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Thread: Proposed - Office Tower - 1800 Park Avenue at 125th Street - by Swanke Hayden Connell

  1. #76
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Manhattan - UWS


    Long-awaited hotel

    Harlem Park, a mixed-use development at Park Avenue and East 125th Street with residential and commercial components, is to include the first hotel in Harlem in 40 years. The new developers want to expand the project by buying the entire parcel currently occupied by the owner, the New York College of Podiatric Medicine. The school would then relocate.

    The developers may also replace Marriott, which is designated as the hotel's operator.

    Majic's principle executive, Michael Caridi, will continue to have a development role, according to his lawyer, Michael Bailkin. Sources close to the project say Mr. Caridi's relationship with the college and the community had soured because of the long delay in beginning construction. Earlier this month, Mr. Caridi denied that funding was a problem.

    At a recent community board meeting, Mr. Caridi said he is partnering with two major investors to buy the land from the college.
    Hmm... I wonder if there will be a new design for the tower.

  2. #77


    Village Voice:

    Harlem Shuffle

    by Tom Robbins

    January 31st, 2006 11:08 AM

    Rookie developer Michael Caridi couldn't have asked for better press play when he first announced in 2003 that he would build a soaring new tower containing a Marriott hotel cum office complex in Harlem. Billed as the neighborhood's first major tourist lodging since the legendary Hotel Theresa closed its doors to guests in 1966, the project played big on TV and in the dailies. "Great Stay in Harlem," crowed the Amsterdam News.
    Caridi, 42, told reporters how he had just been driving through the neighborhood when he spotted the big parking lot at the corner of 125th Street and Park Avenue and decided it was the perfect spot for new first-class hotel and office space.

    Last February, Caridi held an elaborate groundbreaking ceremony for Harlem Park, as he dubbed his project. Present were the governor and mayor, as well as Caridi's friend, state economic development chief Charles Gargano. The 42-story, $200 million project was a turning point in Harlem's revitalization, the pols said, and as a gospel chorus sang and cameras flashed, they posed with their ceremonial shovels.

    But there's a reason such groundbreakings are called symbolic. Since then, aside from some test borings to see if the soil was contaminated (it was), the ground for Harlem Park remains undented. Instead there's just the same big sign that was planted in the parking lot back in 2003, tilted toward the Metro-North commuters rushing by on the train tracks above Park Avenue. Alongside a picture of a shimmering glass tower, in the best Trump style, Caridi placed his own name, writ large.

    But that was wishful thinking, Caridi acknowledged last week. Right now, the developer is fighting a felony indictment for having allegedly defrauded the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by failing to pay prevailing wages to workers on a $2.3 million subsidized housing project in Rockland County.

    "That will all be resolved," Caridi told the Voice. "I have done nothing wrong there. Life throws you curveballs. It is tough to always keep your eye on the ball."

    But at the same time, the developer said he will soon sell his interest in Harlem Park—for an undisclosed amount—to a new combine led by real estate giant Vornado Realty Trust, which plans an even larger development. For a man who lost out on his Trump moment, Caridi was remarkably sanguine. "I'm going to come out OK," he said. But the sale comes as grumblings about Caridi's role in the project have grown.

    Several current and former members of the board of trustees of the New York College of Podiatric Medicine on East 124th Street, which leased its parking lot to the builder in an effort to raise money for the fiscally ailing institution, told the Voice that they were troubled about how Caridi, who had never tackled such an ambitious project, became the developer in the first place.

    The project had shortchanged the school, they said, while enriching Caridi, who stands to make millions on the sale of his interest even though, they claimed, he had lacked the requisite finances and experience to handle it.

    "One time I appear at a meeting and he's there. He said he wanted to build a hotel," said Alfred Gerosa, a construction industry executive who stepped down from his post as chairman of the college's board after six years amid disputes with college president Louis Levine, a former state labor commissioner.

    Several trustees said Caridi had quickly let them know that he was good friends with Gargano, the chairman of the Empire State Development Corporation and Pataki's key economic development adviser.

    "His claim was he was friendly with Gargano," said one former trustee who also quit the board and asked not to be identified. "You are going to build a hotel, you don't pick a guy who has never built one. Why tie up property that way? Tie it up with Related, or Trump, or Ratner," he said, invoking three major development firms.

