I know it was originally built for the PA, bt something about it suggests hospital.
I haven't interacted with this building much, but from what little impression I have of it (first hand), it struck me as an big, unremarkable, institutional block of bricks.
I know it was originally built for the PA, bt something about it suggests hospital.
111 Eighth Avenue (originally called the Union Inland Terminal No. 1) is indeed a huge load of bricks, with loading docks along most of the north and south sides at West 15th & 16th. It was built as a warehouse & distribution center at a location close to where goods were brought into NYC at the working piers along the west side and by the surface railroad lines that ran up and down Tenth Avenue.
This building sits just outside the NE corner of the Gansevoort Market Historic District; from the Designation Report[/URL] [pdf] (P. 17):
The Meatpacking District, 1928-70
... The Port of New York Authority built the Union Inland Terminal No. 1 (1931-32, Abbott, Merkt & Co.), a unified truck-rail terminal (modeled functionally after the Starrett-Lehigh Building) ...
It's now been re-purposed for modern uses. About 10 years ago they cleaned it all up, and restored much of the decorative brass & stone work. It's all fairly simple with a utilitarian look, but fans of art deco might want to take a closer look.
More from a comparison of the gross size of 111 Eighth and the Empire State Building ...
The difference between a structure's built square footage and useable square footage can mean either the luxury penthouse or the bankruptcy doghouse for developers of commercial and residential real estate.
This gap becomes a particularly wide chasm to bridge in the case of the Empire State Building (and many of its statuesque brethren) because of an irrefutable law of skyscraper design. The higher you build, the more floor space gets gobbled up by utilities, particularly by elevators and emergency staircases.
The square footage devoted to an elevator not only affects the lobby where the ride begins, but is subtracted, floor after floor, from every story of rentable office space the elevator serves. The Empire State Building is packed with 76 of these floor-space omnivores. In fact, roughly 25 percent of each floor of the Empire State Building's slender tower is devoted to elevator shafts and access. Useable floor space is further eroded by the before-mentioned stairways, as well as by rest rooms, hallways, utility closets, ductwork, plumbing, and conduits for electrical and telecommunications lines.
111 Eighth Avenue by comparison is served by about half the number of elevators. Multiply that by just 17 floors, and the amount of floor space lost to these people movers is only about one sixth the space lost in the Empire State.
Other factors come into play to explain why 111 Eighth Avenue should be the new home of the Very Large Corporation of America.
Sprawling over an entire city block of Chelsea like a beached whale, 111 Eighth Avenue originally was a giant warehouse for the Port of New York Authority. Officially dubbed the Commerce Building, it was also known as the Union Inland Terminal No. 1. It was completed in 1932, just a year after the then world's tallest skyscraper, the Empire State Building, opened for business.
Both structures enclosed enormous amounts of commercial space when completed, but in configurations that were very different.
Lusby Simpson, the architect of 111 Eighth Avenue, built property line to property line, stacking 17 floors, most of them larger than two football fields, one on top of the other. As most of the building was primarily warehouse space, human amenities were of little concern.
The Empire State Building by contrast had to be convenient and comfortable for thousands of office workers destined to use it. The firm of Shreve Lamb & Harmon started with half a block of valuable Midtown real estate and built upwards, 85 floors of rentable office space in all.
So how is it that 111 Eighth Avenue is the better buy for the Very Large Corporation of America? Putting it another way: Although 111 Eighth Avenue has a footprint twice the size of the Empire State Building, how can 111 Eighth Avenue offer more floor space if it's only one fifth as tall?
The key is a New York City zoning law passed in 1916 that requires setbacks for multistory structures whose footprint fully occupies the building lot. This measure was passed to prevent greedy developers from overbuilding a site, turning the street into a dark, airless canyon. A complex formula was created so designers can calculate the required frequency and size of those setbacks. Generally speaking, the taller the structure, the more architects have to push the walls away from the sidewalks to let sunlight reach street level.
Although this zoning law applied to both buildings in our example, its provisions were far more restrictive on the Empire State Building designers. For instance, the square footage of each story between the 30th and 71st floors is only 30 percent the floor space of the first five stories, a 70 percent reduction. The effect is a slender tower resting atop a wedding-cake-like base, an elegant profile and commodious to street life, but murder on the total rentable space.
Another consideration was the necessity to limit floor size so that each office had at least one exterior wall with a window for illumination and ventilation. This was essential in the days before fluorescent lighting and air conditioning. In fact, pencil-thin skyscrapers were the norm of pre-Depression New York primarily for this reason. Compare those towers to the steroidal, hermetically-sealed, air-conditioned skyscrapers possible in the last half of the 20th Century.
