering to pay the $1.8 billion cost of the extension, which would be the biggest subway construction project in decades.

In the last few weeks, however, New York State officials have begun to undercut the city's argument that the project is necessary. In a series of public appearances and conversations, state officials, along with the Jets, contend that the subway extension is not a critical component of the development of either the expanded Jacob K. Javits Convention Center or a 75,000-seat stadium for the Jets football team and possibly for the Olympics.

The state's position will not necessarily undermine the project, as the money is coming from city coffers. But the diverging positions illustrate the lingering tensions between two ostensible allies, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Gov. George E. Pataki, as they scramble for scarce funds for competing projects in the city. Each administration has a transportation agenda for Manhattan, but the state wants to tunnel under the East Side and the city wants to tunnel under the West Side. The gamesmanship taking place may determine which project gets primacy.

The Bloomberg administration wants to extend the No. 7 line from Times Square underneath 41st Street west to 11th Avenue and then south to 34th Street, where it would build a grand station. It is desperate to begin construction of the subway extension and the stadium before the International Olympic Committee meets in July 2005 to select the site for the 2012 Summer Games. If the city wins its bid, the Jets stadium would double as the Olympic stadium, site of opening and closing ceremonies, as well as track and field events.

Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff, who fashioned the city's Olympic bid before entering city government, has long said that the city - not the state agency that builds, finances and operates the subway trains and commuter lines - would pay for the project from increased tax revenues on the West Side, where property values are expected to increase sharply. He wanted to avoid a bruising battle with proponents of projects like the $16.8 billion Second Avenue subway.

"The state and the M.T.A. are not financing the 7 line," Mr. Doctoroff said, playing down any suggestion that the city was at odds with the state. "As we said all along, we didn't want to engage in a debate over competing transportation priorities. The West Side is unique in that the investment in infrastructure, most notably the extension of the No. 7 line, can be paid out of new tax revenues generated in the area. Those revenues wouldn't exist but for the investment in the infrastructure."

State officials prefer to spend scarce construction money on the $6.3 billion East Side Access project, which would allow Long Island Rail Road commuters to board their trains at Grand Central Terminal, a huge boon to Long Island residents who work on the East Side of Manhattan. They also want to pursue the long-delayed Second Avenue subway.

Charles A. Gargano, the state's economic development chief, said the subway was tied to the city's rezoning of the Far West Side of Manhattan and the development of office towers and apartment houses over the next 30 years.

"The 7 line doesn't have to be part of this project," said Mr. Gargano, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation. "It would be good, but it doesn't have to be part of expanding the Javits north or south, which includes the stadium."

The Jets, who want to begin construction of the $1.4 billion stadium early next year, seem to have taken a similar view.

"You don't need the subway, necessarily," L. Jay Cross, the Jets' president, said at a forum on Feb. 9. "We can take advantage of the natural geography and get a foothold and get something going over there that helps propel other activities that hopefully follow." He said he was not opposed to the subway extension, but believed it would be most useful to spectators at Olympic events in the stadium. Jets fans, he said, would be more likely to travel to games via the Long Island Rail Road or New Jersey Transit.

The Jets may be nervous about tying their fortunes to the fate of Mr. Doctoroff's West Side redevelopment and his financing plan for the subway. But the recent political shadowboxing seems to reflect long-running feuds between state and city officials over the financing for various projects, as well as a couple of new disputes related to the West Side.

Peter S. Kalikow, chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the agency that oversees the subways, has long said that Mr. Doctoroff's No. 7 line extension was a nice project, but vowed that its financing would not come out of his agency's capital budget. More recently, the agency refused a city suggestion to move $600 million earmarked for the now-defunct La Guardia air-train project to the 7 line extension.

Like administration Republicans, at least one powerful Albany Democrat - Sheldon Silver, the speaker of the State Assembly - would prefer to focus on the Second Avenue subway, putting the 7 line at the bottom of his list of transportation priorities.

"I'm not convinced we need a stadium on the West Side and as such I don't think the 7 is the kind of thing that is important to development," said Mr. Silver, who represents part of the East Side. "At best, it deals with a minor portion of Manhattan. Second Avenue deals with a significant chunk of Manhattan and, ultimately, gives you the ability to go to Brooklyn and the Bronx. East Side access is contingent on a real Second Avenue subway."

But there may be a more immediate issue underlying the state's decision to go public with its criticism.

Mr. Kalikow and the M.T.A. are in tough negotiations with Mr. Doctoroff over the West Side rail yards. As the deputy mayor was unveiling his financing plan for the West Side last month, Mr. Kalikow demanded that the M.T.A. be compensated for allowing the Jets to build a stadium over its rail yard. He wanted the ability to sell development rights from the rail yards to developers putting up residential buildings and office towers nearby. But those were the same development rights Mr. Doctoroff was proposing to sell as part of his plan to pay for the 7 line.

The two sides have yet to come to terms.

Robert D. Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, said he finds the whole debate disturbing. Development would follow the subway line to the West Side and be a boon to both the Javits convention center and the proposed stadium, he said, because public transportation is now many blocks away. The city's current environmental review includes the subway. Without it, Mr. Yaro said, the Jets stadium is even more vulnerable to criticism that it will bring traffic jams and pollution.

The Jets estimate that 70 percent of the team's fans will arrive at the stadium on public transportation. At Madison Square Garden, which sits over the Pennsylvania Station transit hub, an estimated 40 percent of the fans use public transit for Sunday night games.

In any event, Mr. Yaro said the No. 7 line is part of the comprehensive redevelopment of the Far West Side.

"The goal of this whole thing was to create capacity for growth on the West Side," Mr. Yaro said. "I think everyone agrees that the foundation for that are access and amenities. So the 7 is absolutely crucial to creating a new business district over there. If all we end up with is a football stadium and an expanded convention center, then we've missed out on the prime objective of this endeavor."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


http://mta.info/capconstr/7ext

On Transit Map, All Roads Lead to Politics (http://forums.wirednewyork.com/viewtopic.php?t=2347)

TLOZ Link5
March 20th, 2004, 04:12 PM
Wasn't the 7 extension supposed to loop east from Javits to connect with Penn Station?

Kris
March 20th, 2004, 06:12 PM
Given that the planned stop is only two blocks from the Farley Building, a simple underground passageway will probably be created.

normaldude
March 20th, 2004, 08:01 PM
Wasn't the 7 extension supposed to loop east from Javits to connect with Penn Station?

That's what I thought.. which would have been more useful since it would connect Penn Station, Port Authority, and Grand Central all with one subway line.

TLOZ Link5
March 21st, 2004, 04:46 PM
Given that the planned stop is only two blocks from the Farley Building, a simple underground passageway will probably be created.

Hopefully one with a moving sidewalk; a few months ago I walked for about ten minutes between Times Square and Port Authority stations—it would have been a lot less if I didn't have to climb up and down so many stairs and inclines. The first and last time I'll use that passageway. I hope they're considering modernizing it.

Kris
March 25th, 2004, 12:57 AM
March 25, 2004

Extending the 7 Line

To the Editor:

Re "East Side, West Side: 7 Line's Fate Pits City Against State" (news article, March 19):

Independent national surveys of major meeting and convention decision makers show that the quality and accessibility of local transportation are important determinants in selecting a city as a convention site. It is clear that the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center comes up short.

The No. 7 subway line extension will facilitate mass transit to Javits and strengthen the tie between the convention corridor and Times Square.

It will spur commercial and residential development around Javits, thus providing an additional attraction to convention attendees.

Like the expanded convention corridor, the extension of the No. 7 subway line will be a tremendous boon to our tourism and hospitality industries. The state and city can ill afford to pass up this opportunity.

CRISTYNE L. NICHOLAS
President, NYC & Company
New York, March 19, 2004

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Kris
March 27th, 2004, 02:29 PM
http://www.dattner.com/html/images/trans6a.jpg
http://www.dattner.com/html/images/trans6b.jpg

The No. 7 Line subway extension from Times Square towards Jacob Javits Center is an integral part of the NYC Department of City Planning Redevelopment plan for the Far West Side of Manhattan. RDP is an urban design and architectural consultant to Parsons Brinckerhoff and is responsible for design of subway stations, entrances, systems facilities and coordination with the City's urban design masterplan.

http://www.dattner.com/html/frametrans6.html

BigMac
April 5th, 2004, 09:43 AM
Downtown Express
April 5, 2004

Mayor’s West Side plan competes with Downtown

By David Stanke

http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_47/west.jpg
Image of proposed West Side development looking south from 39th St. shows new offices, left, and an expanded Javits Center and new Olympics/Jets stadium, center.

Mayor Bloomberg is focused on revitalizing the west side in the 30’s by expanding the Javits Center and building a new football stadium as the foundation for expanded residential and commercial development. By staking so much of his legacy on this West Side mega-project, the mayor must view the commercial potential of development at the W.T.C. as competition for his West Side plans and his Olympic dreams.

A lesson from listening to impassioned speeches in the aftermath of 9/11 is that most publicly stated positions are rationalizations for hidden agendas that are not quite so rational. To understand the mayor’s position on the W.T.C., we need first to evaluate his plans for the West Side, and then revisit his early comments in light of his newly exposed agenda.

The premise for successful development of the West Side is that the creation of two adjacent superblocks. A new Jets stadium along side the expanded Javits Convention Center will serve as the centerpiece for expanded commercial and residential development of the area. Extension of the 7 subway line would provide the single subway link to the area.

Stadiums do not revitalize neighborhoods. At best, they can provide life support for a comatose neighborhood, with just enough inflow of people and money to maintain basic retail. Residential neighborhoods may survive, but primarily for people who can’t afford to move elsewhere. A stadium is an insurmountable barrier to movement dividing communities around it, much as freeways divided and killed sections of the Bronx. When in use, stadiums bring hoards of outsiders and strangers with no incentive to protect, maintain, or support local communities or businesses. People come, they party, and they leave. After the game, please, keep your sons and daughters in the apartment — no offense meant to sports fans. I go to Knick games and love the crowds, but would never live next door to the Garden.

Convention centers do not support neighborhoods. Perhaps the mayor isn’t aware of the reputation of conventioneers. Perhaps, he has always attended sophisticated, well-healed conventions. He should at least be aware that conventioneers like to smoke when they drink. They are also more likely to support a porn district than a residential community.

So discounting any hope for neighboring residential development, what are the commercial prospects? The key for filling office space is to draw corporations that want a convenient and desirable location for employees at a reasonable price. This proposed West side commercial center will be supported by a single subway line, making it a two-train commute for any New Yorker not living on the 7 line. It will even be a three train commute many commuters. When people arrive at work, they will butt up against acres of useless super blocks. Even access to the river will be blocked. The only draws for commercial workers will be the nondescript convention center restaurants and convenient evening concerts at the stadium.

An Olympic size leap of faith is needed to accept the reasoning behind this plan. Stadiums always cost taxpayers money. And this stadium is getting a prime asset, Manhattan waterfront property, cheap. These rights should be auctioned off competitively to the highest bidder, not delivered with a handshake in a behind the scenes deal. Don’t even think about the economic morality of subsidizing rich team owners so they can pay more for obscenely compensated athletes. And even if the convention center generates entertainment and tax dollars, it will not contribute to local development. Has the mayor not noticed that the existing Javits Center generates nothing for the area? More Javits Center will generate more nothing.

How does this all relate to the W.T.C.? If nothing else, Mayor Bloomberg understands market competition. The plans for the W.T.C. are strategic and tactical competition with his West Side plan. Office space in the two areas would come into the market in the same time frame. Downtown already has very competitively priced real estate, so there is no hope for a West side price advantage. In every other way, the West side will face an uphill fight against the W.T.C. The W.T.C. is already hugely connected to subways. The street life deficiencies we now face Downtown will fade away in a few years with the completion of the Freedom Tower and surrounding retail areas. The W.T.C. will have a historic plaza and easy access to Tribeca restaurants. The West Side will have the Javits and the Jets. Where would you locate your office, if you owned a company? Where would you rather work?

So what might Mayor Bloomberg and Dan Doctoroff be up to? Doctoroff ran NYC 2012 before becoming Mayor Bloomberg’s deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding. He is on a long and determined quest to draw the Olympics. He has now gotten Mayor Bloomberg not only to sign on, but to place West Side development alongside running the school system as his two seminal challenges and achievements as mayor. Getting the Olympics to N.Y.C. would give both of these wealthy men great international exposure. To do this, they need sports facilities, hotels, and convention space. To finance this, they need funds from the sale of commercial and residential development rights on the West side, state and city money, and the political clout to pass tax increment funding. They are already planning to divert money from the Battery Park City Authority with the apparent complicity of the B.P.C.A. To have any chance of success selling the complete West Side commercial package, the W.T.C. plans must change dramatically or fail spectacularly.

In this context, let’s revisit the mayor’s suggestions for the W.T.C. He wants to eliminate what could be spectacular, vital super-blocks and replace them with narrow crowded Downtown streets. He wants to force commuters to street level and expand sidewalks to support them. This will, of course, reduce space for commercial buildings, already crowded by the expansive memorial. The mayor’s vision for the W.T.C. is far less than what the W.T.C. was pre 9/11 and much less what it could be.

The mayor may not actually want to weaken the W.T.C. to support his Olympic dreams. He may simply be a very bad city planner. But the W.T.C. and the West Side will compete for commercial tenants, reducing the value of West Side development rights. The mayor needs to sell these rights to fund the project. His W.T.C. plans will reduce the competitive commercial presence of the W.T.C. Recovering from our nation’s largest domestic attack is apparently less important than a couple weeks of games in 2012.

Based on the possibility that the mayor has been blinded by his Olympic ambitions, I give the following advice. The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. and Port Authority should thank the mayor kindly for his advice and put up some roadblocks between City Hall and the W.T.C. Governor Pataki, please don’t stand behind the mayor when he discusses city planning and the development of the West Side. Your credibility will be hurt by association. New Yorkers beware of the downside of men so rich they are not beholden to anyone. Their only true objective may be to further enhance their own egos.

Before this recent display of poor judgment at the W.T.C. and on the West side, I was a moderate Bloomberg supporter. But when a man works to lessen W.T.C. commercial development, while professing the contrary, to support a very unpopular and poorly conceived west side development using funds from a residential community (Battery Park City) that desperately needs the W.T.C. development; I would suggest that his drive to immortalize his name on a sports stadium has blinded him to the city’s priorities. He is squandering city assets on his personal ambitions.

David Stanke is co-president of BPC United, a group of Downtown residents, and can be reached at bpcunited@ebond.com.

Copyright 2004 Community Media LLC.

Kris
April 8th, 2004, 12:18 PM
The Far West Side: An Urban Design Analysis (http://www.rpa.org/pdf/RPA_FWS_PAPER3.pdf)

Kris
April 12th, 2004, 04:03 PM
Public Subsidies Flowing Up the West Side (http://gothamgazette.com/article/communitydevelopment/20040412/20/947)

Kris
May 12th, 2004, 03:39 AM
USA Today
May 10, 2004

Controversial Hudson Yards project pivotal to Olympic bid

By Jill Lieber

NEW YORK — The most controversial aspect of the NYC2012 Summer Olympics bid is the $5.5 billion Hudson Yards development project on Manhattan's far West Side.

The jewel of the project is the $1.4 billion, 75,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof, adjacent to Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The stadium, which will be built on a platform over rail yards, will be the future home of the NFL's New York Jets and is projected to open in 2009.

The development is a vital component of the Olympic bid.

"Our goal is to have construction of the stadium started by the time the IOC votes in July 2005," says Dan Doctoroff, NYC2012 founder and New York's Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding. "And that's what we're on track to do."

Despite a push by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Gov. George E. Pataki, the projects face a series of challenging hurdles, including an environmental review, zoning approvals and state legislation for the Javits Center expansion.

Community groups, a leading Broadway theater owner and elected officials worry the stadium will increase traffic congestion.

The Jets will pay $800 million for the stadium. The city and state each will contribute $300 million to pay for the platform over the rail tracks and the retractable roof. The remaining $4 billion for the Hudson Yards project will be paid by public and private funds from the city, state and hotel industry.

Other elements of the project include adding more than 1 million square feet to the convention center; extending the No. 7 subway line west from Times Square; building up to 28 million square feet of high-rise offices and a hotel of up to 1,500 rooms; providing 12,000 new apartments; creating a tree-lined boulevard between 10th and 11th Avenues and a six-acre plaza that would be called Olympic Square.

The site is bordered by 28th Street on the south and 43rd Street on the north, and from Ninth Avenue on the east to the Hudson River.

"This half-mile convention corridor allows us to host any event in America," said Doctoroff, who estimates the city and the state would generate $67 billion in revenue over 30 years in return for the about $5 billion public investment."

Copyright 2004 USA TODAY

krulltime
May 25th, 2004, 10:32 AM
CAMPAIGN PROMOTES WEST SIDE PROJECTS

Published on May 24, 2004

Construction and hotel trade unions are joining with developers to create a television ad blitz aimed at rousing support for the series of projects planned for Manhattan's far West Side. The $400,000 campaign, which began last week, represents a historic collaboration between the unions and the industry.

The campaign, by Sheinkopf Ltd., consists of a 60-second spot highlighting the job creation and tax base expansion potential of the projects, including the Hudson Yards rezoning, a Jets stadium, expansion of the Javits Center and extension of the No. 7 subway.

Insiders say the campaign is aimed less at educating the public than at displaying some muscle to politicians. The ad essentially tells candidates to look elsewhere for support unless they are on board with the development. The campaign is also targeted at the remaining unions that have not weighed in on the West Side projects. Broadway and municipal unions are said to be considering their endorsements.

Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

krulltime
May 27th, 2004, 09:59 AM
How to Pay for the Far West Side


By Matthew Strozier, May 2004

When it comes to the far West Side's redevelopment, the numbers and stakes are big. Daniel Doctoroff, New York's deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding, says the city sees potential for close to 30 million square feet of commercial space and 12 million square feet of residential space over the next 40 years. All that would be alongside a new Jets stadium and an expanded Jacob K. Javits Center.

The office and residential space would be vital to the area's survival, according to the city's financing plan. Much of the needed infrastructure improvements would be paid for by that development through payments in lieu of taxes, known as "pilots." Pilots would raise $7.2 billion to pay to extend the No. 7 subway line to 11th Avenue, create a platform for a park and new buildings and a street network for rezoning. This $2.8 billion infrastructure would be the basis for future development, and the new tax revenue generated in the 59-block district would remain there, making it financially self-supporting.

But the question about whether the far West Side offices and residential development actually pays for itself ignites debate. Supporters see nothing but potential for an underutilized area. "This isn't upgrading Jersey City," said Kathryn S. Wylde, president and chief executive officer of the Partnership for New York City, a business group. "There is significantly more potential value on this site."

Even if demand for offices proves weak, Wylde said the land has value for residential development. By using the new tax revenue to pay for the area's infrastructure upgrades, Wylde said this makes it private sector funded. "It's the only way to do it. We aren't in a financial situation to do it any other way."

Critics say otherwise. They say demand is soft now for office space, meaning there's no need for a huge expansion of midtown. Keeping taxes in the area only hurts other parts of the city that need that money. "You cannot create a central business district by government fiat. There is no market," said Brian Hatch, who runs a website, www.newyorkgames.org, and supports getting the Olympics to Queens, not Manhattan.

While there may be some demand for office space on the far West Side, critics say it's mostly for Class B space. "That is not to say there is not demand on the West Side," said John Fisher, spokesman for the West Side Coalition, an umbrella group opposed to the mayor's West Side plans. "But how much demand? And how does that demand fit into the region?"

Initially, the idea was to use something called Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for pay for the far West Side infrastructure improvements. Under TIF, the property taxes are frozen and the growth in revenue of taxes stays within the designated redevelopment area. But that plan was switched more than six months ago to pilots, which critics say keeps even more tax revenue in the area. City Hall wants to make the project's bonds attractive and keep them from "junk" status. Neither TIF nor pilot-backed bonds have ever been sold by New York City.

Robin Prunty, director of the public finance department for Standard & Poor's, said it's common to use TIF for projects that are "future growth oriented and there is a limited area that is benefiting from the improvements that are being put in." Whether the bonds will be junk status depends on how the city structures it, but the TIF bonds are generally less credit worthy.

Between 2005 and 2035, $16.2 billion in revenue would be generated from other sources besides the $7.2 billion in pilots, according to the city's plan. There would be $5.4 billion in residential property taxes, $1.7 billion from on and off-site developments rights through the platform atop the Long Island Rail Road yards east of 11th Avenue, $111 million from land sales and ground leases, $1.3 billion in bonus density payments and $415 million in payment in lieu of sales taxes. During the early part of the project, short-term debt in the form of commercial paper would fund interest payments.

Doctoroff's office could not be reached for this article, but he is busy selling the project to investment houses. If he is successful, other parts of the city might see TIF-style arrangements to fund upgrades. "I think it's really an important step forward in how the city approaches development," said Wylde.

Copyright 2003-2004 The Real Deal

krulltime
May 27th, 2004, 04:53 PM
Underwriters picked for W. Side bond sale: report

May 27, 2004

Five firms were chosen to help manage various parts of the bond sales intended to help fund a new stadium and expand the convention center.

The city has reportedly picked five underwriters to manage the sale of $1.2 billion in bonds to build the Jets football stadium and expand the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on the West Side.

UBS, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch were tapped to sell as much as $850 million to double the size of the convention center, Bloomberg reports. Citigroup and Lehman Brothers will underwrite a $300 million bond sale to pay for a platform over part of the West Side rail yards. The Jets want to build their $1.4 billion stadium on top of the platform.

New York city and state officials are hoping the West Side development will boost the Big Apple's chances of being chosen to host the 2012 Olympics.

Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

krulltime
May 27th, 2004, 05:06 PM
:P Hold on to your seats..It seems that is about to start!

krulltime
June 2nd, 2004, 07:01 PM
Garment workers reverse position on W. Side plan

June 2, 2004

Garment workers union UNITE reversed its opposition to the city's West Side development plan after officials agreed to maintain and enforce special zoning protections for the garment center.

UNITE had come out against the initial plan, concerned about the impact of development on the city's beleaguered garment manufacturers. A spokeswoman for the union says the city has pledged to keep special zoning intact in the district, which covers the area between 35th and 41st streets from Broadway to Ninth Avenue. That means landlords can't end manufacturers' leases without providing comparable space for them within the district. The city has also promised "to begin meaningful enforcement" of the protections.

In addition, the union is working on a proposal for developing several full-service manufacturing buildings in the garment center, totaling up to 500,000 square feet. The space would most likely be leased at market rate and not be subsidized, the UNITE spokeswoman says. The group is currently hammering out the financials of the deal and talking to landlords.

Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

TLOZ Link5
June 2nd, 2004, 07:24 PM
This was my main concern about the West Side plans. Manufacturing must remain an employment option for New Yorkers, and this development might have had an adverse effect on the Garment District.

krulltime
June 3rd, 2004, 01:16 PM
Pataki to introduce convention legislation

by Anne Michaud

Gov. George Pataki is expected to introduce legislation as early as today to expand the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Manhattan's far West Side.

The $1.4 billion expansion is key to New York City's long-held goal of developing the neighborhood for office towers and boosting tourism. The package for the state Legislature includes increasing the city hotel tax by $1.50 per key per night, as well as taxing car rentals that originate from area airports.

The legislation would also provide for a refinancing of the Javits Center bonds to raise $350 million, which would be the state’s contribution to the project; extend the convention center's boundaries north to 42nd Street, and increase city government's representation on the boards of the New York Convention Center Operating Corp. and the New York Convention Center Development Corp.

As part of the West Side development plans, city and state leaders have also pledged to help build a football stadium for the New York Jets, extend the No. 7 subway line, and create parks and a cultural center. The stadium would be used for the 2012 Olympics if New York is selected as the host city.

Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

krulltime
June 3rd, 2004, 01:18 PM
:D Alright!!! It seems that the State is starting to take some action on this development.

krulltime
June 6th, 2004, 12:15 PM
TIME FOR DUO TO PICK A 'SIDE' IN REDEVELOP DEBATE

By DAVID SEIFMAN
June 6, 2004

TIME is running out for two top city officials who've held off making a decision on the supercharged West Side redevelopment plan.

Neither Comptroller Bill Thompson nor City Council Speaker Gifford Miller have said if they'll support the hotly contested project, which includes a football stadium for the Jets and expansion of the Javits Convention Center.

"It's the kind of thing, where you want to wait as long as you can and see how it goes," one insider said.

Thompson and Miller are both considering a run for City Hall next year.

So they've got to walk a fine line to satisfy supporters of the mega-development — who include most of the city's key unions — and opponents — who include vocal residents as well as the potent Dolan family that controls Madison Square Garden.

But the luxury of delay is about to run out.

Thompson and Miller sit on the Transitional Finance Authority, a little-known entity created in 1997 to allow the city to borrow money outside its normal debt limit.

Mayor Bloomberg intends to use the TFA to borrow the upfront costs associated with the West Side project, and he's pushing for a quick vote to authorize a bond sale.

Bloomberg controls three of five votes, so the outcome of the vote isn't in doubt.

Still, the mayor hardly wants to be in the position of going it alone.

Thompson also faces pressure from housing advocates who want him to block the use of Battery Park City Authority funds to back up $300 million in bonds the city needs as part of its financing package for the West Side.

Miller's got another problem.

His vision for transforming a 1.45-mile elevated railroad spur in Chelsea known as the High Line into a park is tied to the fate of the West Side.

One source pointed out that Bloomberg threw his weight behind the High Line to win Miller's favor.

"It was definitely done for him," said the source.

NEW YORK POST

krulltime
June 6th, 2004, 12:19 PM
Thompson and Miller are both considering a run for City Hall next year.

So they've got to walk a fine line to satisfy supporters of the mega-development — who include most of the city's key unions — and opponents — who include vocal residents as well as the potent Dolan family that controls Madison Square Garden.

Tough choise Mr. Thompson and Mr. Miller...But don't think to hard.

krulltime
June 7th, 2004, 02:34 PM
Fur flies over crackdown on garment center zoning
City backs union bid to protect manufacturing; real estate execs riled

By Christine Haughney
Published on June 07, 2004

City plans to once again enforce 17-year-old zoning rules that preserve garment district manufacturing jobs are angering members of the real estate community. They say the area's survival depends on its ability to attract other tenants.

Last week, the city said it would be more vigilant about regulations that require landlords of side-street buildings to maintain space designated for manufacturers or offer them alternative space nearby. The city agreed to the move after Unite, the apparel and textile manufacturing union, reversed its position on the city's West Side stadium plan and decided to support it.

A spokeswoman for the Department of City Planning says it is ironing out the details of its plans. A Unite official says enforcement will involve an education program for landlords and manufacturers about the regulations, and a crackdown by the Department of Buildings on garment district landlords who seek building permits for other uses. The city also may impose penalties on landlords who don't renew manufacturers' leases or offer them alternative space.

"(Now) if landlords break the law, they will be fined," says Maura Keaney, associate political director for Unite. "For pretty much the past decade, the regulations have not been enforced."

Neighborhood business groups say the city is trying to apply outdated rules that don't fit with the changing face of the area. Real estate executives argue that a number of manufacturers have left or gone out of business; they fear that many buildings will stand empty if they can be used only by manufacturers. Such limits would crimp a recent influx of new types of tenants.

"Why doesn't the city relook at the zoning and evolve with the neighborhood and the marketplace?" asks Barbara Randall, executive director of the Fashion Center Business Improvement District.

The garment district--which extends from West 35th to West 41st and from Broadway to Ninth Avenue--has been undergoing a transformation into a home for fashion showrooms, financial startups, arts groups and luxury condominiums. Fashion Center BID data show that between 1996 and 2002, the number of manufacturing jobs shrank to 9,788 from 19,000.

"The only manufacturing going on in the garment district is the really high-end couture type of tenancy," says landlord Tony Malkin.

George Comfort & Sons Inc. has struggled to keep its 250,000-square-foot property at 307 W. 38th St. open to manufacturers. Many tenants have gone out of business or left to get cheaper rents. Computer companies and retailers now occupy half of the building.

"The garment district has old buildings like we do that need a lot of work," says Dana Comfort, an executive vice president. "Landlords can't afford to do that if their tenants are hardly in business."

Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

krulltime
June 7th, 2004, 02:36 PM
Fashion Center BID data show that between 1996 and 2002, the number of manufacturing jobs shrank to 9,788 from 19,000.

I kind of agree with members of the real estate community.

kingdavid
June 7th, 2004, 10:22 PM
i am proud to have voted for tom duane.

when he started out, he was a fresh face and voice.

lately, i think he is becoming like a lot of established pols.

i think the west side development has been good for the city.

this area can't stay crumbling warehouses forever. the real estate is too valuable. besides, the city has done a good job of turning over space for greenery and recreation.

yes, development will bring more traffic to this area but it will lessen congestion somewhere else by spreading out people and cars.

having either a baseball or football stadium in manhattan will do a lot to keep nyc a world class city. it will create jobs for many in the construction trades and eventually shop owners will settle close to the stadium in addition to housing and offices.

comparing this to westway is a mistake. besides, i think that the westway opponents were silly. part of the reason there is congestion in this area is because westway was not built. i used to live in battery park city and drove the fdr because the west side highway is gone. once again, congestion was just shifted elsewhere.

needless to say, who eats striped bass from the hudson anyway. no way this fish was going to be extinct.

people use environmental concerns to obstruct progress. duane should cease and desist.

peace from zion.

Kris
June 22nd, 2004, 12:36 AM
June 22, 2004

City Unveils Titanic Plan to Transform Far West Side

By CHARLES V. BAGLI

The Bloomberg administration's plan to redevelop the far West Side of Manhattan would transform a neighborhood of brick warehouses, tenements and parking lots into a vibrant district of skyscrapers, 12,600 new apartments and 20 acres of parkland, according to a 6,000-page environmental impact study released by the city yesterday.

The proposal, known as the Hudson Yards plan, would rezone a 40-block area west of Seventh Avenue between 30th and 42nd Streets and include a one-mile extension of the No. 7 subway line, an expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and a 75,000-seat football stadium over the adjacent railyards.

Although the study acknowledged that traffic congestion would increase at more than 30 intersections in the district, it indicated that most problems could be mitigated. The city also rejected 18 alternative plans, including some proposed by community groups, saying they were impractical or generated fewer jobs and revenues for the city.

The benefits of creating a new district and allowing the city to grow outweigh any potential problems, the report concludes. It was prepared by the city's Department of City Planning and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

"Hudson Yards is the single biggest investment we can make in our city's future, besides the redevelopment of Lower Manhattan," said Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff. "It provides room in Midtown for the largest and most productive business district in the nation to grow, while creating the conditions for significant residential development."

The release of the environmental study triggers the beginning of a seven-month public review of what promises to be one of the most contested rezonings in city history. Despite the opposition of neighborhood groups and the local community board, the city government hopes to win formal approval in January.

Most West Side groups were still wading through the dense report yesterday and not yet ready to comment.

The $1.4 billion expansion of the convention center has fairly broad support from Community Board 4 and the hotel and tourism industry, unlike the plan for the football stadium, which would serve as home for the New York Jets.

There was an effort in the State Legislature yesterday afternoon to hammer together a revised bill that would allow the center to add 340,000 square feet of exhibit space. Gov. George E. Pataki's original proposal sparked widespread criticism from supporters and critics alike, in part because some of the language appeared to allow for the financing of the stadium.

"We'll try to find a way to pass a Javits bill," said Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, "but not if they keep trying to jam the stadium into it. We can fix the other problems."

The governor issued a revised proposal on Friday, which removed some of the most disputed elements of the bill. But it came in for criticism yesterday during an Assembly hearing in Manhattan. Assemblyman Brodsky asked city and state officials if they would accept language stating that the bill would in no way authorize the financing, construction or management of the stadium.

Mr. Doctoroff said the bill was solely concerned with the expansion of the Javits, but he favored some kind of joint operating agreement, because the stadium would double as an exhibit hall. He said that he would oppose efforts to prohibit construction of the stadium, which he views as a critical component of the West Side redevelopment plan.

"They should do what's necessary to get the Javits expansion moving forward," said Louis J. Coletti of the Building Trades Employers Council, a construction company group. "I think it's time to move this project forward."

The $1.4 billion stadium, which requires a $600 million public investment, is the single most contentious item in the city's plans for the West Side. Those plans also include the creation of a tree-lined boulevard between 10th and 11th Avenues, stretching from 42nd Street to a newly created public square next to the stadium at 34th Street. There would also be a connection to the High Line, a former elevated railroad line that would be turned into a linear park.

