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Thread: Financial District Residential Conversions

  1. #1

    Default Financial District Residential Conversions

    From Newsday

    At home on Wall Street
    Developers are converting old office buildings into luxurious new residences


    BY PRADNYA JOSHI
    STAFF WRITER

    October 15, 2004


    Some of Wall Street's most notable takeovers these days involve office buildings being converted to residential space.

    Battery Park City and many developments east of City Hall have long been home to residential properties. But the marquee addresses on Wall Street itself have been more often homes to brokerage firms, insurance companies and banks rather than homes for lawyers, entrepreneurs -- and even models.

    "We never initially thought of it as a place to live," said Kerry Morgan, 18, who just moved to the city from Buffalo to work as a model. But after looking "everywhere" in the city with her roommate, including the East Village and Stuyvesant Town, she and her roommate settled on The Crest at 63 Wall St.

    "For the money, you get more than you could at other places," Morgan said of her one-bedroom that she's sharing for $2,525 a month.

    Now, kitchen appliances are taking over where trading floors once stood. Boardrooms have given way to pool halls. And bank vaults have been changed over to bicycle-storage sheds.

    Sure, there still may be psychological drawbacks to making your home on a storied street that is the nexus of American capitalism. But residents say they hardly notice the near-lockdown security barricades near the neighboring New York Stock Exchange or that the nearest full-scale grocery store is five to seven blocks away.

    A catchy address

    And the cachet of "living on Wall Street" certainly impresses family and friends.

    "People think I live at the Exchange," joked Jose Medina, 22, who works for an investment bank in Midtown and shares with three friends a three-bedroom converted into a four-bedroom for $4,220 a month at 45 Wall St. "It has a nice aura to it."

    Timia Flanagan, 32, an attorney who lives downtown with her husband, Brian, said restaurants do close earlier and grocery stores are farther away than in other neighborhoods. But the "apartments were bigger" downtown.

    And residents find their own way around these issues. "Fresh Direct makes it easier," said Monica Shaw, 33, referring to the online grocery-delivery service. And she says she would definitely be paying a lot more for amenities such as a 24-hour doorman and wireless Internet access in the common room if she lived on the trendy Upper West Side.

    "This was the first place I looked at and I really liked it," said Shaw, an attorney who commutes 45 minutes to Secaucus, N.J., every day.

    The reason for the transformation: economics. Only about one-third of the available downtown space is considered "class A," or top-quality, commercial space. The class B and C office space has older heating systems, lower ceilings and less space per floor compared with newer office space. Therefore, many landlords are finding it hard to even cover their costs for the lower-end office space, said M. Myers Mermel, chief executive officer of TenantWise Inc., a real-estate investment firm.

    But the changeover to residential should help revitalize downtown, he said.

    "It takes these archaic office buildings off the market," Mermel said.

    Those who own commercial buildings on the Street also applaud the transformation because residents will attract more services, shops and transportation.

    Changing the neighborhood

    "It's going to only enhance and improve the commercial population that's there," said Kent Swig, principal in Swig Burris Equities, which owns the office buildings 44 and 48 Wall St.

    The new construction hasn't been without growing pains. For instance, the tenants of 45 Wall St. were kicked out in early 2001 after the city decided to take the building over to help expand the New York Stock Exchange. But when that deal fell through after the terrorist attacks, the building reopened in early 2003 for rentals again. Now, it's 99 percent full, said Charles Singer, director of market research for Rockrose Development Corp.

    It's not just bankers and brokers seeing Wall Street as a destination neighborhood. Only about 25 percent of the residents in 63 Wall St. are in the financial industry, according to Citi Habitats, the building's exclusive agent.

    Going for the gold

    Some of the opulence of the new buildings is astounding. The Crest at 63 Wall St. is converting its second-floor space, where rows of bank-teller windows once stood, into a grand lounge for residents that will include games, a pool table and a 25-seat movie screening room. The units have marble baths with custom-made modern fixtures.

    The residences at 45 Wall have, among other things, several private offices and conference tables for business use by tenants.

