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Thread: Proposed: The Remy - 101 West 28th Street - by Costas Kondylis

  1. #61


    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1
    Good news ^^ especially as this one will eventually hide (to some degree) the 23 story Gene Kaufman POS that is going up mid-block between 6th / 7th at 121 W. 28th (and which you can see in the last pciture above -- @ the UL).
    got any renderings of this?

  2. #62
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    It seems it will look like the rest of Kaufman's stuff -- awkwardly set back from the streetwall / boring brick / cheap windows / bad massing / blank walls rising above existing low-rise buildings...


    More on the Kaufman / Chang gang ...

    "Nothing Is Right" with Front of New Hotel

    by Carl Glassman
    Sept. 2003

    Landmarks Preservation commissioners are vigilant in protecting the city’s historic districts from inappropriate construction. So it is not unusual for them to say no to a proposed facade alteration or a design for a new building that is presented for their approval.

    Rarely, however, do they recoil in horror.

    That was the reaction at a recent landmarks hearing when architect Gene Kaufman showed a picture of a new hotel of his design, now partially completed at 320 Pearl St. in the South Street Seaport Historic District.

    It was Commissioner Sherida Paulsen’s gasp that shattered the calm of the staid chamber, but her colleagues appeared equally aghast at the sight of the building, which bore little resemblance to the project that the commission had already approved as suitable for the district.

    ”Unbelievable,” said one commissioner. “Shocking!” exclaimed another.

    “The entire front facade was built wrong. There’s nothing about it that’s right,” Kaufman acknowledged dryly. He went on to enumerate the construction mistakes: all the masonry work, the missing cornice, the window and parapet heights, the lintels and sills made of the wrong material, the stair bulkheads finished in brick instead of stucco, and the construction above the roofline that was supposed to be invisible from the street, but isn’t.

    “Are you sure you didn’t have somebody else’s drawings when you did this?” a commissioner asked Kaufman.

    The architect responded that he was relieved to discover that the floor heights were okay.

    “Other than the floor heights, is there anything else that is correct?’ another commissioner asked.

    “[The builder] actually got the floor plan almost 100 percent of what it’s supposed to be,” Kaufman replied, to laughter.

    Kaufman came to the July 22 hearing to seek approval for mistakes that would be especially costly to correct. He asked to preserve the top two floor and stair bulk head at its present height and location. And he also sought to build relief elements to the facade that would protrude four inches over the building line. The alternative would be to move back the entire building front. The commissioners unanimously denied his requests.

    In his presentations before the Landmarks Commission as well as Community Board 1’s Landmarks Committee (which lambasted the developer’s “cynical disregard…for the public sector and the public review process”), Kaufman said he did not have a “good explanation,” for what happened. “We were not part of the construction administration,” he said.

    In an interview later, Kaufman said that “everything will be corrected.”

    Neil Shah, director of development for the Hersha Group, one of the hotel’s developers and its future operator, said that “everything got screwed up” because of “miscommunication” between Kaufman and Sam Chang, the builder and part owner.

    “Everyone was out of the loop, but it shouldn’t be that way. That problem shouldn’t have occurred,” he said. “We didn’t oversee it as we should have. You can bet we will now.”

    Chang did not return repeated calls for comment.

    The debacle on Pearl Street may have reverberations in Tribeca, where Kaufman is the architect for two other hotels to be built by Chang.

    Neighbors of a 45-room hotel planned for 130 Duane Street have feared the impact of the building on the neighborhood, and voiced their doubts about the developer, which includes Hersha as well as Chang.

    Originally planned as a 66-room hotel to be developed by Chang, the proposal was revised as an apartment building before it finally was approved by Landmarks following much community opposition. Last November, when excavation on the foundation began, residents were appalled to discover that the building would be a hotel (albeit with fewer rooms) after all.

    “We don’t trust you, we don’t have a good relationship with you and you’ve told us things that are not true,” Jean Grillo, head of the Duane/Thomas Neighborhood Association, told Shah at a CB1 meeting in January, where he had appeared to answer residents’ concerns.

    According to Kaufman, construction is awaiting approval from the Metropolitan Transit Authority because the building is near a subway tunnel.