The rezoning would provide developers and corporations with sites for new skyscrapers and apartment houses and allow for the construction of 28 million square feet of office space, hotels, stores and thousands of apartments over the next 40 years.

The impact study examined 18 alternatives, including moving the stadium to Willets Point, Queens, next to Shea Stadium, a proposal supported by some groups in Queens and Manhattan. The study said it would cost as much as the Manhattan project, but would not attract any convention business.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


http://nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/hyards/hymain.html

krulltime
June 22nd, 2004, 07:35 PM
Major clash looms over West Side plan


BY MICHAEL SAUL and DAVID SALTONSTALL
DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU
June 22, 2004

Get ready for a wild, wild fight over Manhattan's far West Side.

The city kicked off a likely raucous, seven-month review of its proposal to redevelop the far West Side yesterday by releasing a mostly upbeat assessment of the plan's environmental impacts.

The sweeping, multibillion-dollar makeover would extend the No. 7 subway line, add 24 acres of parks, build a new Jets stadium and create a towering new commercial corridor within a 40-block area, from 30th to 42nd Sts. and Seventh to 11th Aves.

"The result is a plan that will transform the area into a place where future generations will clamor to live, work, invest and visit," proclaimed City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden.

The stadium alone would cost $1.4 billion, and the subway extension $1.8 billion. Not included in the plan is a separate $1.4 billion expansion of the Javits Center. Yesterday's draft environmental review attempts to gauge the plan's impact on everything from traffic and air to the number of homes and businesses that would fall under the bulldozer.

But critics of the plan, which relies on $600 million in taxpayer dollars to build the new Jets stadium, immediately slammed the review as a whitewash.

"It looks like they haven't listened to anyone in the last two years," said John Fisher, head of the Clinton Special District Coalition, a neighborhood group opposed to the stadium. "They're intent on ramming this thing through."

The draft study found that the West Side overhaul would "dramatically improve neighborhood character" by transforming an "underutilized urban landscape" into a "lively, 24-hour" community.

Broadway theater owners would be helped, not hurt, by the added traffic, the report asserts - a view not shared by some theater owners.

And while 225 businesses with 4,269 employees would have to be evicted to make way for new development, the businesses "do not collectively represent substantial economic value to the city," the report stated. Another 139 people would lose their homes, it added.

Much of the report's traffic analyses looked at worst-case scenarios: A simultaneous Jets football game, Madison Square Garden concert and a convention at Javits. The report concluded that while most everyday traffic could be absorbed in the neighborhood, such "perfect storm" scenarios would cause major backups at a handful of intersections.

The draft also concluded that building a new Jets stadium in Queens, as some have suggested, would be just as expensive as in Manhattan. The only difference, the report added, is the Jets are willing to contribute $800 million toward the Manhattan site.


All contents © 2004 Daily News, L.P.

Kris
June 29th, 2004, 09:58 AM
DEPT. OF BUILDING

WINNING THE WEST

by William Finnegan

Issue of 2004-07-05
Posted 2004-06-28

Both sides have started punching harder lately in the brawl over whether or not to build a seventy-five-thousand-seat football stadium over the Hudson rail yards on Manhattan’s far West Side. The New York Jets, who would own the place, will be taking computers from the mouths of needy schoolchildren if the state and the city are forced to provide the six hundred million dollars that would be their part of the deal—or, at least, that’s what the television ads paid for by the Dolan family, the owners of Madison Square Garden, say. Nonsense, say the Jets and their supporters, who include Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Pataki, and the construction unions. The stadium will be such a financial success that it will end up giving computers to needy schoolchildren. Opponents say that the stadium will sink New York City’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics (the International Olympic Committee does not like controversy). No, say the stadium’s backers, it is the centerpiece of the city’s Olympic hopes.

Either way, the stadium is part of a much larger development plan for the far West Side, which would include an extension of the No. 7 subway line, a major expansion of the Javits Convention Center, a park, a museum, many office buildings and apartment buildings, even a large new boulevard that would run for nine blocks south from Forty-second Street between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues. The total cost of the project would be several billion dollars. Not surprisingly, many neighborhood groups are opposed to it. So it didn’t really seem like a stretch when Newsday reported recently that “the fight over the stadium is shaping up to be the most pitched battle”—the most pitched battle?—“since the Westway project.”

Except who remembers Westway? A straw poll of otherwise well-informed New Yorkers—conducted last week, with a margin of error of, oh, about fifty per cent—suggested that almost no one does. “An elevated highway?” was the most common response. Even a man who described himself as having been “a strong Westway supporter” said, “An elevated highway?” No. The West Side Highway was an elevated eyesore for forty-odd years, and it rotted until a truck fell through it, around West Twelfth Street, in 1973. Then it was torn down. Westway was the proposed replacement. It would have been an underground highway, running beneath landfill just off the present Hudson River shoreline. The street grids of Chelsea and Greenwich Village would have been extended one block west and ended in parkland. The federal government had agreed to pay for ninety per cent of this multibillion-dollar project. The State of New York was committed to pay the other ten. The city would have paid zero.

A number—very small, at first—of community activists opposed Westway. Their ranks grew, while rationales for opposition evolved, from support (healthy) for mass transit to loathing (justified) for greedy developers and, in the latter stages of the battle, concern (sincere, in many cases) for a striped-bass habitat. For some people, the mere fact that Presidents, governors, mayors, senators, C.E.O.s, and other powerful types all wanted Westway built seemed reason enough to fight it. The project was tied up in the courts for so many years that, in the end, the federal government withdrew its backing, and, in 1985, the plan died.

Earlier this month, there was a modest panel discussion, held in the lobby of Pier 40, called “Westway Revisited.” The crowd was made up mainly of veterans of the Westway wars. One of the panelists, Mitchell Bernard, a lawyer, had fought Westway on environmental grounds. “There’s a myth that Westway was defeated by clever lawyers on a technicality, a little snail-darter issue,” he said. “But in the courtroom it wasn’t a technicality—it was the truth versus a lie.” The government had lied, he said, about the results of its own studies of the potential impact of the Westway landfill on the striped bass, and this was exposed in court. “It was thrilling to me as a young lawyer,” Bernard said. “It was absolutely the reason I became a lawyer.”

Craig Whitaker, another panelist, who was a Westway planner, not long out of Yale, and who is now an architect, an author, and an adjunct professor at New York University, listened ruefully to Bernard. Whitaker talked about some of the places where the city has had the wisdom to run highways under riverfront esplanades—the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, Carl Schurz Park. “We thought New Yorkers would never accept sixty-five thousand cars passing daily between them and the waterfront,” he said. He nodded toward the six lanes of hurtling cars and trucks just outside the Pier 40 lobby. “But that’s what we’ve got out here. It was a tragedy for the city.”

A few days later, in his studio in SoHo, Whitaker was still reflecting on the missed opportunity of Westway. “We should have called it the something Tunnel,” he said. “Westway was just the wrong name.” He pulled out a set of old Westway drawings. The formal, eclectic beauty of the riverfront park that he and his colleagues had planned was startling. There were spaces to rival the Bethesda Fountain terrace in Central Park.

The drawing brought to mind one of the architectural renderings of the would-be West Side stadium. It is a large, pretty watercolor, much reproduced by the Jets and their allies and currently hanging in a gallery in the Village. It’s a view of the stadium from the middle of the Hudson. The shore has a lush bank of grass above a seawall, with picnickers and fishermen and striped umbrellas, and above this idyll stands the stadium, its great central glass wall reflecting white clouds and blue sky. What’s missing from the picture, you eventually realize, is the highway—Twelfth Avenue, or West Street, or whatever the West Side Highway is called below Thirty-fourth Street, where the stadium would be built. It’s just untrammelled parkland, being enjoyed by the public, with the harsh, assaultive roadway we all know simply tucked out of sight. No V.I.P. Heliport, no endless chain-link fencing and battered traffic barriers, no rows of parked garbage trucks. It is the riverfront as it would have looked if Westway had been built.

www.newyorker.com

Kris
July 19th, 2004, 02:39 AM
The Fight Over Manhattan’s Last Frontier (http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/feature-commentary/20040719/202/1035)

krulltime
July 23rd, 2004, 06:44 PM
Hudson Yards Area:

Aerial view of surrounding neighborhoods:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/gif/hyards/aerial_neighborhoods.jpg (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/hyards/area.html)

Aerial view of the transportation infrastructure network:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/gif/hyards/aerial-detail.jpg (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/hyards/area.html)

http://www.nyc.gov

Ninjahedge
July 26th, 2004, 03:43 PM
Hudson Yards Area:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/gif/hyards/aerial-detail.jpg (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/hyards/area.html)
http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/gif/hyards/aerial_neighborhoods.jpg (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/hyards/area.html)

Just to put them in order... ;)

BTW, the LT "cuts" are the lead in ramps for the LT?

krulltime
July 29th, 2004, 01:58 PM
Clinton Rezoning Enters Review Process


http://www.globest.com/newspics/nyc_clintonrezoninghypothetical.jpg
Proposed Clinton Rezoning

By Barbara Jarvie
Last updated: Thursday, July 29, 2004 10:40pm

NEW YORK CITY-Responding to citizens' concerns that existing zoning permits taller development within the West Side’s Clinton district, the New York City Department of City Planning launched the public review of its proposal to limit building heights along Ninth and Tenth avenues. With existing regulations, buildings within what is known as the Preservation Area of the Special Clinton District--bounded by on the north by 56th Street and 43rd Street to the south within those avenues--can be considerably taller than many existing ones and could result in “sore thumb buildings” that are out of character with the neighboring ones.

“As important as it is to promote growth for the future of the city, we must also recognize the need to preserve the lower-scaled quality that makes a neighborhood like Clinton in Manhattan so special,” points out DCP chief Amanda Burden.

The proposed text amendment would establish new height controls to ensure that new development is consistent with the scale and character of the surrounding neighborhood. The DCP is proposing that the overall height of new development and enlargements along the avenues be limited to 85 feet or approximately eight stories with a streetwall between five or six stories. The proposed bulk controls would continue to accommodate allowable floor area as well as the higher floor-to-ceiling height for ground floor retail uses, but would ensure that new development is compatible with the existing character of Clinton.

According to DCP, the preservation of the character of Ninth Avenue to the South of 43rd Street is an “integral part” of the proposed 360-acre Hudson Yards comprehensive plan. That plan, which is expected to take 40 years or so to realize, aims to revitalize the entire West Side are of the city. The proposal, which is intended to promote commercial and residential growth, retains the existing zoning along Ninth Avenue within the Hudson Yards.

Community Board 4 now has 60 days to review the proposal then it passed along to the borough president, the City Planning commission and the city council as part of the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure.


© 2004 by GlobeSt.com

krulltime
July 29th, 2004, 02:04 PM
The DCP is proposing that the overall height of new development and enlargements along the avenues be limited to 85 feet or approximately eight stories with a streetwall between five or six stories.

WHAT?? That is a blow on development for the west side. How could developers make any profit and at the same time the area prosper with 8 stories of buildings. Totally dumb IMO. The area needs big and taller buildings to rise up. If the people there don't like it then they should move to the village or another borough where there is no taller buildings going to rise up. :evil:

TLOZ Link5
July 30th, 2004, 03:56 PM
From the sound of that article, no tall buildings were intended for Ninth or Tenth Avenues anyway.

krulltime
August 6th, 2004, 02:00 AM
West Side plan's cost will skyrocket: report


August 5, 2004

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's financing plan for the Hudson Yards project on Manhattan's West Side will cost $1.3 billion more than if the capital budget were used, according to a report by the city Independent Budget Office.

The IBO, an independent agency, says that by going outside the capital budget to finance the project--which includes extending the No. 7 subway line and building a platform over the West Side rail yards for new development--the city will face higher costs and, ultimately, lower tax revenues.

Mr. Bloomberg's plan, which he estimates will cost about $3 billion, relies on short-term borrowing, or commercial paper, to pay interest because the project will not generate enough revenue in its early years to cover debt service. The city says the borrowing plan allows it to avoid drawing on general fund revenue, which is needed for school construction and other capital projects. But the IBO says in its report that the plan shifts far more of the cost to the future than does regular borrowing. Plus, if investors don’t buy the commercial paper, the state Transitional Finance Authority will buy it using some of the city’s personal income tax revenue.

In addition, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum, who requested the report, says the mayor’s approach removes the West Side plan from the usual legislative review that is required for capital projects.

In a separate report, the IBO said New York City could have a glut of office space by 2035 under current city and state development plans--that could lower demand for office space at Hudson Yards and mean even more borrowing.

The mayor's office said it will issue comments on the report later today.


Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

Kris
August 6th, 2004, 01:02 PM
August 6, 2004

Budget Office Warns of Risks in West Side Redevelopment Financing

By CHARLES V. BAGLI

The city's Independent Budget Office said yesterday that the Bloomberg administration's unusual financing plan for the proposed redevelopment of the far West Side would cost $1.3 billion more than if the city used conventional borrowing and could pose "significant risks for the city budget" if its projections fall short.

The city plans to create the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation, which would issue long-term bonds and short-term debt to pay for $3 billion in parks, new streets, a deck over a railyard and the extension of the No. 7 subway line from Times Square to 11th Avenue and 34th Street. Under the city's plan, those projects, together with new zoning and a football stadium for the Jets, would bring about residential and commercial development.

The corporation, not the city, would pay off the bondholders under the city's plan, using tax revenue from the increased development. But the budget office warned that if the development does not proceed as quickly as the city envisions, the city's taxpayers may be stuck with the debt payments.

Because the corporation's credit rating would be lower than the city's, the bonds would cost the corporation about $1.3 billion more in interest payments than the city would pay, the budget office said. The city's approach also allows it to bypass a potentially contentious review by the City Council, the report said.

"While the Hudson Yards plan is vitally important for the city's future development, we find that the financing proposal poses significant risks for the city budget," said Ronnie Lowenstein, director of the budget office. "What they're doing is: buy now, pay later. The later and later you pay, the more it will cost you."

Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff disputed the report's conclusion, saying the city "very carefully balances the need to preserve flexibility and preserve financing for other things with costs."

He said the budget office's analysis of the demand for office space was flawed. While the administration has always acknowledged that its borrowing costs would be smaller if the projects were part of the city's capital budget, he said, the plan envisions using rising real estate values on the West Side to pay for the costs of improving the area, rather than competing with other projects for scarce city dollars.

When fully redeveloped, he said, the West Side will generate billions of dollars in additional revenues.

"Financing decisions are about trade-offs between risk and cost," Mr. Doctoroff said. "In this case, there's a trade-off well worth taking. We want to get this done to begin generating $65 billion to $70 billion in new tax revenues over and above the cost of financing."

Other than a small part of the financing, Mr. Doctoroff said the city "will not be obligated" to pay off the bonds issued by the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation, if the corporation defaults.

But Richard Ravitch, a former developer who was chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in the early 1980's, said he doubted that the corporation would be able to sell the bonds to investors unless the city guaranteed the financing.

"The risks associated with an investment of this kind are not worth taking, given the fiscal problems faced by the city and state," Mr. Ravitch said. "It's more important right now for the city and the state to tell us how they're going to fund the nearly $12 billion the M.T.A. needs to adequately maintain the system over the next five years."

The city's financial plan does not deal with two other related projects: the $1.4 billion expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and the $1.4 billion stadium project for the Jets, which would double as an exhibition hall. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's administration contends that these projects and the infrastructure work would serve as catalysts for development that would otherwise take decades to develop.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

tmg
September 28th, 2004, 07:57 PM
The New York Post
PLANNERS PROPOSE STAGE PRODUCTION FOR W. SIDE

By TOM TOPOUSIS

September 28, 2004 -- The Great White Way could go west under a proposal to develop new theaters along 42nd Street, between 10th Avenue and the Hudson River.

City planners are looking at the proposal as part of a massive and controversial redevelopment plan for an area of the far West Side known as the Hudson Yards.

Adding theaters to a now underdeveloped stretch of West 42nd Street is a recent addition to the proposal, which also includes construction of a football stadium, an extension of the subway and an expansion of the Javits Convention Center.

"The environment on West 42nd Street isn't great right now, and we're trying to get more activity there to enliven it," said Vishaan Chakrabarti, director of planning for Manhattan.

In exchange for including theaters in the base of any new high-rise towers, developers would be given the chance to build larger structures than would be normally allowed on West 42nd Street, Chakrabarti said.

Chakrabarti described the incentive as a "theater bonus" that was added to the Hudson Yard proposal in response to concerns by the theater industry.

Theater owners fear that a 75,000-seat football stadium at 11th Avenue and 33rd Street would generate so much traffic on the West Side that it would keep theatergoers from attending matinees on Sundays — the industry's busiest day.

Kris
November 6th, 2004, 10:20 PM
November 7, 2004

Far West Side Story

By MATTHEW DOHERTY

http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2004/11/07/nyregion/07tunn.xlarge1.jpg
Miles from Midtown in vibes if not distance, the far West Side has a feel of "passing through.''

"NO one is in love today," says a man selling flowers. It is a brisk Sunday evening, but business is slow. The man stands on a traffic island near the Lincoln Tunnel - a triangle surrounded by West 36th Street, the Dyer Avenue approach and the ramp from Ninth Avenue.

A billboard painted on a nearby building encourages passers-by to "See yourself in the Bahamas." For the drivers mired in the heavy traffic here, imagining themselves in Weehawken would require no less a leap of imagination. Below the ad, a window has been cut out of the black-painted bricks. Red light glows through a curtain, as if the Bahamas themselves were on the other side of the wall.

Eventually, the flower man picks up a clutch of roses and wades into the traffic like a fly-fisherman, gliding downstream with the traffic. He makes his way toward the tunnel entrance, ambles back, and works the ramp from Ninth Avenue. When he comes back to the island, his hands are empty. A dozen roses are making their way under the Hudson.

But such iconic scenes of the far West Side may soon be altered or disappear entirely. In June, a few months after the flower man made his hard-won sale, New York announced a sweeping plan to redevelop his neighborhood. The proposal would result in nothing less than the transformation of a 59-block area - partly in Hell's Kitchen and partly in Chelsea - that lies west of Seventh Avenue between 30th and 42nd Streets. If it all happens, the revamping would include not only a bigger Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and a new Jets stadium, each costing about $1.4 billion, but also the addition of the equivalent of 13 Empire State Buildings of commercial space and more than 12,000 apartments.

Given the sweep of the plan, many New Yorkers, including people who live or work on the far West Side, have strong opinions about it. The Jets stadium in particular has inspired much combat, and by late October the two sides in that battle had spent $11.5 million on television ads and other promotional material. And skirmishes are taking place over many other aspects of the proposal, with critics pointing to displaced businesses and residents, and supporters emphasizing the city's need for office and residential space. State economic development officials approved the Jets stadium last Thursday, and the City Planning Commission is to release its final environmental review of the city's overall West Side plan this week. But those are just two of the many hurdles these hot-button proposals must jump.

Often lost in this loud debate, however, is the day-to-day rhythm of the area as it exists now - the clack of a train on the track, the tap of a stable hand hammering a horseshoe, the "Next!" of the hot dog vendor who works near the flower man. These vignettes, drawn over the last 12 months, furnish glimpses of a thriving if eccentric ecosystem, whose roots stretch back to the 19th century, to piers and slaughterhouses, and to the construction of the Lincoln Tunnel.

With the city's plan looming and with new restaurants, apartments and galleries already sprouting in the area, this patch of small buildings and railroad tracks, of tiny swaths of green, of grit and exhaust, may, in the future, wear a far different face. In that event, these pictures will memorialize as well as describe.

It is midafternoon. A truck driver is stopped at a light on Ninth Avenue, his tractor-trailer straddling the plastic dividers that separate the main road from a tunnel-only lane, where he does not want to be. An orange pylon has wedged itself under the front bumper of his rig. A pedestrian pauses on his way across the street, reaches under and wriggles it free. He holds it up, where the driver can see. The light changes, and the truck rolls away, a lion to the pedestrian's mouse. The orange thorn is set back down in its line.

The relationship between walker and driver on the far West Side is not always so symbiotic, especially as the evening rush bears down. Unlike the out-of-town trucker, these drivers know exactly where they need to be. And in their minds many of them are already there, mentally soaring over this familiar crush of traffic. Pedestrians crossing the avenue search hard for the eyes of drivers turning from the street on a green light.

What the drivers see is not always what it appears to be. At 38th Street, cars roll past a block of buildings that look rundown and abandoned. The words "Moved to W 36 St." have been spray-painted on a boarded-up storefront, as if on a giant Post-It note.

But from the far sidewalk, a few green and blue birds can be seen hopping on a windowsill inside a second-floor apartment of one structure. These buildings are not dead. They are being renovated.

"This neighborhood used to be crack city," says Herminio Torres, who lives in one of the buildings with his family, adding that it wasn't until about 1987 that things began to turn around. This particular block, he says, was "The Last of the Mohicans."

Not just anyone can carry off the nickname T-Bone. But Mr. Torres can, and does. On this day last December, he was sporting a black leather cap, black sunglasses, a few gold chains and a "T-Bone" bracelet. "I've thrown a few people down the stairs," he says without affect, describing the days when the area was overrun with drug dealers.

Some years ago, while working in a metal shop on his block, Mr. Torres lost part of a leg when a load of metal fell from a delivery truck. "Everybody said, 'It'll slow T-Bone down,' " Mr. Torres recalls, with only a mild smugness at having proved them wrong.

While he was recuperating, he wanted to hear birds. Because it was too difficult to go out and walk, he bought some pet birds for his apartment.

For the moment, the birds' presence is adequately explained. But there's more to it.

When Mr. Torres regained his mobility (he wears a prosthesis), having birds in his apartment was no longer a priority. He offered the birds to another tenant, but she didn't want them. Eventually he gave them to his sister. But the elderly woman to whom he'd offered them later warmed to the idea of having birds, and wound up buying some of her own.

"When I didn't want them," Mr. Torres says, "I couldn't give them away."

From unwanted to sought after: a parable of Hell's Kitchen.

In the mid-1930's, wrecking crews began dismantling scores of tenements to make way for the Lincoln Tunnel approaches. A contemporary newspaper account described the clearance project as "one of the indirect benefits" of the tunnel's construction. Photos of the time show the damage: surgically precise, devastating in effect.

The far West Side retains the legacy of the tunnel's infrastructure: the spaghetti of ramps, odd-shaped parcels of concrete, cross streets tethered to avenues by steel beams. It's as if Hell's Kitchen were an ocean, and this hulking profusion of concrete and steel a sunken ship lying on its floor. But now, 70 years after its abrupt intrusion, some of the tunnel's otherworldliness has been worn away by the incessant activity of its environment.

One day last winter, Leni Schwendinger was standing in a community garden at 39th Street and 10th Avenue. "People come down here and say, 'I saw this from the bus ramp; I always wondered what this was,' " she says. The garden and a dog park form an L-shaped oasis. Below the garden, westbound cars emerge into their final daylight before the tunnel, where a sign reads, "Last Exit in Manhattan." Alongside the dog park, buses make their way down a ramp from the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Ms. Schwendinger, president of the Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association, and Meta Brunzema, an architect and urban planner, eagerly point out other concrete patches that might be similarly transformed. "It shows there's energy here," Ms. Brunzema says.

The energy in Hell's Kitchen is the kind that comes and goes, swells with the crowds of commuters, Ninth Avenue shoppers and Javits Center conventioneers, is changed by its late-night isolation, by the lurking thrum of the Port Authority, vanishes in places, and appears again unexpectedly.

On a sidewalk on 38th Street near 11th Avenue on this day last January, the club crowd has already disappeared. But not all is quiet: the ping of a hammer can be heard through the open door of a building where a man is tacking horseshoes onto a carriage horse. Along the side of the building, hay sticks out of small arched windows. The occasional junkyard dog prowls "the cut," the depressed railroad right-of-way that crosses under the street. To the east, Midtown is an impressive incongruity.

Trains and tracks are a large presence in parts of the far West Side. "The cut" is the less exalted brother of the High Line, the unused 1.5-mile railroad viaduct built about 70 years ago that extends from the West Side Yards to Gansevoort Street. Both were constructed in the 1930's, part of an initiative called the West Side Improvement Project that removed freight trains from city streets.

Down below 40th Street, along "the cut,'' a message has been painted on a wall beside the tracks: "If you lived here, you'd be home by now." The tracks here have been built over, but the light comes in through an open patch, where the upper floors of some residential towers are cast against blue sky. A disused section of track is covered with trash - old cushions, clothes, baby strollers, suitcases, an empty bottle of orange wine. A spur goes off to the west, toward a place where a slaughterhouse used to be. An Amtrak train comes through on the main track, loud at first, then a hushed string of silver passenger cars.

Then the place is quiet again, a library of graffiti and darkness.

Tony Guida was born in 1927, in a cold-water flat on West 33rd Street, and he has lived in Hell's Kitchen nearly his whole life. One day last winter, Mr. Guida was recalling when Ninth Avenue was crowded with pushcarts from Paddy's Market, when trains plied the surface track along 11th Avenue (then labeled "Death Avenue" because of all the train-related accidents), and when bakers and butchers delivered to people's apartments by horse and wagon.

"My father worked for the New York Central, unloading trains," Mr. Guida says, in a classic New York accent. He remembers when the circus arrived in town at the New York Central's yard. The workers and the animals would sleep in their respective railroad cars at night, and the animals would be marched to the circus through the streets.

In those days, goods that had "fallen off a truck" might actually have so fallen, and the men who pulled freight off trains and loaded it on trucks often went home with errant produce that had been slipped into a satchel before an inspector could seize it. In the years before refrigeration, fish were often transported live, on specialized cars that were, in effect, rolling aquariums; Mr. Guida remembers an eel that spent some time swimming corkscrews in the bathtub of his family's apartment.

The railroad yards have changed a lot since the mid- to late 1800's, when the Hell's Kitchen Gang and the Gophers routinely raided the trains there. The raids stopped around 1910, when the New York Central Railroad established a special police force that was as formidable as the gangsters.

The site, also known as Hudson Yards and the John D. Caemmerer Yards, is now owned by the Long Island Rail Road, and is used to maintain, repair and store trains.

Brian Dolan, a spokesman for the Long Island Rail Road, was walking through the yard one day last December, acting like a homeowner showing off a new addition. The L.I.R.R. opened the yard in 1987, after six years of construction. Before that, morning trains into the city had to return to Long Island before coming back for the evening rush. Now the trains wait here, like parents outside a Blink-182 concert, until it's time to take commuters back to Long Island. "By 5:30, this place will be empty," Mr. Dolan says, but in midafternoon trains fill most of the yard's 31 tracks.

In the yard's vast flatness, it's easy to forget that you are in Manhattan. It will be even easier if the place is decked over and the Jets stadium is built on top of it.

On 42nd Street near 12th Avenue, next to the Chinese consulate and across from the new River Place residential tower, stands a brownstone with a white facade and lime-green fire escapes and windowsills. It was a gray day last November.

"Thirty-seven years I've been here," says Louis Gritsipis, taking a break inside his restaurant on the building's first floor. Mr. Gritsipis, who is in his early 60's, owns the building and lives with his wife and two children in one of three upstairs apartments. "I had difficult years, with the drug dealers and criminals," he says. "The 60's, 70's - forget about it. They used to cut the roof, break through the wall. I would open the store at 5:30: no eggs, no ham, no cash register." Mr. Gritsipis taps two fingers to his temple. "Seven times I was held up."

The strain of those encounters doesn't show in his face. But his expression tightens when he talks about certain changes in the neighborhood. The area has been cleaned up, and it is much safer, improvements for which he credits Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. Yet it's not just the bad characters who have been swept out. "Lunchtime used to be all locals, packed in like sardines," he says. Now, he relies on tourists. "I prefer to have my neighbors know each other. We used to know each other.

"But this building," he continues, gesturing toward the tower across the street, "I don't know if it exists or not. These big buildings, I call them 'mountains.' This one: 900 apartments, but I don't see any people."

Matthew Doherty, who was a Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University, has written for The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry and Glimmer Train, a literary quarterly.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2004/11/06/nyregion/07tunnel.1842.jpg

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

billyblancoNYC
November 9th, 2004, 10:26 AM
City Proposes No-Cost Incentives for Hudson Yards Housing Developers
By Barbara Jarvie
Last updated: November 8, 2004 07:51am

NEW YORK CITY-The Departments of City Planning and Housing Preservation & Development presented the Hudson Yards Affordable Housing Strategy which is designed to provide increased affordable housing in this West Side development area. One component calls for a larger incentive for developers to create affordable housing by lowering “as-of-right” density and in exchange requiring a greater share of affordable units. The density increase would be as much as 33%; currently it averages around 20%. A DCP spokesperson tells GlobeSt.com that there has already been “active interest in developing residential sites in the area.”


The program would also extend the Inclusionary Zoning Program within the rezoning area to include the neighboring Hells Kitchen community. The third element is to enhance the current preservation option to ensure that more existing units would be preserved in exchange for increased density.


The Hudson Yards Redevelopment Plan--a comprehensive 40-year initiative--calls for the creation of 13,600 new residential units with a total of 2,600 affordable units. This is an increase of 500 affordable housing units over the number that would have been generated by the Hudson Yards proposal certified in June. The plan involves the area from West 30th Street to West 43rd Street, and Seventh and Eighth avenues to 12th Avenue. It is bordered by Clinton to the north, Chelsea to the south, the Hudson River to the west and the Garment Center and Midtown to the east.


“The comprehensive Hudson Yards plan for a vibrant new neighborhood will secure New York City’s economic future,” says city planning director Amanda M. Burden.


“We want to expand options for safe, decent and affordable housing to New Yorkers of all income levels,” adds HPD commissioner Shaun Donovan.


Current residents of the community would be given preference in the lottery to rent or buy at least half of the affordable homes and apartments and affordability provisions for all units, produced or preserved by inclusionary zoning would last in perpetuity. The proposal is currently in the public review process and the City Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposal Nov. 22.


Already adding to housing in the area is the Fashion Institute of Technology’s acquisition this past summer of a 320,000-sf former flex property at 406 W. 31st St. The college will convert the site into 493 student apartments. In addition to affordable housing, the plan also calls for the creation of 28 million sf of office space, 3,000 hotel rooms, 700,000 sf of retail space, and more than 20 acres of new parkland.


Earlier this year, the city created the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corp., a nonprofit that will help in the financing of the massive West Side project. City estimates peg the total costs of the infrastructure to be financed between 2005 and 2012 to be $2.8 billion and a continued build-out is expected to follow through 2040.

http://www.globest.com/news/155_155/newyork/128383-1.html

TonyO
November 22nd, 2004, 11:09 AM
Daily News

Horse-trade on West Side

When the city Planning Commission meets today to consider a rezoning plan of the 59-square-block Hudson Yards development area, the owners of one building will be paying special attention.
The 16-story office building at 450 W. 33rd St. - whose tenants include The Associated Press, WNET-Channel 13 and the Daily News - may be given its very own zone.

That special rezoning would permit the owners to erect two high-rise towers above the current structure, and allow a combination of offices and residential units in those towers.

In exchange, the city secured a commitment by the owners to build a pedestrian walkway right through the middle of their building.

The walkway would connect the proposed Jets Stadium site to the new Penn Station, allowing fans to go straight from the train to the game.

The building's special rezoning proposal has been under negotiation with the city for nearly two years but was made public only in February - and not included in the city's original plans for the new West Side.

"At first we weren't looking at it at all," said Vishaan Chakrabarti, the commission's planning director for Manhattan. "The building was only included in our plans at the request of the previous owners, Max Capital."

Executives at the Max Capital Group spent many months negotiating a satisfactory zoning change with the city, Chakrabarti said.

Planning commission staff eventually agreed to the valuable increase in allowable density for the site, Chakrabarti said.

Just last week, however, commission staff modified their rezoning proposal. According to an internal staff memo obtained by The News, the new rezoning allows the owners to demolish the building and construct a much larger one on the same footprint.

It would be quite the deal for 450 Partners LLC, the investment group that bought the building from Max Capital in 1999.

The group is headed by real estate moguls Joseph and Jacob Chetrit and includes three other limited partnerships as part of its controlling group.

Until two years ago, Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff, City Hall's main architect for the Hudson Yards project, was himself an investor in the building.

A city Conflict of Interest Board decision led to Doctoroff's selling off his interest in several real estate ventures, including the building at 450 W. 33rd St.

The conflicts board went a step further. Because Doctoroff, a millionaire many times over, had been partners with legendary Texas billionaire Robert Bass, the board ruled that Doctoroff must recuse himself from taking any actions as deputy mayor that affected any companies "that Mr. Doctoroff knows to be controlled by, controlling or under common control with" the Texas billionaire.