    The condominium development at 23 Wall St. that was at one time a monument to financier J.P. Morgan Jr. is being re-christened "Downtown by Starck" and will have lavish amenities, including a rooftop park, basketball courts and indoor pool (yes, in downtown Manhattan). And architect Philippe Starck has been hired to put in special touches such as updating a Swarovski crystal chandelier that stood at the entrance.

    "There's never been product like this in New York," said Bret Bobo, chief operating officer for the conceptual-design firm Yoo Ltd., which, along with developer A.I. & Boymelgreen, is spending $210 million to convert 23 Wall into condos.

    The Sunshine Group, the exclusive leasing agent, says that 69 percent of the available units already have been sold. The remaining units are being offered for $595,000 to more than $3 million.

    Developers have had to preserve many of the historic traits of the buildings. For instance, The Crest has modernized much of the interior of the former offices of the investment bank Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., which has stayed downtown but relocated to 140 Broadway.

    Mailboxes and a concierge desk have taken over where elevator banks stood. And the fixtures and wood paneling have a post-modern look. But designers still had to preserve the terra-cotta floors, the marble finishes and the building's pillars, said Jack Berman, principal at Metro Loft Management.

    In fact, 63 Wall is still a work in progress. For instance, the top floors are still being converted to exclusive penthouses, and remodeling continues in the lobby and game room. But construction is expected to be done before the end of the year, Berman said.

    "There's no such thing as a bad neighborhood in Manhattan anymore," Berman said. "Everything is turning residential."

  2. #2
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    New Opening Bell in FiDi

    Stalled Residential Projects in Financial District Are Revived; Curb the Swagger

    By CRAIG KARMIN


    Revived residential projects in the Financial District include 20 Pine St., where vault doors lead to the pool.

    Busted condominium developments are coming back to life in Manhattan's Financial District, which saw its rebirth as a residential area stymied by the downturn.
    The recession hit just as about two dozen luxury developments were hitting the market or under way. Several boasted of high-end amenities like swimming pools or golf simulators, or sponsored marketing parties that featured entertainers like singer John Legend.

    FiDi's Residential Resurgence

    View Slideshow

    Many projects have sat half-empty or unfinished for long stretches. In recent weeks, a number of lenders and developers have taken steps to get them rolling again.
    But as the neighborhood known as "FiDi" emerges from the downturn, it's showing less swagger than what developers once envisioned.

    The new owners of William Beaver House, for instance, are slashing condo prices. The creditors of the Setai Wall Street are selling their defaulted loan, a move expected to help closings resume there. The lenders to 25 Broad Street are foreclosing on the property, paving the way for converting it to rentals.

    "People in the Financial District got a little over-ambitious, both in terms of prices and concepts," says Frederick Peters, president of Warburg Realty. He said some developers became so obsessed with luxury amenities, they lost site of such basics as floor plans. "You can't sell amenities and not the unit," he says.

    The Financial District's residential community has been growing since the mid-1990s when the city began offering tax incentives to developers who converted obsolete office property into apartment buildings. The neighborhood's population has doubled since 2001 to 55,000, according to a 2010 survey that the Alliance for Downtown New York did of Manhattan south of Chambers Street.

    Detractors complain FiDi still lacks services like large grocery stores, and that condos converted from office buildings often have small kitchens, obstructed views and unorthodox layouts. Fans point to new schools, the expansion of the Fulton Street subway station and a growing variety of restaurants.



    "It's very popular with young professionals or investors who have no trouble finding people to rent their apartments," says Ariel Cohen, a Prudential Douglas Elliman broker who is active in the Financial District.

    The area's average household income was $188,000 in 2009, the survey found (though that slipped from $242,000 in 2007). Luxury retailers like Hermès and boutique hotels like Hyatt's Andaz have rushed in.

    The city's tax incentives have expired but developers have continued to be lured by the high income of workers in the area as well as its stately architecture and cobblestone streets. The neighborhood added 6,000 residential units since 2007, the Downtown Alliance said. The new supply became a glut, leaving a number of ambitious projects in limbo or dead.

