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Thread: 237 West 54th Street

  1. #1

    Default 237 West 54th Street

    Joseph Moinian owns the property at 237 West 54th Street, as he does the low-rise apartment building next door at 241-245 West 54th Street (two restaurants occupy the ground floor). He tried unsuccessfully for awhile to get a partner to develop the site.

    According to Steve Cuozzo's Realty Check column in the New York Post on March 1st, he has a demolition permit for the site (at the moment only an asbestos removal permit is on-site). He has also applied for a permit to erect a 34-story hotel designed by Gene Kaufman, which would be directly wall-to-wall with the Marriott that Harry Gross has under construction at 1715 Broadway.

    Cuozzo suggests something else may be afoot, as there is no suggestion that Moinian found a partner, has any money, or would be building a hotel on top of another one.

    No Gene Kaufman design has emerged as yet.

  2. #2


    No Gene Kaufman design has emerged as yet.
    And lets keep our fingers crossed none ever does!
    Two wrongs NEVER make a right.

  3. #3


    Moinian has a demolition notice dated May 25, and demolition is underway. As he is unlikely to have a partner, and no money of his own, it may become an empty lot, and remain that way for a long time.

  4. #4


    As of midweek, the giant inflatable rat is parked in from of the building during the day, indicating it is a non-union demolition job.

  5. #5


    Seems that Moinian might be locking horns with Gross, as per this column by Steve Cuozzo on Tuesday:

    An inflatable giant rat has popped up in front of 237 W. 54th St., the vacant 5-story building Joseph Moinian has begun demolishing in preparation for a 34-story hotel project.
    Members of Local 79 wheeled in the roving rodent to protest Moinian's use of a non-union crew to perform the takedown, which received Buildings Dept. approval last month. The work set off a buzz that it could endanger union workmen installing the foundation at the next-door site, at the corner of Broadway, where Harry Gross's Broadway Granite Development is building a 67-story Marriott Hotel.
    "The men on Harry's site wanted the city to not allow Moinian to demolish his eastern wall until the Marriott reached the height that Moinian's project is supposed to reach," a source claimed.
    However, the DOB says it has no record of Gross filing any complaint. We first reported Moinian's plan in March, when he filed plans for the 34-story hotel with the DOB, which has yet to approve them. Moinian declined to comment through a rep. Reps for Gross didn't get back to

    Read more:

  6. #6


    On June 30 I'm told there was a fire with a lot of black smoke pouring out of Moinian's 237, and a large engine response. Maybe someone should tell someone you can pull the building down, but not burn it down.

  7. #7


    Steve Cuozzo welcomes us back from July 4th, with the whole story:

