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Thread: 740 Eighth Ave. (@ 46th) - Related

  1. #106


  2. #107
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    What a bleak corner that has become.

  3. #108


    Crains NY

    Parking lots sprout as building wilts
    Unable to complete projects, developers sell or lease their sites.

    Originally Published: September 27, 2009 5:59 AM
    Modified: September 30, 2009 1:59 PM

    For over a decade, Impark has labored to expand its parking lot empire in the city to its current 39 sites. Taking over existing sites accounted for most of that growth—until now. These days, companies like Impark find themselves besieged by developers pitching raw land—where they'd hoped to erect high-rise towers—as potential parking lots.

    “We have seen a significant increase in that type of opportunity this year,” says Julian Jones, senior vice president of business development at Vancouver-based Impark. “We are happy to look.”

    With construction loans all but impossible to get, and carrying costs on land adding up, many developers are seizing the only option they've got: renting their erstwhile construction sites to parking lot operators. In other cases, developers are throwing up their hands in defeat and simply selling their land outright. All this comes just as a wave of high-rise residential projects is coming on line—many with multistory parking lots, and few tenants to use them.

    Reversal of fortunes

    The trend today marks a complete reversal from that of the past decade or two, when developers snapped up parking lots for use as building sites. The stretch of Sixth Avenue below Herald Square and the flower district is a prime example. Over the past 10 years, a veritable forest of residential towers has sprung up from what were once parking lots, points out Brian Ezratty, vice chairman at Eastern Consolidated, who sold many of those lots to developers from the mid-1990s to the early-2000s.

    So far this year, Mr. Ezratty has done five parking lot deals of a completely different nature. In one of those recent deals, he represented the owner of 111 E. 24th St. in negotiating a 10-year lease with Champion Parking for a 62-car parking lot. The owner had planned to erect a building on the 6,000-square-foot site, but his plans fell through last year.

    Mr. Ezratty could not disclose the terms of that deal, but he notes that rents range from $3,000 per car space to $8,000 per car space, depending on the location and turnover rate for parking. Even at the high end, those rents pale in comparison to the returns that developers once expected to make on their pricey properties. But the feeling is that some income beats no income.

    “Some sites won't be developed for several years,” he says. “So they might as well have cash flow and lease their lots to parking operators.”

    That is exactly what happened at a prime midtown site on Eighth Avenue between West 45th and West 46th streets. There, real estate giants The Related Companies and Boston Properties recently postponed plans to erect a high-rise office tower on the site of an existing parking lot. After buying air rights to expand the site, this year they reversed course and extended the lease currently held by Champion Parking.

    A stone's throw across the avenue, at 301 W. 46th St., TriBeach Holdings had also demolished several buildings that bordered a parking lot as it prepared to put up a 38-story hotel/residential tower. Instead, the developer reopened the parking lot.

    Operators getting picky

    “Parking properties seem to come in waves,” says Robert Knakal, chairman of Massey Knakal Realty Services. “When the development market is not booming, properties remain parking lots until construction financing gets back on track.”

    In some cases, longtime land-owners are not waiting for that market turn. They are selling out and taking their bets off the table entirely.

    After a developer had backed out of plans to build on a 10,000-square-foot parking lot near the West Side waterfront, the landlord sold it to the parking lot operator, who was renting the space. The price was a mere $300 per square foot, according to Howard Greenberg, president of Ace Capital Ventures, who represented the owner in the sale—a fraction of its former value as a development site.

    “Developers want to raise money,” he says.

    In addition, Mr. Greenberg recently brokered the sale of a couple of garages in new residential condominiums—one for The Clarett Group and another for J.P. Morgan Chase and Apollo Realty. “If they build something, they have to lease it or sell it,” he says.

    Faced with a mushrooming supply of potential parking lots, operators are getting positively picky. Already feeling the ill effects of the recession and suffering from low margins, they are unwilling to pay much to buy raw land and reluctant to lease it unless they're guaranteed a multiyear run on good rent terms.

    “We've seen lots of opportunities,” says Mr. Jones. “We just haven't found one that makes sense because the terms make it financially challenging.”

  4. #109


    ^ Bummer !

    Discontinuity in the urban fabric locked in for as long as ten years, when the parking-lot leases run out. The city should limit leases to a year or two; what if this bad business cycle only lasts another year?

  5. #110


    So sad. Reading back through this thread, we all saw this coming. Let's all take comfort in the fact that WiredNewYorker's premature negativity of proposed construction projects rarely fail to ring true in the end.

  6. #111


    I'm very happy that this site stalled since cheapo Zuckerman was planning a lame box like the one on 55th Street. As the residential and hotel market is likely to bounce back before the commercial market does, I hope that a tall condo/hotel rises here rather than a 45 story box.

  7. #112


    Quote Originally Posted by londonlawyer View Post
    I'm very happy that this site stalled since cheapo Zuckerman was planning a lame box like the one on 55th Street. As the residential and hotel market is likely to bounce back before the commercial market does, I hope that a tall condo/hotel rises here rather than a 45 story box.
    The problem is that once the market bounces back, a lame box will most likely still be built here. The only difference will be that the box had been delayed a few years.

  8. #113


    The only difference will be that the box had been delayed a few years.
    And further value engineered to death!