Here's where it gets tricky.

According to city real estate records, the group that owns the building now includes the Lone Star Fund II, a Dallas-based investment fund founded in 1993 by John Grayken, once a top aide to Bass.

It's unclear if Bass has any interest in Lone Star Fund II; the fund incorporated in the Bahamas, and it's hard to trace things in non-U.S. filings.

Neither the Chetrit brothers nor officials at the Lone Star Fund II in Dallas returned phone calls last week for comment.

What is known is this:

By the late 1990s, Doctoroff owned a piece of the building. By then, Doctoroff already had championed a failed bid to get the 2008 Summer Olympics to New York.

He continued his Olympics campaign, setting his sights on the 2012 Summer Games.

In the meantime, Max Capital went about its business. It formed an equity fund with Bass. It came up with the rezoning idea that would allow it to build towers on its roof.

By then, Doctoroff - who still owned part of 450 W. 33rd - would become deputy mayor for economic development.

The rezoning plan for 450 W. 33rd St. ultimately was put together by the Planning Commission staff and the city's Economic Development Corporation - both overseen by Doctoroff.

City Hall spokeswoman Jennifer Falk said Doctoroff is "confident he has no direct or indirect involvement with the property."

Falk said Doctoroff "made a general request to the administrator of [his blind] trust to unload any property to avoid even the appearance of a conflict."

That administrator sold off Doctoroff's 2% share in the 33rd St. building "more than two years ago," Falk added, though she could not say just when that occurred.

Some critics worry that Doctoroff might be skirting the line between public and private interests. But with Manhattan's West Side turning into the Wild West of real estate, we need to be absolutely sure our economic development czar is using his vast power for the public's good.

Originally published on November 22, 2004

Kris
December 2nd, 2004, 01:07 AM
December 2, 2004

Build Platform, Group Says, but Please Hold the Stadium

By CHARLES V. BAGLI

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2004/12/02/nyregion/02stadium_lg.jpg
A proposal from the Regional Plan Association calls for commercial and residential development along a corridor through the West Side.

For more than two years, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has insisted that only a football stadium for the Jets could cover the vast railyards on Manhattan's West Side that have long been a barrier to the neighborhood's development.

But yesterday the Regional Plan Association, an influential private group, issued a report stating that a residential and commercial development erected on top of platforms over the railyards would generate far more revenue for the city and the state than a stadium, and would promote development on nearby land.

Robert D. Yaro, president of the association, said the group's alternative plan would also provide a physical and visual link between the city and the Hudson River, in contrast to the mayor's plan for a football stadium and an expanded Javits Convention Center that would create a 12-block wall along the riverfront.

"From Day 1, the city and the Jets have said that the choice on the West Side is between a stadium and a hole in the ground," said Mr. Yaro, whose organization, financed by civic groups and corporations, opposes building a stadium over the railyards.

He said: "We've outlined what we think are very feasible alternatives, involving residential development on the western yard and a mix of residential and commercial on the eastern yard. You can create something more attractive and something that will serve as a catalyst for the redevelopment of the West Side in a way that the stadium will not."

The group's alternative comes only weeks before the state is expected to approve the proposed $1.4 billion stadium project for the Jets. The stadium is a key element of the Bloomberg administration's ambitious plan to redevelop the West Side, transforming a 59-block area of parking lots, brick warehouses and factories into a major business district, and it is also the centerpiece of the city's bid for the 2012 Olympics.

But the stadium, which would be built on a platform over the railyard between 11th and 12th Avenues, from 30th to 34th Street, has met with strong opposition from local residents, some Broadway theater owners and elected officials from the West Side. These opponents have said they were worried about traffic congestion and feared that the stadium would discourage development. It has yet to be embraced by any major civic group, and both sides anticipate lawsuits.

Though the Regional Plan Association's alternative proposal has little likelihood of being carried out, it drew quick reactions in the superheated debate over the future of the West Side.

Stadium opponents like the Hell's Kitchen/Hudson Yards Alliance, State Senator Thomas K. Duane and Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried embraced it. The Hudson Yards Coalition, a pro-stadium group, sharply attacked the plan, saying the stadium "will more than pay for itself - it will generate a profit for New York, and jobs for New Yorkers."

Jennifer Falk, a City Hall spokeswoman, said the city would lose millions of dollars in convention and trade show business without a stadium, and would lose any hope of attracting the Olympics.

The city and the state plan to invest $600 million for a platform over the railyards and a retractable roof for the stadium, while the Jets plan to put up $800 million to cover the rest of the project.

The regional plan group says the city should instead simply build the platforms and then sell development sites to builders. Commercial and residential development would generate net revenues and taxes of $510 million a year, compared with only $74 million from the stadium, the association's report said.

Separately, the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute at Baruch College has also issued an alternative that addresses the city's waterfront, but shies away from taking a position on the stadium.

That proposal calls for building one of the largest convention centers in the world over the railyards, stretching east from 12th Avenue to Ninth Avenue, between 30th and 34th Streets. The institute contends that a stadium and an arena could be built atop the convention center.

Like the planning group's proposal, the institute recommends the creation of a commercial corridor extending west along 34th Street from Ninth Avenue to the Hudson River. The existing Jacob K. Javits Convention Center could then be demolished to make way for apartment towers.

In creating an east-west orientation, the Baruch proposal opens the waterfront to the city.

The Regional Plan Association's proposal calls for building thousands of apartments on a platform west of 11th Avenue and a mix of residential and office towers on a platform east of 11th Avenue.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


www.rpa.org

Gulcrapek
December 5th, 2004, 08:02 PM
I don't know if this has been posted before..

http://home.nyc.rr.com/freshfrogs/Renderings/Exteriors/images/Olympic1.jpg

http://home.nyc.rr.com/freshfrogs/Renderings/Exteriors/images/Olympic2.jpg

http://www.perspectivearts.com/

NoyokA
December 5th, 2004, 09:11 PM
Looks like those life-less office buildings off the Jersey City shore. I don't like this one either.

billyblancoNYC
December 6th, 2004, 03:17 AM
I do like the extension into the water concept, though.

jiw40
December 6th, 2004, 06:29 PM
Where's the Circle Line fit into this plan?I also don't see the auto impound yard there,just south of the new ferry terminal.Can't do without these landmark institutions.

jiw40
December 6th, 2004, 06:31 PM
Now I see the impound pier.But it looks sanitized,no character.

alex ballard
December 7th, 2004, 09:30 PM
Why don't they simply rezone the entire area from 59st-34st, Hudson river to 7th Ave a Extremely High-Density commerical office building zone? I bet you could squeeze out 200-300 million sq feet of office space out of that plan. That's 1 million new jobs. Why not? The Javits can expand and the Stadium could go on some sort of pier, along with a new Cruise ship terminal, Museums, Entertainment, and even Housing (Think Baltimore inner harbor). The area south of 34st to 23st could be a sort of Housing zone with all the displaced residents getting first priority over the new housing. Then sell the rest at market rate. Perfect.

debris
December 8th, 2004, 12:20 AM
Three words: Clinton Special District. 43rd to 56th, 8th to 10th avenue are complete off-limits, a historic district. It kinda crushes the momentum for office space west of Times Square, so a residential high-rise district is growing on 8th instead.

Of course, no trains stop west of 8th. Amtrak's Empire Line is well positioned in the area, though (it cuts from underneath Trump Place diagonally to Penn Station)...I wish they could use it for subways.

billyblancoNYC
December 8th, 2004, 01:04 AM
Did you guys read the rest of this thread?

Kris
December 8th, 2004, 10:59 AM
Leaving The Hudson River Out Of “The Hudson Yard” Plans (http://gothamgazette.com/article/waterfront/20041208/18/1207)

TonyO
December 16th, 2004, 11:58 AM
Crain's
December 13, 2004

Hudson Yards housing plan slammed

A report by the Pratt Institute slams the Bloomberg administration's plans for ensuring that affordable housing is built as the area surrounding the rail yards on the far West Side is redeveloped.

The institute claims that the administration's projections that developers will build some 2,600 units of affordable housing are unrealistic, and that it is likely that only about 600 units will be built.

The administration estimates that about two-thirds of developers will choose to participate in the so-called 80/20 program. Under that program, developers who build rental units will receive financial incentives if they set aside 20% of the units for low-income families.

The institute, however, argues that despite that incentive and other breaks, few developers will choose to build rentals at all, since the condominium market is far more lucrative. The report argues that past rates of participation aren't relevant because more developers nowadays build condos, and that the incentive programs need to be drastically revised.

Kris
December 19th, 2004, 07:04 AM
December 19, 2004

THE CITY

A New Player on the West Side

The City Council held hearings last week on plans to redevelop Manhattan's far West Side, and now, after months of being frozen out of the deal by the Bloomberg administration, it is preparing to vote yea or nay. Not on everything - the proposed stadium for the Jets is not in the mix because it would sit on state-owned land. The Council's 51 members will vote on how a 59-block area is to be rezoned, and that should give them enough leverage to ask the city to rethink important questions about financing, density and housing mix.

Technically, the Council's power extends only to zoning. But without the necessary commercial and residential building permits, as well as permits required for the proposed extension of the No. 7 subway line, the overall plan, except for the stadium, could not go forward.

We oppose the stadium while supporting a larger vision of a vital, mixed-use West Side. Yet aspects of the city's plan need improvement. One is financing. The Council speaker, Gifford Miller, though an advocate of West Side redevelopment, has rightly criticized Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposal to finance part of the redevelopment through the city's Transitional Finance Authority. This would allow the city to bypass the Council, as well as the capital approval process and the robust public debate that usually accompany expenditures of this size - $4 billion.

The Council should also insist that the mayor reduce the plan's density. The plan calls for 26 million square feet of commercial space and some 13,600 apartments. High density is needed if the city is to collect the property tax revenues to finance its plan. But that means buildings along 11th Avenue could rise to 60 stories, walling off the Hudson River waterfront. We don't expect riverfront cabanas, but there should be a way to avoid the overwhelming skyscrapers of the sort that make Sixth Avenue a concrete canyon. The Council might consider a measured phasing in of the development, something recommended by the Regional Plan Association.

More affordable housing should also be encouraged. The target area, from West 30th Street to West 42nd Street and as far east as Seventh Avenue, is the last chunk of largely undeveloped real estate in Manhattan and so is a field of dreams for many. The administration's game plan is to use the proposed $1.4 billion stadium to draw new development. It's entirely possible, though, that housing alone could bring new life to the area and alleviate a citywide housing shortage as well. At 3 percent, the city's vacancy rate is well below other large cities. Affordable housing is especially scarce.

It's a given that luxury housing will be part of a reborn West Side. The challenge is to maximize units for middle- and lower-income people. Shaun Donovan, the commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development, says the Bloomberg plan would produce as many as 3,100 affordable units. That would be an improvement over an earlier city proposal, but more can be done.

Meanwhile, the city could boost the number of affordable units by building on publicly owned land, and the Council could channel tax breaks and improve bonuses to developers who build more than just market-rate housing. The new West Side should be within the reach of all New Yorkers.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

NewYorkYankee
December 19th, 2004, 03:57 PM
I like the 60 story high rises! So what if its a 6th avenue like canyon, thats part of what makes NY NY!

alex ballard
December 19th, 2004, 06:38 PM
Three words: Clinton Special District. 43rd to 56th, 8th to 10th avenue are complete off-limits, a historic district. It kinda crushes the momentum for office space west of Times Square, so a residential high-rise district is growing on 8th instead.

Of course, no trains stop west of 8th. Amtrak's Empire Line is well positioned in the area, though (it cuts from underneath Trump Place diagonally to Penn Station)...I wish they could use it for subways.

Ok, so what if north of 42st is off limits?

Why not have the current area be entirely office. You still could squeeze the same amount of office space there too.

What NYC needs is jobs, and lots of them. This plan will also increase the need for height, which is what you want, correct? The whole "housing" thing can wait, we already have over 8 million people.

Kris
December 20th, 2004, 11:27 PM
December 21, 2004

West Side Plan Is Risky Effort, Forecasters Say

By CHARLES V. BAGLI

The Bloomberg administration's $4.1 billion financial plan for transforming the West Side of Manhattan has run into increasing criticism from independent financial analysts as an expensive and risky strategy, which may be impossible to pursue under current statutes.

Critics are not opposed to the extension of the No. 7 subway line from Times Square to 34th Street and 11th Avenue, or the new streets, parks and other projects within the plan. But they say that the administration's method of paying for these projects, along with the city's $300 million share in a new football stadium for the Jets, will add an unnecessary $1.3 billion to the price tag and pose risks for the city budget.

To provide financing for the project, the administration plans to create the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation, which would issue long-term bonds and short-term debt to pay for the parks, the streets, the subway and a deck over a railyard east of 11th Avenue, between 30th and 33rd Streets, where new development could take place. Using the corporation means the city's financial plan would not have to go through the normal budget process and avoids a potentially nettlesome vote by the City Council.

"The city's proposed Hudson Yards financing scheme is fraught with several serious problems and, in my opinion, should be scrapped," James A. Parrott, chief economist for the Fiscal Policy Institute, a labor-backed research group, told council members at a hearing last week. "Instead, a plan of infrastructure improvements for the far West Side should be incorporated into the city's capital budget."

Ronnie Lowenstein, director of the city's Independent Budget Office, told council members that the city's proposed plan would cost $1.3 billion more than if the city used conventional borrowing.

City officials do not deny the additional cost, but say that the projects, along with a rezoning of the West Side and the proposed 75,000-seat stadium, would catalyze residential and commercial development in the 59-block area, generating more than $60 billion in new tax revenues over the next 30 years. At the same hearing, Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff said that in an era of limited resources, the "only alternative is to do nothing." He added, "It's an investment we can't afford not to make."

The hearing before the City Council's finance committee did not have the raucous, carnival-like atmosphere of another forum the same week concerning the proposed $1.4 billion stadium over the West Side rail yards, where the chants of protesters collided with the boisterous roar of construction workers demanding jobs.

The finance hearing was conducted under the dim lighting of the Council chamber. There were no raised voices and the room began to empty after only 30 minutes. But with the Council expected to vote on rezoning the neighborhood next month, critics painted a dark picture in contrast to the administration's sunny view.

Mr. Doctoroff said the advantage of the plan is that it would pay for itself. The corporation, he said - not the city - would be responsible for paying off the bondholders, using tax revenues from new development on the West Side.

"We developed a creative financing plan that pays for itself with new revenues it will generate - not with capital budget money," Mr. Doctoroff testified. "That means the Hudson Yards plan won't compete for resources with other important capital projects."

In the early years, Mr. Doctoroff and Mark Page, the city's budget director, said that new residential and commercial development would not generate enough revenue to pay the interest on the bonds. So under the city's plan, the corporation would issue about $1 billion in short-term debt backed by the city's Transitional Finance Authority and income tax revenues.

But critics say the city would be on the hook for the short-term debt if West Side development does not occur quickly enough and investors fail to buy the corporation's short-term notes. They say the corporation would then be using income tax revenues that flow into the city budget.

"You're putting city income tax revenues in jeopardy," said Richard Ravitch, the former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and once the state's top economic development official. "But the law is clear that T.F.A. can't be used for projects that don't go through the budgetary process."

Earlier in the hearing, Mr. Page insisted that the city was using the finance authority properly, although he acknowledged that the administration had not gotten a legal opinion to that effect.

Mr. Ravitch added that the city's financial plan was vulnerable to a legal challenge. And both sides expect opponents of the stadium to file at least two lawsuits in the coming weeks, one challenging the adequacy of the environmental view for the stadium and one challenging the city's financial plan.

In an October letter to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, William C. Thompson Jr., the city comptroller, also warned that his plan represented a substantial commitment of funds "without the oversight protections inherent in the city's capital budgeting process."

Mr. Doctoroff did not dispute the extra cost, but he played down the risk that the finance authority would have to step in, saying, "We don't expect it will ever get called on."

As for the long-term bonds issued by the development corporation, the deputy mayor said that bondholders, not the city, would be at risk if the tax revenues from new development failed to materialize and the corporation defaulted on its obligations.

But some experts have questioned the city's estimate that 26 million square feet of office space and nearly 14,000 apartments would be built on the West Side over the next 30 years. While the city's demand for housing appears insatiable, economists like Rae Rosen at the Federal Reserve Bank, and James Diffley, a managing director of Global Insight, one of the nation's largest economic forecasting companies, say that the Bloomberg administration is being overly optimistic when it comes to office buildings.

"What's implausible is that one new, unproven district would capture all that demand," said another economic forecaster, Hugh Kelly of Real Estate Economics.

Critics say that raises the possibility of a default by the development corporation. Although the corporation would be a legally separate entity from the city, State Comptroller Alan G. Hevesi warned in a July report that the bonds "may be perceived by the financial community as a moral obligation of the City of New York and could adversely affect the city's credit rating."

Mr. Hevesi noted that the extension of the No. 7 subway line accounted for half the debt. He said major transportation projects have a history of large cost overruns and delays.

"I know the bonds can't be sold just on the credit of the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation," Mr. Ravitch said at the hearing. "Mr. Doctoroff may be sincere in saying that the city is not on the hook. But to suggest that a default wouldn't affect the credit of the city is silly."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

BrooklynRider
December 21st, 2004, 05:18 PM
I like the 60 story high rises! So what if its a 6th avenue like canyon, thats part of what makes NY NY!

I have to disagree. Sixth Ave from 42nd Street north is horrific. All those corporate "plazas", no retail, dead except when Radio City has a show - it is the perfect example of what and how NOT to build in NY.

Although they were allieved of the setback zoning rules, the "new" Times Square buildings are much more apropos. Bottom level retail creating well lit sidewalks at night, inviting retail spaces, and an opportunity for life beyond 9AM - 5PM. No, no - no more Sixth Avenue types.

NewYorkYankee
December 21st, 2004, 09:42 PM
Oh, I apologize Brooklyn. I thought that they were talking about the sheer height of the buildings. I didnt know about those plazas. I hate those plazas as well. Sorry for my ignorance.

Deimos
December 27th, 2004, 05:53 PM
I've been thinking about the 7 extension a lot today (very boring day in the office). The extension to just the javits center I think is being extremely shortsighted. Looking at the subway map, I'd propose that the 7 train should go down 11th ave to chelsea piers then cut across to 14th and greenwich (9th Ave). It should then follow greenwich all the way to the southern tip of manhattan meeting up with the 4 and 5 at Bowling Green, possibly joining the 4 and 5 trains to one or both of their termini (8 train?).

Stops would be at: Javits Center, 34th Street - Penn Station, 23rd Street, Chelsea Piers, 14th Street (Transfer to L), Christopher Street, Houston Street, Canal Street, Chambers Street, World Trade Center, Rector Street (Transfer to 1 and 9), Bowling Green (Transfer to 4 and 5)

This extension would provide better access to the far west side allowing for the eventual development to not be constricted in mass transit options. It would also help out with the new development in the west village, and give a fourth connection from Queens to the World Trade Center.

Any thoughts on this?

debris
December 27th, 2004, 06:49 PM
Hey, while we're dreaming, the 7 train could turn west on Christopher Street and head out the PATH tunnel, creating the long discussed link from New Jersey to Grand Central. The PATH is built to IRT standards, after all. Of course, it would require the cooperation of the Port Authority and the MTA; like that would ever happen!

Deimos
December 28th, 2004, 03:31 PM
well today is even slower than yesterday, so time to add more money to the 7 expansion project again.

New 7 train stops:
32nd St, 11th Ave - NYSCC, Jacob Javits Center: Transfer to 8 (see below for more on this)
23rd St, 11th Ave - Chelsea Piers
14th St, 9th Ave: Transfer to L
Bleeker St, Greenwich St
Christopher St, Greenwich St: Transfer to PATH
Houston St, Greenwich St
Canal St, Greenwich St
Chambers St, West St - Battery Park City
Liberty St, West St - World Trade Center, World Financial Center, Battery Park City
Battery Pl, West St - Battery Park City

New 8 train Stops:
Split from 7 train tracks at 1st Ave on 42nd Street
33rd St, 2nd Ave - Transfer to T
32nd St, Park Ave S - Transfer to 4,5,6
32nd St, 6th Ave - Transfer to N,R,Q,W,B,D,F,V
32nd St, 7th Ave - Transfer to 1,2,3,9, Amtrak, NJ Transit, LIRR
32nd St, 8th Ave - Transfer to A,C,E
32nd St, 11th Ave - Transfer to 7

After Battery Pl, the 7 and 8 will then join the 1 and 9 at South Ferry and continue on to join the 4 and 5 trains under the East River into Brooklyn. I don't know brooklyn at all, so I don't know what to do with the trains beyond this list.

Any thoughts on this revised proposal.... Projected budget should be somewhere around $30 Billion. This would provide a crosstown subway access at 34th street, hopefully alleviating some road traffice on the heavily travelled 34th st. corridor. This will also increase the accessibility of brooklyn to the world trade center and give better access to midtown for residents of battery park city.

BrooklynRider
December 29th, 2004, 01:56 PM
At $30 billion, I think they'll jump at it.

alex ballard
December 30th, 2004, 10:26 AM
Why not extend the Shuttle? the shuttle should be extended down 42st to 11th Ave with another stop at 9th Ave. They also should extend the shuttle to 1/2nd Ave on the East side and connect to the SAS. 5th Ave should have a shuttle stop too. The 7 is already overcrowded, why make it more crowded?

Deimos
December 30th, 2004, 10:58 AM
The shuttle won't be that easy to extend... keep in mind that it's just the middle part of the original IRT line that was basically the 6 train below 42nd street and the 1 and 9 above 42nd. If you follow tracks 3 and 4 of the shuttle beyond the times square station, you'll see that they merge w/the 1 and 9 tracks.

alex ballard
December 30th, 2004, 12:13 PM
No train line would be easily extended. The shuttle could dive under the 1/9 to run under 42st. The 7 will be overpacked for the west side. Do you think the 8th Ave lines will recieve more ridership due to the development?

BrooklynRider
December 30th, 2004, 01:54 PM
I think it is time to come up from underground. Build a Disney-like monorail - rubber wheels or maglev - running above ground along 3rd and 1st Aves. Snake it back and forth from 59th to 42nd to 34th to 14th to Houston to Chambers and across the East River. Run it along the Belt Parkway for One-Stop ride to JFK.

I don't get the desire to build more stuff underground, when building above would seem to be cheaper, quieter and more modern.

Or, am I full of S##*%T?

alex ballard
December 30th, 2004, 02:25 PM
I think it is time to come up from underground. Build a Disney-like monorail - rubber wheels or maglev - running above ground along 3rd and 1st Aves. Snake it back and forth from 59th to 42nd to 34th to 14th to Houston to Chambers and across the East River. Run it along the Belt Parkway for One-Stop ride to JFK.

I don't get the desire to build more stuff underground, when building above would seem to be cheaper, quieter and more modern.

Or, am I full of S##*%T?

Most people think that above ground rapid-transit would decrease property values. That's why they took down the Manhattan Els. And it would be best for the city if the transit for the West Side was intergrated into the rest of the city. I think the subway is and always will be the best way to expand transit in and the city.

PHLguy
December 30th, 2004, 03:08 PM
NYguy posted at SSP that zoning regulations on a few of the sites will allow towers more than 80 stories tall!


I think they're taunting us, no companies in manhattan want 80 story buildings :(

alex ballard
December 30th, 2004, 03:22 PM
NYguy posted at SSP that zoning regulations on a few of the sites will allow towers more than 80 stories tall!


I think they're taunting us, no companies in manhattan want 80 story buildings :(

I wouldn't start poppin' the prozac just yet. I think once the saftey tech comes around, companies will look to go high. I think we will see 80-100 story buildings in Manhattan again. After all, any building could be bombed, so why not make the most of your space? I think it's status, not height, that makes buildings a target. After all, they didn't take down the Library tower (LA), Sears tower (CHI), or ESB. The WTC was a symbol for more than just it's height.

Kris
January 11th, 2005, 12:47 AM
January 11, 2005

Mayor and Council Reach Deal on West Side Development

By CHARLES V. BAGLI and MIKE McINTIRE

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's ambitious plan to transform part of the West Side into a new high-rise business district took a significant step forward yesterday after his administration reached an agreement with City Council leaders over housing, development rights and financing.

The mayor's plan calls for replacing the brick warehouses, factories and parking lots that dominate the area with office towers, parks and a new boulevard, while extending the No. 7 subway line one mile, from Times Square to 11th Avenue and 34th Street. The Council agreed yesterday to reduce the total cost of the 30-year plan to $3 billion from $4 billion by appropriating money from the city's operating budget to make early interest payments annually over the first decade.

In exchange, the Council won an agreement from the administration that a quarter of the 13,600 new apartments planned for the 59-block district would be affordable for moderate- and low-income New Yorkers. That compares with only 16 percent, or 2,176 units, in the mayor's original plan.

At the same time, the Council's leaders took steps to sever any connection between the redevelopment of the West Side and a separate but far more disputed proposal to build a $1.4 billion football stadium with a retractable roof for the Jets over a rail yard on the west side of 11th Avenue between 30th and 34th Streets. Under the agreement, none of the money appropriated for the redevelopment can be used for the stadium.

The local community board and other critics, however, were disappointed that the compromise did not cut the density of the commercial development planned for the district more sharply. Both sides agreed to allow for 24 million square feet of office space, down from 26 million, within a district west of Eighth Avenue that stretches from 28th to 42nd Streets.

Mr. Bloomberg yesterday called West Side redevelopment "probably the single most important economic project that this city has undertaken in decades." He said it would revitalize the neighborhood and create thousands of jobs.

His initiative is picking up steam, with the approval last month of state legislation for the $1.4 billion expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, and now, the pending rezoning of the West Side, the largest in recent city history.

Still, in both cases, legislators moved to break any links between the respective projects and the stadium. The compromise reached yesterday also prohibits the city from using revenues generated by new development on the West Side to pay for projects west of 11th Avenue, such as a $30 million tunnel connecting the proposed stadium to the Javits Center, or two nearby pedestrian bridges over 12th Avenue.

"We've effectively divorced the stadium from the financial resources that his plan will generate," said Councilwoman Christine C. Quinn, who was active in the negotiations and represents the West Side.

The move may have been more symbolic than substantive. The Bloomberg administration has been vague about how it would pay for either the tunnel or the pedestrian bridges.

The Empire State Development Corporation is expected to approve the stadium project this month. But construction is not assured. It still needs approval by legislative leaders in Albany. The project also faces two lawsuits challenging the stadium on environmental grounds.

The mayor emphasized yesterday that the stadium was one element of a multipart plan in which development would progress more slowly "if you don't do any one of the parts."

For its part, the Jets said the idea that the stadium was linked to West Side redevelopment was a concoction of Cablevision, which has waged a multimillion-dollar campaign against the stadium. Cablevision, which owns Madison Square Garden, sees the stadium as competition.

"The Sports and Convention Center financing was never part of the rezoning process," said Matt Higgins, a vice president of the Jets. "But if Cablevision wants to claim a hollow victory, so be it."

Council members and stadium opponents wanted to make clear that redevelopment was in no way dependent on the stadium.

Council Speaker Gifford Miller said yesterday that the Council's support for the West Side plan did not temper his opposition to the stadium. He said Council leaders could have shown their opposition to the stadium by voting down the rest of the West Side project, but decided not to because they support its objective of revitalizing that part of Manhattan.

"We're not going to cut off our nose to spite our own face," he said, adding: "The financing we're talking about has nothing to do with the stadium. It's neutral to the stadium. I believe that this agreement will move forward whether the stadium moves forward or not."

The Citizens Union, a civic group, said the Council should be part of the approval process for the stadium, a position Mr. Bloomberg opposes. While it favors development, the group said the Council might have lost a chance to influence the decision to build a stadium by giving up its leverage on the redevelopment.

The entire Council is scheduled to formally adopt the plan on Jan. 19.

Under the agreement reached yesterday, the number of affordable apartments would rise to 3,400. The two sides also reduced the proposed commercial density on 11th Avenue, between 36th and 41st Streets, by one million square feet, or 14 percent.

"This is a step in the right direction," said Walter Mankoff, chairman of Community Board 4. "We were never against the development of the Hudson Yards. We wanted it done correctly. The only area where we don't see much gain is the density issue."

The city will begin making payments for public works projects in the $3 billion redevelopment plan in fiscal year 2006, with an initial payment of about $6 million. The payments will peak at $162 million after five years and then fall to $25 million by 2015. At that point, the remainder would be paid with tax revenues from new commercial projects.

William C. Thompson, the city comptroller and a critic of the city's financial scheme, called the new plan more stable and cost-effective.

The money will come from the city's $47 billion operating budget, meaning that the mayor and the Council need to find a way to pay that extra expense while grappling with multibillion-dollar deficits projected for the foreseeable future. Mr. Bloomberg recently abandoned plans to spend $200 million a year to cut long-term interest costs on $13 billion in school construction projects, saying the city could not pay for it with operating funds.

Mr. Miller said the new financing structure would save the city at least $620 million, and possibly as much as $1.3 billion, over the life of the project, and he criticized the Bloomberg administration's earlier plan to delay debt payments as needlessly costly. He said he had always favored making payments immediately, to eliminate "the fiction that the city isn't on the hook" for the project's success.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Clarknt67
January 12th, 2005, 06:49 PM
I think any proposal to run new subway through the west village would meet with an unstoppable amount of preservationist opposition, landmark buildings would need to be razed to make stations, increasing development (they're already so unhappy about morton square & the Meier towers), increased population, the construction noise and distruption, yadda, yadda, yadda

And I'm not sure I'd disagree with them.

Kris
January 13th, 2005, 08:29 AM
January 13, 2005

BLOCKS

The Sky Is No Longer the Limit on Far West Side Buildings

By DAVID W. DUNLAP

"No limit."

These were perhaps the most striking words in the rezoning plan for the Far West Side of Manhattan, also known as Hudson Yards. They referred to the density limit that the City Planning Commission, until this week, intended to place on the commercial development of two blocks at the heart of Hudson Yards. None.

Developers would have been free to build towers on these blocks as large as they could. There would have been no specified maximum under the density control called the floor-area ratio, or F.A.R., which has regulated building sizes throughout the city since 1961. (In zoning districts with a ratio of 18, for instance, the owner of a 10,000-square-foot lot may build a structure with 18 times the floor area, or 180,000 square feet.)

Visions of office towers soaring 80 stories and higher were conjured by Community Board 4 last year in its critique of the plan, which described the overall density as "unprecedented, undesirable and ultimately unnecessary for the city's future."

When Melinda Katz, the chairwoman of the City Council's Land Use Committee, learned of the no-limit provision at a hearing last month, she told planning officials, "I'm sure we'll be getting back to you on that."

In a telephone interview yesterday, Ms. Katz, a Queens Democrat, explained: "No. 1, I was concerned with precedent. No. 2, we were uncomfortable as a council with passing something that basically took the authority for creating a limit away from us."

To the administration's credit, she said, a floor-area ratio of 33 was quickly imposed on the two blocks after objections to the no-limit proposal were raised. That was one of several compromises made in the Hudson Yards plan before the committee approved it on Monday, 15 to 0, with 1 abstention. It goes to the full Council for a vote next Wednesday.

The blocks in question are bounded by 10th and 11th Avenues and 33rd and 35th Streets. They are known as the Four Corners because they would be bisected by a new north-south midblock boulevard, which would effectively create four large building sites. The southwest site would be directly over the new terminus of a planned extension of the No. 7 subway line.

"You have to have density to get vibrancy," said Amanda M. Burden, chairwoman of the Planning Commission and director of the City Planning Department. "We believe that deeply, deeply, deeply." At the same time, she said, planners do not expect construction of the office buildings to start until the expected completion of the No. 7 line in 2010.

The basic floor-area ratio on the Four Corners would be 10, but a developer could add 8 by making payments into a district improvement fund to help finance the boulevard, parkland and subway extension. The developer could add 15 more by purchasing development rights from the rail yard to the south. Because of a limit on the amount of transferable development rights from the rail yard, however, not all Four Corners sites could reach the maximum floor-area ratio, 33.

While that ratio far exceeds the current limit of 21.6 in the zoning rules, city planners note that other skyscrapers have been constructed at roughly that density or greater.

"It is not much different than the buildings that went up along Times Square," said Sandy Hornick, director of strategic planning at the planning department. Cautioning that density can be calculated in a variety of ways, Mr. Hornick put the floor-area ratio of 7 Times Square (Times Square Tower) at 42; 5 Times Square (Ernst & Young), 36; 4 Times Square (Condé Nast), 31; and 3 Times Square (Reuters), 25.