    Moinian in crosshairs

    Last Updated:1:42 AM, July 5, 2011
    Posted:12:38 AM, July 5, 2011
    Poor Joseph Moinian. In parts of Midtown you might think he's Public Enemy No. 1.
    A small fire on Thursday at 237 W. 54th St., a 5-story building he's demolishing, drew a dozen FDNY engines and emergency trucks to the block, snarling traffic and adding to jitters at a next-door address where tenants fear for their safety.
    "There was a lot of smoke and we're all nervous wrecks," said a resident at 243 W. 54th who didn't wish to be named.
    The firefighters followed another recent visitor to the demo site: a giant inflatable rat set up outside no. 237 by Local 73 to protest Moinian's using a non-union crew. Moinian -- who controls 20 million square feet of property in the US valued at $10 billion -- is razing no. 237 to put up a 34-story hotel.
    Then, on Friday, posters popped up outside the Moinian-owned 535 Fifth Ave. accusing Moinian of owing money to contractors at the W Downtown Hotel, which he opened last year on Liberty Street. A rep for Moinian declined to comment on the fire or the posters.
    Apartments tenants can be jumpy when they fear a threat to their rent-controlled or rent- stabilized status, but you can't blame the 20-odd residents of 243 W. 54th from being on edge.
    The four-story building, also owned by Moinian, is sandwiched between two large ongoing projects. In a few months, Boston Properties will start construction of 250 W. 55th St., a 1 million square- foot office tower that will abut no. 243's western wall. Boston reinforced the wall a few years ago after it sued Moinian for initially not giving it access to no. 243 to perform the work.
    But no. 243's tenants are more worried for the moment about the demolition of no. 237 to the east. Melanie, a tenant who didn't want her last name used, said, "It feels like earthquakes and bombs going off next door." Another tenant, Joanne Lockman, e- mailed us, "Waking up to a swaying building is scary on a good day."
    Some tenants suspect that Moinian, rather than actually build a hotel, filed his plan in order to induce the owners of an even larger hotel project at the corner of Broadway and 54th Street to buy him out first. The 67-story Marriott, to be completed by late 2013, is being built by Harry Gross's Broadway Granite Development.
    Tenants at no. 243 say Moinian's project would rise to half the Marriott's height and block views from it. (Gross didn't return our call.) The tenants also note that Moinian's hotel plan has yet to be approved by the Buildings Dept.
    Even more darkly, some tenants fear that were an accident to occur during demolition of no. 237, it could force them to leave their building for good -- theoretically paving the way for Moinian to sell the two adjacent addresses for much more than the sum of what they're fetch individually.
    Melanie, the tenant, said, "I feel there's a risk of losing the apartment. If there's structural damage to our building, which is 100 years old, then we'd have to evacuate." Moinian has demolition permits and there are no current violations.
    Moinian has fought his way out of a debt squeeze at several Manhattan properties recently including 3 Columbus Circle, where SL Green rescued him from being pushed out by Related Cos.
    Last week's fire was quickly contained, said FDNY spokesman Paul Iannizzotto. "It was on the first floor and brought under control within 20 minutes," he said, adding that the fire was not deemed to be suspicious.
    Meanwhile, at least two Moini an-bashing posters were taped to planters outside 535 Fifth Ave. at East 45th Street.
    Under the heading, "123 Washington/W New York Downtown," a comic-strip balloon over a picture of George Washington read, "I cannot tell a lie -- Joe Moinian does not pay his bills. The Moinian Group refuses to pay its contractors for work already completed."
    It was unclear who the aggrieved contractors were. The posters were removed within hours.

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  8. #8
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    Joseph Moinian = slime.

  9. #9


    From the New York Post -

    The W. 50s are ready to rumble

    Last Updated:11:34 PM, July 25, 2011
    Posted:11:19 PM, July 25, 2011
    TWO sets of Buildings Dept. approvals issued yesterday paved the way for full-bore work on two big projects on the block bounded by Broadway and Eighth Avenue and West 54th and 55th Streets -- soon to be Manhattan's noisiest construction site except for the World Trade Center.
    At 250 W. 55th St., Boston Properties' 900,000 square-foot office tower is set to rise after a two-year hiatus. The DOB approved plans for a "heavy-duty," 712-foot-long sidewalk shed to wrap the L-shaped site on three sides.
    Law firm Morrison Foerster recently signed on for 200,000 square feet, reviving the project that Boston froze at the foundation two years ago.
    Also yesterday, the DOB green-lighted plans it had initially rejected forJoseph Moinian's as yet unflagged, 34-story hotel at 237 W. 54th, to rise on the site of a small building he's nearly finished demolishing.
    No rendering of theGene Kaufman-designed hotel was available. That's led to speculation that, rather than build, Moinian would prefer to be bought out byHarry Gross, who's putting up the block's third giant project -- a 60-story Marriott hotel next door at 1717 Broadway.
    Moinian's project would likely block views from the Marriott's lower floors. Moinian's rep blamed the lack of an image on a confidentiality agreement with an unidentified partner.
    Meanwhile, the 54th Street block will be closed to traffic this weekend and next, to set up a crane for work on the new Marriott.

    Read more: z1TQL3UmwM

    trangely enough, construction permit #120583145 now shows it as being 27 floors; as the stories continue, the supposed building gets smaller.

