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Thread: New tower on NW Corner of 42nd and 8th?

  1. #61
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    NYC records show that 303 W. 42nd (once the site of famed porn palace called "Show World" - but now the home to many small theatres, show-biz related companys and various performance groups) is owned by the "303 W. 42nd St. Corp" and lists Richard Basciano as the owner ...

    From a wny thread:
    1977 Richard Basciano opens the Show World Center (23), a clean, well-lighted supermarket of pornography. At 22,000 square feet, it is the city's largest sex emporium. From Day 1, Mr. Basciano will prove to be remarkably adept at dodging anti-porn laws.
    Some background from 1998 on Basciano and Show World ...
    The curtain is falling on New York City’s largest and glitziest porn palace: Show World, the four-level, Times Square-vicinity, peep emporium that has operated non-stop since 1975.

    Screw once described the 20,000 foot establishment as America’s “most enduring monument to the masturbatory arts”.

    Tonight, “l-keford.com” learned exclusively, that Show World executives publicly declared their intent to take the business non-adult -- as a coin-operated, interactive entertainment arcade with a snack bar.


    In a presentation before Manhattan's Community Board 4's Land Use Committee, Show World controller Scott Wexler, its site manager Tom Simmons, and attorney Fred Becker admitted to the near-impossibility of conducting a peep-show business in today’s “Disneyfied” 42nd Street milieu.

    A decade ago, Show World attracted up to 4000 patrons a day, according to Crain’s New York Business.

    The beginning of the end came with New York City’s updated, porn-averse zoning code -- which Show World violates because it is within 500 feet of a church.

    In attempting to comply, Show World first eliminated its contingent of live-peep performers, known as “booth babies.” To further meet the requirement that 60% of its establishment's merchandise be non-"adult", Show World filled its display windows and retail spaces with a miscellany of goods including luggage, family-oriented videocassettes and beepers.

    Not present tonight was Show World’s owner -- Gambino associate Richard Basciano. According to the Village Voice, the seventysomething convicted felon has earned approximately $12 million by selling much of his peep-show empire to the 42nd Street redevelopment effort.

    At least two other Basciano-owned scumatoria in the Times Square vicinity -- unaffected by the zoning regs -- will continue to pump cash into the peep tycoon’s coffers.

    Reclusive former prizefighter Basciano -- known to have maintained a fully-equipped gym and boxing ring upstairs from Show World -- has not appeared publicly or been photographed by media since the 1982 interview in which he characterized his operation as “a deterrent to rape.”

    More on Basciano ...

    ... After DiBi's 1986 death, Richard Basciano, who had nothing to do with the assassination, ran the Mafia's New York-based porn businesses. Richard based his empire on his $15 million real-estate holdings, wrote Newsday 4/18/93. He owned Show World, New York's largest porn operation.

    Public records filed since DiBi's death show that Basciano bought increased shares in 16 separate DiBernardo partnerships and corporations that make money from porn and real estate.

    Video's emergence in the '80s changed the Mafia's porn role. No longer could the mob dominate distribution by simply running adult theaters and peep shows. Gotti and Basciano allowed businessmen without ties to the Mafia to move into retail stores. Immigrant entrepreneurs, particularly from Israel and Sri Lanka, multiplied X-rated video shops in New York neighborhoods from Greenwhich Village to Queens.

    "It used to be if you wanted to open a sex shop you'd have to get permission," said William Daly of the Mayor's Office of Midtown Enforcement. "Now that the mob has lost muscle, they don't have control of the industry like they used to."

    Daly estimates that New York City's mobbed up porn industry earned $160 million in 1992.

    To increase his profits, Basciano leased his Times Square buildings to separate corporations under his control to carry the retail sale of X-rated tapes and toys. Richard's partners are veterans Theodore Rothstein and Nathan Grama, both of whom were convicted for Interstate Transportation of Obscenity in MIPORN. In 1986, Basciano was convicted of mail fraud.

    In 1994, an Israeli porn shop owner told the New York Daily News:"Everything used to be owned by the Mafia. But in 1986 John Gotti let everybody in."

    "The days of Mob influence are gone," claimed a Sri Lankan businessman.

    "There's no money in the business for them. Tapes used to be $100 each. Now they're selling for $3:99."

    Father Dale Hansen, whose St. Luke's Lutheran Church on 46th Street in New York made the presence of several sex shops illegal thanks to new city zoning laws, will not be sorry to see pornographers leave his area. "They should go back to Sri Lanka and rape that country if they are going to do this [porn]."

    Sri Lankans worked for the Mafia through the 1980s and moved into ownership when the Mafia left.

    Already in wholesale electronics, porn enabled Israelis to diversify.

    Many shop owners pay a direct tax to the mob and all of them buy their product from mobbed-up porn distributors such as General Video of America.

    New York zoning law changes closed most of Times Square's sex shops in the mid '90s, but Basciano profited as always, selling many of his buildings to the City. Back in 1977, Show World received a $65,000 loan from the federal Small Business Administration. In 1989, officials with David Dinkins' mayoral campaign paid tens of thousands of dollars to rent office space from Richard.

    ----

  2. #62

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    Excuse me if I repeat myself : The far better prospect would be to combine the 310 site with the lots along 8th Avenue (including the D/R building), which would result in one large site measuring ~ 167' x 200'. It would sit on a very high-profile site and could command some terrific architecture and height.
    The best aesthetic prospect would be to leave the old buildings intact since they have far more character than any office box would have. Buy the air rights and build on the parking lots and the Duane Reade. You'd have taller more slender buildings, most likely residential and the blank wall at 310 would be blocked from the east by the Duane Reade site tower.
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  3. #63
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    That ^^^ idea could be good.

    The Duane Reade site is ~ 75' x 80' (6000 sf).

    The remaining plot of buildings that fronts onto 8th Avenue meaures approximately 14,000 sf -- and currently contain a little less than 100,000 gsf (L-shaped building @ 12-stories = ~ 52,500 gsf; 6-story building at SW corner 8th / 43rd = ~ 45,000 gsf).

    If they can go 40 stories / 566' / ~ 131,000 gsf on a small site like the one at 785 8th Avenue (lot there is ~ 5200 sf, so the FAR for that project after the transfer of air rights = ~ 25 [!!!] ) then it would seem that a fairly tall building is definitely possible on the D/R site. I'm not sure how tall a building could go up there, but I agree that something tall and slim on that corner -- residential -- could be a terrific addition to the nabe.

  4. #64
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    After all the new talk in regards to the now on-again plan for a new tower atop the Port Authority Bus Terminal across 42nd Street I did some more digging around in the Department of Finance documents regarding the so-called "Duane Reade" site ...

    This site actually consists of FIVE LOTS:

    Number 1 is the Duane Reade site at the corner. It is owned by "42nd & 8th Owner, LLC".

    Number 2 (the "L" shaped 12-story building surround D/R) and Number 3 (the building at the corner of Eighth / W 43rd). BOTH 2 & 3 are owned by Richard Basciano (he has owned both since the late 70s / early 80s -- and if this tower goes up he could become one very rich man, if he isn't one already). Basciano is apparently a very generous man (as attested to by comedian Joe Franklin in this Show World / Laugh Factory vid from Thanksgiving 2007) who certainly seems to get around.

    Number 4 includes a building (the health care workers union building along the south side W. 43rd) and a parking lot (1/2 of the lot fronting onto W 42nd directly south of the union building). Number 5 is the remainder of the parking lot -- an "L" shaped plot which goes through the block from 42nd <> 43rd. Both 4 & 5 are owned by "ARDEON REALTY" -- which is some RE corporate entity linked to the health care union.

    This parcel measures ~ 300 ' (along W 43rd) x 200' (8th Avenue) x 250' (W. 42nd) -- minus a 50' x 100' notch at the SW corner -- equals ~ 55,000 SF. It sits on the crossroads of various zoning districts, which will effect FAR, massing, etc.

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  5. #65

    Default could mean the duane reade is staying

    My read on the NYT article is Bagli is teasing us into believing this union building is on the verge of announcing some sort of real estate deal. Given they don't seem to own the other buildings, I'm predicting some sort of slender tower - or alternatively, maybe there is a joint deal with all the landowners, which would obviously the best thing.

  6. #66
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    STRIPPED OF HIS CROWN

    By STEVE CUOZZO

    April 29, 2008 -- THE Times Square area's once-raunchiest location is up for lease or sale, possibly spelling an end to what's left of porn king Richard Basciano's Show World Center at Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street.

    The landowners are seeking development proposals for 303 W. 42nd St. - an L-shaped, 16,700 square-foot site on the west side of the avenue between 42nd and 43rd streets. It includes a 12-story apartment/office building and smaller buildings that are home to stores and the New York Arts Center theaters.

    They also house Show World - a shrunken version of the huge porn emporium that once boasted "live girls" before it was reduced to an X-rated video arcade during the Giuliani-era crackdown.

    Proposals are due in by tomorrow, although property manager Thomas Simmonds says the deadline "is not set in stone."

    The owners are open to a ground-lease arrangement with a developer, a partnership or an outright sale, which he termed "the least interesting scenario."

    Simmonds said the linked properties are not owned by Basciano, but by a trust. However, real estate executives familiar with the offering all referred to it as Basciano's.