The point of removing density limits at the Four Corners, he said, was to allow developers flexibility in transferring development rights from the rail yard. "We didn't really think that people would build infinitely tall buildings," he said.

There are practical limits, as Carol Willis, the founding director of the Skyscraper Museum, noted in "Form Follows Finance" (Princeton Architectural Press). "At some point in the construction of every skyscraper," she wrote in 1995, "the law of diminishing returns sets in, and rents for the additional stories do not cover costs" - including extra foundations, equipment and space for elevator shafts. These days, there is another inhibition: tenants might feel like targets on very high floors.

MR. HORNICK said the cap of 33 F.A.R. still offered developers a "fair amount of flexibility," while addressing the Council's concerns.

Even with the compromises, however, Community Board 4 worries that the plan's transfer and bonus provisions resemble "zoning for sale," said Anthony M. Borelli, the district manager.

Although the floor-area ratio has been in force as a zoning control for only 44 years, it was championed as early as 1907 by members of the Municipal Art Society. The society's current president, Kent L. Barwick, applauded the Planning Commission "for working so hard to make common ground with the Council."

Thinking of one of his predecessors, Electus Litchfield, who might be described as the father of F.A.R., Mr. Barwick said, "The pioneers of zoning understood that there had to be limits."

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

NYguy
January 13th, 2005, 10:00 AM
January 13, 2005

BLOCKS

The Sky Is No Longer the Limit on Far West Side Buildings

By DAVID W. DUNLAP

"Developers would have been free to build towers on these blocks as large as they could. There would have been no specified maximum under the density control called the floor-area ratio, or F.A.R.,

Not asking too much...


In a telephone interview yesterday, Ms. Katz, a Queens Democrat, explained: "No. 1, I was concerned with precedent. No. 2, we were uncomfortable as a council with passing something that basically took the authority for creating a limit away from us."

Right. How dare someone tamper with their authority.


"You have to have density to get vibrancy," said Amanda M. Burden, chairwoman of the Planning Commission and director of the City Planning Department. "We believe that deeply, deeply, deeply."

I believe it deeply also...


The point of removing density limits at the Four Corners, he said, was to allow developers flexibility in transferring development rights from the rail yard. "We didn't really think that people would build infinitely tall buildings," he said.

I think we should at least have one corner in the city where there is no limit. It leaves more to the imagination. Oh well. My favorite part of the Westside rezoning has been removed. No word yet on that other unlimited site, 2 Penn Plaza.

PHLguy
January 13th, 2005, 12:57 PM
Towers over 80 stories, you really think it could happen? :shock:

NewYorkYankee
January 13th, 2005, 03:11 PM
Not anymore. :(

PHLguy
January 13th, 2005, 03:29 PM
oh never mind...I never read the whole article...



**** this...NY is turning into a NIMBY city! :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

PHLguy
January 13th, 2005, 03:35 PM
NYguy posted at SSP that zoning regulations on a few of the sites will allow towers more than 80 stories tall!


I think they're taunting us, no companies in manhattan want 80 story buildings :(

I wouldn't start poppin' the prozac just yet. I think once the saftey tech comes around, companies will look to go high. I think we will see 80-100 story buildings in Manhattan again. After all, any building could be bombed, so why not make the most of your space? I think it's status, not height, that makes buildings a target. After all, they didn't take down the Library tower (LA), Sears tower (CHI), or ESB. The WTC was a symbol for more than just it's height.


Looks like your wrong about the 80-100 floor towers!

And your right about the status, people are just too ****ing retarted to understand.

PHLguy
January 13th, 2005, 03:39 PM
I think manhattan should just put up a 900 foot citywide height limit and get it over with...It tears me up inside that what once used to be the greates Skyscraper city in the world is now banning tall buildings. New york is gonna get it's ass kicked by Chicago, Dubai, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and many others in the next 10 years... NY is becoming the heviest NIMBY populated city on earth! I doubt Gehrys tower will even be built because its more than 70 floors! :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil: :evil:

fioco
January 13th, 2005, 03:52 PM
PHLguy, you must have had a tough day. Thirteen :evil: icons! Isn't that a bit much? Get something delicious from the frig and chill. You love NY like the rest of us, no need to get so frustrated. NYC has come through a lot these past few years, and she's a lot further a long than many of us could have imagined post-Sept. 11. Soaring towers will always be a hallmark of this city, but this city doesn't need to shout with tons of new towers vying for WTB. For even her quiet whispers are heard around the world.

PHLguy
January 13th, 2005, 03:58 PM
Yea I am having a bad day sorry...


But my mood has been lifted, philadelphia is getting a 975 foot box that is U/C! :D


I just wonder why they're cutting everything down...someone please show me some good news for NYC, too many 5-700 footers in this city, WAAAY to many, We need some supertall action here.

PHLguy
January 13th, 2005, 04:00 PM
For even her quiet whispers are heard around the world.


they're also getting us a flat table topped skyline :roll:

alex ballard
January 13th, 2005, 04:08 PM
NYguy posted at SSP that zoning regulations on a few of the sites will allow towers more than 80 stories tall!


I think they're taunting us, no companies in manhattan want 80 story buildings :(

I wouldn't start poppin' the prozac just yet. I think once the saftey tech comes around, companies will look to go high. I think we will see 80-100 story buildings in Manhattan again. After all, any building could be bombed, so why not make the most of your space? I think it's status, not height, that makes buildings a target. After all, they didn't take down the Library tower (LA), Sears tower (CHI), or ESB. The WTC was a symbol for more than just it's height.


Looks like your wrong about the 80-100 floor towers!

And your right about the status, people are just too f***ing retarted to understand.

Ohama, Here we come!!!! :D

I think this the price you pay for an improving city. Back in the day when this place was a "hellhole", people we're more willing to take risks in the city's investment. After all, most people had wirtten off the city by 1960, so why not build two 110 story towers downtown? If it doesn't pay off, then we'll just sit back and watch it lose money!

Think about it: Some of the city's grandest additons came in it's most turbulent and darkest hours.

The subway, Consolidation: 1900's

Rockeffeler Center, ESB, Chrysler, public works: 1930's

Office development: 1960-1990

WTC: early 1970's

All of these times we're bad for the city. Now that the city is filled with these unedgy nitpicks from London and Kansas, they're less likely to want to take risks with they're investment. After all, if you paid $1,000,000 dollars for a place (which is what the average housing price is nowanddays :roll: ), wouldn't you take less risks with that? I said the same thing about Wal-Mart invading the city. Times are different. Weither the free-wheeling, crime ridden, wonderland of past will return, I don't know and in many ways I hope not. But in return for not getting shot, you're not going to go high either.

PHLguy
January 13th, 2005, 04:12 PM
I've got to say, the fact that NY will never see an 80 story building again makes me so mad I COULD puch my computer screen :evil:

fioco
January 13th, 2005, 04:12 PM
You haven't gone to the frig yet have you?

Gulcrapek
January 13th, 2005, 04:14 PM
Um, you need to calm down and consolidate your 5287957 angryman posts into 1 or 2. And may I remind you that 80 floor buildings are likely in the future? Mixed use buildings are the thing.

NewYorkYankee
January 13th, 2005, 04:41 PM
Give it time PHLguy, NYC will see tall ones again.

PHLguy
January 13th, 2005, 06:23 PM
IM sorry...


But I just dont think 40- 50 floor midrisees on the westside will look any good

Clarknt67
January 13th, 2005, 06:25 PM
Think about it: Some of the city's grandest additons came in it's most turbulent and darkest hours.

The subway, Consolidation: 1900's

Rockeffeler Center, ESB, Chrysler, public works: 1930's

Office development: 1960-1990

WTC: early 1970's

All of these times we're bad for the city.

But it wasn't the bad times that spurred these investments, most of these were well on there way to reality by the time the bad times arrived. The ESB and other 1930s buildings were conceived and financed during the boom of the roaring 20s.

I'm not saying NYC's not going to return to being a world-class leader in everything. Certainly the city prospered DESPITE bad times, but it's a leap to say it was BECAUSE of them.

ZippyTheChimp
January 13th, 2005, 07:22 PM
He's right about the subway, though.

It was discussed for years, and going nowhere. Boston built the first subway in America. Political impetus was born after the Blizzard of 1887.

alex ballard
January 13th, 2005, 08:41 PM
He's right about the subway, though.

It was discussed for years, and going nowhere. Boston built the first subway in America. Political impetus was born after the Blizzard of 1887.

The technology wasn't there either. The thing about the bad times post is that while many of those thing we're planned during boom times, they we're carried out during the bad ones. Let's not forget the public works projects that gave us numerous bridges, tunnels, projects, parks, utilites, and subways during the Great Depression. That was a direct result of the depression.

In fact, the WTC too was born due to bad times. Lower Manhattan was becoming a commerical slum by 1960 and the WTC was concieved as a way to stem the tide of corporate outflow from Downtown. If Lower Manhattan was booming, they're probably never even be a WTC!!!!

The fact is, NYC property is worth 10X it's acreage in gold. No one is going to take the enormus financial and saftey risk of building a super-tall building when people have loads of money invested in the area. This day and age, people want safe and reliable returns on their investments and skyscrapers are a risky buisness.

However, when the property really starts to soar, as well as the popualtion, we will see a return of the 100th floor office building. Will NYC ever see the tallest in the world again, probably not. But will a new office development ever eclipse 80 floors? Yes, maybe not within 5-10 years. But I predict will see one under constrction by 2020. Mark my words :) !

billyblancoNYC
January 14th, 2005, 03:54 AM
Pretty nice graphic...

http://www.hudsonyardscoalition.com/timetable.html

PHLguy
January 14th, 2005, 09:20 AM
That looks like the 80 floor buildings again, we now know it won't look like that! :(

Kris
January 15th, 2005, 11:02 PM
January 16, 2005

THE CITY

An Affordable West Side

The City Council finally got its one real shot at reshaping the Bloomberg administration's proposal to redevelop the Hudson Yards on the Far West Side of Manhattan, and made it count. Although big pieces of the grand plan - including the dreadful and overpriced football stadium for the Jets - were long ago craftily placed outside its oversight, the Council managed to leverage its considerable power over rezoning.

The result is a better deal on affordable housing, as well as a savings of as much as $1 billion in financing costs. The plan, which Mayor Michael Bloomberg has accepted, demonstrates why still more public review of the administration's vision is needed.

The housing component of the compromise will ensure diversity and is a clear plus. Thanks to pressure from the Council and housing advocates, the administration's original formula for 16 percent in affordable housing was increased to an impressive 28 percent, 3 percent of which would be in existing buildings. When the goals are met, about 3,500 apartments will be reserved for New Yorkers making low, moderate and middle incomes, ranging from well under $50,000 to as much as $104,000 for a family of four. Builders of both rentals and condominiums must agree to include some of these units.

Current residents of the 59-block area will also reap rewards. Christine Quinn, who represents the West Side district in the Council, won a $14 million expansion of Public School 51, which will be needed to accommodate so many new families. Add in the proposed extension of the No. 7 subway line, and the components are falling in place to convert the farthest reaches of the West Side into a thriving neighborhood.

The Bloomberg administration had planned to borrow $4 billion to pay for all the improvements, and to delay payments on the debt until the development could begin producing tax revenue. Council Speaker Gifford Miller and the city comptroller, William Thompson, reasonably objected to that idea, which could have left the city piling up new interest obligations for years. Under the compromise plan, the city will borrow $3 billion and make payments earlier through its operating budget. The effect would be a savings of at least hundreds of millions of dollars.

New Yorkers should be happy that at last some public light has been shed on the West Side project, where plans have been proceeding for years within the Bloomberg administration with very little outside input. But not every part of the agreement was sunny. While commercial density was reduced about 14 percent, to 24 million square feet, that is still more than enough to make 11th Avenue rise like the Rockies, but without the picturesque slopes and peaks. River views would be hidden from the rest of the city.

And while the Council got an administration commitment that there will be no financial connection between the stadium and the rest of the West Side, the rezoning itself could be seen as a victory by stadium backers, who interpret any forward action on the West Side as movement toward their misguided goal.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

Deimos
January 16th, 2005, 11:54 AM
holy cow... does the times own shares in cablevision? So according to the times, i'm a misguided automaton because i like the west side proposal??

alex ballard
January 16th, 2005, 02:28 PM
holy cow... does the times own shares in cablevision? So according to the times, i'm a misguided automaton because i like the west side proposal??

The Times says a lot of things. Anyway, does this mean there will be no +80 floor buildings allowed on the west side? That's a shame.

PHLguy
January 16th, 2005, 05:43 PM
Guess not...But I'm not 100% sure

krulltime
January 18th, 2005, 01:06 PM
7 REASONS THE WEST SIDE IS HOT


By ALEC APPELBAUM and LISA KEYS

January 15, 2005 -- You can get a deal on rents

According to Citi Habitats President and Chairman Andrew Heiberger, rents range from $36 to $45 per square foot in luxury buildings like Infinity Court, on 34th and 11th, or the Victory, on 41st and 10th - about 20 percent lower than the West 50s. The rentals can be a hike from the subway, but if you're paying a net effective rent of $1,890 a month, you can invest in a second pair of sneakers. Dan Marrello, a manager at Citi Habitats, got a corner pad at swanky new Hudson Crossing on 37th and Ninth for that price. "Two years ago the neighborhood was a little more desolate," he says. "Now it's a little more gentrified."


Apartment prices are jumping up

Andy Gerringer, who manages new developments at Douglas Elliman, has nearly sold out 130 W. 30th St., a 45-unit condo designed by early-20th-century star-architect Cass Gilbert. Resale prices, Gerringer says, have gone up better than 20 percent, from $700 to $850 a square foot.

"This baffled us all," he says.

The price jump isn't just because Elliman has renamed the building after its architect. Further west at 315 W. 36th St., Halstead agent Charles Hawkins has seen prices for raw loft space climb 40 percent in 15 months. He's sold places to empty nesters as well as "visionary intelligentsia types," including the author/daredevil/bar owner Sebastian Junger. Hawkins says buyers find the buildings more convenient than comparable space in other "under-appreciated" corners of Manhattan. "The space is priced like the nice parts of Harlem or the [South Street] Seaport," he says, "but it's better located."

Whether you're a Jets fan or not, we've got a great bet for you: real estate in the West 30s, the team's potential new 'hood. Mayor Bloomberg has been pushing an area called Hudson Yards, between Seventh Avenue and the Hudson River, for months. An agreement he reached Monday with a City Council committee means the city dollars will start flowing this year. Students Gwenaelle Carruth and Jeanette Asabere, who pay just $1,250 for a one-bedroom on 39th, love the area. "It definitely feels like a neighborhood," says Carruth. "More this year than last year." Here are seven more reasons the West Side is hot.


The 7 train will carry you all over town

City planners have prioritized extending the 7 line, reasoning that transportation will push development, and development will lower the city's debt. So the city intends to fund two new stations. Planners hope to install the first, at 11th Avenue and 34th Street, by January 2010. (Even if there's no stadium built there, the stop will serve the Javits Center.)

The vision is then to add a second stop, at 10th Avenue and 41st Street, when the West Side's population gets thick enough. The 7 is as handy a cross-town train as the L, hooking up with express stops on the Eighth, Sixth and Lexington Avenue lines. Top that, Carroll Gardens.


You can get a deal on rents

According to Citi Habitats President and Chairman Andrew Heiberger, rents range from $36 to $45 per square foot in luxury buildings like Infinity Court, on 34th and 11th, or the Victory, on 41st and 10th - about 20 percent lower than the West 50s. The rentals can be a hike from the subway, but if you're paying a net effective rent of $1,890 a month, you can invest in a second pair of sneakers. Dan Marrello, a manager at Citi Habitats, got a corner pad at swanky new Hudson Crossing on 37th and Ninth for that price. "Two years ago the neighborhood was a little more desolate," he says. "Now it's a little more gentrified."


Jets or no Jets, the game is on...

The Far West Side remains a work in progress, but it'll happenÉ even if the proposed Jets stadium never does. With the deal Bloomberg and the Council committee just reached, West Side improvements and the stadium are two separate issues.

Discussions about money are in the future, but expect allocations to clean up a somewhat skeevy area. Look for a new platform at the railyards (which stretch from 30th to 33rd) to be high on the list. That would allow future construction in that area, stadium-related or not. What's more, the Council agreed to help financially by covering interest payments on city-issued debt for West Side projects.


A river runs right near it

The landscape should prettify in the next five years, as the city tries to lure developers with big doses of green. The City Planning Commission proposes a chain of parkland from 33rd Street to a pedestrian bridge at 39th, parallel to a new street with the vaguely South Florida name Hudson Boulevard. This would yield "blocks similar in size to those between Park and Madison," according to the plan. There's also a proposed park running the entire block from 29th Street to 30th Street, between 11th Avenue and 12th Avenue. That would be on top of some existing city garbage and towing property.


New high-rises on the way

Several developers have proposed or lined up financing for high-rises in the area. Gerringer notes that the Intell Management and Investment Company, which built the W Times Square, has started working on "a huge building" at 350 W. 42nd St., near the Ninth Avenue backside of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. "From 16th to 30th, Edison and Related have sites," says Gerringer. "You could almost look at it as another borough. If a building opened today, it would probably get $750 a square foot, and that's before transportation arrives."


[b]New eats & drinks

Restaurateur Alex Meskouris moved to the Far West Side five years ago. "The only restaurant around was the Supreme Macaroni Company," says Meskouris of the old-school Italian joint that was razed last year to make room for - what else? - new apartments.

Sensing a need, Meskouris opened his modern, spacious bar and restaurant, HK, last year. "People thought I was crazy, especially building a nice restaurant," he says. "Now, everyone's like, 'You're a pioneer.'"

Superchefs Mario Batali and David Pasternack aren't exactly new to the area - they're partners in Esca, a hyperexpensive Italian restaurant on 43rd. But it was a bit daring of them to open their latest place, Bistro Du Vent, just last week on the much more scraggly 42nd Street. Other area newcomers include Osteria Gelsi, which has been serving affordable Italian on Ninth Avenue and 39th Street for one month. "This area's changing," says chef and owner Donato Deserio, motioning to new construction on three sides of his restaurant. "Many more people will be moving to this neighborhood." Dennis Borysowski, manager of Uncle Jack's Steakhouse, on Ninth Avenue and 34th Street, notes that his year-old place is "starting to get a little more of a residential crowd" at night.

The area's bar scene is bleaker; choices have mostly been old-school Irish pubs near Penn Station. But Local West, a month-old bar across from the Garden, hopes to change that. "I have a few regulars," says Mike Dosso, the manager. "This is their new local bar."


Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc.

Kris
January 18th, 2005, 08:25 PM
January 19, 2005

CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK

West Side Plans Lack a Unifying Vision

By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2005/01/19/arts/19huds1L.jpg
A computer rendering of the Hudson Yards site, looking south along the pedestrian bridge that is to run from 42nd to 38th Street.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2005/01/19/arts/19huds2L.jpg
A view, looking south, along the boulevard between 10th and 11th Avenues that will stretch diagonally from 42nd Street to a park in the 30's near the proposed stadium.

It is hard to imagine an area more ripe with potential than the Hudson Yards, a 40-block site at the edge of Midtown Manhattan that is the focus of one of the city's biggest development projects in recent memory. But the new zoning guidelines for the site, which the City Council is expected to approve today, have proved to be a big disappointment: the city is wasting an opportunity that it may not have again for decades.

The guidelines, which will apply to an area stretching from 30th to 42nd Street and from Eighth Avenue to the Hudson, were drawn up in response to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's quest to transform a district of factories, warehouses and rail yards into a haven for large-scale commercial development. They allow up to 24 million square feet of office space and more than 13,000 new apartments; much of that will be concentrated along a pedestrian boulevard between 10th and 11th Avenues that will connect 42nd Street to a park of roughly five acres near the proposed Jets stadium site in the 30's. (The stadium is not technically considered part of the development area, although it is a big component of the master plan.)

The plan has been tweaked in recent weeks to ease the concerns of local community groups. Some limits have been placed on commercial density, for example, and more middle- and low-income apartments have been added to the mix.

Despite the tinkering, the city is left with a vague, crudely executed master plan whose main selling point is that it gives developers the freedom to articulate their own visions. Even with a few interesting flourishes, it essentially relies on developer-driven planning formulas. What's missing is a voice that could give the plan a cohesive and vibrant identity.

So far, most of the anxiety over the plan has centered on density - the fear of an overbearing corporate canyon of banal towers, with footprints that might be close in size to an entire city block or rise 80 stories. The scary image that comes to mind is a corporate version of the 1950's-era Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin or the Kalinin Prospekt in Moscow: monumental projects that threaten to obliterate the fine-grained texture of urban life.

I don't mind the density. Nor do I mind the sense of anonymity that such projects sometimes evoke: the ability to get lost in the crowd is part of what defines a city. And the project, designed by Cooper, Robertson & Partners with Arquitectonica and the Olin Partnership, places few restrictions on architecture, which may not be a bad thing. Perhaps some stunning individual buildings will result.

But there is no reason that bold architecture cannot be achieved within a more forceful planning vision. The master plan fails to explore the potentially rich relationship between its various components or weave them imaginatively into the surrounding city. The layout of the office and residential areas is a stolidly simple diagram, with most of the density clustered around the so-called Four Corners site between 33rd and 35th Streets - a potential dumping ground for the biggest projects.

As you move north, there will be a greater mix of residential buildings, with the bulk of the commercial development concentrated on the western side, across from the Javits Center.

Yet the greatest failures occur at ground level, where designers must provide the connective tissue that will give the development area its character. The most critical element is the pedestrian boulevard, which runs diagonally between 10th and 11th Avenues: it has no obvious meaning other than to avoid the classical symmetry that is currently out of fashion. As a general idea, the boulevard is not terrible: it breaks the monotony of the street grid and creates a more nuanced layering of public and semi-public zones. The problem is how it relates to the city at either end. To extend this boulevard to 42nd Street, the planners have proposed creating a pedestrian bridge that would span the entry ramps to the Lincoln Tunnel. But that connection seems arbitrary and forced.

And the park at the boulevard's southern end is dully predictable. Originally conceived as part of the city's bid for the 2012 Olympics, it is oriented toward the soulless, gargantuan Jets stadium planned just to the west. The park's southwest corner will include some kind of cultural landmark: an idea that has become a cliché of almost every urban development proposal, as if a single building could justify any urban design sin.

Not all of the blame should go to the city planning department. Such creative torpor is endemic in American urban planning. Planners have been struggling for decades to articulate an alternative to the vast mega-blocks and tabula rasa planning strategies of the 1960's and 70's. The false historicism of Battery Park City may satisfy a superficial nostalgia for the past, but such developments are no less sterile and homogenous than their predecessors. And while the rise of big-name architecture has made it more likely that an innovative architect will be part of a development package, that tends to have little impact on the overall planning formula.

Architects who have invested the most time in developing a broader, more enlightened view of how cities function are typically pushed to the sidelines. The results, as we have all seen at ground zero, include a collection of architectural objects - some better than others - with no vision to bind them.

It seems that most American urban planners are incapable of plotting a vast development that still provides a rich and textured experience of the city.

The West Side project would have been an opportunity to think on a more heroic scale.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

alex ballard
January 18th, 2005, 08:32 PM
How much office space is included in the plan? Is there a potential to have a very large addition to the Midtown market happen on the west side (like +50 million sq feet)?

NYatKNIGHT
January 19th, 2005, 01:11 PM
Even though Nicolai Ouroussoff's opinion of the West Side plan is reasonable, it drives me nuts when critics merely complain that planners never get it right without offering any alternatives, comparisons, or even suggestions as to how to improve the plan. Comes off sounding like every other bitter NIMBY out there, to me anyway.

212
January 19th, 2005, 02:29 PM
Is there talk of landmarking some of the more interesting facades (not necessarily the whole buildings) on the West Side? That approach would preserve a little history and urban texture, and might inspire innovative architecture like the Hearst tower, which meshes old and new.

kliq6
January 19th, 2005, 02:46 PM
Office space=26 million
Residential space=14 million

Derek2k3
January 19th, 2005, 04:39 PM
January 19, 2005

CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK

West Side Plans Lack a Unifying Vision

By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2005/01/19/arts/19huds1L.jpg
A computer rendering of the Hudson Yards site, looking south along the pedestrian bridge that is to run from 42nd to 38th Street.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2005/01/19/arts/19huds2L.jpg
A view, looking south, along the boulevard between 10th and 11th Avenues that will stretch diagonally from 42nd Street to a park in the 30's near the proposed stadium.

It is hard to imagine an area more ripe with potential than the Hudson Yards, a 40-block site at the edge of Midtown Manhattan that is the focus of one of the city's biggest development projects in recent memory. But the new zoning guidelines for the site, which the City Council is expected to approve today, have proved to be a big disappointment: the city is wasting an opportunity that it may not have again for decades.

The guidelines, which will apply to an area stretching from 30th to 42nd Street and from Eighth Avenue to the Hudson, were drawn up in response to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's quest to transform a district of factories, warehouses and rail yards into a haven for large-scale commercial development. They allow up to 24 million square feet of office space and more than 13,000 new apartments; much of that will be concentrated along a pedestrian boulevard between 10th and 11th Avenues that will connect 42nd Street to a park of roughly five acres near the proposed Jets stadium site in the 30's. (The stadium is not technically considered part of the development area, although it is a big component of the master plan.)

The plan has been tweaked in recent weeks to ease the concerns of local community groups. Some limits have been placed on commercial density, for example, and more middle- and low-income apartments have been added to the mix.

Despite the tinkering, the city is left with a vague, crudely executed master plan whose main selling point is that it gives developers the freedom to articulate their own visions. Even with a few interesting flourishes, it essentially relies on developer-driven planning formulas. What's missing is a voice that could give the plan a cohesive and vibrant identity.

So far, most of the anxiety over the plan has centered on density - the fear of an overbearing corporate canyon of banal towers, with footprints that might be close in size to an entire city block or rise 80 stories. The scary image that comes to mind is a corporate version of the 1950's-era Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin or the Kalinin Prospekt in Moscow: monumental projects that threaten to obliterate the fine-grained texture of urban life.

I don't mind the density. Nor do I mind the sense of anonymity that such projects sometimes evoke: the ability to get lost in the crowd is part of what defines a city. And the project, designed by Cooper, Robertson & Partners with Arquitectonica and the Olin Partnership, places few restrictions on architecture, which may not be a bad thing. Perhaps some stunning individual buildings will result.

But there is no reason that bold architecture cannot be achieved within a more forceful planning vision. The master plan fails to explore the potentially rich relationship between its various components or weave them imaginatively into the surrounding city. The layout of the office and residential areas is a stolidly simple diagram, with most of the density clustered around the so-called Four Corners site between 33rd and 35th Streets - a potential dumping ground for the biggest projects.

As you move north, there will be a greater mix of residential buildings, with the bulk of the commercial development concentrated on the western side, across from the Javits Center.

Yet the greatest failures occur at ground level, where designers must provide the connective tissue that will give the development area its character. The most critical element is the pedestrian boulevard, which runs diagonally between 10th and 11th Avenues: it has no obvious meaning other than to avoid the classical symmetry that is currently out of fashion. As a general idea, the boulevard is not terrible: it breaks the monotony of the street grid and creates a more nuanced layering of public and semi-public zones. The problem is how it relates to the city at either end. To extend this boulevard to 42nd Street, the planners have proposed creating a pedestrian bridge that would span the entry ramps to the Lincoln Tunnel. But that connection seems arbitrary and forced.

And the park at the boulevard's southern end is dully predictable. Originally conceived as part of the city's bid for the 2012 Olympics, it is oriented toward the soulless, gargantuan Jets stadium planned just to the west. The park's southwest corner will include some kind of cultural landmark: an idea that has become a cliché of almost every urban development proposal, as if a single building could justify any urban design sin.

Not all of the blame should go to the city planning department. Such creative torpor is endemic in American urban planning. Planners have been struggling for decades to articulate an alternative to the vast mega-blocks and tabula rasa planning strategies of the 1960's and 70's. The false historicism of Battery Park City may satisfy a superficial nostalgia for the past, but such developments are no less sterile and homogenous than their predecessors. And while the rise of big-name architecture has made it more likely that an innovative architect will be part of a development package, that tends to have little impact on the overall planning formula.

Architects who have invested the most time in developing a broader, more enlightened view of how cities function are typically pushed to the sidelines. The results, as we have all seen at ground zero, include a collection of architectural objects - some better than others - with no vision to bind them.

It seems that most American urban planners are incapable of plotting a vast development that still provides a rich and textured experience of the city.

The West Side project would have been an opportunity to think on a more heroic scale.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company


I entirely agree with this article. Because of the lack of certain guidlines I think the area will be some monotonous Houston-esque area. Too much is left to the will of the developers. It already will not be a textured area juxtaposing old and new like the rest of Midtown and I feel developers will just build giant glass boxes. However, I could be wrong since developers seem to be getting more design sensitive but so far the first large edifice for the area, the Jets stadium, isn't proving my predictions wrong.

pianoman11686
January 19th, 2005, 05:08 PM
I think you're right about most commercial development in this area. There probably won't be too many interesting buildings, although the proposed convention hotel looks pretty decent. But didn't they say that the focus was going to be more on residential? And since so many of these buildings could have prime Hudson River views, that may lead some developers to put up higher quality buildings, like the Meier Towers further down the river. All I know is, the area won't be recognizable in 5-10 years, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

PHLguy
January 20th, 2005, 03:25 PM
how are they going to fit 40 million SF into the westside with no buildings more than 5-60 floors?


Is this development going to be one big table top?

billyblancoNYC
January 20th, 2005, 05:13 PM
Office space=26 million
Residential space=14 million\

I think the office space in now 24.2 msf, or around there.

Not sure what else the city can do with the plan. They laid the groundwork for a good development area with density and a number of uses. Aside from actually taking all the land and hiring developers and architects themselves, they did what they had to do. Now, as with all other building, market forces will sort out the rest.

I like the plan overall, and it's been approved at a decent time, with office vancancies contracting. The residential plans should have no problem being built and should take NO WHERE near 40 yrs to develop.

As far as comparing the 21 plus years of TS to this, I'm not sure that's fair. NYC was in bad shape during those TS hooker years, but as soon as NYC got cleaned up, TS boomed (and is still booming). It's b/c of this, I think the plan will proceed nicely.

Even though it's Midtown, the city does need to offer incentives to companies to move or expand here, b/c it's going to be a lot of pretty pricey space. They need to realize that if costs weren't so high, there would be so many more comanies and jobs in NYC. Hope they go after companies out of state, too, like GE or Johnson and Johnson. Gettting a few major anchors like this would really be a boom for the area and the city.

alex ballard
January 20th, 2005, 05:20 PM
The City needs to build more office space in this plan period. They're should be a minimum of 50 million Sq feet in this plan. The city needs one thing to be healthy and the rest will follow:JOBS!!!!!

I support having the entirety of Manhattan between 59st and 23st be zoned for extremely dense commerical development. I even support expanding Lower Manhattan upwards to Canal St. Downtown Brooklyn should be a huge area of skyscrapers as well.

Housing can be built in other places, it's not like NYC is growing like Phenoix, housing doesn't need to play a large role in this particular plan.

Kris
January 20th, 2005, 09:34 PM
January 20, 2005

Council Approves West Side Rezoning Plan

By CHARLES V. BAGLI

The City Council gave formal approval yesterday to the Bloomberg administration's plan to rezone a large swath of the Far West Side for office towers, housing, parks and a new boulevard.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has said that the city's economic future depends on transforming the 42-block neighborhood of warehouses, factories and tenements into a vibrant office and residential district over the next 30 years. He has linked the rezoning to a separate proposal to build a $1.4 billion stadium for the Jets on the Far West Side, which has prompted opposition from local residents, elected officials and some business leaders.

In a compromise with Council leaders 10 days ago, the administration agreed that 25 percent of the proposed 13,600 new apartments would be for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. The Council also agreed to reduce the total cost of the 30-year plan by $1 billion to $3 billion by appropriating money from the city's operating budget to pay interest every year for the first decade.

At the same time, the Council severed connections between the redevelopment plan and the proposed stadium, which is not part of the new zoning but is a major and highly contentious element of the mayor's master plan.

"This is a historic rezoning which re-imagines what the entire Midtown of Manhattan could be," said Gifford Miller, the Council speaker.

"Not a dime goes to a stadium," he added. "That isn't in the best interests of the city."

The mayor was even more ebullient. He called the vote an "enormous win for New Yorkers in all five boroughs."

