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Thread: Can anybody here build anything?

  1. #91
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Alex, the message here is not "anti-capitolisim", it is more on regulated development.

    Buildings are going up faster now then they have been for the past 20 years, and saying that we have a chance to be like Detroit, the AUTOMOBILE manufacturing center, simply does not fit...

    Also, the one thing that you keep ironically missing is that in order for some of these things to work, you have to have something that people want to use. You can build a whole crapload of new highrises in anticipation of new buisness coming in, but if they do not come in fast enough, you will get an overspending slump/correction that will have poor economic results.

    IOW, overdevelopment, or poorly planned development, does not help growth no matter how much growth is desired.


    Secondly, when you have a desire for something that is in short supply, people pay more for it. There is a balance point where the increase in cost to get the rare item balances out the additional money that would be made on a more widely, and resultingly cheaper commodity. A housing/office space glut would not help the bottom line in NYC....


    So lets just see what happens, and try not to keep pushing for anything taller than it's neighbors without considering all the effected venues.

  2. #92
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    Just throwing my usual two cents around...

    I agree that I wouldn't want to see Alex banned over his passionate posting. I think the problem you are encountering is that the argument you are giving is predicated on people essentially agreeing with you. You're not walking us around it and showing it to us from the various perspectives possible. I feel, you keep makingthe same argument and, in so doing, you get the same reaction and response - which can seem almost non-responsive after time.

    Dig deeper Alex. Your defining it in black and white, while everyone agrees there's a lot of gray area out there.

  3. #93

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    Alex: honestly, you just don´t know what you are talking about. You really must study the history of building development in NYC.... and get acquanted with the NYC of the last 35 years.

    There is MORE building going on in NYC NOW (and in the last 5 years) than since the 60´s.

    And that´s DESPITE all the NIMBY´s etc.

    But BECAUSE of these NIMBY crazies ( and the enlightenment of the general population), the developers are also building some of the BEST, most interesting and sensitive architecture NYC has seen in a long, long time. (you REALLY don´t understand what dark years the 70´s and 80´s were).

    OK? Got it? Is that clear?

    As far as fears that NYC will go the way of Detroit: Brooklyn´s population will probably soon approach the HIGH of 1950 not to mention the repopulation of Harlem and so many other zones.

    Another thing, isn´t it curious:

    After NYC built the "world´s tallest building" in the early 1930´s it took another 40 years (!) to top it.... yet in the meantime the city grew, prospered and become a dominant cultural force in the world. During the city´s heyday (during the late 40´s through the 50´s , when no other city on the planet could compare to it) not ONE building was built approaching the height of the Empire State or the Chrysler building.

    If building tall = prosperity, remember that the Empire and Chrysler were both planned on the eve of ....the depression.

    Go figure.

  4. #94

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    Well, you've all made some excellent points that I haven't really thought of before.

    Remeber, I only can report on what I see. I see the building, but I also see the naysayers. Why does every single magazine list NY as "Bad for buisness", "Bad for living", "Too expensive", "Crime-ridden", blah, blah, blah.

    Remember: It's not a personal thing. It's a skyscraper thing.

    I have strong feelings and I express them strongly. Sometimes I'm quiet, sometimes I'm loud. Hey, if you're against something, I don't hate you for it. I simply don't like your opinion.

    NIMBY has a bad image. I've seen and heard some pretty racist/classist/marxist/anarchist reasoning for some actions. It's not pretty.


    I don't think all people are like that, its that's who you see on TV. You never hear of common sense people willing to compromise, just the nutjobs like Silver, Charles Barron, PETA, and every other wacko.

  5. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by alex ballard
    Remeber, I only can report on what I see. I see the building, but I also see the naysayers. Why does every single magazine list NY as "Bad for buisness", "Bad for living", "Too expensive", "Crime-ridden", blah, blah, blah.
    Perhaps you should expand your reading. I recently read in forbes (a magazine I don't particularly enjoy) that large companies have offices in NYC because it is the only way for them to attract top talent. There is a class of employee who will only live in NYC, London, Paris, etc, and they are usually the ones running things

    Quote Originally Posted by alex ballard
    I've seen and heard some pretty racist/classist/marxist/anarchist reasoning for some actions. It's not pretty.
    Sigh. you really do need to read up on subjects before posting. Equating classism with marxism and/or anarchy doesn't make any sense to me, as usually marxism is all about fighting classism or deconstructing class. If you're going to post this hyperbole, at least reason it out so it can be understood outside of your head. Unless you meant to use a comma to list different subjects...

  6. #96

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    Note to self: Use commas.

    You should check out "Skyscraperpage.com". They have a whole thread on this issue too. They're are some ugly things being quoted there...

  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by alex ballard
    Note to self: Use commas.