The crates of goods stored in the Port Authority's warehouse needed little illumination and ventilation. Today's office workers using these same floors can do so thanks to modular office equipment, modern ventilation systems, effective artificial lighting, and the relatively cheap energy that makes these vast spaces habitable.
HERE is some info (with photos), from POPULAR SCIENCE June 1932, on how they supplied concrete to 111 Eighth during construction.
The first exhibit in the Port Authority's newly opened Inland Union Terminal, aka the Port of New York Authority Commerce Building, was Henry Ford's industrial exhibition, the Ford Exposition of Progress. The Exposition opened in December 1933 - on the same day the new building was dedicated - and displayed the 1934 models from Ford, several weeks in advance of the industry's traditional January introductions. Total attendance for the event -- free to the public in the midst of the Depression -- was 2,298,000 and claimed by the PA to be a "world's record for a single event."
A newspaper report from the time ...
Bryant Park Finds Bright Spots Amid the Gloom
By JULIE SATOW
When the technical school Katharine Gibbs shut its doors last year at 50 West 40th Street, it appeared to be another blow for the tiny Bryant Park office submarket. The blocks that bracket the 9.6-acre park were already facing the partial departure of HSBC, a longtime anchor tenant; a largely vacant landmarked office tower; and the fire sale of a stalled development site.
But there are bright spots: The City University of New York is awaiting final approvals for a 10-year lease to install its first new community college in more than 30 years at the 91,000-square-foot building that once housed Katharine Gibbs. The school is paying roughly $55 a square foot. And the new 55-story, 2.1-million-square-foot Bank of America tower opened this year at One Bryant Park, at 42nd Street and Avenue of the Americas.
The Bryant Park submarket — from West 42nd Street to West 40th Street, from Fifth Avenue to Avenue of the Americas — has certainly felt the reverberations of the real estate crash. HSBC Bank USA sold its building at 452 Fifth Avenue at the corner of West 40th Street and plans to vacate 300,000 square feet of space in April.
Farther west on 40th Street, the real estate investment firm Savanna bought the landmarked Springs Mills Building in August and is now trying to lease the 60 percent that is vacant. And at the site of a parking garage at 14-20 West 40th, the developer Ziel Feldman is hoping to resuscitate a hotel project that was a victim of the downturn.
CUNY’s new community college is expected to open in 2012, according to Michael Arena, the university’s director of communications and marketing. In the meantime, it will be used for administrative offices for the college and its School for Professional Studies. Eric Hadar, chairman of Allied Partners, the landlord of 50 West 40th Street, declined to comment on the CUNY lease, as did Howard J. Kesseler Jr., an executive managing director at Newmark Knight Frank, who represented CUNY.
Bryant Park itself has had its share of difficulties. The park has been a burial ground, an encampment for the Union Army and a four-acre artificial lake. By the late 1970s it was plagued by drugs and crime, until a master revitalization plan was started. The park reopened in 1992 and established itself as the home to Fashion Week for nearly two decades, a luncheon spot for Midtown office workers and the site of seasonal outdoor movies and ice skating.
The office market emerged in 2004 when the Durst Organization broke ground on the Bank of America skyscraper, designed by Cook & Fox. Equity Office Properties Trust followed that with a $250 million plan to reclad the former Verizon Building across 42nd Street at 1095 Avenue of the Americas.
The two towers anchored the neighborhood, said Craig L. Reicher, a vice chairman of CB Richard Ellis. “Now the area is certainly considered its own market,” he said.
With Grand Central to the east and Times Square to the west, Bryant Park “is a tweener location,” said Christopher Macke, a senior real estate strategist at the CoStar Group. “It doesn’t have the same cachet as the Plaza District, say, but if you are looking for good proximity to the trains and a little cheaper rent, it is an excellent choice.”
Despite its apparent appeal, there have been some setbacks. In April, HSBC completed a $330 million sale-leaseback of its headquarters building to a group of developers, including Midtown Holdings and Koor Industries, which is based in Israel. Under the deal, the bank leased back floors one through 11 for 10 years, and floors 12 through 30 for one year. On April 30, HSBC’s one year lease will expire.
Marketing for the 300,000 square feet of HSBC offices began this month, said Mr. Reicher, who was handling the leasing. “We have selectively taken some people through the space already,” he said. The asking rents range from the high $60s a square foot to the high $80s.
The HSBC building also has 24,000 square feet of retail, and a deal is near for a Staples office supply store to move in, said brokers familiar with the transaction who were not authorized to speak publicly.
The 21-story Springs Mills Building has about 150,000 square feet of vacancy. Savanna paid $61.7 million for the 210,000-square-foot building at 104 West 40th Street, including $46 million for a defaulted loan with a face value of $55 million.