The action yesterday follows the State Legislature's vote in December to approve a second element of the West Side plan: the $1.4 billion expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The mayor said he hoped the stadium itself would be approved next month.

The Empire State Development Corporation is expected to approve the stadium project at its meeting next Thursday. The project then moves to Albany and the Public Authorities Control Board, a three-person panel controlled by the governor and legislative leaders.

It is unclear what will happen there. Both Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the Senate leader, Joseph L. Bruno, have expressed misgivings about the stadium. Yesterday, John McArdle, a spokesman for Mr. Bruno, said, "The jury is still out."

The city and the state have said they will invest $300 million each in the stadium project, with the Jets putting up $800 million and covering any cost overruns. But the city may face a fight over its share. It has said it will divert annual payments in lieu of taxes that are made to the city by developers to pay for the stadium. Councilwoman Christine Quinn said the Council was looking into the legal viability of using those payments, most of which go into the city's operating budget.

Stadium opponents have also filed two lawsuits challenging the stadium on environmental grounds. Both sides expect another lawsuit claiming that the city's using income tax revenues in the West Side financial plan is illegal.


METRO MATTERS

What Rises in the West? Uncertainty

By JOYCE PURNICK

THE City Council adopted the Bloomberg administration's ambitious plan yesterday for the Far West Side of Manhattan, the Hudson Yards. What does the vote portend?

This would seem an opportune time to remind New Yorkers who may be confused that they are not alone. Nobody ever knows quite what's going on in New York.

In most other places, people think in straight lines. A plan turns into the bricks and mortar of a building or a stadium or a convention center. In New York, it might turn into something that bears little resemblance to the original - after a long and often brutal game of three-dimensional Monopoly. With so much at stake - jobs, investment, political futures, fortunes - plans on their first outings are generally starting points.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and a deputy mayor, Daniel L. Doctoroff, got their zoning plan on the board in record time. And now? "Westway, Times Square, Battery Park City, Queens West - the first plan never happens," said Robert D. Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association. "They always get mired down in controversy, litigation and delay. It takes the second or third plan."

For instance, the administration has linked the Hudson Yards to its proposed Jets stadium and convention center, across 11th Avenue on the Hudson; Mr. Bloomberg contends that the stadium plan will jump-start development in the area.

But the stadium's fate depends on the economy, on the outcome of lawsuits, maybe on the status of the city's bid for the 2012 summer Olympics, on some still murky details about financing and on the Jets' real timetable, since its lease at the Meadowlands expires in 2008. If development is delayed, does the team have a point of no return?

The stadium's future also relies on the politics of Albany, where each of the three men in that infamous room has a veto. Gov. George E. Pataki supports the plan, but Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Democrat, says he is undecided. The Senate leader, Joseph Bruno, is officially undecided, too, but is expected to go along with his fellow Republican, the governor. It's Mr. Silver's Monopoly move.

And then there is the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the land where the stadium would rise and would be charging the Jets for development rights. The transportation agency, which has commissioned an appraisal, hasn't set a price yet.

With the authority in its own financial straits, it will presumably try to get as much as it can, or be prepared to explain why it did not. The authority's chairman, Peter S. Kalikow, could find himself caught between Mr. Pataki and pressure to ask top dollar from the Jets or risk harsh criticism. What price would be too high?

If the stadium and convention center are a no-go, what impact would that have on the extension of the No. 7 subway line, which City Hall reasonably considers central to the area's development?

The city sees the Hudson Yards as a mini-city: 42 blocks of commercial and residential development. But beyond public investment in a new boulevard and some parkland, the rest would be up to real estate developers. They prefer it if the economy, the market and the courts cooperate.

Will they?

The revival of Times Square is a helpful precedent. Its transformation from smutty to flashy took 21 years and seven variations on ever-changing plans. The first plan back in the late 1970's bears little resemblance to the lively tourist-and-entertainment center that Times Square is today.

IN fact, the once-blighted area revived purely unpredictably. The city and state kept revising their vision for Times Square, reflecting changing interests and finances. The state fought lawsuits, condemned properties to make way for development and issued plans that focused for a decade on sterile office buildings.

Then the sensibility shifted to boldly lighted entertainment uses: government set the newest ground rules, then stepped back while developers took over. From then on, the market created the tourist and entertainment magnet that Times Square has been for the last five years.

It's the principle of the second man, as some in the city's development world call it. Or maybe the third man. Times Square's comeback spanned the administrations of three mayors and three governors.

The Hudson Yards plan has moved unusually rapidly. "The mayor and Dan Doctoroff are to be congratulated for getting the zoning approval this quickly," Mr. Yaro of the Regional Plan Association said. "It's the city's economic future." Emphasis, of course, on the word future.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

PHLguy
January 28th, 2005, 10:17 PM
Can they still build 80 story towers if they buy air rights for it? With the amount of SFage on the Westside it seems that an 80 floor tower is quite nessicary, especially a mixed use one.

PHLguy
February 2nd, 2005, 10:26 PM
Anyone^?

billyblancoNYC
February 3rd, 2005, 02:21 AM
Can they still build 80 story towers if they buy air rights for it? With the amount of SFage on the Westside it seems that an 80 floor tower is quite nessicary, especially a mixed use one.

I would think so. The FAR is pretty high in and of itself, but add some more air rights and I think you could get some nice sized, mixed-use towers. There's no "official" height limits, I don't think.

PHLguy
February 3rd, 2005, 03:33 PM
That's good.


Anyone have an official news on the height limits?
For some reason I thought they had banned 80 floor buildings from the westside? Hopefully this is not true.

Kris
February 14th, 2005, 02:50 AM
February 14, 2005

Suddenly, Developers Yearn for the Gritty Far West Side

By CHARLES V. BAGLI

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/f.gifor more than 150 years, the tone of the Far West Side of Manhattan has been set by what was once the 30th Street Yard of the New York Central Railroad - grimy but necessary, far enough from Midtown to be out of sight and earshot, important enough to be nearby.

A pattern developed through the decades, as the city tore up the area in the 1930's for the Lincoln Tunnel, in the 1950's for the Port Authority Bus Terminal, and again in the early 1980's for the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff, the architect of the city's bid for the 2012 Olympics and the redevelopment of the Far West Side, called it a "wasteland," arguing that a football stadium was necessary to transform the area.

But this gritty industrial neighborhood is suddenly in the sights of many real estate developers hungry for land. Residential builders are pushing into the district from Chelsea. Developers are snapping up property. Land prices are rising. Developers say it is Manhattan's last big canvas for their construction visions.

And to some degree, the resurgence is directly due to the dream of Mr. Doctoroff and his boss, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who have spent years promoting the area's potential. Their actions, however, came back to bite them recently when Cablevision, the archenemy of the Jets stadium proposal, put in a bid to build housing and offices on the stadium site, bidding a price above the Jets offer that could be justified only by the increased interest in the area.

The current battle between the Jets and Cablevision over whether football or housing should prevail above the yards clearly illustrates how quickly the real estate market is overtaking the area's utilitarian past.

"Right now land is being gobbled up all along the West Side for speculative purposes," said Michael T. Cohen, chairman of the executive committee at GVA Williams, a real estate company. "Most of the buyers are developers anticipating some sort of residential construction, because the island is only so large and people will pay almost anything to live in Manhattan. Until that trend reverses, the appetite for dirt on the West Side will remain hearty."

One parcel of land at 30th Street and Ninth Avenue has languished without a tenant for more than two decades. But investors recently offered the owner, Brookfield Financial Properties, $309 million for the site, according to real estate executives, or about $110 million more than the owner thought the site was worth last year.

In recent years, the blocks of 42nd Street west of Eighth Avenue suddenly became a high-rise residential canyon. On a drab block of 43rd Street west of Eighth Avenue, Steven C. Witkoff, a real estate investor, bought a garage, a four-story hotel and a third building, where he plans to build a condominium apartment tower.

And now, in large part to compete with the football stadium it is trying to defeat, Cablevision has offered to pay $600 million for the rights to the railroad yard and the construction of a platform above, all to build a complex of housing and office buildings.

"I think the momentum has begun and there'll be an uptick from this point forward," said Harvey Shulweiss, who has owned a large development site at the southwest corner of Ninth Avenue and 33rd Street since the 1980's. "The Far West Side is going to be a hotbed of development."

Much of the current interest in the Far West Side is fueled by the seemingly insatiable thirst for housing at any price and the Bloomberg administration's rezoning of the 42-block area for large projects. The Real Estate Board of New York reports a record-setting number of condominium and cooperatives sold in Manhattan, 3,145 in the third quarter of 2004, more than at any time in the last four years. And the average sales price of a condominium in Manhattan has soared past $1.2 million, according to the Corcoran Group, a real estate company.

Developers say that interest rates remain low and it is still very easy to finance condominium projects.

"The Far West Side of Midtown is in all probability the last neighborhood in Manhattan with enough critical mass," said Jules Demchick, who is building a 46-story apartment tower on 42nd Street near 12th Avenue. "It has huge potential because you have the ability to assemble large pieces of land."

The suddenly hot market is the backdrop for the current uproar over the sale of development rights at the railyards by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

"The whole process has drawn attention to the long term value of the public land," said Lynn Sagalyn, a professor of real estate at the University of Pennsylvania. "The Cablevision bid has opened up the question of what's the proper price and procedure for capturing the public value."

In comparison to the Cablevision offer, the Jets had offered $100 million, with the city and the state splitting the estimated $375 million cost of a deck. The M.T.A.'s appraisal put the value of the rights at about $900 million. Since the Jets were using about one-third of the estimated development rights, the M.T.A. asked for $300 million.

But transportation advocates and stadium opponents have claimed that the M.T.A. should be asking for full value, given that it is contemplating service cuts, fare hikes and a multibillion-dollar gap in its capital budget. Peter S. Kalikow, the authority's chairman, has said that his board will review the Cablevision offer, while continuing its year-long negotiations with the Jets.

Although the city, the Jets and the Real Estate Board have assailed Cablevision's offer as a spoiler and a public relations event, company executives seem to think they cannot lose, because their offer is still below the value of the yards.

But developers view the Far West Side far differently today than when Mr. Doctoroff began his Olympic campaign. Several Manhattan developers, who requested anonymity, said that that they would bid for the rights for the railyard if the M.T.A. conducted an open sale, but had so far refrained from doing so because they did not want to incur Mayor Bloomberg's wrath.

"It's clearly valuable," said a major residential developer, who asked not to be identified. "But can anyone in my position say so on the record? Everyone, including me, is scared to cross him on this. I've got too many things cooking in this town" that require city approval.

Mr. Shulweiss is ambivalent about the stadium.

"I don't believe the stadium enhanced the value of my property," he said. "It was the zoning clarification on the far West Side."

"The existence of the stadium," he added, "might accelerate the development of the subway and other infrastructure that would enhance the value of everyone's property."

In any event, several developers said there were "eerie parallels" between the current battle over the railyards and the redevelopment of Times Square in the 1980's, a once vital district that had descended into a seedy, crime-ridden crossroad. The state and the city embarked on a plan in 1984 to transform a 13-block area-the same size as the railyards-into neon-infused entertainment and commercial area. They estimated that it would cost about $40 million to acquire the 42nd Street block between Broadway and Eighth Avenue.

But the Durst real estate family, not unlike Cablevision, was anxious to protect its own nearby holdings, opposed the project, spearheading 47 lawsuits against the project. With the lawsuits failing in May 1989, the Dursts threw up another roadblock, buying the leases to the eight historic theaters on 42nd Street that the state's project was intending to revive.

The revival of Times Square was also delayed by a deep recession in the early 1990's, when the state finally redesigned the project. But by the late 1990's, when the real estate market was booming, developers and blue chip corporations no longer wanted to avoid Times Square.

In a stunning turnabout, the first of four skyscrapers that comprised Times Square redevelopment was built, not by the state's chosen developer, but by Douglas Durst, in 1999. And in the end, the acquisition costs were not $40 million, but at least $420 million.

"The volatile story of 42nd Street should make people cautious about land values in a rapidly changing real estate market," said Ms. Sagalyn, author of "Times Square Roulette; Remaking the City Icon." "Long-term projects have a way of taking unexpected twists and turns."

Copyright 2005 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

Kris
February 14th, 2005, 02:48 PM
Housing Demand for the Far West Side (http://rpa.org/pdf/FWShousingdemandanalysis0208.pdf)

Gulcrapek
February 16th, 2005, 07:01 PM
$45M to design No. 7 line expansion

http://www.newsday.com/images/icons/email.gif Email this story (http://www.newsday.com/mynews/ny-nysub164146866feb16,0,1694711,email.story)

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BY JOSHUA ROBIN
STAFF WRITER

February 16, 2005

The city has made its first investment in the westward extension of the No. 7 train - $45 million to plan the 1.5-mile tunnel.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced the figure yesterday, as city officials reiterated that the transit project will proceed no matter the fate of a proposed, controversial West Side stadium.

The money is the beginning of what the agency anticipates will be a $2-billion city-funded investment for the expansion.

The city plans to pay for the expansion and other improvements on the far West Side, like parkland and a new street, by tapping revenues generated by new commercial and real estate developments in the area.

The expansion, pegged for a 2010 completion, will take the train from its Times Square terminal to 11th Avenue as part of a major development of the far West Side.

It will continue regardless of the fate of the proposed stadium and expansion of the Javits Convention Center that the mayor is advocating over the objections of some, said Rachaele Raynoff, a spokeswoman for the city planning department.

Mysore Nagaraja, president of the MTA Capital Construction Co., said in a brief interview yesterday with reporters after an agency meeting that the $45 million was for initial planning designs, ahead of a July target date to pick a contractor who will build the tunnel.

"Right now, I have to proceed with the design," he said. "They are paying me for proceeding with the design."

PHLguy
February 26th, 2005, 10:39 AM
I didnt fully understand the article that everyone got mad over about the 80 floor towers, can someone explain?

PHLguy
March 6th, 2005, 06:12 PM
I have a hard time reading long things and processing it. I don't get excactly why?

The development is phased over the next 3 decades, how will 80 story buildings not be built if it will contain 42 million square feet of space?

alex ballard
March 6th, 2005, 06:29 PM
I have a hard time reading long things and processing it. I don't get excactly why?

The development is phased over the next 3 decades, how will 80 story buildings not be built if it will contain 42 million square feet of space?

The far west side is a very big area. One Bryant park is around 2 mil and only 54 floors. So I bet you could get 150-200 without going over 60. personally, it should be a step-down process. 80-100 should be allowed closer to Times Sq (like around 8-10Aves between 38st and 50st), 60-80 along main corridors and then 40-60 along the waterfront. Also, would it be skirting too close to expand to about 50st on the west side?

PHLguy
March 7th, 2005, 10:58 PM
that didnt answer my question.

alex ballard
March 8th, 2005, 04:56 PM
that didnt answer my question.

Wasn't your question "how can you fit 42 million Sq Ft of space without building 80 floor buildings?". If not, what was your question?

PHLguy
March 8th, 2005, 05:49 PM
no my question was, what excactly did the article, Sky no longer limit say. the title sounds like it would be good news.

alex ballard
March 8th, 2005, 08:14 PM
no my question was, what excactly did the article, Sky no longer limit say. the title sounds like it would be good news.

That's NOT good news. It means NIMBYs and the paranoids have worked their magic...

PHLguy
March 8th, 2005, 08:44 PM
but is it something that is set in stone or just the NIMBY's and their crappiness? does it have an impact on this development? Because I mean most of those buildings will obviously be built in phases over the next 15 20 years, I don't think the NIMBy's should have an impact on this project.



PS. is the Orion part of the Westside development. It's a 58 storey tower on the westside?

PHLguy
March 10th, 2005, 04:01 PM
Anyone?

Ninjahedge
March 10th, 2005, 07:00 PM
There are cost problems with taller buildings. The cost ratio is no longer linear.

Also, with new seismic requirements, the lateral stability of the building also becomes paramount.

This is reflected both in the ultimate design strength of the structure AND the "human comfort".

You can build a really tall thin building, on rock, and have it stand a hurricane, but the people on the top floor would get sick if you had more than a gentle breeze.

PHLguy
March 10th, 2005, 07:18 PM
I just think that over the next 20 years a 70-80 floor tower will go up on the far westside. Anyone think not? I mean I don't think there are specific height limits. And the rest of the world is building really tall.

NoyokA
March 10th, 2005, 07:24 PM
I just think that over the next 20 years a 70-80 floor tower will go up on the far westside. Anyone think not? I mean I don't think there are specific height limits. And the rest of the world is building really tall.

There are no height-limits as also most of midtown Manhattan is without a height limit. The article is about how there are now zoning limits.

PHLguy
March 10th, 2005, 08:29 PM
Please forgive my ignorance.


So there IS a possibility of very tall towers on the westside?

NoyokA
March 10th, 2005, 10:26 PM
Please forgive my ignorance.


So there IS a possibility of very tall towers on the westside?

Ofcourse as that possibility also exists throughout Manhattan. Note Trump World Tower and 80 South Street.

PHLguy
March 11th, 2005, 03:55 PM
Zoning limits is like size of the base right?

So would that create taller towers or not?

NoyokA
March 11th, 2005, 04:18 PM
Zoning limits is like size of the base right?

So would that create taller towers or not?

No. There's two parts to zoning, there are setback requirements and there are site requirements known as FAR which means Floor Area Ratio.

A typical site might have a far of 12. By law the building can rise 12 storeys, however there are also setback requirements meaning the building cannot rise as a 12 storey box.

PHLguy
March 11th, 2005, 05:15 PM
So all these buildings will have to have setbacks?


I'm not good at this stuff lol.

NewYorkYankee
March 11th, 2005, 06:06 PM
Check this out PHL guy, it helped me. http://www.tenant.net/Other_Laws/zoning/zontoc.html

PHLguy
March 11th, 2005, 06:18 PM
Thanks^


So there are still chances for 70-80 floor towers on the far West. That's good to know. 20 years from there there could be a stadium and lots of tall buildings.



Oh yea, what was the answer to the Orion thing? is that part of this development. 604 feet, 184m, 58 floors is already a 4th of the way up.

alex ballard
March 11th, 2005, 07:28 PM
Thanks^


So there are still chances for 70-80 floor towers on the far West. That's good to know. 20 years from there there could be a stadium and lots of tall buildings.



Oh yea, what was the answer to the Orion thing? is that part of this development. 604 feet, 184m, 58 floors is already a 4th of the way up.

You'd need a pretty big site to get that tall. I'm sure you could possibly have a 10 story base and have set backs to the buildings. I bet someone close to TSQ could file for like a FAR 20-25. Personally, something like the Citigroup Center would be good, only up to 80-100 floors.

PHLguy
March 11th, 2005, 08:36 PM
I'm sure some of the sites will be sizable.


and no you don't need that big of a site, look at Chicago's waterview tower!

NoyokA
March 12th, 2005, 07:54 PM
I'm sure some of the sites will be sizable.


and no you don't need that big of a site, look at Chicago's waterview tower!

I think it goes without saying Chicago, a different city, has different requirements. Also Chicago has large sites for large-developments while New York is hindered by the fact it has a grid system, dividing sites into smaller lots.

alex ballard
March 12th, 2005, 09:09 PM
I think it goes without saying Chicago, a different city, has different requirements. Also Chicago has large sites for large-developments while New York is hindered by the fact it has a grid system, dividing sites into smaller lots.

Also, Chicago's (from what I can imagine) real estate is not as expensive. So developers can assemble large plots of land. Also, it's probably not as hot of a demand. Have you seen photo's of the west or south sides? They're literally ghost towns!

PHLguy
March 13th, 2005, 12:04 AM
I think it goes without saying Chicago, a different city, has different requirements. Also Chicago has large sites for large-developments while New York is hindered by the fact it has a grid system, dividing sites into smaller lots.



Yea, I was just making a point in general. A Building of that size could probably be in play for the sites if done right.

PHLguy
March 13th, 2005, 12:05 AM
Also, Chicago's (from what I can imagine) real estate is not as expensive. So developers can assemble large plots of land. Also, it's probably not as hot of a demand. Have you seen photo's of the west or south sides? They're literally ghost towns!


If that was always the case NY would never see supertalls again, Is that what your saying?



PS. Sorry for the double post.

alex ballard
March 13th, 2005, 09:45 AM
If that was always the case NY would never see supertalls again, Is that what your saying?



PS. Sorry for the double post.

In the short term, that will prove itself a hinderance. However, when people realize that the 1961 zoning law is killing Manhattan, I think those small plots will prove themselves very useful.

PHLguy
March 13th, 2005, 03:48 PM
I still havent figured out if there are still 80 floor towers allowed on the sites, I assume so.

NewYorkYankee
March 13th, 2005, 03:57 PM
Perhaps if you would read, and stop asking repetitive questions, you would.

PHLguy
March 13th, 2005, 03:58 PM
I am reading I just keep getting confused.


And yes I'll admit that I'm obsessed, I think that area of the city desparetly needs supertall buildings.

ASchwarz
March 13th, 2005, 03:59 PM
I still havent figured out if there are still 80 floor towers allowed on the sites, I assume so.

There are no height limits in most of Midtown or Downtown. You could build a 200 floor building if you wanted to. Of course, very tall buildings make no economic sense.

Who cares about the number of floors in a building? Floor heights vary widely among buildings. If you like tall buildings you should care about building height not floor count. Regardless, the mania to build tall is a characteristic of second rate cities with inferiority complexes. Ugly cities like Shanghai and Taipei reach for the clouds, while fantastic cities like Paris and London have tough restrictions.

Cities like NY don't need tall buildings, though I still look forward to seeing some new towers on the West Side.

PHLguy
March 13th, 2005, 04:02 PM
There were 80 storey buildings proposed though...all i was wondering is if something like that still has a chance, It seems this has gotten more complicated than it really is.

NY will always be an ecxellent city with a great skyline but to keep up with the ever growing world and stay in the top 2 or 3 skyline cities it should build tall and continue to do so.

NoyokA
March 13th, 2005, 04:25 PM
I still havent figured out if there are still 80 floor towers allowed on the sites, I assume so.

If you ask this question again you will be banned. I’ve thus far tried answering your questions in a civil manner.

Except for a handful of sites in Midtown and Lower-Manhattan you can build 80 storeys, 100 storeys, 150 storeys, whatever zoning will support.

This is the wrong forum for your rants about super-tall buildings that do not exist past your idiocy; I am at my wits end and will not entertain it any longer.

PHLguy
March 13th, 2005, 04:54 PM
Excuse me?

I find it incredibly rude that I have a very hard time understanding certain things and people call me an idiot. Why do you guys here insist on making people feel crappy? Don't you have any Descency?


I'll be gone for a while, this place makes me angry. Some of you need to know how to treat others better.

NoyokA
March 13th, 2005, 05:00 PM
Excuse me?

I find it incredibly rude that I have a very hard time understanding certain things and people call me an idiot. Why do you guys here insist on making people feel crappy? Don't you have any Descency?


I'll be gone for a while, this place makes me angry. Some of you need to know how to treat others better.

Good riddance. Ill make it so you won’t be back.

alex ballard
March 13th, 2005, 05:54 PM
I still havent figured out if there are still 80 floor towers allowed on the sites, I assume so.

I'm going to explain this to you once and for ALL! A FAR of 12 means that if you cover 100% of the site, you can only go 12 floors. To get to 80, you can only use about 15% of the site. That means if you get your hands on a 200x200 plot, you can probably only build a 60x100 building (per say). If this interpretation is not correct, then feel free to correct me.

NoyokA
March 14th, 2005, 12:09 AM
I'm going to explain this to you once and for ALL! A FAR of 12 means that if you cover 100% of the site, you can only go 12 floors. To get to 80, you can only use about 15% of the site. That means if you get your hands on a 200x200 plot, you can probably only build a 60x100 building (per say). If this interpretation is not correct, then feel free to correct me.

Correct, however there are often setback requirements so you can no longer build a 60x100ft building and the rest as a plaza, however it depends on the site requirements. I can only see an 80 storey building in New York through the transfer of air rights and/or incentives such as low-income housing and public amenities.

krulltime
April 12th, 2005, 03:11 PM
HOPPER-ESQUE: Bids are due for this entire site on Tenth Avenue between 30th and 31st streets.

By STEVE CUOZZO

http://www.nypost.com/photos/recomm04122005.jpg


The far West Side gold rush has come to another under-utilized site: the entire eastern block front of Tenth Avenue between 30th-31st streets.Eastern Consolidated's Ron Solarz is taking bids for the current owner, property maintenance and restoration firm Stuart Dean.

Bids are due in May 11 for the 14,300 square-foot site. Currently occupied by a two-story garage, a small apartment building and an empty lot, the parcel can be built out to 143,000 square feet "as of right" under Hudson Yards-area zoning.

But Solarz points out the new zoning permits buildout to 308,000 feet by buying neighboring air rights. He emphasized there was no way to predict what the site will fetch but said he would "not be surprised" to see offers "north" of $23 million, or $161 per buildable square foot based on the 143,000-foot minimum.

Big developers such as Brookfield, Related Cos. and Rockrose have big snatching up parcels all over the far West Side — some in anticipation of a new Jets stadium, Javits Center expansion and subway line extension, but most merely as an expression of confidence in the area's future.

As reported here two weeks ago, Rockrose just paid $10 million for a corner site at 10th Avenue and 37th Street. That completed two facing block fronts that it first began assembling five years ago, long before the stadium proposal or rezoning.

But where the Rockrose site is zoned for residential use, the block Solarz is marketing is zoned for mixed commercial and residential, with the commercial portion at the base. He said he's had interest already from "hotel groups, office groups, and builders of mixed-use including residential."

The site is immediately south of 450 W. 33rd St., the giant office building that's home to the Daily News and the AP.


Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc.

PHLguy
April 12th, 2005, 03:16 PM
Oh My God!

NoyokA
April 12th, 2005, 09:44 PM
I'm wondering since the discussion has really only focused on the real estate aspect of this development if it should be moved to Real Estate or Skyscrapers and Architecture? I'd like to hear your opinions?

macreator
April 12th, 2005, 11:29 PM
I'm going to explain this to you once and for ALL! A FAR of 12 means that if you cover 100% of the site, you can only go 12 floors. To get to 80, you can only use about 15% of the site. That means if you get your hands on a 200x200 plot, you can probably only build a 60x100 building (per say). If this interpretation is not correct, then feel free to correct me.

A great example of this is The Trump World Tower on 1st avenue in the 40's. The Trump Building's plot is quite large and takes up a good 1/3 of the block but the tower itself takes up less than a 1/3 of the plot. The rest of the land is used for a landscaped plaza area with seating and a very large through-block driveway. The result: with the Tower's limited use of the site and Trump's ability to transfer air rights from other properties owned, Trump is able to build a monolithic 90-story equivalent tower (the floors above ground are 70 stories but many floors have double height ceilings).

krulltime
April 13th, 2005, 06:02 PM
I'm wondering since the discussion has really only focused on the real estate aspect of this development if it should be moved to Real Estate or Skyscrapers and Architecture? I'd like to hear your opinions?

yeah I think it should be move... But I dont know where... I think that Real Estate might be the best choice.

But we should change the title as well. I don't know what title though but a better tilte I guess. Since is going to be more than a vision.

TonyO
April 15th, 2005, 11:52 AM
The Slatin Report
NYC 04 15 05

TENTH AVENUE THAW?

Peter Slatin



With a thumb's-up-or-down vote on the controversial plan to build a football stadium on the far West Side of Manhattan – and property prices in general reaching fever-high proportions - longtime property owners in the area are getting antsy. Despite the very real possibility that development could be stymied by community activists and political infighting, speculative buying has certainly increased in recent months in anticipation of a positive move from elected and appointed officials.

The strange prospects of the district are perfectly evident in the contrast between two area properties: the ouszied 450 West 33rd Street, which stretches from Ninth to Tenth Avenue and 31st to 33rd Streets, and the two-story, 131-foot-long industrial building at 356-366 Tenth Avenue, just across the street from the huge commercial property along the eastern blockfront of Tenth Avenue, between West 30th and 31st Streets.

The larger building is owned by an investment consortium led by money manager Angelo Gordon & Co., and is home to major media outlets the Daily News, the Associated Press and public television station WNET. It once housed Sky Rink, a skating rink that, after losing its lease there, became an anchor to the Chelsea Piers sports complex ten blocks south along the Hudson River.

The other property, owned by the Stuart Dean Co., a restorer of stone, metal and wood, is for sale. It's being marketed by well-known Manhattan investment sales brokers Eastern Consolidated Properties. Bids are due May 11 – exactly one week before the meeting of the Public Authorities Control Board, the state agency that holds the yes or no key to the stadium deal, at which a vote is expected. Eastern Consolidated brokers Ron Solarz and Eric Anton anticipate a price of more than $23 million for the site, which is zoned to allow for a 143,530-square-foot structure—or up to 310,025 square feet if the new owner is able to buy air rights, says Solarz.

Hotel groups, excited by the prospect of vastly increased tourist, residential and business traffic in the area as development blooms in coming years, have naturally expressed interest in his property: The base can’t be residential, although the tower can be residential.

Whatever price is eventually paid for the Stuart Dean property, the buyer will not only be hoping to be near a football stadium. Investors are also anticipating an expanded Javits Convention Center; the extension of a subway line into the neighborhood; the rehabilitation and conversion of the huge James A. Farley post office building into a new Amtrak station just a block away; the conversion of the abandoned, dilapidated High Line Railway into an elevated pedestrian park; and the development of millions of square feet of new residential and commercial space over the next few decades as part of a city-envisioned redevelopment effort.

One hopes it will be patient money.

PHLguy
May 1st, 2005, 02:48 PM
This articles 2 weeks old.

NY POST

WEST SIDE GLORY

By JENNIFER GOULD KEIL


April 17, 2005 -- The dilapidated West Side is turning into the city's new Gold Coast.

With 36.6 million square feet of potential commercial and residential space, the area between 30th Street and 43rd Street, west of 8th Avenue, is fast becoming some of the most desired real estate in the city — with investors, developers and real estate brokers all staking their claims.

"People are buying and selling like mad," said Anna Levin, land use committee chair of Community Board 4, of the area that now includes the Javits Convention Center and the site of the proposed multimillion-dollar New York Sports and Convention Center.

The possibility for real estate profits comes as the city rezones 59 blocks in the area. The mixed-use rezoning is part of an initiative to promote large-scale development in what's now an underutilized, mostly low-rise district, that was historically zoned for manufacturing.

Yet, even before there were whispers a of a stadium, subway or rezoning, some developers began quietly acquiring their West Side monopoly pieces in the 1990s and early 2000s. At that time, land was selling for $50 per buildable square foot. It's now up to $200 to $300 per foot.

In a move to capitalize on the West Side renovations, Rockrose Development Corp., one of six developers that teamed up with the Jets to bid on the MTA rail yard, has spent tens of millions to expand its turf around the area.

"Hudson Yards was a total crapshoot four years ago, but it was logical to us," said Rockrose planning director Jon McMillan "The area was underutilized. We now have enough critical mass to establish it as a new neighborhood."

Rockrose, whose modus operandi is to get into areas early and build rental buildings, just launched plans to begin construction on two residential sites in the area.

As hungry buyers come to the area, some of the early West Side landowners, such as the Jeffrey Katz, who has owned properties since at least the 1980s, have seen their holdings skyrocket in value. The Imperatore family, which has owned there for decades, is among those cashing in.

Steve Witkoff, of the Witkoff Group, is one buyer interested in the Imperatore family's holdings. He bought about 1 million square feet — for about $120 per buildable square foot — from a partnership controlled by the Imperatore family.

Sources say he has begun the design phase for a 1,000 room hotel that would be directly across from the Javits Center.

Those brokering West Side deals are winning out as well as the likes of Rockrose, Brookfield and Related Cos. gobble up parcels. As a top broker in the area, Anne DeMarzo of DeMarzo Realily had her own payday as middleman to developers such as Rockrose that are snapping up properties. Brokers typically earn between 3 percent and 6 percent on such deals.

Although DeMarzo did not comment on her take, sources say she has made more than $1 million from all the high-priced West Side wheeling and dealing.


__________________

Looks like theres going to be alot of development here...FIngers crossed for 1000 footers!

Javits center has a hotel planned I belive that will reach 664 feet and 50 floors.

PHLguy
May 1st, 2005, 02:50 PM
I'm going to explain this to you once and for ALL! A FAR of 12 means that if you cover 100% of the site, you can only go 12 floors. To get to 80, you can only use about 15% of the site. That means if you get your hands on a 200x200 plot, you can probably only build a 60x100 building (per say). If this interpretation is not correct, then feel free to correct me.