    You should check out "Skyscraperpage.com". They have a whole thread on this issue too. They're are some ugly things being quoted there...
    I'm not interested in skyscraperpage, or that tone of discussion.

  8. #98

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    LEISURE & ARTS

    The Planning Vacuum

    New York stumbles into a good stadium deal.

    BY ADA LOUISE HUXTABLE
    Wednesday, June 22, 2005 12:01 a.m.

    NEW YORK--This city, in its usual backhanded manner, has stumbled its way to the proper conclusion of the controversial Jets stadium saga. The stadium will not be built in Manhattan on the West Side waterfront; that was a terrible idea by any planning standards, an exercise in ego and hubris so inappropriate that even the familiar combination of money, power and politics could not push it through.

    A new stadium will be built in Queens, close to other sports facilities--not for the Jets, but for the Mets, the somewhat surprising and unlikely beneficiaries of the need for a suitable stadium in New York's bid for the 2012 Olympics (if you hang around long enough, good things may happen). This is where common sense and good planning practice, both of which have been conspicuously lacking, would have put it in the first place.


    In a deal structured by the city and the MTA, the financially strapped agency that runs New York's public transportation system and is selling its surplus properties to meet its growing deficits, the Jets would have bought the abandoned Hudson Rail Yards on Manhattan's far West Side for a new football stadium. The argument went that this would jumpstart West Side development, create jobs, extend the usefulness of the existing, adjacent convention center, and deliver an Olympics-ready stadium. When the agreed-on price turned out to be far less than competitors for the site were willing to offer, bids were reopened. But the city would promise the necessary rezoning of the land for new construction only to the Jets, so the deal was still stacked in their favor. However, they were forced to raise their bid to win.

    In spite of the Jets' relentlessly orchestrated publicity, featuring a steady parade of pliant politicians to the steps of City Hall, the scheme was never popular; to many New Yorkers it was the wrong building in the wrong place. There was considerable relief when the project was voted down by an obscure state financial review board that controlled its fate. But a stake has not yet been driven through the misconceived scheme's heart--either remarkably obtuse or tone deaf to the larger public issues, the Jets failed to get the message. They are seeking private financing to get this monstrous spoiler built anyway, regardless of an official veto and lost public subsidies or serious concerns about the misuse of the land.

    A stadium should never--repeat, never--be built on the midtown Manhattan waterfront; this is a flagrant violation of everything we know about urban land use. It is axiomatic that you do not put industrial-size blockbusters in uniquely desirable locations; they destroy an enormous potential for profit and pleasure while denying access to one of the city's most valuable amenities. We are just beginning to see the results of the long and successful effort to reclaim the Hudson River waterfront for public use in the river-front gardens and promenades of Lower Manhattan and the tree- and rose-lined bicycle and running paths that have transformed the water's edge on West Street.

    Located next to the convention center, the stadium would have doubled the mass and length of the huge bunker against the river already established by that "lump of black coal"--as essayist Phillip Lopate described its dark bulk in his literary trip around the edges of Manhattan--cutting off views and access with nearly a mile of hulking wall.

    The myth that a stadium was needed to revitalize the West Side was a self-serving illusion; there was already clear evidence that development had started, with some of the newest and priciest architect-designed condominium towers moving uptown from their fashionable downtown base, and a surge in developer acquisitions in the area. The reality would have been horrendous traffic and transportation problems and the lifeless alienation of surrounding communities. With the independent announcement of plans for a new Yankee Stadium hot on the heels of the Mets' good fortune--some fancy sports economics is making new stadium construction highly profitable--we now have not one, but two stadiums, with no lack of potential jobs.

    Under the totally changed conditions in which the inclusion of a stadium is no longer a required part of the purchase of the rail yards, the MTA can, and should, reopen the bids. There is now a level playing field (apologies for the sports metaphor) that would allow the badly underfunded transportation agency to take full advantage of the area's rapidly rising prices and explosive growth. Nor can the city continue to withhold the necessary rezoning previously promised only to the Jets and left hanging as an ambiguous risk factor for other contenders for the site. One would like to believe that someone has something better in mind this time around than this quixotic and opportunistic kind of unplanned land use and special-interest development.

    Whether state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver doomed the West Side stadium out of political pique at mayoral neglect is beside the point. His justifiable concern that it would draw resources and commitment from his Lower Manhattan district and the rebuilding of Ground Zero highlighted the fact that there is something profoundly wrong with the city's planning policies.

    To put it plainly: There are none; there are no land-use principles, no guiding priorities, no design guidelines where they are needed. Construction projects, often of enormous size and impact, are developer generated and initiated, within a narrow spectrum of private interest, and the bigger they are the better the city seems to like them.