“We want to rent up the building relatively quickly,” said Christopher Schlank, a managing partner of Savanna. “We don’t want to stick around for every last penny but would rather make good money and move on.” The firm hopes to sell the building in three to five years, Mr. Schlank said.
The building has contiguous space available on floors two through 10 with a separate entrance on West 39th Street, as well as two 6,600-square-foot prebuilt spaces in the tower. In the hopes of attracting tenants, Savanna is asking rents from $48 a square foot to the mid-$60s. No average asking rents are available for the submarket, but average rents in the Avenue of the Americas/Rockefeller Center and Times Square South submarkets are $63.05 a square foot and $41.07 a square foot, respectively, according to CB Richard Ellis.
Nearly 660,000 square feet is at risk of becoming vacant over the next several months in the Bryant Park vicinity, according to the CoStar Group. This includes 138,000 square feet that the CIT Group is subleasing at 505 Fifth Avenue, the Jones Group’s 263,000-square-foot lease at 1411 Broadway that expires in January, and the Girl Scouts of America’s 178,500 square foot lease at 420 Fifth Avenue, which also ends in January. In February, Yahoo Labs New York’s 76,000 square-foot-lease expires at 1065 Avenue of the Americas.
Despite these looming vacancies, the ability to buy property at bargain prices is attracting buyers. This summer, the HFZ Capital Group acquired the site of a stalled hotel and condominium development at 14-20 West 40th Street. Ascent Real Estate Advisors had planned a 31-story building, including a 150-room hotel and 60 condominium units, but it defaulted on its mortgage. HFZ paid $41 million for the mortgage and $5 million for the deed, said Ziel Feldman, the managing principal of HFZ.
Mr. Feldman said he had received offers from hotel companies interested in a flagship, and added that he was considering doing only a hotel project and forgoing condominiums.
The area is ripe for hotel development, said Faith Hope Consolo, chairwoman of the retail leasing, marketing and sales division at Prudential Douglas Elliman. She pointed to the Setai Fifth Avenue that opened this month at 37th Street and the Andaz 5th Avenue that opened at 41st Street this summer.
The new CUNY lease is part of a larger strategy for Allied Partners. The company has spent the last decade acquiring surrounding air rights and buildings, including the acquisition this summer of 54 West 40th Street. With close to 300,000 square feet of developable space, Allied Partners is working with the British architect Norman Foster on the design for a mixed-use project that would build on top of 54 West 40th and cantilever to the 50 West 40th Street building. Construction, however, is unlikely to take place for a number of years.
Google Signs Deal to Buy Manhattan Office Building
By CHARLES V. BAGLI
December 2, 2010
In the biggest real estate deal of the year, Google signed a contract on Thursday to buy one of the largest office buildings in Manhattan for more than $1.8 billion, according to two real estate executives who have been briefed on the deal.
Google put down a “substantial deposit” on the 15-story building at 111 Eighth Avenue, just north of the meatpacking district, and is expected to close the sale by the end of the year, said the executives, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the deal.
The contract not only signals a rebounding real estate market, at least for office buildings full of high-profile tenants paying good rents, but also reflects a vote of confidence by an expanding technology firm in New York City.
“This decision is further evidence that large-scale buildings are trading once again,” said Ross Moskowitz, a real estate lawyer at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and a former city economic development official, “and high-end users are looking to take advantage of these opportunities.”
The brick building, which covers an entire block bound by 15th and 16th Streets, already houses Google’s East Coast headquarters and 1,800 employees, as well as Lifetime Entertainment, barnesandnoble.com, Nike USA and Deutsch advertising.
But at 2.9 million square feet, it has more space than the Empire State Building and plenty of room for Google to grow.
The current owners — the New York State Common Retirement Fund; Jamestown, a German investment group; and Taconic Investment Partners — put the building on the auction block in September, hoping to attract foreign investors, private equity firms and other companies scouring the market for investment opportunities.
Douglas Harmon, the broker who handled the sale, snared a dozen bidders. But Google moved quickly to pre-empt other potential buyers and entered exclusive negotiations with the owners. On Thursday, both sides signed the contract.
Both the sturdy brick building, which has 15-foot ceilings and unobstructed views, and the neighborhood have undergone a remarkable transformation. The structure was built by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 1932 for port-related businesses.
Taconic and its partners bought the property in 1998 and began stocking the building with telecom companies like Verizon and Sprint and later Deutsch advertising. Taconic is expected to continue managing the property.
As meatpackers moved out of the neighborhood to the south they were replaced by galleries, fashion houses and expensive shops.
