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Thread: Bad Economy = Bad Times in T.S.

  1. #31
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Group Takes Aim at Times Sq. Congestion



    The Times Square Alliance is considering ways to reduce the area's "pedlock," or pedestrian gridlock.

    By THOMAS J. LUECK
    Published: June 2, 2005

    With the sidewalks and avenues of Times Square overwhelmed by a crush of pedestrians, cars and trucks, the neighborhood's business improvement district, the Times Square Alliance, offered a package of ideas yesterday aimed at reducing what it said would be an increasingly tight squeeze.

    Its proposals, most of which would require money and regulatory approvals from the city, include an expansion of sidewalk space by rerouting vehicular traffic through the square's bowtie, where Broadway and Seventh Avenue crisscross between 44th and 45th Streets. Instead of crossing, the two avenues would become parallel arteries through the square.

    Traffic signal timing could be altered to increase the flow of pedestrians crossing the square's avenues and traffic islands, the group said. And, in projects for which city funds have already been approved, the group said pedestrian movement would be improved by replacing the TKTS kiosk at Duffy Square, and by permanently expanding sidewalks to the temporary boundaries that have already been delineated by paint stripes or other measures.

    "We are dealing with pedlock," said Tim Tompkins, the president of the alliance, using a term to describe the pedestrian gridlock.

    The group, which has already documented a soaring rise in traffic on Times Square's sidewalks, said the congestion would become far worse with the construction of several new corporate high-rises planned for the neighborhood.

    Its proposals also included ideas to improve the design of street furniture, accommodate public art and better coordinate events that are broadcast from Times Square. They were presented at a forum at the Reuters headquarters at Seventh Avenue and 43rd Street, where the group was joined by the head of the Central London Partnership, a group with similar goals for central London.

    While providing only a rough blueprint, the alliance's proposals underscore how its objectives have shifted since it was formed by property owners in 1992, charged mainly with combating crime and urban blight. Now, Mr. Tompkins said, the congestion has displaced all other problems facing Times Square.

    And the group's joint forum reflected an expanding network of ideas and experience that are being shared by urban planners and neighborhood groups around the world.

    "Your success in Times Square is legendary, the stuff of dinner-party conversations in London," said Patricia Brown, the chief executive of the London group, which she said had benefited from the experience of the alliance and from work done in the urban cores of other European cities.

    The most ambitious proposal to improve pedestrian traffic in Times Square would involve enlarging the islands between Broadway and Seventh Avenue. It said pedestrian space could be enlarged by more than 50 percent if the two small islands between 44th and 45th Streets were replaced with a bigger single island, and if crosswalks between all the islands were improved to create a pedestrian passageway running north and south from West 42nd Street to West 47th Street.

    The group also offered ideas to improve the street-level appearance of Times Square, and it said that technological improvements should be made in the square so it is "wired" for large-scale broadcast events, reducing the number of vehicles and other equipment in the already congested crossroads.


    Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

  2. #32

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    And they must ban any new construction in the area of buildings (residential/hotel/office) with parking garages.

  3. #33
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    Fab may i ask if your against building, why do you coem to this site??

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by kliq6
    Fab may i ask if your against building, why do you coem to this site??
    Kliq : will you please show me were I have written that I am against building?

    The above article opens with the quote: " With the sidewalks and avenues of Times Square overwhelmed by a crush of pedestrians, cars and trucks, the neighborhood's business improvement district, the Times Square Alliance, offered a package of ideas yesterday aimed at reducing what it said would be an increasingly tight squeeze".

    To the ideas presented in the article, I feel they should:

    "...ban any new construction in the area of buildings (residential/hotel/office) with parking garages".

    If you want to lessen traffic, encourage the use of public transportation and donīt build new buildings with on site parking.

    Is that clear?

  5. #35
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    A hotel developer wont build a hotel without parking, hotel major money is there convention spaces, are you going to tell a convention cleint they cant park on the premises?

  6. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by kliq6
    A hotel developer wont build a hotel without parking, hotel major money is there convention spaces, are you going to tell a convention cleint they cant park on the premises?
    Of the three category of buildings I mention, (office,residential and hotel) you are right ...the hotel category will be a sticking point. I feel however that with residential and office buildings there is no question.