    Savvy developers know how to navigate the civic shoals with singular skill. Forest City Ratner, currently engaged in a vast project for the Atlantic Yards on the Brooklyn waterfront, which includes a basketball stadium for the Nets designed by Frank Gehry, has made token changes in cooperation with community representatives, although questions remain about densities and scale. There are builders who sugarcoat their proposals with big-name architects, irresistible bait in a city that shamefully settles for the ordinary. New York has never managed, as Chicago has, to make Donald Trump use a different architect in exchange for a prime site.

    What happens is pure planning roulette, a free-for-all, ad hoc gamble on the future where real estate reigns with a divine right established by astronomical values. Local residents, businesses and civic organizations may dissent loudly and file delaying lawsuits. Some public interest groups volunteer studies and offer ameliorating solutions. The City Planning Department and the Municipal Art Society collaborated to upgrade the Jets' proposal with a more rational use of existing streets and facilities.

    But the city's planning agencies are reduced to a subservient, reactive role. While a small trade-off may take place for a new subway entrance or refurbished park, Governor's Island, an enormous opportunity, has languished in picturesque desuetude since its transfer from the federal government in 2003. This is planning by default, or immobility, in which creative initiatives are not taken, and few professional or architectural values survive.


    This planning vacuum is at the root of the disaster at Ground Zero. The initial failure to find a way to take the land by eminent domain, the absence of the leadership that would have utilized all necessary and available means and sought others while the enormity of the attack was still fresh (was there ever a more justifiable public purpose?), threw the project into the hands of a commercial developer, sealing its fate. Sacred ground became real estate; forget civic, cultural or urban grandeur. What did not die in that trade-off was sabotaged by the political jockeying and pandering that followed as the World Trade Center site was turned into a giant memorial and bizarre pairing of art and patriotism, a place for political grandstanding while security fought architecture to a draw.

    The vision, experience and conviction that turns blueprints into great cities while retaining the integrity of an idea and guiding essential changes through the intricacies of codes, zoning, market economics, popular expectations and procedural complexities is something for which politicians, businessmen and special interests are notoriously ill suited. There is no one at Ground Zero properly equipped or authorized to deal with a coordinated, conceptual rebuilding, to set the right priorities and make the right decisions. This kind of leadership has been supplanted by an ostensibly democratic process in which popular or political dictates have progressively undermined and degraded the principles and guidelines of the Libeskind plan supposedly guiding the rebuilding with every expedient, compromising, constituency-pleasing and ultimately destructive decision.

    Is there hope? This is a city of eternal, last-ditch surprises. There is always hope that something will come out of this lost opportunity besides a necropolis with shops and offices, that someone will recognize its failure as a wretched political legacy. But priorities must change; the site must be treated as more than a giant mausoleum if we are to achieve a creative renewal that speaks to the living and the future. Then there may be some unexpected flashes of architectural beauty or urban richness or civic meaning to proclaim New York's survival.

    Ms. Huxtable is The Wall Street Journal's architecture critic.

    Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  9. #99

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    I was very disappointed with Libeskind's op-ed piece - I felt it rather pointless other than to cover his butt and paint an "optimistic" picture - but this excellent work more than made up for my disappointment. Ms. Huxtable still knows how to transcend time and call things for what they are - biased. Although on the whole I think Bloomberg's planning initiatives will help the city, I don't think his obvious affection for bigger-is-better type developments is. I'm still mum on the Jets Stadium/NYSCC (whichever way you want to view it) issue, but generally I feel homogeny of companies/blocks seems to be the enemy to true urbanity. Regardless, going by the amount of construction in the city overall, I'd have to say it makes the question posed by the thread title a little frivolous. The WTC site is the obvious exception, but that's what you get with so many public, private, and personal entities involved. Again, Ms. Huxtable is still a force to be guided by.

  10. #100

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    How can you blame him? He's being attacked by everyone.


    Anyway, about this "NIMBYism", no one here seems to get the fact that if you don't create new housing, the housing you do have ends up becoming too expensive. That will either turn the city into a rich enclave or ruin it do to cost of living.

    If that's how you feel, then I hope it's the first, I really do.

  11. #101

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    First, please don't make all-encompassing comments like "no one here gets so and so." My comment about the current state of construction in the city was in reference to all the housing units being built, so regardless of how I feel on that it's happening so oh well. Then again, I'm not sure I understand your point.

  12. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by alex ballard
    How can you blame him? He's being attacked by everyone.


    Anyway, about this "NIMBYism", no one here seems to get the fact that if you don't create new housing, the housing you do have ends up becoming too expensive. That will either turn the city into a rich enclave or ruin it do to cost of living.

