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Thread: Hell's Kitchen Biltmore Tower

  1. #16

    Default Hell's Kitchen Biltmore Tower

    great picture

  2. #17

    Default Hell's Kitchen Biltmore Tower

    Nice pics, the tower is just another in the sea of West Side newbies, but I'll take anything that cleans up 8th Ave....speaking of which, ya gotta love the giant "8 Ave" Street sign bannner on the building, in the last pic. With WWP and the Gershwin, this is turning into a nice residential area!

  3. #18

    Default Hell's Kitchen Biltmore Tower

    This thing got built so fast.
    Interesting how the tagline to this thread is "receives City Council approval."

  4. #19

    Default Hell's Kitchen Biltmore Tower

    It doesn't look like the rendering posted above by Derek2K3 in february 2002 :

    I must say I like the real thing better.

    (Edited by Fabb at 12:44 pm on Jan. 22, 2003)

  5. #20

    Default Hell's Kitchen Biltmore Tower

    You don't like kitsch?

  6. #21

    Default Hell's Kitchen Biltmore Tower

    You read my mind.

  7. #22

    Default Hell's Kitchen Biltmore Tower

    The rental office of the Biltmore is open, however construction still continues on the upper floors. The studios and 1-bedrooms on the lower floors are in move-in condition, and 2-bedrooms on the upper floors will not be ready until June.

    The 38-story Worldwide Plaza apartment building. The northwest view from the 41st floor A-line 2-bedroom apartment of The Biltmore. *15 February 2003.

    The floor plan of the A-line 2-bedroom apartment of The Biltmore. The apartment rents for $6,000/month.

  8. #23

    Default Hell's Kitchen Biltmore Tower

    Edward - the last pic looking west to WWP shows why that was maybe the most important building for the 80's. Still looks pretty good today, and not that dated!

    Biltmore *isn't bad either, but I think it's high time we got some better residental architecture on the West Side.

    Oh yeah, $6,000 a month for an apartment there. Where do I sign?

  9. #24

    Default Hell's Kitchen Biltmore Tower
    March 28, 2003
    New Eighth Ave. Building Towers Over Neighbors

    The Biltmore is the latest and at 51 stories, the tallest of a string of rental buildings to spring up in recent years along Eighth Avenue in the West 40's and 50's.

    The partnership that constructed the $134 million building named it after the neighboring historic theater, which has been closed since 1987 and is being renovated by the same group.

    In return for the partnership renovating the theater and purchasing additional development rights, authorities permitted the rental building to soar 18 stories higher than zoning would normally allow.

    Situated on the northeast corner of the avenue at 47th Street, the building will have 464 apartments, 35,000 square feet of commercial space in its three-story base and a 61-car garage underground. The building replaces abandoned tenements that stood next door to the 1925 theater.

    The construction and renovation projects are being done by a partnership of the Jack Parker Corporation and the Moinian Group. The partnership also owns the theater, where the nonprofit Manhattan Theater Club will be its only tenant.

    The Biltmore is one of four rental towers on Eighth Avenue from 47th to 54th Streets that have opened since 1997 and have a total of 1,338 apartments. It is a so-called 80-20 project, where 20 percent of the apartments are offered at rents affordable for low- and moderate-income tenants and the remaining 80 percent are to be leased at market rates.

    For setting aside the units below market rate for 30 years, the partners received $134 million in low-rate financing from the New York State Housing Finance Agency.

    Jean Pierre Vaganay, chief operating officer at Jack Parker, the managing partner for the building, said the Biltmore overlooks the low-rise Clinton neighborhood, providing clear views of the area and the Hudson River.

    Last month, the company began renting out the building's studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments, with 416 to 1,265 square feet of space. Since leasing began, 62 of the market-rate units have been leased at rents of $1,840 to $7,100 a month, said Kimberly Cafaro, a vice president at Jack Parker. Rents for the lower-income units are $403 to $660 a month.