    In one of the most ambitious, developer Kent Swig teamed up with Robert De Niro with plans for a 62-story condo and hotel, plus a Nobu restaurant and 13,000 square feet of retail space. The developer defaulted, and the site, at 45 Broad St., is currently an empty lot. The estate of Lehman Brothers Holdings is in the process of foreclosing on the property, say people familiar with the matter.

    Other troubled developments, however, are faring better. Lehman is foreclosing on another Swig building at 25 Broad St., a 1902 office building that was converted to rentals and then, by Mr. Swig to condos.

    Lehman is expected to complete the foreclosure process as early as the spring and hopes to rent out units this year. New construction on the building facade, heating and air-condition system have restarted, say people familiar with the project.

    Mr. Swig declined to comment on his buildings, saying, "FiDi is a prime destination for both New Yorkers and world visitors alike."
    CIM Group, a Los Angeles-based real-estate investor, last month bought the debt and then took control of 209 unsold condo units at William Beaver House. Public documents show that the new owners have cut asking prices—some by more than 20%—while aiming to rent most of the unsold apartments.

    At the Setai Wall Street, Anglo Irish Bank Corp. is looking for a buyer for a $147 million construction loan that's in default. While sales of about 40% of the building's units have closed, the New York attorney general halted additional closings until it gets more information about the project's financing. Brokers hope that the imminent loan's sale will enable closings to resume.

    Two buildings developed by Africa Israel USA are also in better shape after a tough stretch. At 20 Pine St., the former J.P. Morgan building, more than 90% of the 406 condos are either closed or in contract, says Lori Ordover, a consultant to the developer.

    A majority of those sales came after the developer took control of the project from its partner Shaya Boymelgreen and cut prices substantially: units sold for an average of $1,100 to $1,200 a square foot during the boom, while some have gone for $700 to $800 a square foot more recently. Fourteen of the buyers haven't been able to close. "We're trying to resolve legal issues so they are available for resale," she says.

    Africa Israel turned away numerous hedge-fund offers for bulk sales at $500 a square foot during the worst of the market, Ms. Ordover said.

    Africa Israel's other project, the District on Fulton Street, recently sold the last of its 163 condo units, says Ms. Ordover.

    In another sign of the times, Africa Israel has brought in Warburg as the agent of 20 Pine to replace Michael Shvo, a residential broker closely associated with the condo boom and celebrity-collaborations.

    Mr. Shvo said the relationship with the 20 Pine developers ended on a previously agreed-upon date, and that he sold condos there at record prices.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...Tabs%3Darticle

  3. #3
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    The Financial District Is Back, But Without Its Swagger

    By Matt Chaban



    One of the great creations of the real estate boom was "FiDi." As many old office buildings grew obsolete, instead of tearing down the historic warren of grand towers surrounding Wall Street, developers, with the city's encouragement, began converting them into apartments. The Financial District became, well, the Residential District.

    Yet, just as traders played fast and loose with CDOs and CDSs, developers did not think through many of their new projects, a good deal of which came online just as the market was collapsing. They, like many a bank account these days, have been largely empty ever since. The Journal reports today that a number of Financial District projects are beginning to come back to life, even as FiDi is "showing less swagger than what developers once envisioned."
    The new owners of William Beaver House, for instance, are slashing condo prices. The creditors of the Setai Wall Street are selling their defaulted loan, a move expected to help closings resume there. The lenders to 25 Broad Street are foreclosing on the property, paving the way for converting it to rentals.
    "People in the Financial District got a little over-ambitious, both in terms of prices and concepts," says Frederick Peters, president of Warburg Realty. He said some developers became so obsessed with luxury amenities, they lost site of such basics as floor plans. "You can't sell amenities and not the unit," he says.
    But heck! Who needs windows when you have a lap pool inside an old bank vault?

    http://www.observer.com/2011/real-es...st-its-swagger

  4. #4
    Fearless Photog RoldanTTLB's Avatar
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    Talk about a resurrection! The building my office is in, 116 John St. is going residential. They bought us out of our lease and we'll be moving in April.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by RoldanTTLB View Post
    The building my office is in, 116 John St. is going residential.
    Nice Art Deco digs buddy. Cheers.