  9. #114
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Hell's Kitchen


    This corner is truly bleak now, especially in the winter. I was assaulted by a gang of teenagers on this corner on a Sunday evening back in December. They almost ran me into traffic and I have 8 stitches to show for the experience.

    Destroying the urban fabric of the city like this should be punishable with heavy fines, just like littering, violating noise ordinances, or any other antisocial act.

  10. #115


    Right. Developers trying to maximize their bottom line at the city's expense.
    I'm sure having to wait till 2015 to build a generic office tower with 35k floor plates isn't the only way to turn a profit here. It's so not about improving the city, yet our administration is so chummy with these big developers.

    Tony Shi, NY-NJ

    Imagine how popular something like this would be.

    Canton Tower in Guangzhou

    Though I like Bloomberg, we need a mayor with more vision for the city than a sea of investment bank office towers, condos for their employees, and affordable housing for the the rest of us. At least he's good with open space.

  11. #116
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    Besides office and residential space, what other types of "vision" do you have in mind?

    I don't see how a mayor (and I'm no longer a Bloomberg fan either) can make a Canton Tower happen. It's not really a mayor's job.

    We've got problems in this city with regards to lack of great design but that has more to do with New Yorkers than the mayor.

    The planning laws we have are for the most part what New Yorkers want for their city.

  12. #117


    I just don't think everything built should be geared for the highest-end uses. It's monotonous.

  13. #118


    But lower-end uses would result in even uglier buildings, sadly. Just look at the seas of McSams out there that house low- to middle-end hotels.

    I agree that Bloomberg (or any other mayor) can't/shouldn't be looked to as the source or guarantor of good architecture. Tom Menino, the Boston mayor who has shot down many decent tall buildings that he didn't like under the pretense of preventing the "Manhattanization of Boston," tried championing a supertall a few years ago. Obviously, that didn't go very far.

    I wouldn't expect developers to hold themselves to a higher standard until forced to do so by the city or their customers, and end-users are unlikely to be willing to pay extra money unless they have lots of money or are in an industry like fashion or media where image is a priority. Even then, Coach is rumored to be considering going in as anchor tenant on Related's bottom-shelf glass oaf-itecture that may be the first construction in the Hudson Yards project.

    In other words, the city's leadership, builders and tenants can't be expected to do too much to improve contemporary NYC architecture.

    I think that these four things could go a long way to improving the quality of the city's built environment:

    1) A blanket landmarking of all pre-WWII buildings. We need to preserve the old, recognizing that, sadly, it's better than almost anything we'll get today, and encouraging the replacement of the nasty stuff we've built in the last 60 years (starting with the underutilized land that characterizes postwar housing projects and other urban redevelopment schemes)

    2) Citywide zoning changes. The 1961 zoning changes that introduced FAR led to windswept, streetwall- and streetlife-killing plazas and monolithic rectangle buildings becoming the norm. The 1916 zoning rules had a much better track record, and even if a return to them is impracticable, a reworked zoning code that incentivizes height, slenderness and setbacks rather than effectively punishing height and demanding increased bulk and larger footprints (as if they were a good thing) would do much good.

    3) Institutionalized pressure from outside critics. A program of constant, high-profile pressure from groups like the MAS would be filling an important void: city, developers and tenants have failed for 60 years, and will probably continue to fail, to demand or deliver good architecture. In the UK, as I understand, the RIBA and CABE sound off on any new structure. Unfortunately, we don't have any nationwide architectural critic or authority and the AIA is basically a sop lobbying group that pushes for fees, fees, fees but would never criticize a building's design. The MAS should step up in New York at least by offering a grade for every new building built and making those grades prominent and hard for tenants not to know about. Yearly awards for best -- and worst -- projects would also be good; rather than self-congratulatory award ceremonies, what is needed is an institutionalized forum for providing both carrots and sticks ... and one where the judges are not architects inclined to pat one another's backs but skeptical outsiders.

    From the press, it'd be great if Ouroussoff at the NYT spent less time covering the latest white elephant in Qatar or wherever and more time criticizing and praising the failures and successes of NYC architecture. And the Journal really needs to give Ada Louise Huxtable more rant space and stop conducting positive (or even "neutral") interviews with criminals like Gene Kaufman.

    4) Penalties for inaction on razed lots. Finally, as Hamilton noted by in Oct 09, there should be penalties for what in Russia is called "dolgostroi" -- super long-term construction projects (think: halfway-built hotels dating back to the Gorby days). New York has far too many long-term construction sites, "temporary" parking lots, etc. Applying penalties to developers who sit for years on their bulldozed property (often to depress the value of surrounding lots, the better to buy them up on the cheap and expand their crap building's footprint) may not be a real fix for bad architecture, but fewer vacant lots and surface parking lots certainly won't be bad for quality of life, and it may even discourage developers from waiting years to assemble huge parcels that inevitably house horrid-looking block-long clunkers with a half-block Duane Reade and a half-block Citibank at ground level.
    Last edited by Stroika; December 27th, 2010 at 12:23 AM.

  14. #119


    I completely agree with you, Stroika.

  15. #120
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    You guys are right however, your average New Yorker don't agree with you (or informed enough to agree with you guys).

    They're the ones (via the community board meetings and/or letters and phone calls to their local officials to complain about this law or that law) that drive changes to the city's zoning/building policies.

    You guys posting on this site reaches out to 20 skyscraper geeks.

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