    Andrew Heiberger, president of Citi Habitats, a residential brokerage firm, said that rents per square foot along Eighth Avenue have fallen in the last year by $4 to an average of $50 a square foot annually, and that concessions of one to two months free rent continue. With up to 1,500 more apartments set to be built within a dozen blocks of the Eighth Avenue rentals in the next two years, he said, "All area buildings, in the short term, will be fighting for the same tenants."

    Nancy Packes, president of Halstead/Feathered Nest Leasing Consultant and the Biltmore's leasing adviser, added that "with very little new demand, developers have to build a better building to encourage people already in apartments to move." She and Mr. Vaganay said that besides offering competitive concessions, the building is drawing tenants because of its design and amenities like hotel-style valet services and a 13,000-square-foot club that includes an exercise room, terrace and lounge.

    James Davidson, a partner at SLCE Architects, which designed the Biltmore rental building, said its facade is angled "to recall the angle Broadway takes through this part of the theater district, enhance the building's shape and create many windows as well as corner views." Some apartments above the 20th floor on the southwest corner of the building angle out by 10 degrees, 5 feet at the maximum, giving impressive views, in many cases through floor-to-ceiling windows.

    Getting the project to this point has taken six years. In 1997 the Moinian Group contracted to buy the site, including the theater, if it could acquire development rights over nearby properties. By 1999, however, the group sued the site's owner, the Nederlander Organization, over the initial purchase agreement. The suit ended in a settlement in 2000.

    Mr. Vaganay said his company got involved with the project that year because "we had always been interested in the Eighth Avenue corridor as an emerging location," given the redevelopment of the Coliseum site to the north and the revival of 42nd Street. The Biltmore marks the initial residential foray into Midtown Manhattan for the Parker Corporation, which owned or has built 14 residential buildings, totaling 4,546 apartments, elsewhere in the city.

    Existing zoning allowed a 33-story building on the Biltmore site. But since the developers had bought additional air rights and agreed to pay $17 million toward the approximately $25 million renovation of the theater, the city allowed more floors to be built.

    The theater, once home to such plays as "Hair," is expected to reopen in its refurbished space in October, Mr. Vaganay said. "We look forward," he said, "to giving back to Broadway a historic landmark."

  10. #25


    September 23, 2003

    For Venerable Theater, It's a Body Transplant


    The Biltmore Theater's landmarked features have been meticulously restored or replicated as part of a $35 million project.

    The Biltmore Theater has not so much been renovated as recreated.

    When it reopens next month as an additional home for the Manhattan Theater Club, its ivory-toned and gilt-edged gleam may fool audiences into thinking that the 78-year-old playhouse has had a welcome burnishing. In truth, not much was left to burnish after more than a decade of neglect, vandalism, fire and flooding.

    "There was a plaster waterfall coming down the stairs," said Andrew Hamingson, development director of the theater club, recalling his first visit to the Biltmore, 261 West 47th Street, in 2000. "Everything was washing away. Most of the beauty was gone. There was three feet of standing water in the mechanical room and rats swimming around it."

    "It reminded me," he said, "of `The Poseidon Adventure.' "

    Time was when the Biltmore reminded people of "Hair," "Barefoot in the Park," "My Sister Eileen" and "Deathtrap"; of George Abbott, a co-owner who used it as a showcase; Jean-Paul Sartre, whose "No Exit" was staged there; and Mae West, whose "Pleasure Man" brought in the police.

    This season, as the theater club's third stage the other two are at City Center, 131 West 55th Street the Biltmore will house "The Violet Hour" by Richard Greenberg, beginning Oct. 16; "Drowning Crow" by Regina Taylor; and "Sight Unseen" by Donald Margulies.

    Just how long it will stay the Biltmore remains to be seen. "These things are not only expensive to create but to operate," said Barry Grove, the executive producer. "We're open to a dialogue about naming opportunities."

    A new name could be fitting because the theater is new in many respects. There are far fewer seats, more steeply raked floors and a lower stage to foster the intimacy appropriate for theater club productions, which highlight new works and talent. There are ample restrooms and three new lounges, one hewn from bedrock.

    But the Biltmore's landmarked features from the proscenium arch to a vaulted second-floor gallery to the smallest anthemion leaves have been meticulously restored or replicated as part of the $35 million project, designed by Polshek Partnership Architects.