That's confusing, that would mean that no buildings on those sites would pass 40 floors.

Deimos
May 1st, 2005, 05:41 PM
one thing about FAR has always confused me.... who owns the rights to the land over the streets? At least 15-20% of the land in Manhattan is covered by roadway, if this land is not taken into account as part of the air rights for development, this looks like a huge chunk of change that the city owns (And also a large amount of potential real estate taxes down the road that are not being collected).

ZippyTheChimp
May 1st, 2005, 06:29 PM
FAR is applied to zoning lots. The permitted size of the building is the air-right for that lot. If you build to the maximum, you have used up the air-right for that lot. If you build less bulk than allowed by zoning, you still own air rights on the lot. This is what gets sold to adjacent lots.

There is no FAR for the street (you can't put a building on it), so there is no air-right to own.

PHLguy
May 1st, 2005, 08:10 PM
What's the FAR for the westside?


I'm sorry for seeming stupid but this is difficult for me.

PHLguy
May 20th, 2005, 08:37 PM
If i'm not mistaken very tall buildings CANNOT be built on the westside because of strict zoning laws right? Although 42 blocks of 40-50 floors towers isn't too bad.

kliq6
June 14th, 2005, 03:27 PM
Most buildings built will be in the 50 story range as that almost as high as a devloper can go to still make money, tenants are not interested in 70 story office as much

alex ballard
June 14th, 2005, 05:03 PM
/\ And the paranioa rains supreme. Have you tried "asking"? I'm sure people might go 70 if they tried. 80 is even doable.


I think you give people too much fear. Have any of these companies tried "asking" their employees if they'd go up there? I bet not. I also bet this isn't about fear, it's about insurance and a nifty excuse for costs.

ASchwarz
June 14th, 2005, 06:38 PM
/\ And the paranioa rains supreme. Have you tried "asking"? I'm sure people might go 70 if they tried. 80 is even doable.


I think you give people too much fear. Have any of these companies tried "asking" their employees if they'd go up there? I bet not. I also bet this isn't about fear, it's about insurance and a nifty excuse for costs.

It's economics, not paranoia. These are private market towers. Why would businesses invest in a wildly expensive asset that doesn't meet the needs of their companies? With few exceptions, supertall towers are for developing nations, not wealthy cities in the developed world.

pianoman11686
June 15th, 2005, 01:05 AM
Rusty Railroad Advances on Road to Pristine Park

By PAUL VITELLO

Published: June 15, 2005

Plans for the city's first elevated park - a singular ribbon of green space stretching a mile and a half along an abandoned railroad viaduct 30 feet above the streets of Chelsea - have taken a major step forward with a favorable ruling by a federal transportation board.

The ruling, on Monday, essentially cleared the way for the city to begin negotiating use and development of the High Line, a weed-overgrown railroad bed that has not been used since the late 1960's and that, seen from above, looks like a painter's thick stroke of brilliant green along the gritty Lower West Side of Manhattan, between 34th Street and Gansevoort Street, in the meatpacking district.

If the plans materialize, the project would become one of only two elevated parks in the world; the other, also carved out of an abandoned railroad viaduct, is the Promenade Plantée in Paris.

"This is one of the most unique open spaces in the world," said Amanda M. Burden, chairwoman of the New York City Planning Commission and an outspoken advocate of the High Line project. "You will be able to walk 22 blocks in the city of New York without ever coming in contact with a vehicle. People will see the city from a completely unique perspective."

The project has had a long gestation, beginning in 1999, when some neighborhood residents, organized as Friends of the High Line, first intervened to block plans for demolishing the viaduct.

Property owners along the right of way, just east of the Hudson River, sought to develop their land beneath the elevated tracks.

The administration of former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani supported those efforts. But Michael R. Bloomberg, a year after taking office as mayor, reversed the city's position to support preservation.

In 2004, with the enticement of a promised $50 million city investment in the park and other incentives to satisfy local businesses, the property owners withdrew their opposition to the city's plans to develop its first midair park.

On Monday, the federal Surface Transportation Board issued the city what is called a "certificate of interim trail use." That, in effect, permits the city to remove the segment of unused rail line from the national railway grid.

Under the terms of a federal rail-preservation law, such an "interim" use could be revoked in the future should the Surface Transportation Board decide the rail line is again needed, though such revocations are rare.

"Just six years ago, saving the High Line seemed like an impossible dream, and now it's a reality," Robert Hammond, a co-founder of Friends of the High Line, said in a statement.

Along 10th Avenue yesterday, some neighborhood residents were upbeat, if somewhat cautious.

"I think it's going to be great, as long as they make it so the kids don't fall off," said Maribel Vega, 40, holding her 5-year-old son, Pedro, by the hand. "The railings are nothing, you could go right over them."

The iron railings along the viaduct - some of them plain and some with ornate Art Deco designs - would indeed be flimsy protection for 5-year-olds playing 30 feet above street level; but plans call for many improvements, not least of them in safety and security.

"They better think about kids throwing stuff down on people, too," said Ms. Vega's sister, Marisol Vega, 33.

"Any green space that we can get in this neighborhood is very welcome," said Jerri Prescott, a 38-year-resident of Chelsea who was walking her dog on 24th Street. "Terrific."

From the street, the High Line presents itself only intermittently, a stab of rusty gunwale gray appearing at street crossings, then disappearing behind giant movie billboards, or sometimes hidden behind ivy and weed growth that drapes its railings. The line once rumbled with the traffic of freight cars, but now its presence is wistful, mainly invisible, and almost imaginary.

Public access is prohibited, and until the city negotiates terms with the owner of the line, the CSX Corporation, a rail freight transportation company, one can only imagine what a walk along this new boulevard might look like. But along 10th Avenue, glimpses are possible:

One will see billboards and fire escapes along some stretches, have good views of some people's terraces in spots, catch glimpses of crosstown traffic every block, and then, along those patches where no buildings interfere, see a river, and beyond that a lot of sky, possibly a sunset.

The next step is to negotiate a trail use agreement with the railroad, said Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff. Gary Sease, a spokesman for CSX, said no problems were foreseen for the negotiations.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

krulltime
November 9th, 2005, 10:36 AM
Two 1.5 million-foot towers close to Javits!!!


Between The Bricks


By LOIS WEISS
November 9, 2005


Joseph Moinian is another West Side fan who is putting his money where his mouth is.

We hear Moinian contracted to buy yet another Verizon building on the east side of 11th Ave. opposite Javits.

This is one of the area's four super corners, where sources say he intends to construct a soaring, 1.5 million-foot mixed-use tower that will include retail, hotel, offices and residences.

The 47,000-foot site at 555 W. 34th St. is next door to his Infinity Court apartments.

David Noonan and Jimmy Kuhn of Newmark handled the brokerage, just as they did for Moinian's Verizon purchase on 11th Ave. between 42nd and 43rd Streets.

Moinian is working there on a design for another 1.5 million square footer, next to the Costas Kondylis-designed apartment building he bought as plans from Jules Demchik and which is currently rising skyward.


Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc.

krulltime
November 16th, 2005, 10:26 PM
Nobemver 16, 2005


Hudson Yards theater zoning bonus attacked at planning hearing


http://www.cityrealty.com/graphics/uploads/1132177429_hudsonyds2.gif


Part of an amendment to the city’s new Hudson Yards zoning was criticized by several groups today as providing an unnecessary bonus to the Related Companies, which is planning a major tower on 42nd Street on the southwest corner of Tenth Avenue and is reported to be in discussions to include in that project a large theater facility for Le Cirque Soleil, the popular for-profit performing arts company.

The Hudson Yards rezoning was initiated in conjunction with the Bloomberg Administration’s plans for a stadium for the New York Jets football team facing the Hudson River south of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The stadium plans eventually collapsed but the sweeping zoning plans were enacted and significantly upzone much of the West Midtown area west of the Garment Center between 31st Streets and 42nd Street.

The draft amendment contains many modifications of the Hudson Yards plan relating to harassment issues in new development and adjustment of allowable building sizes in various subdistricts of the plan.

The provision that speakers at the commission focused on related to a "theater bonus" incentive that would permit developers on certain sites to add three times their area of their site to normal zoning rules.

Anna Levin of Community Board 4 told the commission that when the text of the zoning proposal was released "there had been no discussion with this community about the desirability of the bonus, and, if asked, we would have told you it was a bad idea."

"We understand that the language before you today – adding ‘performing arts use’ to the uses that would qualify for the bonus – was worked out in discussion amongst the various City agencies involved, The Related Companies, and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s….No sooner had the language been worked out than we began to hear that the developer was considering other ‘performing arts’ uses. The House of Blues, perhaps. The draft amendment was further changed to require performing arts uses to be ‘non-profit.’ The House of Blues idea was dropped and now, apparently, the developer is claiming that the Cirque de Soleil, with audiences of up to 2,000, would qualify for the bonus as a legitimate theater." "This is a complete perversion," Ms. Levin continued, adding that "It provides a substantial financial reward to the developer, and a subsidy to a mature corporate enterprise that doesn’t need this kind of help….This is a mess….And it’s certainly not what this community will accept. We need a time-out." She urged the commission to eliminate the theater bonus text but approve the other 17 items in the amendment "and quickly because development pressures make the anti-harassment provisions urgently needed." New York State Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried submitted a statement also in opposition to the theater bonus, adding that he understood that "City Planning is also working with the community on additional text amendments that would import additional provisions of the Clinton Special District concerning the protections of existing residential buildings." He noted that Related has demolished two small-non-profit theaters on the site and that MCC Theater and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s have expressed interest in the location.

John Schultz, executive director of MCC Theater, said that his organization lost its last home four years ago and that next season will make the end of its being allowed to be in residence at the Lucille Lortel Theater in Greenwich Village.

A member of the Hell’s Kitchen Alliance said that Cirque de Soleil would significantly impact the area’s traffic, noting that pedestrian accidents at the intersection of 42nd Street and Ninth Avenue were up 80 percent in the last two years.

Many speakers indicated they want Cirque de Soleil to find a home in the city, but not at the Related location.


Copyright © 1994-2005 CITY REALTY

TonyO
January 26th, 2006, 01:10 PM
Great article on general NYC development as well as West Side development.

Redeveloping New York City block by block

by amy zimmer / metro new york

JAN 26, 2006

With city population surging, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has pushed a five borough plan to meet housing and commercial demands. New business districts will pop up in Long Island City, Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Far West Side; new residential developments will rise along the East River and in West Chelsea, while development may be slowed in Fort Greene and the East Village/Lower East Side. Metro spoke with Amanda Burden, chair of the City Planning Commission, about how the first broad changes to city zoning since 1961 will affect New York.


What is the city’s development vision?

Wherever the infrastructure can support it, we’re going to grow the city. You need growth as long as it doesn’t violate scale, as long as it feels right. It cannot violate the texture and what is strong about each neighborhood. At the same time, because we haven’t looked at the zoning in so long, we have to preserve the neighborhoods that are threatened by overdevelopment and inappropriate development.


In areas like Greenpoint and Williamsburg, how do you balance development with neighborhood character, and how do you preserve affordable housing?

Everything along the inland we preserve — to keep that low scale — and then we allow the large development along the waterfront. We have two miles of waterfront that are cut off, abandoned, derelict for decades. We’re working with developers to make sure there’s 30 percent affordability in that plan. And the city is building a 28-acre waterfront park — the full two miles. Developers can’t build anything unless they build the park.


What’s happening on the Far West Side?

We still don’t know what’s going to happen over the West Side rail yards. We’re working with the state on thinking about possible uses. ... If you wanted to bring a corporation to New York City, there is no space left. The last space was taken by Bank of America near Bryant Park. So for the future of the city, having office space on the West Side is important. We’ve leveraged through the zoning enough money to borrow to build the extension of the 7 line, totally self-financed. And we’re going to build more than 20 acres of park, like in Battery Park City, where we built a little piece of the esplanade and the park first and then people said, “Oh, I want to be there.”


Will these plans compete with Lower Manhattan?

The 7 line would be completed by 2012, and the office development should take off after that. Lower Manhattan development will be well under way by then. These projects have different time sequences and different markets.


How has your first month been on the board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation?

I’m in the middle of a battle right now. We feel very strongly that keeping Cortlandt Street open is essential. The Port Authority would like to put a mall over it and that would be one of the largest superblocks in Manhattan — once again, we’re repeating bad history. That’s totally wrong for orientation. From Broadway the only way to see the memorial and green of the trees is on Cortlandt Street.


How much of the city has been rezoned?

We have gotten past or are in the process of 52 rezonings through the City Council. Throughout Queens and the Bronx and Staten Island we’ve been working to preserve neighborhoods like Cambria Heights, Riverdale, Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, City Island. Fort Greene is going to be one of the next neighborhoods. We’re entering discussions with the community this week. We have tentative boundaries [to downzone] the East Village and the Lower East Side. It’s an area I’m worried about being eaten by development, and the character jeopardized.

TonyO
April 28th, 2006, 03:25 PM
Mike: I'll never west

BY MICHAEL SAUL
DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF

Nearly a year after Mayor Bloomberg's grand plan to bring the Jets back to New York collapsed in a spectacular defeat, the city is moving forward with a massive effort to revitalize Manhattan's far West Side.
"Other than the stadium, there is nothing that's not going according to plan," said Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, who is spearheading City Hall's effort to redevelop the area bounded by Seventh Ave., 28th St., 43rd St. and the Hudson River.

"All of the hopes that we had for the Hudson Yards remain as realistic as we would have thought a year ago," Doctoroff told the Daily News. "And a lot of things are moving along."

Doctoroff said the $2 billion extension of the No. 7 subway line from Times Square to the West Side will be a major motivator for development. Construction is to begin by year's end.

"That in many ways is the catalyst. That's what people are sort of waiting on, particularly from a commercial perspective," he said.

Doctoroff told The News the city is "beginning the process" of stitching together an alternative plan for the site of the proposed Jets stadium that was torpedoed last June by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) and Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno (R-Rensselaer).

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Chelsea), one of the most vocal opponents of the Jets stadium, said the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the site's owner, should have solicited new bids by now.

MTA officials and Doctoroff confirmed there is still no timetable to do so. "You want to do something that's thoughtful," the deputy mayor said.

But other than the stadium, Quinn said she is "very happy with the way the rest of the Hudson Yards and the far west Chelsea area is moving forward. "The city rezoned the area, providing for 24 million square feet of office space, 13,500 units of housing and a million square feet of retail.

Construction is to begin soon on the expansion of the Javits Center, and design work on a midblock park and boulevard between 10th and 11th Aves., from 33rd to 39th Sts., is to also begin later this year.

Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday he wasn't concerned about competition between redevelopment in lower Manhattan and the far West Side.

"What we're trying to do is to develop throughout this whole city," said Bloomberg, adding that the No. 7 line is key to the success of the West Side.

"Once that's there, that will be a very hot real estate market."

http://www.nydailynews.com/images/graphics/2westchart.jpg

antinimby
April 28th, 2006, 04:28 PM
http://www.nydailynews.com/images/graphics/2westchart.jpgItem # 2 - possible MSG?
Item # 8 - didn't know about this one.

lesterp4
April 28th, 2006, 04:52 PM
I have a question. I was walking west on 42nd St. and there are 3 massive holes in the ground, 2 of which have been there for a long time. (8th and 11th aves.). Why do developers kick businesses out of their stores, gut the whole block and then let it just sit there for years?????????????

ablarc
April 28th, 2006, 05:07 PM
An even better question: why does the city let them?

Drexel
April 28th, 2006, 05:37 PM
Does anyone know about the project at 455 West 37th Street..the previous map shows a building with 500 units to break ground next year...any renderings?

lofter1
April 29th, 2006, 12:23 AM
I have a question. I was walking west on 42nd St. and there are 3 massive holes in the ground, 2 of which have been there for a long time. (8th and 11th aves.). Why do developers kick businesses out of their stores, gut the whole block and then let it just sit there for years?????????????
The biggest hole between 9th / 10th Aves is still there because the developer attempted some zoning shenanigans, but was rebuffed -- and seemingly is now licking his wounds before he makes the next step.

The SAGA is HERE (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5509)

Derek2k3
May 18th, 2006, 08:48 AM
Does anyone know about the project at 455 West 37th Street..the previous map shows a building with 500 units to break ground next year...any renderings?
NY TIMES
No Stadium, No Problem: West Side Is Getting Hot
By CHARLES V. BAGLI
June 12, 2005

"The Rockrose Development Corporation, which has become the largest property owner in the district in recent years, is putting together three large development sites, including both sides of 10th Avenue between 37th and 38th Streets, for as many as 1,400 apartments. The company told community board officials it hoped to begin construction this fall."


Permits have already been filed for a 24 story tower designed by Handel Architects.
http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobDetailsServlet?requestid=4&allisn=0001232277&allboroughname=&allnumbhous=&allstrt=


Recent news mentioning the possibility of the tower being upped to 32 stories.
Community Board 4 votes against new park in Hell's Kitchen 06-APR-06
http://www.cityrealty.com/new_developments/

Kris
July 7th, 2006, 04:54 AM
July 7, 2006
City Offers $500 Million for West Side Railyards
By CHARLES V. BAGLI

The Bloomberg administration and the City Council have offered to pay $500 million for the development rights to 26 acres of railyards on Manhattan's Far West Side, the site of a titanic but unsuccessful battle last year to build the world's most expensive football stadium.

Officials hope the proposal will spur development on the Far West Side, a low-scale neighborhood of factories, tenements and parking lots that city officials and developers regard as a last frontier in Manhattan. If a deal is struck, the city will also be able to ensure that any development there is consistent with a comprehensive rezoning plan approved by the city last year.

The unexpected offer came in a letter to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the property, from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn. The two had been adversaries in the battle over the mayor's plans to build a $2.2 billion stadium for the Jets, but they joined forces in an effort to bring the property under municipal control.

"The city must work to create a mixed-use commercial and residential district, one that protects existing residents, businesses and manufacturers while also creating new employment opportunities, affordable housing and parks," Ms. Quinn said yesterday. "It will allow our community and city to have control over the future planning and development of the site."

Peter S. Kalikow, chairman of the M.T.A., said in a statement yesterday that the authority would "give serious consideration to the city's proposal." He said he had been committed to cooperating with the city, but added that the authority's principal interest was in getting top dollar for the property "to support our ongoing enormous capital needs." The authority's latest budget includes $1 billion from the sale of land and other assets.

Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, who has headed efforts to oversee the M.T.A. and other authorities, said the city's offer might conflict with recent legislation intended to ensure that publicly owned land is sold for the highest price.

"We know the price they're willing to pay, but we don't yet know the value of the land," Mr. Brodsky said. "We intend to be very vigilant about this. We're considering hearings and a close analysis of the transaction."

The railyards sit on the east and west sides of 11th Avenue, between 30th and 33rd Streets. In a two-step transaction, the city would buy the western railyard for $300 million, $50 million more than the Jets had agreed to pay to build a stadium there. The city would then devise a zoning plan for the 13-acre property and take it through the city's land use review process.

The city is also offering to pay $200 million for 3.42 million square feet of unused development rights from the eastern yard. The transportation authority intends to build a platform there, which is already zoned for commercial and residential buildings, as well as a cultural institution.

With the city rezoning the area, developers have been buying property on the Far West Side for large residential projects for several years. Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff said there was also considerable interest in developing office space, because rents are soaring and there are few large blocks of space available for rent.

"We want to ensure that we produce a plan for the western railyards consistent with our overall vision for the area," he said.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

BPC
July 7th, 2006, 10:48 AM
Wrong, wrong, wrong. The City's job is to free up the zoning and then let the free market make the best use of the property. The City should not be in the business of real estate development. NYC has an ample supply of real estate moguls to handle that task.

MikeW
July 7th, 2006, 08:06 PM
I think what's going on here is that the city wants to get this site under it's zoning control. The MTA is a state agency. As such, it could allow the site to developed outside the city's land use regulation. If the city buys the site, it gets control.

Kris
July 8th, 2006, 05:07 AM
July 8, 2006
Spitzer Says City's Offer for Railyards Is Too Low
By DIANE CARDWELL

Eliot Spitzer, a candidate for governor, attacked yesterday the city's proposal to pay $500 million for development rights at the railyards where the Jets had hoped to build a football stadium.

"This is an amount grossly under market value," Mr. Spitzer, the state attorney general, said in a statement released by his campaign office. "Any sale of an asset of this magnitude, size and value must only be approved after a process that is open, transparent and provides an opportunity for public bidding."

Mr. Spitzer also criticized the request from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the land, move on the sale by the end of this month.

If elected governor, Mr. Spitzer would hold sway over the authority and its finances. By injecting himself into the fight, he could be trying to assure the authority gets top dollar in the deal.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Spitzer, Christine Anderson, said that Mr. Spitzer could not give a fair market value for the property because that was something that should be determined only by an open bidding process.

The 26-acre property runs from 30th to 33rd Streets between 10th and 12th Avenues, and its value was a much-debated component of the tortuous quest to build a $2.2 billion stadium on its western half.

During that battle, the authority put the value of the western yard at nearly $900 million, and sought $300 million from the Jets, reasoning that the stadium would use about a third of the development rights. The authority rejected the Jets' initial offer of $100 million but accepted $250 million, an offer that came after the sale was opened to other bidders.

Mr. Spitzer called the city's proposal only "marginally closer to fair market value than the $100 million the Jets offered last year."

The city is offering to pay $300 million for the development rights to the western yard, and $200 million for 3.42 million square feet of unused development rights from the eastern yard. The city also plans to pay the $350 million or more that it would cost to build a platform that would allow for construction over the site.

By gaining control of the development rights, city officials hope to ensure that any development on the western parcel is consistent with a comprehensive rezoning plan approved by the city last year.

"The city has made an offer that is beneficial to all parties involved — the city, the M.T.A. and the West Side community," said Jennifer Falk, a spokeswoman for Mr. Bloomberg. "The decision by the mayor and the speaker to send a joint letter reflects the vital importance of this proposal for the future of New York."

Ms. Quinn, who had fought the mayor on the stadium plan but joined forces with him to bring the property under city control, echoed that sentiment.

"We think the best way to have a fair, open and transparent process is to make sure the public is involved in the planning and development of the site every step of the way," Ms. Quinn said yesterday in a statement released by her office.

She added, "Allowing a private buyer to acquire the last significant publicly owned open space in Manhattan, without any requirement as to what is developed there, will not necessarily foster the preservation and development of the affordable housing or create the mix of residential, commercial and park space this area vitally needs."

Although Mr. Spitzer said of the proposal that "a sale of this proportion without public discourse would be wrong and inappropriate," he is generally in favor of the $3.5 billion Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn, which opponents have said was a deal done largely in secret.

Ms. Anderson said Mr. Spitzer agreed that there were "valid concerns about the course of the project" and was "open to discussing them with the community," but he believed it would bring needed jobs.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

Kris
July 26th, 2006, 04:55 AM
July 26, 2006
M.T.A. to Consider Railyard Bid
By THOMAS J. LUECK

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board is expected today to consider New York City’s offer of $500 million for development rights to 26 acres of railyards on the Far West Side of Manhattan, the site of the city’s failed attempt last year to develop a football stadium for the Jets.

The authority, which received the latest offer this month in a letter from City Hall, has not brought it up for public discussion before any of the committees that advise its board, including those dealing with finance and real estate. Although the matter had not been included on a preliminary agenda of the authority’s board, which is to meet this morning, Tom Kelly, a spokesman for the authority, said yesterday that it would be discussed, but added that it was not known if the board would take action.

The prospect of such high-level discussion provoked heightened tensions yesterday over the city’s offer, which has been characterized by some critics as a low-ball bid for one of Manhattan’s largest and potentially most valuable development sites, between 10th to 12th Avenues from 30th to 33rd Streets. Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who is running for governor, has called the offer “grossly under market value.”

Others have urged caution. In a letter last week to Peter Kalikow, the authority’s chairman, Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union, the main transit union, and the Straphangers Campaign, a riders’ advocacy group, said that the authority would “look very bad if it turns on a dime and just swallows the proposal whole.’’

Gene Russianoff, staff lawyer for the Straphangers Campaign, said any action taken by the board today would deny the public sufficient warning or input since the city’s bid was not submitted to prior discussion at open meetings.

One option for the authority’s board is to give Mr. Kalikow authority to negotiate with the city. Mr. Kalikow, a real estate executive, said after the city’s $500 million bid was outlined in a letter from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn that his top priority was getting top dollar for the site “to support our ongoing enormous capital needs.”

Mr. Kelly declined further comment yesterday.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

lofter1
August 2nd, 2006, 12:04 PM
Titan of Tenements Stakes Out West Side

NY OBSERVER (http://www.observer.com/20060807/20060807_Matthew_Schuerman_finance_financialpress. asp)
Matthew Schuerman
8/7/2006

Mayor Michael Bloomberg failed to bring the Jets to the West Side. And now it looks like there’s little he can do to stop a controversial landlord from moving there instead.

Baruch Singer, who owns dozens of tenement buildings in the city’s poorer neighborhoods, has spent $61.7 million dollars with his partners on five lots on or near 11th Avenue since last December, including a warehouse formerly used by the artist Robert Rauschenberg.

The transactions are filed in the city’s online property database under official-sounding names such as Hudson Yards L.L.C. or Javits Center Development L.L.C., but they can be traced back to Mr. Singer’s company, Triangle Management, at 95 Delancey Street.

Mr. Singer is best known as the owner of a Harlem apartment building that partially collapsed in 1995, tipping sleeping residents from their beds into a pile of bricks and killing three people.

He had also tried to buy the massive Greenpoint Terminal Market just months before the 19th-century warehouse complex went up in flames in May.

In neither case was he charged with any wrongdoing. But Mr. Singer’s storied history as an owner is still troubling city officials, sources said.

In one case, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development tried to prevent him from bidding on one of its properties in Harlem, although Mr. Singer’s lawyer, David Jaroslawicz, said that H.U.D. later reversed its decision.

The West Side purchases imply that Mr. Singer is entering the second phase of a well-worn trajectory in real estate: going upscale and moving from residential ownership into office development.

The recently purchased lots are located in the 40-block area that was rezoned last year to make way for a major new residential and commercial district just west of midtown, dubbed Hudson Yards.

The placement of the purchases suggest that Mr. Singer is assembling adjoining lots to create at least two office towers, one between 36th and 37th streets and the other on the block to the north. The new zoning permits construction with a base floor-to-area ratio (F.A.R.) of 10, increasing to 21.6 if Mr. Singer purchases development rights from nearby property owners and the city. Only a small portion of the buildings, which could reach about 40 stories high with that F.A.R., can be residential.

The rezoning is one of the remnants of Mayor Bloomberg’s once-grand plan that included a new stadium for the 2012 Olympics and the Jets football team a few blocks to the south of Mr. Singer’s holdings. Across 11th Avenue, the state is going ahead with a $1.7 billion expansion of the Javits Convention Center.

And Mr. Singer has probably got the liquidity to take advantage of all that and become an office-building mogul.

He reportedly sold dozens of his apartment buildings last year to the Pinnacle Group, although he retained a minority share. This spring, he was down to 58 buildings, but has since purchased a number more and now owns 86 buildings which together have 4,565 outstanding housing violations, according to the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development. The violations may have predated Mr. Singer’s ownership, however, and may have been cured without the owner having notified the city housing department.

Mr. Singer didn’t respond to interview requests placed by phone and in person at his Lower East Side office.

A partner listed on one of the deeds, David Galanter, and a lawyer involved in two of the purchases, Kevin Vernick, also did not return telephone messages.

Mr. Jaroslawicz said through an assistant, “He is always buying and selling, since he is in real estate.”

Of course, Hudson Yards will only become attractive to commercial-office tenants once the No. 7 subway line is extended west along 41st Street and then south to 34th Street, an extension that is currently scheduled for 2012 — which means that any building on the property is likely years away from materializing.

Mr. Singer may simply be speculating, purchasing property at prices ranging from $124 to $295 per base zoning square foot, only to sell them later at a profit. The lots he has purchased represent just a smattering of the property that he would need to assemble a footprint large enough for a Class A office building.

An incentive program proposed by the city last week to encourage development of the new Hudson Yards would cut property taxes on new buildings on Mr. Singer’s lots by as much as 40 percent for the first four years after construction. The tax abatements would gradually recede in subsequent years.

Rachaele Raynoff, spokeswoman for the Department of City Planning, told The Observer that representatives from Hudson Yards L.L.C. had inquired about the mechanism by which the city is selling extra development rights on the Far West Side, but they didn’t discuss their plans, she said. The development rights are selling for $106.48 per square foot.

City housing officials said that there was nothing stopping Mr. Singer’s foray into commercial development so long as he found banks willing to finance his purchases.

City records show that Mr. Singer is relying at least partially on Fortress Credit Corporation, a private equity firm in Manhattan.

The blocks where he is getting a foothold are now populated by warehouses, a stable for Central Park carriages and parking lots that serve visitors to the Javits Center. One of the properties, a 4,937-square-foot lot at 544 West 38th Street, includes a nondescript three-story brick warehouse that had been used by Mr. Rauschenberg since 1993 as storage for art works, according to a representative from the artist’s studio. Mr. Rauschenberg, who has long lived and worked in Florida, bought it for $875,000 and sold it for $8.575 million.

Three other lots that Mr. Singer purchased along 37th and 38th streets are occupied by warehouses formerly owned by a family business, Astra Spinning Mills, that once stored textiles in them. The lots, totaling 12,343 square feet, according to city records, went for $24 million.

Another property, a 9,875-square foot lot at the corner of 37th Street and 11th Avenue that is now occupied by three taxi repair shops, went for $29.13 million.

The remaining property owners say that they’ve been approached by a variety of developers since the rezoning, although they added that they wouldn’t know if Mr. Singer was one of them, since developers often employ representatives to mask their identities.

“The first condition is that they help me relocate, and after that we can talk about price,” said Cornelius Byrne, the owner of Central Park Carriages on West 37th Street. “So far, no one has done that.”

copyright © 2005 the new york observer, L.P.

pianoman11686
August 3rd, 2006, 10:57 AM
Far West Side Development Critics Line Up

BY DAVID LOMBINO - Staff Reporter of the Sun

August 3, 2006

http://www.nysun.com/article/37262

At a hearing scheduled for today, critics will try to poke holes in the city's plan to provide hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks to help develop a new office district on the far West Side of Manhattan.

The Bloomberg administration says Midtown is full and the incentives are needed to draw office developers into the area, now a low-rise expanse stretching from about Eighth to Eleventh avenues and from 31st to 43rd streets.

Critics, who include fiscal watchdog groups, say improving the area's transportation by extending the no. 7 subway line and the recent rezoning of the neighborhood should be enough to entice developers to the far West Side.

A development consultant, Brian Hatch, said the city's economy was strong enough to avoid handing out tax breaks.

"They say there is no place left to build in Midtown, but they need to give massive subsidies to get this thing going? That doesn't make sense," Mr. Hatch said.

"What we have is a demand side problem, not supply side. As soon as there is a tenant that wants to build, bang, they will find a site," he said.

The rents in the area, the city suspects, will be 20% to 25% lower than Midtown, but construction costs will be the same, making it less profitable to build. City Hall says the incentives will help direct $17.2 billion in private sector investment to the area through 2035, 24 million square feet of office space, thousands of apartments, 225,000 new permanent jobs, and 217,000 construction jobs.

Last June, Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver killed Mayor Bloomberg's vision for a West Side stadium in the Hudson Yards district, saying that it would compete against the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan, which is contained in the speaker's district.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Mr. Silver, Charles Carrier, said the speaker had similar concerns over the Hudson Yards tax breaks. "We have a concern that the depth of the subsidies not place a greater advantage to development on the West Side than in Lower Manhattan," Mr. Carrier said.

Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff said tax incentives are common in most new commercial buildings across the city, and that the level of Hudson Yards incentives was justified to attract the "pioneer" developers who venture into the far West Side. He noted that the tax incentives were roughly half as big as those designed to boost redevelopment around the former World Trade Center site.

"The first movers are not exactly moving into the heart of Midtown," Mr. Doctoroff said. "We feel that that makes it appropriate to give them some benefit."

Today's public hearing in front of the city's Industrial Development Agency is largely a formality since the agency is expected to approve an amendment that will allow the tax breaks on Tuesday. The City Council approved the Hudson Yards plan in October.

Critics say the tax breaks are meant to accelerate the development of the area to help float what they call a highly ambitious and speculative financing plan by the city.