    If that's how you feel, then I hope it's the first, I really do.
    The fault in your argument is that a lot of new housing has come on the market and is planned for the market, but prices and rents are not coming down or stabilizing. That argument which works in other cities, in my opinion, does not work in NYC, because this city attracts more than just metro area buyers. It is an international city and the trends here are driven as much by foreign exchange rates and too-hot-to-handle economies as it is by low interest rates.

    If stuff comes on the market more affordably priced, the wealthier people still buy it up and return it to the market as exhorbitantly price rentals. I know it is unpopular here, but government must find a way to build and regulate housing to ensure that the middle class does not continue to get squeezed. We have luxury housing and low income housing being built. That is it. Market forces never work in the favor of the little guy, because the market is so easily manipulated and dominated by the big guys. The amount of new residential housing could be viewed as promising, but each new luxury hi-rise going up is eating away another site for realistically affordable housing for homes with an income of $50 - $150K / year.

    The construction boom is fun to watch but I find it completely discouraging and I do not think it really bodes well for the future. The Orion thread is a good barometer of this (if one is to believe the posts there). You have all of these people buying Orion because it is "cheap" at $800 / sq ft and the majority buying as an "investment", not as a home. Unckecked capitalism is just as dangerous as any other "ism" we've been programmed to despise.

    Oh gee... Time to duck.

    Fire away....

  13. #103

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    The problem is that it is impossible to fit enough housing in Manhattan to meet demand long term. This will keep prices high. The only way to soften the prices even a little is to build enough in the outer-boroughs and make those neighborhoods desirable enough to reduce demand for Manhattan a little. This will require a concerted effort by the city and investment in amenities and transportation infrastructure in those outer-borough neighborhoods.

    In other words, if you can't increase supply enough then decrease demand somewhat by offering alternatives.

    Ultimately, the housing argument in Manhattan comes down to whether the city should spend tax money to provide lower cost housing in Manhattan than the market can provide versus the concept that its none of the governments business to provide a particular (economic) segment of the population with housing in an area that they otherwise could not afford.

  14. #104
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Agree with parts of both BR and JM's posts...


    You have to network the boroughs in a bit better. Brooklyn Heights is awesome! I would love to live in a nice place there than even next to Central Park! But how much buisness does Brooklyn's Buisness District do?

    Is it really too close to NYC to be considered as a serious location for any big buisness?

    Is it too out of the way compared to manhattan?

    Is it too EXPENSIVE compared to Manhattan in regards to what they both have to offer?


    I think Jersey City has, and is continuing to cash in on the location, ease of commute of all the displaced suburbanites tired of a 90 minute commute, and the cost of manhattan. It is beginning to look almost as big as cities like Hartford!

    NYC itself will not follow the same rules as the surrounding areas in that no matter how much you build, that will not be the determining factor in how much is bought. I think it will have more to do with the perceived ceiling for housing.

    Real estate becomes a worthless comodity if the only people that are buying it are traders, not people looking for a place to live.

  15. #105
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    JMG

    That's pretty rational assessment.

    However would you then argue that the Jets have no right building the stadium on the westside, if they can't afford the platform? Should we argue that the very recent rezoning of the far west side will CREATE a market unaffordable to the MAJORITY of city residents paying the taxes in NYC? Movies were affordable on 42nd Street before the "revitalization". Now it costs nearly double what it did before for a couple to attend the movies. The city seems to have created an unaffordable market there too.

    The argument that people could not otherwise afford to live somewhere is not addressing the fact the affordability is often impacted by government policy. Government is funded by tax-payers. Tax-payers are now almost entirely represented by working class people as payroll taxes, under the Bush Administration, are the primary source of government funding. Zoning is of itself a list of restrictions placed by goverment on development. It is hard to defend the city "opening up" the Far West Side to development and giving up all of that valuable labnd to create another neighborhood of unaffordability.

    This is not about the "market". This is public policy. Frankly, I don't think the "public" policy of this city is serving it very well. The majority of New Yorkers cannot afford these places. We have foreign investors and domestic investors coming in and driving up these prices. In my opinion, our policy is not in any way serving New Yorkers (other than to create more housekeeping and valet service jobs). The public policy is serving the "wealthy-at-large". Rezoning property almost specifically for high-rise luxury development is not in the public's interest and tossng in a park as a "community amenity" is not enough.

    I think Bloomberg has a wonderful sense for market driven policy. That kind of policy lines the pockets of those that control the market. Prices are driven up by investors, who then flip units driving prices up even higher for citizens of the city. What seems to be suggested in your argument is that Manhattan has already been ceded to the super rich. I can't afford it because policy has ensured that I never can and never will, barring winning Lotto.

    There has been a very clear and methodical approach toward undermining the middle class and I find it objectionable. The "market" has not priced me out of Manhattan, my elected officials have.

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