    Kaufman, with Chang as developer, also is designing a 150-room hotel at 6 York St., behind the American Thread Building, at 260 West Broadway. Many residents there have expressed concerns, too, but detailed plans for the hotel are yet to be released.

    Aside from its landmarks problems, 320 Pearl St. has been mired in a legal dispute between the developer and next-door neighbors at 324 Pearl St., who filed a temporary restraining order in June 2002 to halt excavation work that began, they said, without required notice. According to the residents, the pounding of concrete was shaking their 120-year old building so badly that pictures fell from walls and fixtures swung from ceilings. Some residents left, fearing a collapse.

    The developer’s lawyer, Michael Mongelli, called the co-op’s safety complaints “unfounded” and is suing the tenants for losses resulting from the work stoppage.

    In the meantime, 320 Pearl Street awaits a big face lift and is months behind schedule.

    Karen Stonely, the co-op’s president, said she is terrified by the prospect of more delays and prolonged construction. “We just want it to be over,” she said.

  3. #63
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    More piling on ...

    Staying Inn

    Downtown Express

    While a smattering of Tribeca residents ranted about the prospect of a one night minimum hotel invading their tony neighborhood in a recent New York Times article, the real elephant in the room is the likelihood that the inn at the corner of Duane and Church Sts. may never materialize at all.

    One of the building’s developers Sam Chang and architect Gene Kaufman have left a legion of unfinished developments in their wake over the last several years, including another hotel project at 320 Pearl St. that appalled the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission so profoundly that it ordered the team to redo it. “It looked like a huge marshmallow,” Judy Duffy, assistant district manager of Community Board 1, told UnderCover. “He’s a terrible architect,” she said of Kaufman, who is also on board for the Duane St. hotel. “I don’t know what they were thinking.”

    Chang’s other unfinished developments include a project at 20 Maiden Lane and another one at 6 York St. and Broadway, neither of which are finished. “[Chang] has yet to open any of them,” Duffy said. “Who can afford to have a property that stands empty for four or five years? The whole thing is odd here.”

  4. #64
    The Dude Abides
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    I knew Kaufman was bad, but I didn't know so many people gave a damn. He must really be terrible, maybe even worse than (gasp!) O'Hara, if he got Landmarks to order a redesign. You should make a separate thread about this, or at least provide a link to it from the "Architects who deserve demotion" thread.

  5. #65


    Maybe Kaufman is just a little self-conscious; and therefore has the need to design buildings more hideous than himself.

  6. #66
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    More on Sam Chang / McSam ... Ain't America Great?!?!?

    Labor War in Chelsea

    For the first time, non-union immigrants are building Manhattan's high-rise towers

    Village Voice
    by Tom Robbins
    May 9th, 2006

    There's a nasty little chapter in the national immigration debate playing out along the side streets in the West Twenties in Manhattan these days ...

    The buildings now rising in this corner of the old garment district in Chelsea appear to be the largest non-union developments yet. On West 26th, West 28th, and West 29th streets, a trio of soaring 24-story towers is being constructed by a Queens-based developer named Sam Chang, who has carved out a local niche as a builder of moderately priced hotels. Chang's McSam LLC, city records show, has spent more than $100 million in the past 18 months to acquire these and other development sites around the city. The three multimillion-dollar projects on the West Side (one is expected to be a Hampton Inn) are aimed at out-of-town businesspeople and budget-minded tourists.

    To build them, Chang turned to a non-union general contractor named Tritel Construction, which in turn subcontracted much of the work to a firm based in upstate Pearl River called EMC Contracting. EMC, records show, only recently shifted from building one- and two-family homes to constructing multi-story projects.

    The key ingredient that makes such projects feasible is an abundance of cheap immigrant labor, and that's what's building the three towers on the West Side. Without a union card in their pockets, or much else in the way of either job-training certification or documentation, immigrant workers are constructing wooden frames, bending steel bars, and pouring concrete. They can be seen shinnying up newly poured concrete columns, most of them without the safety belts required by federal safety and health regulations.

    In addition to the job hazards, their pay, according to union organizers and workers who agreed to talk about their employment under a guarantee of anonymity, is less than half the roughly $40-an-hour-plus-benefits package that a union carpenter or laborer would receive.