    Such an ambitious undertaking had a high price. Literally.

    It was made possible by the construction next door of a 51-story apartment tower, also called the Biltmore, by the Jack Parker Corporation and the Moinian Group. Eighteen of those floors, above and beyond what zoning rules would ordinarily allow, were awarded to the developers by the City Planning Commission as a bonus for rehabilitating the theater.

    So tall that it can be seen from Hell's Kitchen Park on 10th Avenue, the Biltmore tower has brought 464 new apartments and an influx of wealthier tenants to a corner where abandoned tenements stood. It adds to the growing sense of gigantism along the Eighth Avenue, to which The New York Times Company will contribute with the 776-foot headquarters it plans to build seven blocks to the south.

    "It's nice to see the theater rehabbed, but what's the cost?" asked John Fisher of the Clinton Special District Coalition, which opposed the project. Addressing his own question, he cited the displacement of small businesses and affordable apartments, a greater strain on the infrastructure and a loss of daylight. "The Biltmore is yet another example of how they're dismantling the neighborhood, piece by piece," Mr. Fisher said.

    Councilwoman Christine Quinn, whose support of the Biltmore project was deemed crucial by advocates and opponents, said, "That building could have been too tall and too large from the get-go without the public getting any artistic or theatrical benefit.

    "Given that reality, it seemed reasonable to say, `Let's let it get bigger' and get a tremendous amount of money dedicated to rehabilitating a landmarked Broadway theater, to take an unused and practically condemned building and make it a beautiful, shining light on Broadway."

    As part of its deal with the Manhattan Theater Club, the developers provided $15 million in financing: $10.35 million as an advance on construction costs that is to be paid back with interest and $4.65 million as a contribution. On repaying the advance, the theater club can buy the auditorium for $1.

    "When we started the project, we needed somebody to front-end the money," said Peter J. Solomon, chairman of the Manhattan Theater Club. Before donors make good on their pledges, in other words, construction costs have to be met.

    With financing in hand, followed by $12 million from the board, $6.4 million from the city and gifts from other foundations and individuals, the theater club was able to reclaim the Biltmore, a goal that had eluded owners and lessees since the 945-seat theater closed in 1987 along with the musical "Stardust." Later that year a fire was set inside the auditorium.

    Within a year scavengers and derelicts were entering and leaving the theater with impunity. And with chandeliers and wall fixtures.

    The theater club was one of the prospective tenants that decided against the Biltmore in those lean years. "I was concerned that it wouldn't be hospitable to new works," said Lynne Meadow, the artistic director. The auditorium was too long and narrow, with a deep balcony overhang.

    What changed things was an idea by Duncan R. Hazard, a principal in the Polshek firm, to move the rear wall closer to the stage by as much as 20 feet and eliminate 295 seats. (His experience at the theater club dates to 1971 when, as an aspiring actor, he appeared in "All Through the House," directed by Ms. Meadow.)

    Four broad openings were cut into the central dome. Above them is a network of catwalks supporting the stage lights, eliminating the need for an obtrusive lighting truss suspended in front of the proscenium arch.

    And that, in turn, puts the focus on ornament. About 70 percent of the original plaster, including 6,000 feet of molding and 2,500 square feet of ornamental panels and rosettes, was replaced by EverGreene Painting Studios, which employed 18 plasterers for almost a year.

    The result is an auditorium whose details would be familiar to Herbert J. Krapp, the original architect, and Irwin S. Chanin, who built it. That is a far cry from the theater club's first home, a three-story rabbit warren on East 73rd Street.

    "We'll adjust to what the space demands from us and what we'll demand from the space," Ms. Meadow said. "The theater often tells you what to do, if you listen carefully."

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  11. #26


    Great news about the renovation. I wonder if the new 776 ft height they gave for the Times' tower is to the roof or to the glass panels.

  12. #27


    Derek, thanks for pointing that out.

    Christian, what's the source?

  13. #28


    What do you mean? It's a Times article.

  14. #29
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    West Harlem


    Early August

  15. #30


    :::shakes head:::

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