    Here is a photo of another FiDi conversion: The Cotton Exchange.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/busines...#ixzz0xcYZCFX5



    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/4633/unknownco.jpg
    Last edited by infoshare; January 16th, 2011 at 06:13 PM.

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    Fearless Photog RoldanTTLB's Avatar
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    Thanks. It's looking like we're headed for the 30-something floor of 40 Wall. I'll certainly have pics from there (if that's where we move to), once we do.

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    http://tinyurl.com/2ag28z Front_Porch's Avatar
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    Thanks infoshare for that foto. The former Cotton Exchange is also known by its address, 3 Hanover Square.

    Since I have a listing in the building (studio, $479K) I started a thread on it here:

    http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showth...t=24428&page=1

    Most prized are the apartments in the top section, which used to be the old trading floor.

    BTW, Roldan, I read your last post in a hurry -- before I realized you were talking about your office I thought "OMG, 40 Wall's going residential?" but of course it isn't.

    ali r.
    {downtown broker}
    Last edited by Front_Porch; January 17th, 2011 at 09:24 AM. Reason: I wanted to thank info for that great shot.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Front_Porch View Post
    Thanks infoshare for that foto. The former Cotton Exchange is also known by its address, 3 Hanover Square.
    Your welcome.

    This area is fast becoming a thriving residential neighborhood. I remember the days when the FiDI was 'completely' desolate on weekends; on Sunday mornings I would take long walks (or short bike rides) from my apartment in Soho into the 'relative' serenity that was to be found there on those narrow, cavernous side streets - fond memories of an area of Manhattan that at times could be a place of solitude.

    But I digress; I will 'follow' the 3 Hanover thread - That building is classic architecture at its' best, finding photos/history on the building to post will an easy search.

    Cheers

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    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Art Deco FiDi Office Building Starts Condo Conversion Process

    February 24, 2011, by Sara Polsky



    When we first heard that FiDi office building 116 John Street might be the area's next condo conversion, it was with the caveat that things would happen veeery slowly while the Metro Loft Management and Hacienda International Realty team cleared out the building's office tenants. But a tipster reports that work on FiDi's next office-to-condo project has begun. "The scaffolding is up all the way around the building, and after hours demo permits that have been issued for just about every floor above 9 have made working late a rather thrilling venture for the remaining tenants." When we swung by, there wasn't much to see in the way of construction activity, but plenty of permits for interior demolition have been filed.

    Architect Avinash K. Malhotra, last seen at Dwell95 and Brooklyn Gold, is the one listed on the permits. Still no word on what amenities will compete with the local bowling alley.
    The full view of what's getting converted:



    Official website: Avinash K. Malhotra Architects [akmarch.com]
    DOB Permits: 116 John Street [DOB]

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/0...ocess.php#more

  10. #10

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    Census shows growth near ground zero

    Wednesday, March 30, 2011



    Tags:
    new york city, census, ground zero, new york news
    Eyewitness News
    LOWER MANHATTAN (WABC) -- The latest Census figures show the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan has turned into a population boom.

    The number of people near ground zero has roughly doubled since the 9/11 attacks.
    That makes it one of the fastest growing places in the city.

    One reason for the boom is the many banks that have moved uptown.

    Their old office spaces have been converted to apartments.
    (Copyright ©2011 WABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

    http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?se...ork&id=8042722

  11. #11
    Fearless Photog RoldanTTLB's Avatar
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    So our building (116 John), is getting torn apart and rebuilt full swing. New windows all the way around (that sucked when they were doing it in our offices), and loads of demo. Here's what some lucky people may be waking up to someday (both from 35th Floor:




  12. #12

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    When do you expect to see more up-scale retail on the narrow streets of Fidi given all these new luxury condos? How soon before we see a real neighborhood here?

  13. #13
    Fearless Photog RoldanTTLB's Avatar
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    No idea what thread to put this in, but they resumed work on the previously iced tumor next to the Chamber of Commerce. This is from a few days ago, but there are more forms up since.


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