    A few years back, Moinian has purchased air rights from McGee's, the bar around the corner on 55th Street. Then he gave the rights back, and wanted a return on his deposit, a position which with the bar disagreed. (It was resolved through legal action). You would think if he was serious about building a hotel, he would certainly want the extra floors he could get through the air rights.

  10. #10


    Here's the latest of Moinian nonsense from the NY Post this week:

    In the ongoing colorful saga of Joseph Moinian's hotel project at 237 W. 54th St., he's scaled down his plan from 34 stories to 27, according to filings with the Buildings Dept.
    So modest a project wouldn't ordinarily merit much attention. But this one occupies a crucial location on a block where two enormous new buildings are already under way: Harry Gross' 67-story Marriott hotel at the corner of Broadway and West 54th Street, and Boston Properties' 900,000 square foot office tower at 250 W. 55th St.
    Moinian demolished the small vacant building at 237 W. 54th to make room for his as yet unnamed hotel. That made nervous wrecks out of residents of 245 W. 54th St., the four-story rental apartment building next door that's also owned by Moinian.
    The tiny structure they call home is sandwiched between Moinian's hotel site to the east -- itself next to the Marriott under full-bore construction -- and Boston's giant L-shaped tower to the north and west, soon to start above-ground work.
    Tenants fear that an accident at Moinian's or Boston's work site could render their 100-year-old building uninhabitable. A recent small fire at 237 as it was being razed fueled their concerns.
    This week, paranoia struck deeper when their superintendent moved out and the soup restaurant on the ground floor closed. Moinian declined to comment, citing a confidentiality agreement with an unidentified partner.

    Read more: HOtI#ixzz1UjxHMs76

    can't wait to see who he is building a hotel for, right next door to the Marriott.

  11. #11
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    DOF shows that Moinian recently recorded new paperwork showing transfer of 237 W 54th (Sale Date: 5.31.2011; Block 1026, Lot 12) from one Moinian company (237 West 54th Street LLC; a NYS company) to another Moinian company (237 West 54 Owner, L.L.C.; a Delaware state company). Joe's signature is found for both buyer & seller.

    There's no mention of anyone or anything that might fit Moinian's description of his "unidentified partner."

  12. #12


    Good research! By the way,he has only built 4 hotels, and only the W downtown in New York City.

    Here is his Schedule A for this site:

    It indicates that floor 001 will contain the Hotel Lobby, a Loading Dock, and space for "eating & drinking." Sounds like a lot, without absorbing the building next door.

    002 - 019 will have 14 rooms per floor, 020 - 020 will have 9 rooms, and 021 - 027 will have ten per floor. Certainly not very interesting.

  13. #13


    I'm not getting the fascination with this very small, insignificant project, especially the mention in the NY Post. Maybe a slow summer news cycle?

    This is a totally run-of-the-mill hotel project, and there are literally dozens of hotel projects of very similar size and design under development throughout NYC.

    Or maybe because it's in a prominent block in Midtown? But, again, I could rattle off dozens of Midtown hotels under development, on virtually every side street, and with virtually the same dimensions and layout.

    I'm not criticizing anyone for their interest, but I don't see ANYTHING remotely noteworthy or unusual with another random hotel being built in Midtown.

  14. #14
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    It's intriguing due to the possibility of the site being used as a bargaining chip -- and how Moinian might be able to play it.

    The Gene Kaufman designed hotel now on record at DOB will hold little good interest, although it will no doubt get its fair share of the usual GAK hack-itect derision. Unless he surprises us. Which is doubtful, given the room configuration found on the Schedule A. That implies a 20 story box, slightly set back up top from 21-27. Will it have a winky little base? Or go straight up 20 floors, creating a tall street wall along the sidewalk? Such are the questions we ponder when it comes to these insignificant projects.

  15. #15
    Fearless Photog RoldanTTLB's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Broomfield, CO


    No site diagram on DOB? (in fact, even better, the ZD: - No street wall at all, yum!). It is true that there are dozens of these. From 32nd-38th between 7th and 5th aves I can think of a half dozen U/C or newly opened. I think the fascination with this one is Moinian. The Post would never ever cover some Korean developer.

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