    Bill Perkins, the former city councilman representing Harlem, said that Caridi had also raised Gargano's name when he came to seek council support for a rezoning of the site. "He said, 'Charlie will help me here.' He was very proud of that," recalled Perkins, who opposed the height of the project as out of scale with the community.

    A former Pataki aide said the friendship was no secret: "He's good friends with Charlie."

    But a spokesman for Gargano said that while Harlem Park had received preliminary approval for $5 million in low-interest state loans, that was purely business. "They are professional acquaintances," said spokesman Mark Weinberg. "Mr. Caridi is one of hundreds of businesspeople the chairman has known over the past 11 years."

    Still, the two men were close enough that Caridi's wife invited the chairman to a surprise birthday party at Caridi's Greenwich, Connecticut, home in December 2003, a few weeks after the first Harlem Park announcement. That same month, the builder asked Gargano to another party at a midtown restaurant, La Maganette, owned by Caridi's family.

    Caridi said Gargano didn't attend either party. The builder said he had long admired Gargano, a former ambassador in the Reagan administration and a major Republican fundraiser. "He's a top-notch guy," said Caridi. "We have gotten closer the last couple of years."

    Caridi insisted that he brought plenty of experience to the table, including the renovation of the 600-room Holiday Inn on West 57th Street and the construction of a 200-unit condo in New Jersey. He said he'd won the necessary zoning changes for Harlem Park and completed a design with an acclaimed architect in a relatively short period of time. His problems were the fault of bureaucratic snags and environmental woes, he said. "In a large-scale development there are a lot of different things that occur. This was a complicated job."

    Caridi also insisted that there is no merit to another concern raised by one of the trustees—his family's past brushes with organized crime. In 1998, Caridi's sister Michele, and her husband, Edward "Biff" Halloran, an alleged Genovese crime family associate, were charged in a securities swindle (Michele pleaded guilty; her husband fled). An uncle, Stephen Caridi, went to prison in 2001 after admitting to bribing labor officials who held lavish retreats at the family-owned Friar Tuck Inn in the Catskills.

    "I think our conversation is over," Caridi said when first asked about the issue. But he later got back on the phone to say those problems had nothing to do with him. "I have 10 brothers and sisters. There are doctors and lawyers in my family. Problems happen in life and you figure it out and move on."

    But the builder acknowledged that he had thrown his own curveball when he told reporters the story about his lucky drive-by discovery of the site. While he had often driven past the corner, it wasn't until he was sitting in Levine's college office that the subject of a possible development came up.

    Caridi said he was there to try and sell a new medical device for wound dressings to the school when Levine raised the topic. "He said, 'What else do you do?' I said, 'I do some real estate development.' He said, 'Do you have any ideas for my parking lot?' I said I'd give it some thought."

    Medical equipment is only one of Caridi's many sidelines. "I am an entrepreneur," he said. He also runs an import- export firm seeking to sell bottled water from an Alaskan lake, a firm that packages tours for casino high rollers, and a security guard company. In the 1990s he won a Pentagon contract to dismantle a World War II navy carrier, one of the ships later cited as an environmental danger in India, where it was salvaged for scrap. "That wasn't us. We got accolades from the navy," said Caridi.

    He also got accolades from Levine, who awarded him an honorary degree of podiatric medicine at a ceremony where Pataki and Gargano were present. "I get a lot of awards," said Caridi.

    [b]Levine, who served in the administrations of governors Rockefeller and Carey, declined to talk about his school or its real estate deal. According to Caridi and others, the current plan calls for selling and moving the school's entire campus. "He doesn't feel he's in a position to discuss it," said a spokesman. "It's at a sensitive point."

    Located on East 124th Street since 1927, the school runs a clinic that serves many Harlem residents suffering from diabetes ailments. But it's had a rough time of it in recent years. Its student body has shrunk to less than 300, and in 2004 it agreed to pay $4 million to settle charges brought by Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office that it had improperly allocated costs in seeking Medicaid reimbursements for its clinic.

    Those financial troubles had spurred the interest in leasing the parking lot, trustees said. But they added that Levine had communicated little about his plans until Caridi suddenly appeared at board meetings.