January 24, 2011 1:23 PM
Nassau Street site gets 32% price cut
Vacant lot with 169,000 square feet of buildable space is priced at $29 million. The sale is seen as part of a broader effort by owner Rena Shulsky to trim her real estate portfolio in the city.
By Amanda Fung
A downtown Manhattan development site a block south of Pace University and close to the new Fulton Street transit hub is up for grabs, for $29 million.
The block-through vacant lot located at 115-117 Nassau St. is owned by Rena Shulsky, an environmental activist who has a large amount of real estate holdings in Manhattan, according to public city records. It's unclear why Ms. Shulsky is selling the site, which is zoned for as much as 169,000 square feet of buildable space, but according to published reports she has slowly been divesting some of her real estate holdings. Last year, she sold her Fifth Avenue penthouse duplex, which followed the sale of the landmarked office building 5 Beekman St. a few years earlier.
Nick Petkoff, a first vice president of brokerage Massey Knakal Realty Services, who is exclusively marketing the site, declined to confirm its owner. But he noted that the asking price is $170 per buildable square foot, which is 32% below its original asking price a year ago, before Mr. Petkoff took over marketing the site.
“People are showing interest,” said Mr. Petkoff, who has sent out information to more than 20 interested buyers. “In just the first week of marketing there is a lot of activity.
The market is recovering.”
The vacant lot is zoned for residential and commercial use and could end up with anything from student housing to an office building, according to Mr. Petkoff. Any property built at the site “will have a great view of City Hall Park,” he added.
Last year, he sold the notes for two development sites in the area at prices slightly below the asking price for this lot. It costs more for note purchasers to take possession of the land so the additional cost is factored into the sale of notes, he explained.
Additionally, last year Mr. Petkoff sold 140 William St., a 56,000-buildable-square-foot
vacant property, for $11.5 million, or $200 per buildable square feet.
“We priced this site at a very reasonable price based on our previous sales in a much more challenging 2010 environment,” said Mr. Petkoff.
Apple Plans Biggest Store in Transit Core—But How?
By Laura Kusisto
February 17, 2011 | 4:17 p.m
NYC Subway News
Trusty real estate sources told The Observer a couple of weeks ago that Apple wants to open a store in Grand Central. Now the blog Cult of Mac has confirmed the news with a source close to the company and reports that the world's largest Mac shack is coming to the Beaux Arts landmark.
The company has been tight-lipped thus far, although one source close to the deal did confirm the rumor for us last week. The store will likely open in early September, according to the tech blog.
But here's the real kicker: If this is, indeed, the world's largest Apple store, it will have to top 16,000 square feet. As anyone who's played dodge-the-tourist in Grand Central knows, there's not a lot of open space in the transport hub. To The Observer's eye the only way this tasteful store could fit would be if they combine major retail spaces like the Rite Aid, Posman Books and Pylones. The Cult's source notes that the process could involve tearing down walls, which won't make preservationists happy.
When we spoke with the MTA, they said all prospective tenants have to undergo an extensive public approval process so there are still big hurdles to overcome before this Apple is in the basket.
Apple Wants Balconies for Grand Central Megastore
Friday, February 18, 2011, by Joey Arak
Yesterday's confirmation that Apple is planning a store in that most treasured of New York landmarks, Grand Central Terminal, left many asking the same question: How?
Team Jobs wants to plant its biggest store yet in Grand Central, but with the transportation hub's retail carved up into tiny spaces, and preservationists lurking around every corner, it's not clear where the latest Genius Bar would go.
Today the Post drops the first clue: Word is that Métrazur, Charlie Palmer's restaurant on the east balcony facing the main concourse, will fall to Apple's sword. And Apple also has its eye on the vacant northeast balcony next to Michael Jordan's Steakhouse.
Construction is expected to begin in May, so the full iPlan should be revealed by the time you can get an AT&T iPhone to connect a call to a friend to discuss these exciting details.
· New Apple Store will be 'Grand' [NYP]
· Grand Central Terminal to Get World's Largest Apple Store [Curbed]
The block-long site on Fifth Ave between 13 and 14 St has been cleared and they're working on the foundation.
NB permit says it'll be a 17-story school.
Anybody able to read this full article from today at WSJ?
Fewer Towers on Horizon
I'm curious what they say, seeing as how we're seeing an uptick in skyscrapers compared to two years ago and there are some big one in the works.
I saw but couldn't read the whole article but it seems like there are more now than in the past few years. 1wtc, 4wtc, drake, carnegie etc
Puts into perspective just how much wealth our region has...
NY's top public companies are roaring back
Crain's list shows a collective 75% spike in income last year for the region's 250 largest public businesses. The group's $2.44 trillion-with-a-T market cap is now so big that it rivals the GDP of France.