    The immigrants say they are also being treated to a curious two-tier wage system under which young Irish men on the job are being paid $20 to $25 an hour, while Brazilians—bused in daily from Newark's Ironbound section—are paid less, between $15 to $20 an hour.

    In mid April, members of the carpenters' and laborers' unions began picketing the sites and trying to talk to the workers about job conditions. They've sprinkled the projects with flyers urging workers to contact the union. "Union carpenters get what they're worth! Do you?" reads a flyer detailing the health, pension, training, and job placement benefits for union members. To reach the workers, organizers have waited on street corners in the early morning to snag workers on their way to the job sites, and even tossed the flyers from adjoining buildings onto the projects.

    Contractors have responded by beefing up security with private guards. They have also hired retired police detectives for protection, and according to union organizers, off-duty cops as well.

    Twice so far, tensions on the blocks have spilled over into brawls. On April 21, a fracas broke out after union members allegedly blocked the path of a truck delivering supplies to the West 26th Street site. According to the union, plainclothes security guards tumbled out from behind the gates of the job site wielding long blackjacks. When police arrived on the scene and began grabbing at security guards and union members alike, one guard allegedly yelled, "Stop, I'm a cop," while holding up a shield. Police eventually arrested five men, all of them members of carpenters' union Local 608, who were charged with resisting arrest and inciting to riot.

    A week later, on April 28, another fight broke out on West 28th Street after someone tossed a smoke bomb at the work site. In the melee that followed, a union member, Anthony Mercado, was sliced on the back of the head with a utility knife, a wound that left a long, ugly gash that took several staples to close. Police initially arrested a 28-year-old Irish immigrant worker named Mark Wynne, who gave an address in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx. But Wynne was later released after he was not identified in a lineup.

    Tensions at the sites were ramped up even more when concrete trucks making deliveries from a Brooklyn plant were accompanied by carloads of young black men, several of whom allegedly flashed guns at the union pickets, most of whom are white. "I'm gonna put a cap in your ass," one of the men allegedly threatened an organizer.

    All of the incidents at the job sites are currently being investigated by the labor racketeering unit of the office of Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, a spokeswoman confirmed.

    Sam Chang, the projects' developer, failed to return several calls to his office in Floral Park. A secretary suggested that he might respond to an e-mail message, but those also went unanswered. Also playing nonspeaking roles in the drama were Jimmy Wu, owner of the contracting firm Tritel, and Michael Mahoney of EMC, both of whom did not respond to messages...

    Copyright © 2006 Village Voice LLC

  7. #67
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Mr. Chang is popping up eveywhere ...


    Forbes Asia
    On The Cover/Top Stories
    Megha Bahree

    Immigrant Asians, especially Indians, have quietly grabbed a big piece of America's lodging industry. Increasingly, they are standing out.

    The Developer

    In 1979 Shan Leong (Sam) Chang, then 19, was already brassy and thinking big, even if he was not then so evidently a good bet. He'd emigrated from Taiwan and dropped out of high school to help his parents run a motel they bought in Los Angeles. In a new Pontiac Trans Am he bought on loan, Chang and a buddy took off to tour the country. Emerging from the Lincoln Tunnel into Manhattan, he took in the skyline and said that owning a little piece of it would make him a happy man.

    Today Chang, 45, owns or is building 20 hotels in and around his adopted hometown, offering alternatives to the regal room rates that are the New York norm.

    Chang has zigzagged his way to being "the busiest Asian developer in New York City." Like Sant Chatwal's, his business story began with a restaurant he ran, in a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland, where he'd parked himself on one of his journeys. Several Chinese eateries that he subsequently opened led to the first of a string of modest hotels in the area, which he ran over 13 years. Too time-consuming and not profitable enough, he eventually decided.

    In 1997 he switched tactics and purchased his first plot of land in Manhattan, not far from where he'd come out of the Lincoln Tunnel. The bad neighborhood was beginning to turn, and Chang put up a bargain-rate Comfort Inn. His new business model was to build and sell.