Developers in the Hudson Yards district, instead of paying property taxes and mortgage recording taxes to the city's general fund, will give payments in lieu of taxes to a city-created corporation. The corporation will use that money to pay down debt on about $3 billion in bonds it hopes to issue this fall. The proceeds from the bond sale will be used to pay for the extension of the no. 7 subway line, as well as other area improvements like parks and new streets.The city will pay the debt service on the bonds for about three years, but if the project is a total failure, the loss will be borne by the bondholders.

A contributing editor of City Journal, Nicole Gelinas, who specializes in municipal finance, questioned whether the bonds would be attractive to investors.

"They are basically taking on all of the risk of speculative development," Ms. Gelinas said.

Proponents of the city's financing plan say an extra tax incentive is necessary to offset the added cost of building in the Hudson Yards district. Based on the city's rezoning of the area, developers have to pay a fee to use the expanded air rights.

The president of the Partnership for New York City, Kathryn Wylde, said there is "some nervousness" that the extra costs for the expanded air rights would have "a chilling effect" on demand to build in the area. "That is balanced out by a discount" on property taxes, she said.

2006 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC.

lofter1
August 3rd, 2006, 01:01 PM
One of the problems in getting this part of the West Side moving forward seems to be that with all the discussion of various tax breaks this only encourages developers to sit back and wait until they see if they can get a better deal before building begins.

Take the tax breaks / incentives off the table -- thereby leveling the field -- and the serious developers will step forward and start building. The demand for office space / housing is there. Savvy business men will figure out how to make it work without.

pianoman11686
August 3rd, 2006, 01:52 PM
Agreed, lofter, but I don't know how realistic it would be to get the city to stop subsidizing, especially in a market like today's. They subsidized the Bank of America Tower, of all buildings. Now Durst is getting >$100/sq foot. And with the preliminary success of the NY Times building, I don't think getting high rents in this area would be all that difficult. Just get the damn subway rolling.

kliq6
August 3rd, 2006, 03:49 PM
intersting meeeting today at EDC, as always GJNY complained and cried about actually trying to create good jobs

kliq6
August 8th, 2006, 04:36 PM
IDA approves tax breaks for Hudson Yards
by Julie Satow
Commercial developers on the far West Side are now eligible for $650 million worth of tax abatements.

The city's Industrial Development Agency Board today approved the tax breaks, which are expected to generate $1.8 billion in new revenue by spurring the development of 24 million square feet of office space in the 45-block neighborhood.

"The Hudson Yards area represents the city's greatest opportunity to create badly-needed space for new office jobs," says Joshua Sirefman, interim chairman of the IDA. "But it will not happen without mitigating rising development costs that would continue to deter development in the area."


The city estimates that in 2012 -- the first year an office property is expected to be complete -- a property owner without any tax abatement will pay $15.27 a square foot. With the breaks, however, that property owner will shell out only $9.16 to $11.45 a square foot, depending on how far west the project is located.

The IDA today also approved an $11.2 million break on the mortgage recording tax for The Related Cos' development of Gateway Center at Bronx Terminal Market and a $5.6 million break on the mortgage recording tax for the East River Science Park, to be built by Alexandria Real Estate Equities.

pianoman11686
August 8th, 2006, 11:36 PM
City hopes tax breaks will boost Hudson Yards plan

by patrick arden / metro new york

AUG 8, 2006

MANHATTAN — The city wants to float $3 billion in bonds to help finance the extension of the 7 subway line and the redevelopment of the Hudson Yards. That debt is supposed to be repaid with future tax revenues generated in the 40-block area west of Midtown, which would include 24 million square feet of new Class A office space and 13,500 apartments.

Yet the first step in the ambitious Hudson Yards scheme involves offering an estimated $650 million in tax breaks to developers over the next 30 years. Today the city’s Industrial Development Agency is expected to approve these exemptions from property, sales and mortgage recording taxes as an “incentive” to prime the pump.

“Rents are going to be lower there,” explained IDA chairman Joshua Sirefman. By spreading out the breaks over time, he said, “we’re actually helping to create certainty in the marketplace. ... The Far West Side is still the Far West Side, and we really need to make sure that we can jumpstart it.”

Tax breaks

But these tax breaks don’t add up for economist James Parrott, deputy director of the nonpartisan Fiscal Policy Institute. “They’re discounting the revenue stream that they’re counting on,” he said.

Parrott likes the idea of developing the Hudson Yards area, but he’s against offering long-term commercial property tax breaks in Manhattan. He calls it the “most unheralded budget action of the year.”

“They’re about to vote on several hundred million dollars’ worth of tax breaks for decades to come on a scale that will affect every other economic development decision the city makes over the next few years,” Parrott said. “The less the city gets in property taxes from large commercial owners, the more it will rely upon other property taxpayers for those revenues. So, in effect, this comes at the expense of smaller businesses, businesses in other parts of the city, and homeowners.”

Selling bonds

The bonds will be sold through the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation, not the city, and their repayment depends on revenue streams not yet established.

As a result, the debt will likely carry a higher rate of interest than city bonds, with a lower rating, making the financing more expensive in the long run.

“They’re doing the tax breaks now because they need to sell the bonds,” Parrott said. “It’s all about the financing, but it’s going to be around for 35 years.

“They have not made a convincing economic rationale that the tax breaks are needed. This is a bad policy decision waiting to be approved.”


MTA financing?

• To repay the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corporation’s debt, the city will divert mortgage and sales taxes that would normally go to the MTA. The city wants to pay the MTA $500 million to develop over the railyards there, which were appraised at almost $1 billion. “I don’t know what the present dollar value of the lost MTA taxes is,” Parrott said, “but it’s not insignificant and one wonders whether it’s part of the negotiations over the railyards deal.”

© 2006 Metro.

sfenn1117
August 9th, 2006, 12:29 AM
The city estimates that in 2012 -- the first year an office property is expected to be complete

Is this realistic? I wouldn't be surprised if the first tower was only started in 2012. Everything takes longer in New York.

billyblancoNYC
August 9th, 2006, 01:18 PM
Is this realistic? I wouldn't be surprised if the first tower was only started in 2012. Everything takes longer in New York.

With the tax breaks, I'm sure you can get someone to start something in the next 2-3 years. Why not? Occupancies and rents are WAY UP. People have to go somewhere. Developers will fill the need. The tax breaks will get them to think about the West Side now, in place of other areas that are already developed. This may be the best thing Bloomie has done since being mayor. Really, the West Side is so underutilized, it's ridiculous. This will encourage real development and make the entire island as great as it should be. I mean, this is some of the best real estate in the world...with parking lots and warehouses. Not the right place for these uses. Plain and simple.

krulltime
September 1st, 2006, 12:19 AM
Appraisal Puts West Side Railyards’ Value at 3 Times the City’s Offer


By CHARLES V. BAGLI
September 1, 2006

The Bloomberg administration’s plan to buy the development rights to the 26-acre railyards on the Far West Side of Manhattan has hit another snag: money.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the railyards on both sides of 11th Avenue between 30th and 33rd Streets, received an appraisal this week that pegged the value at $1.5 billion, according to authority board members and city officials.

That is three times the $500 million offered by the Bloomberg administration in a surprise bid in July. The appraisal further complicates a deal that the administration had hoped to wrap up quickly. The city’s offer has already come under fire from Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who is running for governor, as “grossly under market value.”

City officials said the gap between the city’s offer and the new appraisal was not as large as it seemed, but it also appeared that the Bloomberg administration would almost certainly have to sweeten its offer.

“Clearly, this is a new wrinkle in the deal,” said Peter S. Kalikow, chairman of the transportation authority. He said that board members would begin evaluating the document after the Labor Day weekend.

Mr. Kalikow expressed support for the city’s proposal last month, though he said he wanted a new appraisal.

Tom Kelly, a spokesman for the authority, confirmed that the appraisal was complete, but declined comment.

According to officials who have been briefed on the appraisal by Jerome Haims Realty, it sets the value of the development rights for the railyard on the west side of 11th Avenue at more than $1.2 billion, based on the ability to develop a large residential and commercial complex. A smaller block of development rights on the east side of 11th Avenue is worth about $300 million, the officials said.

Even if the authority subtracted the estimated $400 million cost of building a platform over the western railyard, the appraised value would still be more than twice the city’s offer.

“We continue to negotiate with the M.T.A.,” said Stu Loeser, a spokesman for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “We think our offer is fair. We’re not looking to make a profit here.” Back in July, Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff said the city hoped to use the offer to catalyze development in this neighborhood of factories, warehouses and parking lots. Buying the development rights, he said, would ensure that any development would be consistent with a comprehensive zoning plan adopted last year by the city.

The city is also selling development rights under its rezoning plan and did not want to compete with the transportation authority.

The Bloomberg administration had discounted its offer based on the cost of building a platform over the railyards and on a provision for subsidized housing, which is required in the surrounding neighborhood.

Still, Mr. Spitzer said yesterday, there is a substantial gap between the city’s offer and the appraisal.

“If this report is accurate, it suggests that the value of the Hudson Yards, even after making deductions for the cost of a platform and adjustments for affordable housing and other amenities, is significantly greater than the price the city has offered,” he said in a statement released yesterday.

Mr. Spitzer has suggested that the development rights should be put up for auction, or the city could give the authority most of the profit it makes on any resale to developers, and that the proceeds, in turn, should go into the authority’s capital budget.

The appraisal highlights the difficulty of evaluating a property, like the railyards, that offers waterfront views of the Hudson River but requires an elaborate and costly platform before any buildings can be erected. The city’s offer is also based on a different set of assumptions from those used in the Haims appraisal.

The Jets, who had sought unsuccessfully to build a stadium over the western railyard last year, estimated the cost of a platform at $357.1 million. With construction costs rising quickly in New York, the Bloomberg administration now puts the cost at $400 million.

But architects and engineers say that building a platform for high-rise towers, as opposed to a stadium, will be more expensive and more of a logistical challenge. The taller buildings would be buffeted by river winds, requiring a more substantial platform and thicker stanchions to hold it up.

Most developers say they would subtract the cost of a platform from the value of the development rights. But the Haims appraisal does not assess the cost of a platform, one of the reasons city officials say the gap is not so large.

Given the current zoning at the railyards, very little could be built there. The Haims appraisal assumes a major rezoning that would allow for 7.87 million square feet of residential and commercial buildings. It is based on the same kind of zoning the city recently approved for an adjacent parcel.

But the city’s offer envisions a project that is 20 percent smaller, at 6.2 million square feet, although it also assumes a mix of residential and commercial towers.


Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

pianoman11686
September 5th, 2006, 05:44 PM
WIN IN THE WE$T

$130M DEAL ON 11TH

By Steve Cuozzo

New York Post Online Edition (http://www.nypost.com/realestate/comm/a_win_in_the_wet_comm_steve_cuozzo.htm)

September 5, 2006 -- THE lure of the far West Side has drawn DUMBO developer David Walentas back to the Manhattan development scene for the first time in 25 years.

Walentas' Two Trees Management Co. has a contract to buy a vast Eleventh Avenue site where it hopes to build up to 1,000 apartments, The Post has learned.

Walentas will pay Verizon $130 million for most of the block on the east side of the avenue between 53rd and 54th streets.

The renowned DUMBO developer wants the city to rezone the land from its current manufacturing-commercial designation to residential, which would enable him to build apartments as well as new stores, parking and community-use facilities.

Two Trees did several successful Manhattan projects starting 40 years ago. "Then," Walentas says, "25 years ago, we went to DUMBO and fell in love. It's been a life venture, and this is our first venture in Manhattan since going to Brooklyn."

Right now, the Eleventh Avenue site is an unsightly blur of parking lots and a few 1-story buildings. Walentas is buying the whole block except for the old Verizon building at 811 Tenth Ave.

"Much of the land around it has already been rezoned but not this one," Walentas said. "We've already had informal talks with the City Planning Commission, Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Community Board 4."

What Walentas can build will hinge on rezoning and negotiations with the city. It could be a mix of market-rate and affordable housing.

Although Walentas started out in Manhattan with such projects as transforming Alwyn Court, his name has been synonymous with Brooklyn for decades. He virtually owns DUMBO near the Manhattan Bridge, where Two Trees developed 1.6 million square of commercial space and 800 rental and condo apartments.

Copyright 2006 NYP Holdings, Inc.

pianoman11686
September 15th, 2006, 11:13 PM
New York Post Online Edition (http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/cold_water_on_w__side_deal_regionalnews_stephanie_ gaskell.htm)

COLD WATER ON W. SIDE DEAL

By STEPHANIE GASKELL

September 15, 2006 -- The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is in no rush to sell the Hudson Rail Yards on the West Side before Gov. Pataki leaves office in January - and will consider other buyers besides the city, MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow said yesterday.

At a state Assembly hearing yesterday, Kalikow said no deal has been made with the city - yet. And while he said he'd prefer to sell the site to the city because it would put up $2 billion to extend the 7 train line, that's not a priority for the MTA.

"We're open to offers," Kalikow said. "We will consider them if they're serious and real."

Copyright 2006 NYP Holdings, Inc.

pianoman11686
September 15th, 2006, 11:18 PM
Assembly Member Wants Hudson Rail Yards Opened Up to Bids From Private Developers

BY DAVID LOMBINO - Staff Reporter of the Sun

September 15, 2006

URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/39772

The city's troubled bid for the Hudson rail yards, central to Mayor Bloomberg's vision for future development on the far West Side of Manhattan, could face private-sector competition.

At a public hearing yesterday, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky grilled the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Peter Kalikow, over the wisdom of accepting the city's bid of $500 million — well below a recent appraisal that set the value of the development rights at about $1.5 billion. Mr. Brodsky asked the chairman to open up the rail yards to expressions of interest from private developers.

Mr. Kalikow said he was prepared to accept the city's low bid because of the relative certainty of the offer, and the city's promise to pay about $2 billion to extend the no. 7 subway line, a capital project that would typically belong to the MTA. Mr. Kalikow said his priority is to raise $1 billion from selling real estate assets to pay for the MTA's five-year capital plan.

In July, City Hall offered $500 million to the MTA to consolidate its control over the 26-acre Hudson rail yards, the vast undeveloped tract of land west of Tenth Avenue between 30th and 33rd streets. The Bloomberg administration hopes to acquire millions of square feet of development rights in an effort to solidify a bond issue, which would fund the western extension of the 7 line and spur development.

The front-runner in the race for governor, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, good government groups, and a former chairman of the MTA, Richard Ravitch, were among those who called the city's offer too low. The city has said that its offer is discounted based on the cost of a platform over the yards, and a provision for affordable housing.

Mr. Brodsky, a Democrat who heads a committee that oversees public authorities, said Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff declined an invitation to attend yesterday's hearing.

A spokeswoman for the Bloomberg administration, Jennifer Falk, said in a statement that that city believes its offer "is beneficial to all parties involved — the City, the MTA and the west side community."

A source familiar with negotiations said the city is considering a proposal that would give the MTA a share of future profits from developing portions of the rail yards. Mr. Spitzer made a similar suggestion last month when he criticized the city's offer in a letter to the MTA chairman. Mr. Kalikow said yesterday he could seek the opinion of Mr. Sptizer about the rail yards when and if he is elected governor, but not before then.

The staff attorney for the Straphangers Campaign, Gene Russianoff, said at the hearing that the cost overruns on the planned 7 line extension could put pressure on fares and end up costing taxpayers. The city's estimate of $1.9 billion is about two years old. Mr. Russianoff also said that too high a price for the yards would force developers to build big, angering the local community.

The president of TransGas Energy, Adam Victor, who has tangled with City Hall over his proposal to build a power plant in Greenpoint, said yesterday that he was considering bidding about $1.5 billion for the rail yards.

A spokesman for the Durst Organization said the developer is no longer interested in the rail yards and thinks the city should develop it.

© 2006 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC.

ablarc
September 16th, 2006, 03:41 PM
Mr. Kalikow said yesterday he could seek the opinion of Mr. Sptizer about the rail yards when and if he is elected governor, but not before then.
Attaboy, Kalikow; you tell 'im. This guy is injecting himself into every building project, and he's not even elected. Why is he such a shoo-in? Just seems like an obstructionist jerk to me.

Kris
September 27th, 2006, 05:09 AM
September 27, 2006
Pact Reached to Redevelop Far West Side
By CHARLES V. BAGLI

The Bloomberg administration is giving up on its plan to buy the development rights over the West Side railyards from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for $500 million.

Instead, under a new proposal worked out over the past week, the city and the authority would do what critics said they should have done in the first place: rezone the 13-acre railyard on the west side of 11th Avenue between 30th and 33rd Streets for high-rise development and sell it to a developer through a bidding process.

The new arrangement, both sides say, would ensure that the authority, which faces high debt and possible service cuts in the future, would get the most money for a potentially valuable property overlooking the Hudson River — and would help pay for an extension of the No. 7 subway line to the Far West Side.

Under the agreement, developers who build commercial or residential towers over the western railyard would make payments in lieu of taxes that would be funneled to the $2.15 billion subway-line extension from Times Square. That would bring public transportation to a neighborhood of factories, warehouses and parking lots that was rezoned for large-scale development last year.

The city would also pay the authority $200 million for unused development rights from another railyard, on the east side of 11th Avenue, which has already been rezoned. The city, in turn, would sell those rights to developers in the area, known as the Hudson Yards, with any profits coming from the sale going to the transportation authority.

“It’s a fair and equitable deal in which both parties have achieved their key objectives,” Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff said last night. “The M.T.A. gets a full and fair price for its asset. For the city, it assures the smooth development of the Hudson Yards area and that the financing for the No. 7 line can move forward. It also means that the railyards are planned and sold in an expeditious manner in which the city plays a significant role.”

City officials are hoping that the authority’s board, which will be briefed on the proposal today, will approve the arrangement at its meeting tomorrow. It would also require approval from the City Council and the Hudson Yards Development Infrastructure Corporation.

The two railyards were at the heart of a major political setback last year for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who had waged a titanic but unsuccessful battle to build the world’s most expensive football stadium there, for the Jets. The city’s proposal in July to buy the railyards also came under fire from transit advocates and members of the State Assembly who said it was trying to buy it on the cheap. Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, the Democratic candidate for governor, said the city’s offer was “woefully inadequate.”

The new proposal grew out of talks in recent days between Peter J. Kalikow, the authority’s chairman; Christine C. Quinn, the speaker of the City Council; and Mr. Doctoroff. The sometimes-tense discussions nearly broke down after Mr. Doctoroff and Mr. Kalikow had a heated exchange, according to two people involved in the talks Mayor Bloomberg called Mr. Kalikow on Monday to get the deal back on track.

Mr. Spitzer was also consulted and, according to a key official in his campaign, endorsed the plan.

The proposal includes a number of restrictions and time limits intended to sell the property within about a year. The authority, and later a selection committee, would pick the winning offer, although the transportation authority board would have the right to approve or reject any deal.

The winning developer would then take the project through the city’s land use review process, already knowing, city officials said, that key players in the process generally approved the project.

Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, who heads a legislative committee that oversees state authorities, had been highly critical of the city’s July proposal. He credited Mr. Spitzer’s comments last month with helping to force the city into forging a new deal.

“We will be examining the totality of the agreement as we learn more about it,” Mr. Brodsky said, “but this is a major step forward.”

The authority had planned to raise about $1 billion from the sale of various assets, primarily development rights over the railyards. Under the new arrangement, it would get at least $200 million from the city for the sale of the air rights from the eastern yard. City officials say that the authority may obtain another $500 million, as well as hundreds of millions from the sale of development rights over the western yard.

“I hope they’ll come up with a fair price that limits the M.T.A.’s risk,” said Gene Russianoff of the Straphangers Campaign. And, he added, “Whatever deal they strike on the No. 7 line should address the issue of who is responsible for the inevitable cost overruns.”

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

ablarc
September 27th, 2006, 09:31 AM
And while he said he'd prefer to sell the site to the city because it would put up $2 billion to extend the 7 train line, that's not a priority for the MTA.
...because, of course, their business is real estate, not transportation.

TimmyG
September 27th, 2006, 11:10 AM
Do you think the seven extension or the Second Ave subway will be done first? They both seem a long ways out. Maybe this will get the seven line started.

ablarc
September 27th, 2006, 11:25 AM
Do you think the seven extension or the Second Ave subway will be done first? They both seem a long ways out.
Easy...they'll both be built last.

Kris
September 28th, 2006, 06:39 AM
September 28, 2006
Critics Say Railyards Deal Imperils the M.T.A.
By CHARLES V. BAGLI

Less than 24 hours after the city and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority forged a tentative deal to develop the railyards on the Far West Side of Manhattan, transit watchdogs said yesterday that they had found a potential problem that could bankrupt the authority and endanger other transit projects.

The transportation authority’s board is expected to vote today on a series of agreements in which it and the city would cooperate to rezone the 13-acre railyard on the west side of 11th Avenue between 30th and 33rd Streets and sell it to a private developer. The Bloomberg administration has also agreed to buy some of the unused development rights for the railyard on the east side of 11th Avenue for $200 million.

City and transportation authority officials said the deal would let the authority get the best price for the property, jump-start development in the former industrial area and help pay for the extension of the No. 7 subway line. But one of the agreements — the “No. 7 Memorandum of Understanding” — puts a $2 billion cap on the city’s obligation to pay for the project, which involves digging a 1.1 mile tunnel from Times Square to 11th Avenue and 34th Street.

And while the city recently agreed “under terms to be negotiated” to provide an additional $100 million for any cost overruns, the agreement does not say who would pay if the cost runs even higher, as many experts expect it will.

Advocacy groups like the Straphangers Campaign and the Transit Riders Council fear that the transportation authority would be responsible for this open-ended obligation, at a time when construction costs are rising by almost 2 percent a month.

“Our first review of the documents indicates that if the $2 billion number is wrong, the consequences to the M.T.A. and the state will be enormous,” said Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, the head of a committee that oversees the authority. “It endangers the M.T.A.’s ability to build its favored expansion projects, the Second Avenue Subway and the J.F.K. Connector.” And, he warned, “This raises substantial questions whether it could bankrupt the M.T.A.”

Transportation officials argued that the deal did not obligate them to cover cost overruns. They acknowledged that the city and the authority had failed to agree on who would be responsible, but stuck by the $2 billion estimate. They said they saw no risk to the authority’s credit rating or its other capital projects. “Particularly in light of the city covering all land acquisition costs,” said the authority chairman, Peter S. Kalikow, “I was comfortable leaving the cost overrun question to another day.”

The threat of overruns appears to be real. The state comptroller, Alan G. Hevesi, issued a report on Tuesday saying that the authority’s East Side Access project, which will bring some Long Island Rail Road trains into Grand Central Terminal, was $2.4 billion over budget and four years behind schedule. And Richard Ravitch, a former authority chairman, said: “The M.T.A. has the overrun risk. It could be significant, and it could affect their credit.”

Gene Russianoff, the staff lawyer for the Straphangers Campaign, said the city ought to pay any legitimate cost increases. Otherwise, he said, the authority “gets $200 million for selling air rights at the eastern yard now, but then risks spending more than that if there are cost overruns.”

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

Kris
September 29th, 2006, 05:32 AM
September 29, 2006
Manhattan: M.T.A. Approves Railyard Deal
By CHARLES V. BAGLI

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board unanimously approved a new deal with the Bloomberg administration yesterday to develop the railyards on the Far West Side. Under the agreement, they would cooperate in rezoning a 13-acre railyard on the west side of 11th Avenue between 30th and 33rd Streets, and the authority would sell it to a developer. The city also agreed to pay the authority $200 million for unused development rights from the railyard on the east side of the avenue. In a related agreement, the city capped its financial obligation to build a subway extension to the neighborhood from Times Square at $2.1 billion. Transit advocates warned that the authority might have to shoulder any cost overruns, which could jeopardize other projects. Mitchell H. Pally, a board member representing Suffolk County, agreed that the authority “could be liable for additional costs,” but voted to approve the deal. “We can only hope,” he said, that the cost estimates are accurate.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

pianoman11686
November 22nd, 2006, 10:09 PM
GlobeSt.com (http://www.globest.com/news/788_788/newyork/150879-1.html)

Last updated: November 22, 2006 07:48am

$1.5B Bonds To Finance Office, Subway Projects

By Katie Hinderer

NEW YORK CITY-The development of Hudson Yards into a commercial and residential location has been a city project for several years now. Reaching the goal, and extending Manhattan’s very tight Midtown office market, will take a large step forward during the first week of December. The city is set to sell the Hudson Yards Infrastructure Corp. senior revenue bonds beginning on Dec. 4.

The proceeds from the bonds will be used to extend the No. 7 subway line west and south. The current line stops at the Times Square station at Seventh Avenue and 41st Street, but under current plans the line will run to 11th Avenue and 34th Street. Construction is slated to begin next summer but will most likely not be complete until 2013.

Fitch Ratings has assigned the bonds an A- rating, according to a release. The company bases its rating on “The historical strength of the midtown Manhattan real estate market, the expectation of the strong demand for commercial and residential development in the Hudson Yards area that will support the bonds, and, significantly, New York City’s obligation to pay interest on up to $3 billion of HYIC bonds when project revenues are insufficient for this purpose.”

Hudson Yards is a 45-square-block area bordered by West 43rd Street, Seventh and Eighth avenues, 30 Street and 11th and 12th avenues. Originally a manufacturing area, the city rezoned the entire place for medium- to high-density commercial use, which will allow for office buildings, hotels and residential buildings.

Fitch Ratings points out the importance of the No. 7 line’s extension as it will enable more office buildings to be built in the area. “The subway extension is critical to commercial development in the Hudson Yards area; office building in Manhattan is dependent upon subway access and the area is currently underserved.”

The city is offering tax incentives to developers willing to build in the Hudson Yard area, as the establishment of office and residential projects in the area will further back-up the HYIC bonds, according to testimony from George Sweeting, deputy director of the Independent Budget Office of the city.

In September, the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the city agreed to pay for the No. 7 extension. HYIC will provide $2 billion toward the project. In a statement at the time of the agreement, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “The agreement will help us continue to move forward with our plan to build more affordable housing, create jobs and extend the No. 7 subway line past Times Square which together will grow this underutilized asset into a vibrant new community.

The fiscal 2007, series A bonds will sell through negotiation with a syndicate of Goldman, Sachs & Co. They are due on Feb. 15, 2047.

Copyright © 2006 ALM Properties, Inc.

Derek2k3
January 8th, 2007, 05:03 AM
NY TIMES
No Stadium, No Problem: West Side Is Getting Hot
By CHARLES V. BAGLI
June 12, 2005

"The Rockrose Development Corporation, which has become the largest property owner in the district in recent years, is putting together three large development sites, including both sides of 10th Avenue between 37th and 38th Streets, for as many as 1,400 apartments. The company told community board officials it hoped to begin construction this fall."


Permits have already been filed for a 24 story tower designed by Handel Architects.
http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobDetailsServlet?requestid=4&allisn=0001232277&allboroughname=&allnumbhous=&allstrt=


Recent news mentioning the possibility of the tower being upped to 32 stories.
Community Board 4 votes against new park in Hell's Kitchen 06-APR-06
http://www.cityrealty.com/new_developments/
455 West 37th Street
453-457 West 37th Street/ 485-486 Tenth Avenue
24 stories 220 feet
Handel Architects LLP
Rockrose Development Corporation
Residential Rental
366 units 338,820 Sq. Ft.
Under Construction


http://farm1.static.flickr.com/142/350207597_d4c69a4adc_o.jpg

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/135/350207594_70d7187156_o.jpg

Here's the NB Permit (http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobDetailsServlet?requestid=4&allisn=0000791028&allboroughname=&allnumbhous=&allstrt=)
If only 366/1400 units will be built on this side of the avenue, the tower on the other side could be huge.

Emporis (http://www.emporis.com/en/wm/bu/?id=455west37street-newyorkcity-ny-usa)

lofter1
January 8th, 2007, 10:28 AM
The latest PERMIT (http://a810-bisweb.nyc.gov/bisweb/JobDetailsServlet?requestid=7&allisn=0000557864&allboroughname=&allnumbhous=&allstrt) for this site ^^^ ("Excavation for New Building"; 12.22.06) shows:

22 stories / 220' / 388 Units.

ZippyTheChimp
February 4th, 2007, 08:49 AM
February 4, 2007

Residential Towers to Sprout Soon on Far West Side

By CHARLES V. BAGLI

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/02/04/nyregion/04west.xlarge1.jpg
Tyler Hicks/The New York Times
A rezoning of a 310-acre stretch of factories, parking lots and warehouses on the Far West Side has led the way for plans for residential towers.

The developer H. Henry Elghanayan likes to be at the head of the line.

He said that his company, Rockrose Development Corporation, was one of the first to build new residential towers in Lower Manhattan and the West Village and at Queens West in Long Island City and Battery City Park.

This month, Mr. Elghanayan will be the first developer to start building a residential complex on the Far West Side of Manhattan, which is the direct result of the Bloomberg administration’s rezoning of a 310-acre stretch of factories, parking lots and warehouses for large-scale development two years ago.

Rockrose is constructing 44-story and 24-story apartment buildings on opposite sides of 10th Avenue, between 37th and 38th Streets, in what has been officially renamed the Hudson Yards district. “Once people see that we are indeed going forward,” Mr. Elghanayan said, “you’re going to see an explosion of growth in that whole area.”

Builders are already flocking to the once-sleepy Hudson Yards, an area crisscrossed by bus ramps and Lincoln Tunnel entrances.

Indeed, a half-dozen developers plan to start residential projects there in the next six months, with a combined total of nearly 6,000 apartments, 20 percent of which will be for low- and moderate-income families.

There are also five slim-budget hotels either under construction or in development on the block bounded by 39th and 40th Streets, between Eighth and Ninth Avenues.

Most developers say that commercial towers will be slower to follow in a district that stretches from roughly 30th to 42nd Streets, west of Eighth Avenue. But Brookfield Financial Properties is talking to at least one investment bank interested in its office site on Ninth Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets.

City officials say they are making progress on plans for the $2.1 billion extension of the No. 7 subway line from Times Square to 11th Avenue and 34th Street, which, they add, will spur the development of office towers in the area. The Bloomberg administration sold $2 billion in bonds in December, much of it for the subway project. It hopes to issue the tunneling contract later this year and begin construction.

The city is also working with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to devise a plan for selling the development rights over the West Side railyards, which sit on both sides of 11th Avenue, between 30th and 33rd Streets. “There’s an extraordinary amount of activity going on, precipitated by high rents in Midtown,” said Daniel L. Doctoroff, deputy mayor for economic development. “You’re really beginning to see the outlines of what Hudson Yards is going to look like.”

But just north of the yards, the fate of the long-planned expansion of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center is up in the air again, at least temporarily. Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s administration has said that the convention center is one of several projects “under review.” According to hotel industry executives and city officials, Mr. Spitzer has questioned the wisdom and cost of the $1.7 billion project, in part because of the vertical nature of the expansion, which runs counter to the horizontal layout of most convention centers.

Critics contend that adding floors to the convention center could make it more difficult and expensive to present successful trade shows and conventions. Some state officials prefer an expansion that would go south, over the West Side railyards.

That, however, would clash with the Bloomberg administration’s plan to develop residential and commercial towers on platforms over the railyards. It could also affect the three developers and hotel operators who submitted competing bids to build a 1,500-room hotel across 11th Avenue from the convention center.

But it remains to be seen what the Spitzer administration will do with the convention center after the review. Patrick J. Foye, chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation, declined to comment.

Mr. Doctoroff said he respected the governor’s right to evaluate the project and would participate in those discussions.

“There will be no ideal solution as long as Javits is still there and you want to continue to operate it during construction,” he said. “We continue to believe it is a very good solution and we ought to go ahead with Phase II at the same time.”

The second phase, however, could add $1 billion to the price and require closing the convention center for several years. The hotel industry has no enthusiasm for raising the $1.50 a night room tax dedicated to the expansion plan. City officials have suggested raising the tax to $2, noting that average room rates soared 12.6 percent last year.

Mr. Doctoroff and the transportation authority have met with real estate developers and community leaders to discuss the eventual sale of development rights over the railyards in August. The initial plan called for rights to be sold to one or two developers, who would build platforms over the yards for residential and commercial towers. But most developers now say that government should finance the platform construction, which could cost $1 billion.

There is also debate over whether the development rights should be sold to one developer, or divided and sold to a variety of builders, a strategy that could generate more money over time for the transportation authority.

Developers also want the city to demolish the elevated railroad line, known as the High Line, that hugs the western and southern perimeter of the railyards. That proposal is opposed by several community groups, which want to see the entire length of the High Line converted to a park.

In the meantime, the residential juggernaut continues. The developer Joseph Moinian is starting work on a $760 million, 60-story apartment tower on the north side of 42nd Street, west of 11th Avenue, next to his 46-story Atelier condominium tower.