    Board members said they grew more disturbed as details of the project filtered out. In a submission seeking city economic development aid, Caridi indicated he intended to raise a whopping 90 percent of his project costs from government loans and bonds—an unusually large amount. Trustees were also alarmed about the lease Levine signed with Caridi. While the main document, dated January 2003, was a detailed 60 pages allotting the builder a 48-year term on the property, one month later the pair signed a hurriedly hand-scrawled, one-sentence agreement that gave Caridi 51 more years on the deal—with a break in rent.

    "It was a last-minute negotiation," explained Caridi, who said he needed the extra term to make the project more attractive for bank financing.

  3. #78
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Manhattan - UWS


    Harlem real estate project takes a new shape

    Published on August 07, 2006

    A plan for a hotel on 125th Street in Harlem has been scrapped, and the incoming developers of the three-year-old project are making new plans. Vornado Realty, Integrated Holdings and MacFarlane Partners, which are in the process of purchasing the property from Majic Development Group and the New York College of Podiatric Medicine, plan to build a tower with retail and Class A office space. The deal, worked out over the past two weeks, requires approval by the state attorney general's office.

    ©2006 Crain Communications Inc.

  4. #79


    ^ The Harlem Shuffle.

  5. #80
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Manhattan - UWS


    Long-Delayed Tower Scrapped
    Marriott Would Have Been First New Hotel in Harlem in 40 Years

    Sara Vogel
    Posted: 9/6/06

    Columbia students will still have to lodge their parents and friends downtown when they come to town.

    Plans to build a Marriott hotel on 125th Street-the first hotel slated for construction in Harlem in 40 years**-quietly dissolved this August, leaving the site as vacant as it was before the project's 2003 groundbreaking ceremony.

    "As of right now, the issue [of the hotel] is dead," said Christopher Bell of Community Board 11.

    New York real estate giant Majic Development plans to sell the property to another string of developers, Vorando Realty, Integrated Holdings, and MacFarlane Partners, to build office and retail towers, according to an article in Crain's New York Business.

    But community members and leaders are hearing rumors about what the vacant lot near Lexington Avenue will become, and when the construction workers will come back on the scene.

    "Now anyone can come in there to build what they want," said Bill Perkins, a former city council member in Harlem and a candidate for state senate this year.

    Perkins was one of only seven council members to vote against the project. Last week, he said the venture was "never properly financed to begin with."

    The developers of the project made use of a clause in city law which allowed the council to decide to allow high-rise development on just one "spot" of the development, rather than the whole area, Perkins said.

    Majic Development was not contacted upon the printing of this article.

    Now that the plot of land has been re-zoned for high-rises, the developer can sell it with this more lucrative capacity included.

    "They made profit doing nothing," Perkins said. The compromises reached between the developer and the community**-such as bargaining for low-income housing and jobs-may have also gotten lost in the shuffle.

    © Copyright 2006 Columbia Daily Spectator

  6. #81


    Probably an old design (hopefully) by the old developers, Majic Development.

    The Harlem Hotel
    Project Overview
    The 1800 Park Avenue project is a mixed-use, Hotel/Catering/Commercial Office/Retail facility with belowground parking located in the heart of Harlem, New York City. The project will have a massive, positive impact on the Harlem community in both the short and the long term.

    Until recently, most development in the area was centered on the West side of Harlem. Harlem Center, H&M, Harlem USA, and the renovation of the Apollo Theater are all examples of great developments in the 125th Street Corridor that are West of 5th Avenue. This project, in conjunction with other commercial, entertainment and retail developments both planned and built nearby, is leading the way in transforming Harlem into a true Gateway to the City of New York and moving the East side of Harlem into the forefront of investment and development.

    The first component of the development is a two hundred - four room Nationally Flagged hotel. The Harlem Hotel will include all of the facilities and amenities that are necessary for both business travelers and tourists. In addition, when one considers the density of higher education and medical institutions in northern Manhattan (Columbia University, Harlem Hospital, New York-Presbyterian Health Care Network, St. Lukes Roosevelt Hospital, etc.) the Hotel will be able to provide lodging for guest lecturers, prospective students and visiting staff nearby – as opposed to the current process of sending guests to the 52nd Street Sheraton or other hotels in midtown.

    The Hotel will create tremendous opportunities for the community. The Harlem Hotel will generate hundreds of jobs in the Hotel itself while increasing tourist activity and the dollars it will bring to the local businesses. In addition, this Hotel will have a Diversity Program that will work with local businesses, government organizations and individuals to grow both the community as well as the hotel business.

    The second main component of the project is two hundred fifty thousand square feet (250,000 SF) of Class-A office space. This commercial office “anchor” in East Harlem will bring at least a thousand employees to the neighborhood to work, and shop. By patronizing the local neighborhood businesses, employees of the companies who take tenancy will create tremendous economic growth for the small businesses, restaurants and stores in the neighborhood.

    Thirdly, the facility will have a thirty-five thousand square foot (35,000 SF) Event and Catering facility. This is something that is desperately needed to service the Harlem community. There is a limited amount of event/catering space above 96th Street and what little there is available is not capable of handling large-scale affairs. The Catering and restaurant facility will alleviate the current practice of having to go to midtown for events like weddings, sales meetings, press conferences, awards dinners, etc. In addition, the Catering facility will also act as a revenue generator for the Hotel.

    The fourth aspect of the project is fifty thousand (50,000) square feet of retail space with frontage on 125th Street. The developer is currently negotiating with a number of high-end retailers and financial institutions to attract quality tenants that want access to the uptown customer base.

    In addition to the above, the development will have parking for nearly 300 cars below ground. This parking will service the Hotel, Office and commuter.

  7. #82


    Yea, that looks like the original design. I still remember the comments on SP when this was unveiled in an article from the Post (March 5, 2003). Looks like something out of Shenzen and that sort. Fast-forward three and a half years later and it's still a parking lot, too often the story of ambitious nyc developments
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

Name:	East 125th Street Hotel 1  NYPost.jpg 
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  8. #83


    Quote Originally Posted by Derek2k3 View Post
    three and a half years later and it's still a parking lot, too often the story of ambitious nyc developments
    You find this all over New York, but it seems especially hard to get a major project built in Harlem. Why?

  9. #84
    The Dude Abides
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    NYC - Financial District


    Short answer: perceived riskiness by the investors. Need a lot of capital to get a project like that out of the ground.

    It's not that Harlem was asleep at the wheel during the real estate boom. New developments are all over the area. It's just that most of them are relatively small.

  10. #85


    I'd say mostly to zoning. Large market-rate towers are probably seen as instant gentrification and zoning pretty much prevents them. Instead Harlem is slowly gentrifying in a piecemeal fashion through a plethora of small, as-of-right, luxury developments dispersed throughout blocks.

    I only know of a few large developments in Harlem, this project, Uptown NY, East River Plaza, and Columbia's Manhattanville Plan, and they all require(d) city approvals. Affordable housing or some kind of community job provision seem to be a necessity for approval, thus resulting in a time consuming process, that's only marginally profitable in the end.

    111 CPN is the largest as of right, luxury project I know of and notice the uproar it's creating, its saving grace is that it's on CPN.

  11. #86

    Default New Schematic

    This from a friend......I notice it was also posted at Curbed, but without the firm responsible;

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Klein, Roger
    Sent: Monday, October 02, 2006 4:51 PM
    To: The NY Office
    Subject: new project in

    start the schematic design of the tallest building in Harlem. Located at 125th street and Park Ave, the 22 story building (2 retail flrs, 20 office flrs) will be approx. 330' tall. Ground breaking is set for May 2007.

    Be sure to congratulate the team and stop over to the 6th flr studio pin-up area for a viewing of the concept design drawings and finished model (temporary viewing).

    The concept design team is as follows:

    Richard Hayden, Consulting Principal
    Joe Aliotta, Managing Principal
    Roger Klein, Design Principal
    Doug Streeter, Consulting Principal
    Guy Saint Arnaud, Senior Designer
    Dominic Walbridge
    Joe Boyle
    Elena Ranjeva
    John Davis
    Dustin Furseth
    Sun Ju Valenta, consulting planner

    Swanke Hayden Connell Ltd.

  12. #87

  13. #88


    Oddly, all the text from the email didn't transfer, it says in full:

    "(sic) start the schematic design of the tallest building in Harlem. Located at 125th street and Park Ave, the 22 story building (2 retail flrs, 20 office flrs) will be approx. 330' tall. Ground breaking is set for May 2007.
    Be sure to congratulate the team and stop over to the 6th flr studio pin-up area for a viewing of the concept design drawings and finished model (temporary viewing)."

    "The design team is as follows:"

    and then the blue text of names posted above

  14. #89


    Looks ok so far. It will always have that baggage of what could have been though. We went from an elegant 550 foot tower to 22 stories of bulk. I wouldn't be surprised if it became 8 stories of low-income housing. Stay tuned..

  15. #90
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    Things appear to be finally moving forward for this site.

    New plans are announced (I going to post only relevant excerpts from a very lengthy NY Sun article):

    The Fourth Harlem: Commercial Development

    Construction on a joint venture at 1800 Park Ave.
    between 124th and 125th streets in East Harlem,
    headed by Vornado Realty Trust, is expected to begin
    in April. The new tower, to be built on a parking lot
    owned by the New York College of Podiatric Medicine,
    foreground, will include an office and retail center.

    December 7, 2006

    Call it the Fourth Harlem: the Harlem of commercial real estate. If you want to know how lively it is, ask Vornado Realty Trust, one of the largest owners, managers, and developers of commercial real estate — and, The New York Sun has learned, the entity heading a joint venture scheduled to build Class A office space north of 96th Street.

    Earlier this week, I wrote about the Three Harlems — east, west, and central — and what is happening in residential real estate. The story of the Fourth Harlem is also full of action.

    Construction on the joint venture project headed by Vornado Realty Trust is scheduled to begin in April. It involves a mixed-use Class A office and retail center in East Harlem. The Vornado real estate portfolio in New York City comprises 18.3 million square feet of office space in 42 office buildings.

    The new tower in East Harlem will be on a parking lot owned by the New York College of Podiatric Medicine at 1800 Park Ave. between 124th and 125th streets. The site is directly across the street from the 125th Street Metro-North rail station and one block from the Lexington Avenue subway station.

    According to title records, the joint venture of Vornado Realty Trust, Integrated Holdings, and MacFarlane Partners paid $20 million to the leaseholder that had entered into an agreement with the college in 2003. The joint venture will pay an undisclosed sum to acquire the land before closing.

    Industry leaders estimate that the price will be approximately $40 million; therefore, the total cost of the land is $60 million.

    In January 2003, the college entered into a 48-year land lease with 1800 Park Avenue LLC, an entity controlled by Michael Caridi that had planned to develop Harlem Park, a mixed-use complex that would have featured 250,000 square feet of office space, a 204-room Marriott Courtyard Hotel, a spa, restaurants, a 35,000-square-foot event facility, 62,000 square feet of retail space, 100 residential units, and a parking garage.

    Speaking at my class at the New York University Real Estate Institute this week, the president of Vornado Office, David Greenbaum, said: "We are planning to build a mixed-use, 600,000 square building, comprised of approximately 500,000 square of Class A office, 100,000 square of retail, and underground parking." He added that "rents in the tower will be approximately 40% less expensive than any new office tower in Midtown Manhattan."

    "This tower will provide a benefit package which is very attractive to our company and tenants, which will aid in the reduction of our costs and of the rents paid by our tenants. The net rent for a new tenant after credits and abatement of taxes is in the range of $43 per square foot as compared to $80 to $100 for similar property in Midtown," Mr. Greenbaum said.

    These credits and exemption programs include an Industrial and Commercial Incentive Program abatement of property taxes for up to 25 years, which reduces the cost of operation by about $25 a square foot for the first 16 years; a Relocation and Employment Assistance Program, a savings of about $10 to $12 a square foot for tenants, and a Brownfield redevelopment tax credit available for the cleanup and redevelopment of a qualified Brownfield site.

    "The building would the tallest building in Harlem, and can offer a tenant a branding opportunity," Mr. Greenbaum said. "We have been talking to a number of tenants who are interested in branding the location as their corporate headquarters." Over the years, a number of companies have considered relocation to Harlem, including Black Entertainment Television. A number of government agencies and nonprofits have also expressed interest in relocating its offices to the tower.

    Major retailers are interested in the retail component of the building, which may include a Nike store, a Starbucks, and a food component to serve both office tenants and the community.

    "We made a great mistake that we did not go to Harlem five years ago for commercial and residential development," the managing partner of Apollo Real Estate Advisors, Richard Mack, said. "It is a natural extension of the Upper West and Upper East Side."

    "Harlem is an excellent alternative to a company relocating to Jersey City or Long Island City, excellent transportation and infrastructure," the president and chief executive of Cushman & Wakefield, Bruce Mosler, said.

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

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