    As far as hotels go: offer creative solutions in tandem with the city... parking garages in other parts of the city... shuttle buses... I donīt know. And the fact is, there are plenty of great hotels in NYC without on-site parking.

    If the goal is to keep TSquare less congested and maintain a vibrant (and why not pleasant) street life, then letīs encourage public transportation. Manhattan isīt LA or Dallas ...and letīs be thankful for the difference.

  7. #37
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    A solution to Times Square congestion?


    BY PRADNYA JOSHI
    STAFF WRITER
    June 1, 2005, 9:15 PM EDT

    Day or night, they flock by the thousands.

    Every Times Square tourist, resident, employee and passerby knows the gridlock well.

    Now, just in time for tourist season, a group of civic, nonprofit and business-improvement organizations are proposing solutions to ease congestion.

    "While Times Square is gorgeous from the neck up, it needs a makeover from the neck down," said Times Square Alliance president Tim Tompkins, in a report released last night by the alliance, the nonprofit organization set up in 1992 to improve the district. The streetscape "is ordinary at best, ugly at worst."

    Times Square has long been the nexus of New York -- and the nexus of the world for special events -- but the gritty streets of Broadway during the seedy decades hardly had this problem.

    With much of the prostitution pushed aside, a 69 percent drop in crime since 1993, the "Disneyfication" of the theater district and other improvements, more people than ever are visiting, living near and working around Times Square. It's a good problem to have -- but it's still a problem.

    "Compared to the kinds of problems we had 10 years ago where 42nd Street was the most dangerous block in the city, this is a cakewalk," Tompkins said in an interview.

    In fact, so many people are coming these days that they are spilling into the streets, creating accidents and safety problems. Furthermore, in response to terrorism, concrete blockades and other obstacles have been plunked down in front of buildings to foil truck bombs and minimize other hazards.

    Certainly, radical solutions such as cutting off vehicular traffic and limiting street performers have long been proposed, but are they would all take away from the quintessential hustle of the place, Tompkins said.

    But the wall-to-wall sea of people is taking its toll. The street vendors, performance artists, naked cowboys, Black Israelite street preachers and others further pack in more congestion than the sidewalks can bear.

    Among the solutions outlined in the new report: Permanently extend the sidewalks on key avenues to increase space by 53 percent; eliminate the ability of cars to "cross over" where Broadway and Seventh Avenue intersect; and add high-tech equipment underground so that media satellite trucks don't mob the streets during special events.

    A key part of the changes will be to expand and rebuild Duffy Square, the central island that's home to the discount-ticket booth TKTS, and make it a dazzling centerpiece for pedestrians, artists and other visitors. Construction is now expected to start early next year.

    The swarms are predicted to worsen as new corporate office towers open. Following the opening of new headquarters for Condé Nast, Reuters and Ernst & Young are the Bank of America building just a block down 42nd Street and the gleaming New York Times headquarters, which will open in 2007 close to the Port Authority terminal.

    Already, West 42nd Street has seen a 45 percent increase in foot traffic since 1999, and the numbers are expected to nearly double by 2020, the report noted. And already 6 million square feet of new office space has been added since 1996, and 10 million more is projected in the next 15 years.

    "There's not enough space for their employees to walk on the streets; there's so much competition for the space there is now," said Tresa Horney, campaign coordinator for Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit group that advocates cycling and walking.

    "The more pedestrian-friendly their space is, the more their space is worth," she said.

    Many of these ideas are still being studied, so there are no projects yet. But Tompkins emphasized that city and state officials are very supportive of the ideas and many have already earmarked money for street improvements.

    Although the renovation of Duffy Square has been long delayed, Tompkins said many of the other proposals have the support of the city and could move forward quickly.

    For the new study, the Times Square Alliance collaborated with 25 architects, public officials, planners and other parties to discuss problems and solutions.


    Copyright Đ 2005, Newsday, Inc.

  8. #38
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    NYPOST REAL ESTATE:


    By STEVE CUOZZO

    Besides scouring for a tenant at the former Bar Code space, where a deal for Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum collapsed, Times Square's Bertelsmann building is also trying to replace the underperforming Loews Cineplex in the tower's basement.

    Newmark's Jeffrey Roseman said Bertelsmann's owner, Paramount Group, is asking $2 million a year for the 40,000 square-foot space.

    "Loews had tried to sublease it, but now that its lease is coming up, the landlord will have control," Roseman said.

    Although the theaters are tucked deep inside the Virgin megastore, Roseman said the space "has great visibility, thanks to the huge sign outside on arguably the best block in Times Square."

    Roseman said the offering has drawn interest from various prospects "from sublime to ridiculous" — including retailers, theater groups, music venues and even "bowling users."


    Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc.

  9. #39

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    In that picture at the top, that taxi looks as if he is about to run into those people!

  10. #40
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    The taxi pic is a great example of the #1 problem in Times Square -- drivers who completely ignore traffic signals and end up stuck in the middle of pedestrians crossing (it's not just taxis). What happened to "Don't Block the Box"?

    I've never been able to figure out why DOT doesn't try the All Walk concept in major intersections (42nd / 7th & 42nd / 8th are perfect examples) -- red lights for all vehicles and pedestrians X-ing every which way at once.

    Another traffic story: I lived in Rome about 10 years ago and traffic there was crazy -- especially double parking. Then one day they increased the parking fines by 10x (from about the equivalant of ~ $50 to ~ $500) and Voila! Double parking pretty much went away immediately in the areas where it caused the most problems.

    One of the BEST things about living in NYC is that a private vehicle is not needed -- I gave mine away before I moved to NYC 25 years ago and ever since have not missed being a car owner.

  11. #41

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    Being from TN, a car is pretty much mandatory. I drive 30 minutes to a small town to work everyday. But, when I move to NY this Sept. my car is going up for sale.

  12. #42
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Condos, New Retail To Be Added to Times Square Mix


    By MICHAEL STOLER
    April 20, 2006

    Change is afoot at Times Square, the city's iconic neighborhood that now covers an area from Sixth Avenue to Ninth Avenue and 39th Street to 52nd Street.

    Before the end of the month, Boston Properties, which owns 5 Times Square, is expected to announce the winning bidder for the 37-story, 1.1 million square-foot office tower that is leased to Ernest & Young. The winning bidder is expected to be Dubai-based Istithmar, which last week agreed to pay about $600 million for the 40-story, 905,000-square-foot office tower at 450 Lexington Ave., which is subject to a 99-year land lease, industry sources say. The seller is a joint venture of Murray Hill Properties, Westbrook Partners, and the Canadian pension plan SITQ.

    In May 2002, what was then the accounting firm of Arthur Andersen opted out of its agreement to occupy space in Times Square Tower, the 48-story, 1.2 million-square-foot building at 7 Times Square and Broadway. A director at Cushman & Wakefield, Joanne Podell, said, "After more than three years of discussion, Ann Taylor Loft has signed a lease in the Times Square Tower. We expect the store to be profitable due to its location, hours of operation, and viability of retail in Times Square."

    Directly across the street is 1466 Broadway, also known as 6 Times Square. The 15-story, 298,000-squarefoot office building, built in 1907, houses a three-level Gap store. In November 2004, SL Green Realty sold the building, built for John Jacob Astor IV, to Sitt Asset Management and Steven Sutton for $160 million. The property, at the corner of 42nd Street and Broadway, was formerly the fashionable Knickerbocker Hotel that counted as its customers celebrities such as George Cohan and Enrico Caruso. The building was renovated into showrooms and offices in 1982. At the time of the purchase, the new owners indicated they had an interest in converting the top floors into a hotel or luxury condos. Trade sources indicate that an investor from the Middle East might be the winning bidder at a price of close to $1,000 a square foot.

    ***

    One of Manhattan's most active investors, the Moinian Group, was part of a joint venture including the Chetrit Group and Edward Minskoff, that in May 2004 paid about $121 million, or $316 a square foot, for the 42-story, 382,000-square-foot office tower at 1450 Broadway and 41st Street. In November 2005, the owners announced plans to convert the top floors of the buildings into residential condominiums. Last month, the Moinian Group and its partner, MacFarlane Partners, opened the sales office for the Atelier, a 46-story, 478-unit condo tower at 635 W. 42nd St. This building is part of the first phase of a 1.5 million-square-foot mixed-use complex. The entire project will occupy most of the city block on the north side of 42nd Street between 11th Avenue and the Hudson River. The second phase will include about 300 residential condominiums and 350 rental apartments at 605 W. 42nd St. and 11th Avenue.