Directly across 42nd Street, Larry Silverstein is close to starting construction of two 58-story glass towers, where 20 percent of the 1,276 apartments will be set aside for low-income families. An adjacent 16-story building will have 83 apartments for moderate-income tenants. The new buildings will be next to the River Place complex that Mr. Silverstein built in 1999.

All five buildings, designed by the architect Costas Condylis, sit within the Hudson Yards district. The area differs from most of the district in that developers have long been able to build high-rises along 42nd Street.

At the southeast corner of 10th and 42nd Street, Stephen J. Ross, chief executive of Related Companies, said he expected to start construction this spring on a roughly 60-story tower with 500 apartments, 250 hotel rooms and a set of theaters.

The Dermot Company said it would start building its $450 million Hudson Mews project, two 18-story buildings over platforms on opposite sides of 37th Street, west of Ninth Avenue, along with a public park. Stephen Benjamin, a principal at Dermot, said the company was completing its financing and negotiations with the Port Authority to buy development rights over ramps leading to the Lincoln Tunnel.

Farther east, on the north side of 37th Street, Glenwood Management plans to break ground later this year for a 24-story building with 550 apartments.

Jeff Levine of Douglas Development expects to start this spring on a 34-story building with 370 apartments just outside the Hudson Yards district, at the southeast corner of 30th Street and 11th Avenue.

Like most of the developers, Mr. Moinian is bullish on the future. He has bid in partnership with the Marriott hotel chain to build the convention hotel and banquet hall. He also owns two sites for commercial projects in the area, although he cannot begin construction for at least five years because the sites lay within the path of the subway extension.

“Our commitment to the area is very, very strong,” Mr. Moinian said. “There’s no question that this is the next part of town where the action takes place.”

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

lofter1
February 4th, 2007, 11:42 AM
Developers also want the city to demolish the elevated railroad line, known as the High Line, that hugs the western and southern perimeter of the railyards. That proposal is opposed by several community groups, which want to see the entire length of the High Line converted to a park.


This ^^^ is the major reason that this \/ will get so much opposition ...




... At CB#1 last night, the TriBeCa committee passed a unanimous resolution which amongst other points, asked for a different lead agency and for alternative sites.

In 2004 CB#4 and the Hells Kitchen Neighborhood Association agreed the block 675 (29th-30th Streets 12th-11th Avenues) could take a one story structure including a sanitation garage (DSNY off of Gansevoort), and a tow-away pound (NYCDOT off of Pier 76) with a green roof top park ...


(http://www.house.gov/nadler/emailform.shtml)

Derek2k3
February 4th, 2007, 03:35 PM
They spelled Kondylis wrong..tsk tsk. The buildings proposed for this area so far have all been mediocre. I guess only when the neighborhood becomes desireable will we get something more than habitable storage containers.

antinimby
February 4th, 2007, 11:21 PM
Lol. Condylis just sounds like some kind of venereal disease.

Any idea what those pair of Rockrose buildings that the article says is about to go up will look like?

Handel Architects is unpredictable, they can be good but they can also be lousy.

My guess is that the 24-story one will be hulking. There is better hope for the 44 story across 10th.

pianoman11686
April 26th, 2007, 09:26 PM
April 24, 5:44 pm

Hudson Yards suitors ID'd

By John Celock

Redevelopment of the 26-acre site will cost billions. It's a huge catch, and it's no surprise that some of the city's biggest firms are taking the bait. Five developers are currently cooking up redevelopment plans for the MTA's Hudson Yards site, according to a member of Community Board 4, which oversees the West Side area in the 30s that includes the 26-acre site. The Related Companies, Brookfield Properties, Vornado Realty Trust, Tishman Speyer and the Durst Organization are in the process of preparing bids to develop the site, according to the community board member.

A private consultant familiar with development plans for the Hudson Yards site confirmed that the five firms are all in the process of preparing bids.

Most of the firms already have significant holdings in the area. Vornado and Related have plans to develop Moynihan Station a few blocks a way, and Brookfield owns a 4.7-million-square-foot parcel between 31st and 33rd streets where it intends to construct an office complex.

The MTA will likely gain hundreds of millions of dollars from the sale of its long-unused rail yards. The cost of redeveloping the yards, which run on the east and west sides of 11th Avenue from 30th to 33rd streets, is expected to run in the billions. Hudson Yards will be the single largest development in the city when it gets under way, and it is anticipated that it will include a substantial amount of housing.

While an official request for proposals from the MTA is not expected to be released for several weeks, the city and the transit authority have already prepared guidelines for the site's redevelopment that could help guide potential bidders in the planning process. The HYDC intends to unveil the current design guidelines at a town hall meeting on May 8.

Community Board 4 has been working with the HYDC on the design guidelines via a community advisory committee. The community board is concerned that the design guidelines currently planned by the HYDC are not adequately addressing affordable housing, additional public infrastructure investment and preservation of the High Line. The northern terminus of the under-construction High Line Park is part of the Hudson Yards site, and it is being considered for demolition.

The Bloomberg administration pushed to build a stadium on the site two years ago as the centerpiece of the city's bid for the 2012 Olympics.

Copyright © 2003-2007 The Real Deal.

pianoman11686
May 9th, 2007, 02:18 PM
May 9, 6:03 am

Hudson Yards guidelines set stage for new fight

By John Celock

Last night's unveiling of the design guidelines for the development of the West Side's Hudson Yards at a public forum marks the beginning of the next battle over the site's development. The Bloomberg administration failed to win public support to build a stadium on the 26-acre, Metropolitan Transportation Authority-owned parcel two years ago. The MTA is now readying to sell the long-unused rail yards to a private developer.

The Hudson Yards Development Corporation and the MTA presented a plan they say addresses community concerns while achieving maximum possible revenue for the MTA. The authority will likely make more than $1 billion from the sale. The current design guidelines call for 20 percent of rental housing built on the site to be affordable, and for the future developer to build additional affordable housing offsite. The guidelines also seek to preserve the southern section of the High Line included in the site, and for a large swath of open space to be built in the middle of any development.

According to the plan, the northern end of the yard will be zoned for residential and commercial buildings, while the southern end will be for residential use only. The guidelines do not specify a maximum height on buildings, but most buildings could be constructed to around 60 stories given the area's zoning.

Some housing activists said the affordable housing called for is not enough.

"It is not an acceptable solution for the last site we can develop in our community," said Sarah Desmond, the executive director of Housing Preservation Coordinators, an affordable housing advocacy group.

In addition, some community leaders said the plan does not adequately address the infrastructure needs of a community that is projected to include some 6,000 new residents.

"We need to push to make sure we are planning for the future," said Anna Levin, Land Use Committee Chairwoman for Community Board 4, which is working with the HYDC to incorporate community concerns into plans for the site. Levin noted that the site will demand more police and fire protection, schools, libraries and day care centers, along with transportation and sewage capabilities. The plan calls for extension of the 7 subway line into the neighborhood, along with the construction of a school, but it does not address the other issues, she said.

The MTA's financial future plays heavily into the development of Hudson Yards. MTA officials and Ann Weisbrod, president of the HYDC, said the MTA will seek to maximize profits on the site.

That bottom line will impact the High Line.

The guidelines call for the abandoned elevated train tracks to be preserved in their current form at the southern end of the site. Work on the future High Line Park, which involves the restoration of tracks from the West Village through Chelsea, is under way immediately south of the Hudson Yards. Weisbrod cautioned that the portion of the High Line in the Hudson Yards site will not necessarily remain permanently. She said the MTA's request for proposals will call for all developers to submit plans that both include and do not include the High Line. Weisbrod said the cost of retaining the High Line will dictate how the MTA proceeds in its selection of a developer.

"If it costs a lot of money, should the MTA take less money?" Weisbrod noted.

While many of the speakers took the stage to denounce the MTA and call for more affordable housing, some suggested alternative plans for the site. One resident proposed scraping the entire plan and instead called for the construction of a domed water park, with the park's revenue funneled into the development of affordable housing.

While the release of the design guidelines is just the beginning of a lengthy public review process, a battle is brewing, and community advocates want the MTA to know they will be watching.

"The MTA is out to make as much money as possible," said Community Board 4 member Tony Simone. "It is key that the MTA remember the community."

The MTA will release a request for proposals later this month that will be due back in September. A selection committee that includes city officials will select the winning developer.

Copyright © 2003-2007 The Real Deal.

pianoman11686
May 9th, 2007, 02:25 PM
Daily Intelligencer (http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2007/05/what_might_the_far_west_side_l.html#more)

5/ 7/07
5:19 PM

What Might the Far West Side Look Like? See the Planners' First Sketches

Mayor Bloomberg may not have gotten his Jets stadium on the Far West Side of Manhattan, but some sort of development over the MTA's Hudson Yards is on its way. The state-city Hudson Yards Development Corporation has set preliminary guidelines for land use and open space on the site, and by the end of the month, the MTA will start soliciting proposals from developers for the massive property. We got hold of sketches HYDC showed to neighborhood leaders this spring (they're all after the jump), depicting what the area might look like after its completion; they show a possible Logan's Run–ish skyline, key crossings with and without the High Line in place, and a flicker of the questions likely to dominate public debate. How many parking spaces? How many affordable apartments? How tall? What kind of parks? The general public gets its first say in what's promised to be a long review process at a joint community board–HYDC meeting Tuesday night. Study up. —Alec Appelbaum

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/20070507hymain.jpg

Copyright © 2007, New York Magazine Holdings LLC.

stache
May 9th, 2007, 07:22 PM
Not a single peaked roof line -

investordude
May 11th, 2007, 12:15 AM
http://www.timesledger.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18325036&BRD=2676&PAG=461&dept_id=551068&rfi=6

I think the value of this land is heavily dependent on whether developers really have a guarantee the MTA will adhere to its word.

pianoman11686
May 11th, 2007, 06:48 PM
Save The High Line?

Plans May Doom Northernmost Blocks of Future Park

by Matthew Schuerman
Published: May 9, 2007

http://www.observer.com/files/imagecache/article/files/westerrailyards.jpg
Looking west over the railyards.

State and city officials said Tuesday night that they would try to save the three northernmost blocks of the High Line when they choose private developers for the western rail yards, but they made no promises.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the six blocks worth of rail yards in the West 30s, will be asking bidders to submit two plans: one in which the sections of elevated track along 30th Street and 12th Avenue would be preserved and the other in which they would be removed, according to city officials. The M.T.A. would determine whether the lost profit from maintaining the train track would be worth it.

“The M.T.A. and the city support retaining the High Line,” William Wheeler, the M.T.A.’s director of special project development and planning, told the more than 150 residents who packed an auditorium rented for the unveiling of the West Side rail yard plans. “But what the M.T.A. has to do is understand the assessment of risk and reward from the developers to understand how it impacts or doesn’t or benefits or doesn’t the returns we are going to get from the properties.”

Mr. Wheeler received a healthy applause, and speakers from Friends of the High Line, a nonprofit organization that has successfully campaigned to turn the southernmost 19 blocks of the unused track into a park, thanked the M.T.A. for its support. But officials said that preserving the High Line would likely add to the developers’ cost because it would require them to have to work around it. If the track was torn down, however, it would be replaced by a narrow raised park just like the High Line in order to open up 30th Street.

Affordable housing was the other major issue that arose during the meeting, which gave the public its first public glimpse of the city’s plans for the former Jets football stadium site. Regina Myer, a senior vice president at the Hudson Yards Development Corporation, the city agency overseeing the project, said that developers would devote “up to 20 percent” of the rental units they built for low-income families, and that two other publicly owned sites on the West Side, which would accommodate hundreds of additional affordable apartments, were “under very very serious consideration for affordable housing.”

About half of the 21 community members who spoke afterward complained that the affordable-housing commitment was not great enough, because it would only come out to be one-fifth of rental housing while condominiums would likely be entirely market-rate.

“We just want to live in our city,” said Marisa Redanty, the president of the Manhattan Plaza Tenants Association.

But city officials said afterward that it would be better to put affordable housing on other sites because it will cost so much for developers to build a platform over the rail yards. They also did not want to detract from the proceeds that the M.T.A. would earn from the sale of the development rights.

The two halves of the rail yards—the eastern half was rezoned two years ago—will accommodate between 2,400 and 5,800 new apartments, according to the proposed zoning, and between 6 million and 9.4 million square feet of office space. Officials said they had not figured out the limit to the height of the office towers, but they spoke freely about towers that are between 40 and 60 stories tall.

The buildings would likely be placed on the northern and southern edges of the rail yards because an Amtrak tunnel goes through the center.

Copyright The New York Observer.

lofter1
May 11th, 2007, 07:05 PM
Any short term "gain" that might be achieved by knocking down the northernmost blocks of the High Line will be lost in the long run -- There is clear value in maintaining / establishing open space / park areas interspersed with whatever is to be developed in this area.

This is a one-time-only chance.

If the High Line structure is not incorporated then we will end up with a lesser development.

stache
May 12th, 2007, 02:26 AM
I'm surprised they're not realizing how the high line is spurring more expensive than average development further downtown.

pianoman11686
May 12th, 2007, 06:40 PM
I think they do realize it (and it's not just the High Line, it's the more development-friendly rezoning that came along with it.)

I'd like to see it preserved, too, but this is a complex site. Having to build around it might be too difficult and costly, which is why they offered to take it down and replace it later with a similar structure. Pedestrians would probably not even be able to tell the difference.

lofter1
May 12th, 2007, 07:44 PM
No one has "offered" to take it down and replace it later -- that idea was floated as one of many regarding the HL above 30th Street.

For the most part the developers have voiced an interest in tearing down that section of the HL, with no responsibility or requirement to rebuild it in any specifc way whatsoever.

pianoman11686
May 12th, 2007, 09:11 PM
If the track was torn down, however, it would be replaced by a narrow raised park just like the High Line in order to open up 30th Street.

.

lofter1
May 12th, 2007, 10:29 PM
I'll believe that ^^^ when it is in writing which binds the developer ... not in some newspaper article which carries no legal weight whatsoever.

pianoman11686
May 16th, 2007, 12:38 AM
From Curbed (http://www.curbed.com/archives/2007/05/15/on_hudson_yards_dizzying_dark_strategic_framework. php#more):

http://www.curbed.com/2007_05_hyp_concept1.jpg

Above, the draft conceptual land use for Hudson Yards, as seen in a PDF from the Hudson Yards Development Corporation we've been curling up in bed with as of late. (Go ahead and download the PDF (http://www.hydc.org/downloads/pdf/mta_railyards_presentation_2008-05-08.pdf) yourself—it's well worth your time. Power Point at its best.) We'd seen some of the images—all of which, it must be stressed, are merely ideas, concepts if you will, to be bent to the public's taste—before, but the document is packed with strategic ideas and visions that we hadn't yet laid eyes on. We've gathered a bunch of them for your perusal, after the jump.

But before we get there, now that we've had some time to digest the document, it must be said: Jesus, this plan sucks. The open space component, in particular, is doomed to live in a canyon between towering developments. Given what would surround it, it's hard to even get worked up about saving the northern third of the High Line for posterity. Honestly, a freaking stadium would have let in more sunlight.

http://www.curbed.com/2007_05_hyp_concept2.jpg

http://www.curbed.com/2007_05_hyp_comparison.jpg

http://www.curbed.com/2007_05_hyp_highline.jpg

http://www.curbed.com/2007_05_hyp_openpic2.jpg

http://www.curbed.com/2007_05_openpic1.jpg

sfenn1117
May 16th, 2007, 12:51 AM
I thought urban planning moved past superblocks....unless having streets also on top of the railyards would be difficult?

Looking at the preliminary site plans there are 10 residential towers over 50 floors, 3 of which are over 60....they have the 2 office towers listed as 52. The whole thing is almost on a Dubai scale.

pianoman11686
May 16th, 2007, 01:07 AM
Park Avenue's built over a railyard, so that shouldn't be an obstacle. The problem is that there's too much micromanagement - every single little detail of the site is predestined by the plan. Not the best way to ensure a "naturally vibrant" urban environment.

pianoman11686
May 17th, 2007, 12:43 AM
Biggest Building Site in Manhattan Up for Auction

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/05/16/nyregion/17rail-600.jpg
The city plans to begin an auction next month for the rights to build office towers,
apartments and parks over the Long Island Rail Road yards on the Far West Side.

By CHARLES V. BAGLI
Published: May 17, 2007

It is the largest building site left in Manhattan, 26 acres on the Far West Side, where the Bloomberg administration envisions the equivalent of five Empire State Buildings rising on $1 billion worth of concrete columns over bustling railyards.

And starting next month, some of the city’s biggest developers will have a chance to bid for the rights to make that grand — some say grandiose — plan real.

“The city hasn’t done anything like this before, certainly not in Midtown,” said Daniel L. Doctoroff, deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding. “We want to create a 21st-century Rockefeller Center.”

Known as Hudson Yards, the project is central to one of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s longstanding ambitions: to transform the heavily industrial Far West Side into the city’s third business district, after Wall Street and Midtown, with not just high-rise office and apartment towers, hotels and parks, but also an expanded Jacob K. Javits Convention Center nearby.

The challenges are daunting. Developers say it will probably cost $1 billion to build platforms over the yards for skyscrapers as tall as 70 stories, and the work must be done while Long Island Rail Road trains are running. Some residents want assurances that the development will include permanent housing for poor and working-class families. And a sharp debate is emerging over whether to tear down the northern end of the High Line, an unused railroad structure that is being converted to an elevated park south of 30th Street.

The plan, which is likely to take more than a decade to complete, calls for the construction of 12.4 million square feet of commercial, residential, recreational and cultural space over the railyards, which span 11th Avenue between 30th and 33rd Streets. It is Mr. Bloomberg’s second attempt at developing the yards: His first attempt, which involved building a $2.1 billion stadium for the Jets football team, crumbled in the face of opposition in the neighborhood and in Albany.

The city and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the land, are working together to develop the railyards. The project must go through the city’s lengthy land-use review process, but unlike the plan for a football stadium, it will not require approvals in Albany.

The city and transit officials say they will begin an auction for development rights over the parcel next month, and they expect five of the city’s biggest developers to bid. They also plan to hire a contractor this summer to begin drilling work for the extension of the No. 7 subway line from Times Square to 11th Avenue and 34th Street.

“The Hudson Yards are one of the most expensive and complicated developments ever to be undertaken,” said the developer Douglas Durst.

Mr. Durst has formed a partnership with Vornado Realty Trust to bid for the property. Extell Development Company also expects to bid, as does Brookfield Properties, and Tishman Speyer Properties, which real estate executives say may have an alliance with Lehman Brothers as a tenant. Tishman Speyer declined to comment, but if such a collaboration exists, the company would immediately jump to the front of the race.

Debate over the plan has focused on two potentially conflicting demands: that the development provide public benefits, like subsidized housing, parks and other amenities, and that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority get the highest possible price for the land.

Developers insist that any requirements for affordable housing or parks will increase their costs by $100 million, reducing the price they can pay. Critics contend that the sale of public land should lead to community benefits, and that the cost of those benefits is a small price to pay for a rare commodity: land in Manhattan.

“It’s a vast undertaking, and it pitches these competing public goals against each other,” said Anna Levin, a member of Community Board 4. “I understand that the entire burden shouldn’t be placed on developers. But this is a public undertaking. There have to be public resources that can be brought to bear, otherwise this will become a gold coast that doesn’t serve the entire city.”

Although the Bloomberg administration failed to win legislative support to build the football stadium over the railyards in 2005, it did succeed in a more far-reaching goal: rezoning a wide swath of the West Side, including 45 blocks outside the railyards, for large-scale development. However, the portion of the railyards west of 11th Avenue still needs to be rezoned and to go through a public review process.

Last year, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority rebuffed the city’s offer to buy the development rights to the yards for $500 million, saying it was too little. The two sides then agreed to create a strategic development plan for the yards, which is now complete, and put them up for sale.

The winning bidder would be assured of state and city support — though not necessarily community backing — during the lengthy public review, which can be unpredictable for a developer. Last week, the city and state publicly unveiled the plan, which calls for up to 5.7 million square feet of residential and commercial development on the western portion of the yards.

Under the proposal, towers as high as 70 stories are pushed to the north and south sides of both the western and eastern yards. There is public space at the center of the eastern yard that would connect to a tree-lined boulevard that the city wants to build from 39th to 33rd Streets between 10th and 11th Avenues. The open space is designed to draw pedestrians across the western yard, to the waterfront.

One of the thorniest issues concerns the fate of the High Line, which some people want converted into a park all the way to its northern terminus inside the Hudson Yards area. The city already plans to turn the railway into a park from 30th Street south to Gansevoort Street, where the mere promise of an elevated park has helped spur a residential boomlet in west Chelsea.

But state and city officials have expressed concern that keeping the High Line inside Hudson Yards could impede the already difficult task of construction. At least one critic, Mr. Durst, said retaining the line would add $100 million to the cost of construction.

“Any additional complications will subtract from the value the M.T.A. receives, and leaving the High Line in place will have a substantial effect on that value,” Mr. Durst said.

But Friends of the High Line, an advocacy group, contends that retaining the rail structure will cost only about $800,000, with the benefits outweighing any problems.

“You don’t often have the opportunity to take a piece of the city’s industrial infrastructure and reuse it in an interesting way, to connect west Chelsea, Hudson Yards and the waterfront,” said Robert Hammond, a leader of the group. “It’ll be a great park that’ll serve the city as well as Central Park.”

At a community board meeting last week, an official with the transportation authority said for the first time that the authority supported retaining the High Line, although it also wanted to maximize revenues for rail operations. Privately, one official indicated that the authority did not want the High Line venture to cost it more than $25 million.

Elliot G. Sander, the executive director of the authority, said he was trying to work out the housing issue and had set aside land controlled by the authority outside the railyards for subsidized apartments. Officials say bidders will be asked to submit offers based on keeping or demolishing the High Line.

There are other snags in the Bloomberg administration’s plans for the Far West Side. The long-awaited expansion of the Javits Convention Center is stalled while the Spitzer administration continues its review of the $1.8 billion project, which has come under criticism from trade show producers. That, in turn, has held up plans to sell land across 11th Avenue from the Javits center, for a convention center hotel, as well as the block between the center and the western railyard.

But the administration is eager to show progress while the real estate market is hot. So officials say the request for bids on the railyards will be issued no later than early June.

“This is for the future of New York, so it’s not going to be done overnight,” said Stephen M. Ross of the Related Companies, one of the city’s most active developers. “I don’t think there’s ever been anything like this, on this scale.”

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

212
May 17th, 2007, 01:31 AM
Yeesh, superblocks and cul-de-sacs.

antinimby
May 17th, 2007, 01:39 AM
Not to mention large wind-swept plazas. It's 1960's urban planning all over again.

No one learns anything in this city.

investordude
May 17th, 2007, 02:11 AM
If they are building subway stop over there, then where is the retail? 12 million square feet of office and a subway should be associated with a large retail zoning area that's friendly to both cars and pedestrians.

Also, the street grid should be maintained, if nothing else there is just practical issues like restaurant delivery and taxi service that would benefit from a street grid.

antinimby
May 17th, 2007, 02:23 AM
There is some retail but the way they are laying it out, it's just bad planning.

Instead of fronting the streets, the retail faces inward, sort of mall-ish.

Outside of the lunchtime crowds composed mostly of the workers there, this will be a dead zone the rest of the time, I can almost guarantee it.

Here, check out the plan yourself (retail is pinkish):

http://www.curbed.com/2007_05_hyp_concept2.jpg

ZippyTheChimp
May 17th, 2007, 01:48 PM
May 17, 2007

Biggest Building Site in Manhattan Up for Auction

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/05/16/nyregion/17rail-600.jpg
Todd Heisler/The New York Times
The city plans to begin an auction next month for the rights to
build office towers, apartments and parks over the Long Island
Rail Road yards on the Far West Side.

By CHARLES V. BAGLI

It is the largest building site left in Manhattan, 26 acres on the Far West Side, where the Bloomberg administration envisions the equivalent of five Empire State Buildings rising on $1 billion worth of concrete columns over bustling railyards.

And starting next month, some of the city’s biggest developers will have a chance to bid for the rights to make that grand — some say grandiose — plan real.

“The city hasn’t done anything like this before, certainly not in Midtown,” said Daniel L. Doctoroff, deputy mayor for economic development and rebuilding. “We want to create a 21st-century Rockefeller Center.”

Known as Hudson Yards, the project is central to one of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s longstanding ambitions: to transform the heavily industrial Far West Side into the city’s third business district, after Wall Street and Midtown, with not just high-rise office and apartment towers, hotels and parks, but also an expanded Jacob K. Javits Convention Center nearby.

The challenges are daunting. Developers say it will probably cost $1 billion to build platforms over the yards for skyscrapers as tall as 70 stories, and the work must be done while Long Island Rail Road trains are running. Some residents want assurances that the development will include permanent housing for poor and working-class families. And a sharp debate is emerging over whether to tear down the northern end of the High Line, an unused railroad structure that is being converted to an elevated park south of 30th Street.

The plan, which is likely to take more than a decade to complete, calls for the construction of 12.4 million square feet of commercial, residential, recreational and cultural space over the railyards, which span 11th Avenue between 30th and 33rd Streets. It is Mr. Bloomberg’s second attempt at developing the yards: His first attempt, which involved building a $2.1 billion stadium for the Jets football team, crumbled in the face of opposition in the neighborhood and in Albany.

The city and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which owns the land, are working together to develop the railyards. The project must go through the city’s lengthy land-use review process, but unlike the plan for a football stadium, it will not require approvals in Albany.

The city and transit officials say they will begin an auction for development rights over the parcel next month, and they expect five of the city’s biggest developers to bid. They also plan to hire a contractor this summer to begin drilling work for the extension of the No. 7 subway line from Times Square to 11th Avenue and 34th Street.

“The Hudson Yards are one of the most expensive and complicated developments ever to be undertaken,” said the developer Douglas Durst.

Mr. Durst has formed a partnership with Vornado Realty Trust to bid for the property. Extell Development Company also expects to bid, as does Brookfield Properties, and Tishman Speyer Properties, which real estate executives say may have an alliance with Lehman Brothers as a tenant. Tishman Speyer declined to comment, but if such a collaboration exists, the company would immediately jump to the front of the race.

Debate over the plan has focused on two potentially conflicting demands: that the development provide public benefits, like subsidized housing, parks and other amenities, and that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority get the highest possible price for the land.

Developers insist that any requirements for affordable housing or parks will increase their costs by $100 million, reducing the price they can pay. Critics contend that the sale of public land should lead to community benefits, and that the cost of those benefits is a small price to pay for a rare commodity: land in Manhattan.

“It’s a vast undertaking, and it pitches these competing public goals against each other,” said Anna Levin, a member of Community Board 4. “I understand that the entire burden shouldn’t be placed on developers. But this is a public undertaking. There have to be public resources that can be brought to bear, otherwise this will become a gold coast that doesn’t serve the entire city.”

Although the Bloomberg administration failed to win legislative support to build the football stadium over the railyards in 2005, it did succeed in a more far-reaching goal: rezoning a wide swath of the West Side, including 45 blocks outside the railyards, for large-scale development. However, the portion of the railyards west of 11th Avenue still needs to be rezoned and to go through a public review process.

Last year, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority rebuffed the city’s offer to buy the development rights to the yards for $500 million, saying it was too little. The two sides then agreed to create a strategic development plan for the yards, which is now complete, and put them up for sale.

The winning bidder would be assured of state and city support — though not necessarily community backing — during the lengthy public review, which can be unpredictable for a developer. Last week, the city and state publicly unveiled the plan, which calls for up to 5.7 million square feet of residential and commercial development on the western portion of the yards.

Under the proposal, towers as high as 70 stories are pushed to the north and south sides of both the western and eastern yards. There is public space at the center of the eastern yard that would connect to a tree-lined boulevard that the city wants to build from 39th to 33rd Streets between 10th and 11th Avenues. The open space is designed to draw pedestrians across the western yard, to the waterfront.

One of the thorniest issues concerns the fate of the High Line, which some people want converted into a park all the way to its northern terminus inside the Hudson Yards area. The city already plans to turn the railway into a park from 30th Street south to Gansevoort Street, where the mere promise of an elevated park has helped spur a residential boomlet in west Chelsea.

But state and city officials have expressed concern that keeping the High Line inside Hudson Yards could impede the already difficult task of construction. At least one critic, Mr. Durst, said retaining the line would add $100 million to the cost of construction.

“Any additional complications will subtract from the value the M.T.A. receives, and leaving the High Line in place will have a substantial effect on that value,” Mr. Durst said.

But Friends of the High Line, an advocacy group, contends that retaining the rail structure will cost only about $800,000, with the benefits outweighing any problems.

“You don’t often have the opportunity to take a piece of the city’s industrial infrastructure and reuse it in an interesting way, to connect west Chelsea, Hudson Yards and the waterfront,” said Robert Hammond, a leader of the group. “It’ll be a great park that’ll serve the city as well as Central Park.”

At a community board meeting last week, an official with the transportation authority said for the first time that the authority supported retaining the High Line, although it also wanted to maximize revenues for rail operations. Privately, one official indicated that the authority did not want the High Line venture to cost it more than $25 million.

Elliot G. Sander, the executive director of the authority, said he was trying to work out the housing issue and had set aside land controlled by the authority outside the railyards for subsidized apartments. Officials say bidders will be asked to submit offers based on keeping or demolishing the High Line.

There are other snags in the Bloomberg administration’s plans for the Far West Side. The long-awaited expansion of the Javits Convention Center is stalled while the Spitzer administration continues its review of the $1.8 billion project, which has come under criticism from trade show producers. That, in turn, has held up plans to sell land across 11th Avenue from the Javits center, for a convention center hotel, as well as the block between the center and the western railyard.

But the administration is eager to show progress while the real estate market is hot. So officials say the request for bids on the railyards will be issued no later than early June.

“This is for the future of New York, so it’s not going to be done overnight,” said Stephen M. Ross of the Related Companies, one of the city’s most active developers. “I don’t think there’s ever been anything like this, on this scale.”


http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/05/17/nyregion/railyardslarge.jpg

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

pianoman11686
June 7th, 2007, 11:41 AM
City Is Seeking To Build a Giant Parking Lot Near the Hudson Yards

BY ANNIE KARNI - Special to the Sun
May 31, 2007
URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/55574

Almost two years after the city's failed attempt to build a football stadium on Manhattan's far West Side, the construction of the stadium's accompanying parking lot is moving ahead.

The city is planning to build a 950-space underground parking garage on the far West Side that is expected to cost about $125 million, a consultant for Walker Parking Consultants, Andrew Hill, said yesterday. The city is expected to issue a request for proposals soon to attract a private developer to pay for the construction, design, and management of the lot, he said.

The mammoth underground garage, which would stretch to 36th from 34th Streets between Eighth and Eleventh Avenues, was included in the original rezoning of the Hudson Yards area two years ago, and was originally planned to accommodate Jets fans who drove into the city for games at the stadium.

Community residents say they view the garage as an extravagant relic of the city's failed stadium bid, and are opposing the creation of the large garage that they say could bring more traffic to their neighborhood. Proponents of the parking garage argue that even without a football stadium, the redeveloped area would need a large garage to support an expected influx of residents and office workers to the area.

"Now that the stadium's gone, the parking lot doesn't make a whole lot of sense," the co-chair of Community Board 4's transportation committee, Christine Berthet, said. "The community is opposed to this. We support the extension of the no. 7 train line and the planning for how to bring people to the Javits Center shouldn't be for people to come by car."

The rezoned Hudson Yards, which stretches to 42nd Street from 28th Street between Eighth and Eleventh Avenues, is expected to included 24 million square feet of new office development, 13,500 new units of housing, 1 million square feet of retail space, and 2 million square feet of hotel space.

Several of the city's biggest developers, including Extell Development Company, Vornado Realty Trust in partnership with Douglas Durst, as well as Brookfield Properties and Tishman Speyer Properties, are expected to bid on a project that could cost as much as $1 billion to build platforms over the rail yards that would support residential and commercial skyscrapers. The parking lot would be just to the north of the rail yards.

The Hell's Kitchen Neighborhood Association is also raising a lawsuit against the city arguing that the parking garage violates the federal Clean Air Act, which set a cap of 7,000 on the number of parking spaces that could be created below 60th Street in Manhattan. The new zoning for the Hudson Yards project exceeds the federal cap, a plaintiff in the suit, Daniel Gutman, said.

A spokeswoman for the Hudson Yards Development Corporation was unavailable for comment yesterday.

© 2007 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC.