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Thread: Assemblages, Building Prospects, Back Burner and Visions

  1. #46
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    Garden City, LI


    City Is Rich in Land Ripe for Development, New Study Concludes

    BY JULIA VITULLO-MARTIN - Special to the Sun
    July 14, 2005

    At the northern tip of Manhattan, east of the thriving, overcrowded neighborhood of Inwood, lies a large peninsula called Sherman Creek, named for the inlet that once ran across most of the top of the island.

    In stark contrast to the beauty of the Harlem River, which curves beckoningly at 207th Street, Sherman Creek is dominated by a desolate, low-rise jumble of subway yards, Con Ed substations, garages, auto repair shops, and parking lots. More than half of the land appears to be unused or underused. A chain-link fence cuts off access to the river, though locals crawl through regularly to fish from the rocky shore. On a recent morning, no one bothered a huge chicken drinking contentedly from an open fire hydrant, perhaps the pet of a man living in a nearby tent.

    Neighborhood activists have worked for decades to get the peninsula rezoned to allow residential and commercial development. "Sherman Creek has been lying fallow for better than 40 years, without much activity, and certainly with no manufacturing," neighborhood organizer Walther Delgado, executive director of the Audubon Partnership for Economic Development, said. "Here's an entire site where 50% of the land is vacant, with no development on it. This is a community with high needs for everything, and yet this property just sits there."

    Many New Yorkers think that the city is running out of land. But a new study prepared for the Manhattan Institute by economist Regina Armstrong of the research firm Urbanomics contends that all five boroughs have plenty of developable land. The land is just zoned incorrectly, restricted to uses - particularly manufacturing - that are no longer economically viable, at least on their former scale.

    Sherman Creek's forlorn industrial spaces, alongside Inwood's booming residential market, are all too typical of many of the city's older industrial neighborhoods. Indeed, the five boroughs have so much land zoned for manufacturing that there is space to accommodate 500,000 more manufacturing jobs than actually exist.

    Despite the relentless decline in manufacturing jobs since World War II, New York continues to reserve some 22,500 acres for industrial development, even though industry only needs a fraction of that property. According to Ms. Armstrong's study, "Up from the Ruins," 15% of all parcel-land area in the city is set aside for just 6% of the city's economy.

    This beggars the communities around them, and in Inwood, the needs of the community are substantial, according to the Department of City Planning. The median household income is $21,110, far below the city median of $38,293. Unemployment is 17.8%, more than double the citywide rate of 8%. Home ownership is only 2%, versus 30% in the city as a whole. And 32% of Inwood apartments have more than one person per room, more than double the 15% rate in the rest of the city.

    Overcrowding is a neighborhood theme - and a problem unlikely to be eased soon. According to Developer Paul Travis, principal of Kingsbridge Associates, Inwood is pretty much built out, with so little supply available that there's really no market.

    "This is one of the city's most underserved markets right now," said Mr. Travis. "The neighborhood has no rental units available, and almost nothing to buy. Yet current residents have rising incomes and increasing numbers of people want to move here. But there's no place for them to live. And there's no vacant land. Sherman Creek is pretty much it - the only possible place to build."

    That there is an excess of industrial space in the city has been apparent for years, particularly on the untold miles of derelict waterfront, like Sherman Creek. But the glut didn't matter so much in earlier times, like the 1970s, when people and businesses were fleeing the city and real estate was depressed in value.

    But that's no longer true. New York is booming, and will probably continue to as long as people keep coming. Already by far the largest American city, New York is projected to grow to 8.5 million people over the next 30 years. But where will they live?

    Even as manufacturing demand has declined, residential demand has soared and residential vacancy rates have hit historic lows in many neighborhoods. Just to provide enough housing to match its projected population growth, New York will have to continue the current rate of construction of 25,000 new housing units a year for two decades, Ms. Armstrong writes. But residentially zoned land can only fill half this demand. To meet the rest, the Bloomberg administration will need to rezone large swaths of property - or decide to forego new residents and their tax dollars.

    Just by rezoning one area in each borough, Ms. Armstrong argues, the city could release enough land for residential development to yield up to 86,000 housing units. (An additional benefit would be an increase in property tax revenues of about $1.1 billion over existing taxes.) She is not proposing that manufacturing be barred in these areas - just that residential development be permitted.

    The fate of some of Ms. Armstrong's proposed sites will be bitterly contested, with industrial retention advocates arguing that any rezoning will kill jobs. But her proposals are welcome in northern Manhattan, in part because they fit with earlier analyses.

    Mr. Delgado's group, the Audubon Partnership, released a study in January 2003 that proposed building four- to six-story residential buildings on Sherman Creek, similar to residential development in the rest of Inwood.

    Architect Warren Antonio James, who conducted the study, said, "Inwood is a Latino neighborhood. So I drew on lessons learned from 500 years of Caribbean urbanism, which appreciates public walkways, access to the water, low-rise buildings facing the waterfront."

    Ms. Armstrong suggests options that include buildings of 12 to 15 stories, which Mr. James feels might be too high, though he calls her study fascinating. "This is innovative thinking. It's the only study I've ever seen that looks at the neighborhood as it is and asks, how can we fuse in housing without costing jobs? In today's world, people want to live where they work - showrooms, offices, design studios, photo labs. It's the old English model: You live over your shop."

    Besides developable land, Sherman Creek offers a great deal of natural beauty. Like the East River, the Harlem is actually a tidal estuary, and the most astonishing birds appear on its shore. Teacher Obed Fulcar, who oversees an after-school environmental program monitoring the Harlem River's water quality, said the Sherman Creek inlet is the last wetlands in Manhattan. He's identified over 10 bird species, including black herons and white egrets, which like to feed in the low tidal mud. He regularly exhorts the adjacent garage owners to keep foul discharges from running into the creek, saying, "I'm trying to preserve some wildlife in the hood."

    To the south, beyond the lovely Swindler's Cove, stretch the trio of Harlem River bridges made famous by postcards, including the majestic High Bridge. On the far shore are Fordham Landing and University Heights in the Bronx, surrounded by lush greenery.

    Many neighborhood residents spoke in favor of higher buildings on the site at a community forum held in the spring of last year. The community has had a lot of practice in building consensus and agreeing on development, such as the shopping mall Mr. Travis developed north of the University Heights Bridge at 207th Street, which most residents seem to praise. For one thing, it keeps the local dollars home, said Mr. Delgado. "People no longer go out to Westchester, Cross County, or malls in New Jersey."

    But the next step for the community involves waiting, as the Bloomberg administration decides how it wants to proceed. It has set up an interagency task force to address the area's many needs and figure out how community-supported development can move forward.

    "This is the first administration that has actually paid attention," said Mr. Delgado. "They're not just talking. The mayor came to our community summit and referenced it in his State of the City address. I don't remember Sherman Creek ever appearing in any mayoral address before."

    Still, the elephant on the site is Con Ed, which owns about a third of the property. "We need them to step up to the plate and work with the city to reach consensus on where their facilities need to be," the chairman of Community Board 12, Martin Collins, said. "They've been stalling."

    It's Con Ed's last waterfront property in New York, and it's not about to hand it over without proper compensation - and probably also another site in exchange. After all, those hundreds of thousands of people wanting to move here will need electricity every bit as much as they'll need housing.

    The city will have to negotiate well with Con Ed to free the neighborhood from this stalemate. Worse, as Mr. Collins notes, property values have jumped 35% in Inwood over the last 18 months, making negotiations both urgent and more difficult.

    Mr. James has another solution: build on top of the substations.

    "Con Ed says it's willing to move if it gets paid $100 million per substation. Why not build on top of them instead?" he asks. "No. 7 World Trade Center is being built on top of a substation."

    This much is clear: Inwood residents want access to their now blockaded waterfront, and they want compatible housing and commercial development for themselves and for newcomers. They are well organized, and represented by an activist, sophisticated community board that knows how to negotiate with both government officials and private developers. And they have a head start, having studied and debated development issues for years.

    The resolution to the battle for Sherman Creek may hold the key to New York's future.

  2. #47


    For years I thought this school was a prime site for a tower next door or overhead:


    The folks who live and work near Second Avenue and 57th Street are due to get a large, new neighbor.

    The site of two schools on the southwest corner has been put up for sale by the city's Educational Construction Fund, an agency controlled by the mayor's office to facilitate school development through the sale of air rights.

    What's on the block is a 75-year leasehold on the 62,000-square-foot site's unused development rights.

    It can support a residential tower above the schools of at least 420,000 square feet as of now, with the possibility of 125,000 square feet more under certain conditions.

    The corner is home to both the low-slung High School of Art & Design and PS 59. The ECF has tapped CB Richard Ellis's Darcy Stacom and Paul Leibowitz to sift offers.

    Stacom said the site's location and size "create a phenomenal opportunity."

    She would not speculate on price. Sources said a sale of the land — as opposed to a leasehold — would likely draw offers around $150 million.

    The news comes on the heels of an agreement Stacom recently negotiated for ECF to sell the leasehold above a vacant school at 1765 First Ave. to the DeMatteis Organization and the Mattone Group. They can put up an apartment tower of 150,000 square feet.

    The ECF was active in the 1970s but fell quiet after that. But Mayor Bloomberg's capital plan "says we should aggressively leverage the system's air rights, and we are strategically putting them out," ECF executive director Jamie Smarr said.

  3. #48
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    Jan 2002
    West Harlem


    Industry City Redevelopment
    Towers ~25-30 floors
    90 acres, mixed scale
    Planner: Alexander Gorlin > projects > master planning > Industry City

  4. #49


    The Industry City project is massive! I didn't realize it was the Sunset Park waterfront. The area now is so decrepit with its massive parking lots and abandoned industrial buildings. It would be great and provide another incentive for burying the Gowanus and making Sunset Park a neighborhood again.

  5. #50
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    Jan 2003
    Garden City, LI


    Hmmm...the city seems to be trying to lure industry to Sunset Park. If this really a possibility? 90 acres of waterfront is something to really take advantage of...

  6. #51
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    Jan 2002
    West Harlem


    Brookfield's 401 West 31st is now 2.5msf...

  7. #52


    Quote Originally Posted by Gulcrapek
    Brookfield's 401 West 31st is now 2.5msf...
    That was reported about a year ago.

  8. #53
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    Jan 2002
    West Harlem


    Poo. I could have sworn last measure was 2.1 msf.

  9. #54

  10. #55
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Manhattan - UWS


    Ha... I don't know if this is the right place for this story...

    September 2005

    Developers in reverse land rush
    The search for building sites gets tougher as prices keep rising

    By Alison Gregor

    If residential real estate prices in New York City are shooting toward the stratosphere, developers say they're having trouble lately finding the ground from which to launch them.

    A building boom in the New York City metropolitan area ranked it third in the country in 2004 in the number of housing units approved, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. At 56,873 units, it lagged behind only Atlanta and Phoenix. Relative to the population, those units may be a drop in the bucket. But in a city with well-defined borders, developers must be creative in their search for land to develop.

    "I think we have a dire need of development land in New York City," said Jeffrey Levine, principal of Douglaston Development. "Land is being gobbled up."

    Or, increasingly, cleaned up, particularly in boroughs trying to rehabilitate former industrial sites with environmental problems, often with the help of government subsidies.

    Levine is using newly available "brownfields" funding to rehabilitate a polluted industrial site in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, enabling him to create more than 1,000 apartments. He said he believes much of the growth outside of Manhattan is an offshoot of developers searching out large undeveloped parcels.

    Eric Bluestone, a partner of the Bluestone Organization, which has also developed a brownfields site in Brooklyn, said he doesn't believe a shortage of land is driving the white hot real estate market.

    "The fact that there is such a demand for housing in New York City is driving up prices," he said. "There is still land to be developed. It's just a matter of being able to make the deals."

    Being able to make the deals involves having the cash flow. Some believe that the widespread availability of capital is creating more competition for land, driving up its price.

    "You've got a lot of people out there chasing deals due to the large amount of capital available – especially to people whose access to capital is not usually particularly good," said David Picket, CEO of Gotham Developers.

    That creates a pricing squeeze, said Elan Padeh, president and CEO of the Developers Group, a consulting firm.

    "There's a shortage of developable land at the right price," he said. "There's plenty of land out there to be developed – it's just a matter of sellers being a little more realistic in their sales prices."

    Alex Twining, president of Twining Properties, said a correction may be in the offing.

    "The odd thing happening now is that land prices have continued to go up while construction costs have also moved up dramatically," he said. "Typically, rising construction costs means land prices should go down, which I think will eventually happen."

    Twining Properties is collaborating with the Related Companies and MacFarlane Partners on an 800-unit project at 440 West 42nd Street that was originally planned as two rental towers to be built in phases side by side. Now, due to price increases, developers have chosen to go with one condominium and one rental tower, stacked one upon the other.

    "By doing condo and rental, you have two different type products, so you can deliver more in one shot," Twining said. "And you can afford to pay more for the land because the condo pricing is higher."

    Rising land costs have made it difficult to impossible to develop rental units, let alone affordable housing, said Bluestone.

    Rezoning has transformed four former industrial areas: Hudson Yards, Greenpoint-Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn and West Chelsea. The Department of City Planning said capacity for 30,000 new housing units was created, though it had no figures immediately available for the amount of developable land added.

    "With the city's population at an all-time high, the [Bloomberg] administration is aggressively pursuing a policy of seeking out new areas where opportunities can be created for housing growth," said Rachaele Raynoff, a department spokeswoman.

    A recent study by Regina Armstrong, president of research firm Urbanomics of New York & New Jersey, entitled "Up From the Ruins," found that the city had land zoned for 500,000 more manufacturing jobs than exist, such that 6 percent of the city's economy (industrial) laid claim to 15 percent of its land area through zoning.

    The study recommended ways to develop one area in each borough currently zoned for industrial such that a total of 64,700 to 86,200 housing units could be added citywide.

    But rezoning may not be a panacea. Padeh said neighborhoods can't be recreated overnight.

    "There is some requirement for manufacturing, just as there's some requirement for affordable housing and rentals as opposed to condos," he said. "I'm a firm believer in an open market, but you don't want to rezone everything overnight."

    Copyright © 2003-2005 The Real Deal

  11. #56


    There are many sites on 5th, 6th, Madison, Park, Lex and 3rd that are occupied by lousy Class C 20 story buildings (or smaller structures) that should be razed and will be one day (hopefully). Some of those sites are really nice locations too like 57th and Madison, 57th and Park and 57th between Park and Madison!

  12. #57

    Default Baruch College Atrium & Addition

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek2k3
    Project #14

    Baruch College Atrium & Addition
    Lexington and 23rd Street
    17+ stories
    G TECTS/Frank Gehry
    Proposed 2007-?

    The Architect's Newspaper

    We all but gave up on Baruch College when it built the bloated, beached whale between East 24th and 25th streets that it refers to as its Vertical Campus, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox. But now we hear that a new, more promising master plan is in the works by Gordon Kipping, the G TECTS principal who collaborated with Frank Gehry on Issey Miyake’s Tribeca store. We’re told Kipping’s proposal, which would involve Gehry in some yet-to-be-determined way, includes inserting a new 17-plus-story atrium in the central bay of the college’s 1929 building at Lexington and 23rd. That atrium would face the street in the form of a glass wedge housing a dramatic spiraling column of stairs that twists as the glazing tapers. In addition, a new through-block structure would connect the building with KPF’s monstrosity while, hopefully, also blocking out one’s view of it. If all goes well, construction could begin in 2007.
    From The Architect's Newspaper:

    Courtesy Gordon Kipping / G Tects
    Proposed renovation of Field Building at 17 Lexington Avenue and 23rd Street. A new glass wedge encloses a sculptural stair.

    Read further here:

    Short recent NYT article:

    MANHATTAN: BARUCH COLLEGE PLANS RENOVATION As the first step in creating a unified four-block campus, Baruch College plans to renovate its original home, 17 Lexington Avenue, at 23rd Street, now called the Lawrence and Eris Field Building. A wedgelike glass atrium with a twisting staircase is to be added to the facade in the $250 million project. Kathleen Waldron, Baruch's president, said yesterday that work would begin in 2008. The architect, Gordon Kipping of G Tects, will be collaborating informally with Frank Gehry.

    David W. Dunlap (NYT)
    Last edited by Derek2k3; September 24th, 2005 at 09:12 PM.

  13. #58

    Default 250 West 49th Street

    250 West 49th Street
    244-250 West 49th Street
    ~400 feet
    Dev-The Hakimian Organization
    Mixed Use
    The Hakimian Organization,+Brooklyn,+NY

  14. #59
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Nairobi Hilton

    Question New Vacant lot.

    I saw the thread for 125 W 22nd but does anybody know what's going up in the 137 W 22nd vicinity? Many buildings were torn down here and it's a pretty big lot. Thanks : )

  15. #60


    Regarding that site its very intresting in 2004 Eastern Conslated sold it for $10 million
    And then thes buyers sold it again a month again “$29 million” not bad

    Chelsea properties sold for condo development

    The Laboz family has sold three, vacant, four-story, walk-up apartment buildings at 137-145 West 22nd Street in Chelsea to the Ascend Group.
    Brian Ezratty, vice chairman of Eastern Consolidated, said that Albert, Jason and Jody Laboz bought the properties about a year and a half ago and vacated the site.
    He said the properties were sold for $29 million and the new owner can develop a 77,426-square foot residential condominium on the 10,287-square foot site.
    Mr. Ezratty noted that last year Eastern sold the Laboz family the 28,000-square-foot West Broadway parking lot across from the SoHo Grand Hotel and that the family is planning to develop that site with 68 apartments in a building designed by Charles Gwathmey.

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