    The co-president of the Durst Organization, Douglas Durst, said, "I never expected the Times Square and 42nd Street corridor to evolve as a center of office, retail, and residential." Across the street from 1466 Broadway is 4 Times Square Tower, the 48-story, 1.6 million-square-foot building completed in 1999 by the Durst Organization. The office tower is leased to Conde Nast and the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Adjacent to the building is One Bryant Park, also known as the Bank of America Tower. The building is being co-developed by the Durst Organization and Bank of America.

    Last month, Bank of America committed to occupying an additional 522,000 square feet of space. The deal expands the bank's occupancy to more than 77% of the space from 53%. The bank will lease about 1.63 million square feet of space, leaving about 450,000 square feet available. Mr. Durst said, "I don't think we'll have any trouble getting $100 per square feet at the top of the building. Right now we have at least 10 companies who are interested the space."

    ***

    Last October, Equity Office Properties Trust closed on a $505 million purchase of the 41-story Verizon Building at 1095 Sixth Ave., which is across from the Bank of America Tower. Verizon kept about 200,000 square feet of the building as a condominium. Equity plans to spend about $250 million to renovate the tower. Office space is being marketed for rents of more than $1,000 a square foot.

    According to industry sources, the 25-story, 227,000-square-foot Candler Building at 220 W. 42nd St. - at the heart of Times Square and home to a three-level McDonald's - is in contract to be sold. The building was built in 1912-14 as a commission from Asa Candler, a founder of the Coca-Cola Company. West of the Candler Building is the 444-room Hilton Times Square. Last month, Sunstone Hotel Investors paid $242.5 million for that property. The seller was a partnership of Forest City Ratner and Hilton Hotels, who completed the hotel in June 2000.

    Contracts for about 97% of the residential condominiums have been sold at the Orion, a development of Extell Investment Management and the Carlyle Group. The 58-story, 551-unit midblock building is at 350 W. 42nd St., west of the former McGraw-Hill Building. Extell Investment Management is assembling a site at 131-139 W. 45th St., directly behind the Muse Hotel on West 46th Street, The New York Sun has been told. It plans to develop a luxury hotel on the site.

    Last month, Vornado Realty Trust wrote off $6.87 million it had spent on development costs for a project at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Vornado had planned to use the air rights of the Port Authority to develop a 39-story tower atop the building on Eighth Avenue from 40th to 42nd streets.

    As the Sun reported earlier this month, the Paramount Group has retained Douglas Harmon of Eastdil Secured to sell the 44-story, 1.1 million-square-foot building at 1540 Broadway, Bertelsmann's American headquarters. Based on recent purchases, the property, built in 1990, might fetch $1.1 million, or $1,000 a square foot.

    A 46-story, 250-unit residential condo tower is planned for the northwest corner of Eighth Avenue and 46th Street, with addresses of 301-307 W. 46th St. and 733-763 Eighth Ave. The owner, New Jersey-based SJP Properties, originally had planned to construct an 80/20 residential rental at 750 Eighth Ave., on the northwest corner of 46th Street, which was once home to McHale's restaurant. Due to the strength of Times Square real estate, the company has decided to build a luxury residential condominium. SJP is also building a residential condominium at 45 Park Ave., on the site of the former Sheraton Russell.

    On the corner of Eighth Avenue and 47th Street, a New York-based development company is planning to construct a 40-story luxury residential condominium. A third tower is planned for West 48th Street and Eighth Avenue.

    A combination of factors, including creative tax subsidies and demand for more residential and office space in Times Square, has aided in the area's resurgence.


    Đ 2006 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC.

  13. #43

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    Thanks for posting this article, Krulltime. I referred to it in another thread.

  14. #44

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    I wonder why the gaping hole in the ground at 42nd and 8th is not mentioned at all??

  15. #45
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Because unlike all the others it hasn't changed hands -- just sits there with the dank pond in the center breeding 'skeeters when summer comes around.

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