    The land is diagonally across from SJP Properties' 11 Times Square, the spectacular office tower now under construction next door to the New York Times headquarters.

    The Show World site wraps around, but does not include, the northwest corner of Eighth and 42nd - home to a Duane Reade on land owned by a partnership led by Jeff Sutton, and not for sale.

    Sources said the 303 W. 42nd St. site - with most of its frontage actually on Eighth Avenue and West 43rd Street - can support about 166,000 square feet of floor area, but theater-district air-rights bonuses could bring the total to 238,000 square feet.

    Sources valued an outright sale of the land at between $300-$400 a buildable square foot. But Studley's Woody Heller cautioned, "Anybody who claims to know what things are worth in this market is getting ahead of himself."

    Basciano, who once owned 17 buildings in the area, launched Show World in the 1970s as a "sex superstore."

    Copyright 2008 The New York Post

  7. #67
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Bidding Deadline Extended for Prime Times Square Site: 'Every Major Developer in New York Has Expressed Interest'



    303 West 42nd Street.


    by Dana Rubinstein | April 29, 2008

    Developers now have an extra month to prepare their bids for one of the last soft sites in Times Square—303 West 42nd Street.

    Thomas Simmonds, the project manager of the site, said the sellers pushed the deadline back from April 30 to May 30 “unofficially,” thanks to the enormous interest in the space.

    But would-be bidders, beware: no cheapskates allowed. The sellers, we’re told, are not interested in bids of less than $400 a buildable square foot.

    “We would not even consider $300 to $400 a square foot,” said Mr. Simmonds. “We’ve been offered a lot more.”

    Mr. Simmonds estimated the lot has nearly 300,000 buildable square feet, which means the owners don’t plan on turning it over for less than $120 million.

    He’s confident the owners, identified as 303 West 42nd Street LLC and 300 West 43rd Street LLC, will get that which they seek, since, as Mr. Simmonds put it, “Every major real estate developer in New York has expressed an interest in doing something with this property.”

    But Eric Michael Anton, executive managing director of Eastern Consolidated, was dubious.

    “It’s probably worth $400 a foot, if you are a superstrong developer with a plan and a flag, and you have the money,” Mr. Anton said. “But in the market right now, land may still be very expensive, but the reality is nobody is selling, because no one has the financing [to buy].”

    Mr. Anton also pointed out that the site is “an awkward development project” because the sellers don’t own the Duane Reade drug store bordered by two wings of the property. That segment is owned by a Jeff Sutton partnership.

    “I think it will be tough to sell, and I don’t think it will happen so fast,” Mr. Anton said.

    The site is actually a combination of two properties—303 West 42nd, a 12-story apartment and office building; and 300 West 43rd Street, the Times Square Arts Center.

    It’s also home to Show World, a miniature version of onetime porn impresario Richard Basciano’s legendarily spic-and-span smut shop, once described as “the McDonald’s of the sex industry,” complete with a stripper carousel.

    Mr. Simmonds declined to link the trust selling the site to Mr. Basciano, but PropertyShark did it for him, listing Mr. Basciano’s name on top of the location’s “billing address.”

    © 2008 Observer Media Group

  8. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    NYC records show that 303 W. 42nd (once the site of famed porn palace called "Show World" - but now the home to many small theatres, show-biz related companys and various performance groups) is owned by the "303 W. 42nd St. Corp" and lists Richard Basciano as the owner ...

    Father Dale Hansen, whose St. Luke's Lutheran Church on 46th Street in New York made the presence of several sex shops illegal thanks to new city zoning laws, will not be sorry to see pornographers leave his area. "They should go back to Sri Lanka and rape that country if they are going to do this [porn]."

    Sri Lankans worked for the Mafia through the 1980s and moved into ownership when the Mafia left.

    Already in wholesale electronics, porn enabled Israelis to diversify.

    Many shop owners pay a direct tax to the mob and all of them buy their product from mobbed-up porn distributors such as General Video of America.

    New York zoning law changes closed most of Times Square's sex shops in the mid '90s, but Basciano profited as always, selling many of his buildings to the City. Back in 1977, Show World received a $65,000 loan from the federal Small Business Administration. In 1989, officials with David Dinkins' mayoral campaign paid tens of thousands of dollars to rent office space from Richard.

    ----
    Yes, he is the owner. Can see according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan

    But, with the current financial market then the banks keep all the money for themselves so there is very small chance of starting any new buildings due to lack of funding.

    But, with the proper architect's design - then it could be a really beautiful building they could make there. Though there is a crisis at the moment which will probably continue well into 2012 then it takes years to plan and build a skyscraper so they probably should start looking at it now.
    But, the situation is that landowners want a price that is not realistic for any developer at the moment to make a reasonable profit.

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