    His building is done through Tritel Construction, where he is a 50% partner. In his customary suit and tie at a desk in his "second" office at Tritel, Chang punches in a few numbers on a calculator, his diamond-encrusted watch glittering. "I sold a lot of hotels," 22 in all, he says. Unlike many serial hotel entrepreneurs who tend to reinvest 100% of their capital gains under Internal Revenue Code Section 1031, which shields such gains made while trading up on properties, Chang keeps 20% for himself. "That's how I built up my cash," he says. He puts his kitty at about $200 million.

    But, he rues, "I made several partners very rich." Hotel operating margins have improved in New York's post-9/11 recovery, so now Chang has changed gears again. He's keeping most of the 20 properties under his wholly owned McSam LLC.

    Manhattan's new golden hotel age is a function of both demand and supply. A weaker dollar has made the U.S. an attractive venue for overseas travelers, domestic business travel has picked up again and Wall Street has been strong. Simultaneously, says John Fox of PKF Consulting, which specializes in the hospitality industry, New York has lost about 4,000 hotel rooms, most to conversion in the residential bubble. Total supply at the end of 2005 was about what it was at the end of 2000.

    A tight market is fine for Sam Chang. His secret, he says, is a knack for spotting feasible sites for new, midsize, medium-range hotels in a city like New York, which is considered a saturated and high-barrier-to-entry area. The first Comfort Inn set the mold--it was 25 feet wide in front and only 13 feet in back, and he built it 15 stories high. In the financial district he's now building 20 floors on a plot 20 feet wide.

    © 2006

  8. #68
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Everywhere (gonna have to start a McSam thread ) ...

    Developer plans for Empire strike.
    (McSam Hotel, LLC sold land to Senior Living Options, Inc.)

    Real Estate Weekly

    A 50-foot wide, 4,940s/f, vacant land parcel located on Fifth Avenue and East 35th Street--literally diagonally across from the Empire State Building--has been acquired by a developer, who plans to erect a 100,000 s/f residential building on the site.

    Eastern Consolidated's Alan P. Miller arranged the $20 million sale between the seller, McSam Hotel, LLC led by Sam Chang, to the buyer, Senior Living Options, Inc., Lee Odell Real Estate collaborated with Mr. Miller.

    "This is an extremely valuable parcel," said Mr. Miller, "particularly because of its excellent Fifth Avenue location one block north of 34th Street, and because it's zoned for multiple uses.

    In truth, the land never really came to market, because the seller realized it would be more fiscally prudent, given today's heavy demand for apartment buildings, to sell to a residential developer, rather than to develop a hotel on the site."

    Queens based McSam Hotel LLC, one of the City's leading hotel developers, which specializes in building smaller hotels on small Manhattan sites, has developed ten hotels with 2000 rooms, in the last five years.

    McSam Hotel LLC initially purchased the parcel in May 2000.

    At that time, a five-story commercial building owned and tenanted by the Building Service Employees International Union, occupied the site.

    McSam razed the existing building in preparation to construct a 27-story hotel, but then 9/11 occurred, the real estate industry was in a state of flux, many adopted a 'wait and see' attitude, and McSam decided to take a breather before it launched into its hospitality project.

    Several months ago, McSam purchased 373 Fifth Avenue, which shares the same zoning lot with 1-3 E. 35th Street.

    That acquisition allowed McSam to increase the bulk that could be utilized on East 35th St, thereby making the parcel even more valuable.

    At that point, Mr. Chang decided it would be a good time sell 1 E. 35th Street.

    He contacted Mr. Miller of Eastern Consolidated, who specializes in land sales, and Miller earmarked Senior Living Options Inc., with whom he had closed several previous deals, as a potential buyer.

    The match was made, and with proceeds from the sale, McSam, has made several more land acquisitions in order to build moderately priced hotels in Midtown, Midtown South and Downtown.

    Brian Wrynn, Esq. represented McSam in-house, while Eric H. Seltzer Esq. of Gilbride, Tusa, Last & Spellane acted for the buyer.

    COPYRIGHT 2005 Hagedorn Publication

  9. #69
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 / [COLOR=#000000
    Real Estate Weekly[/COLOR]]
    McSam Hotel, LLC sold land to Senior Living Options, Inc.

    ... the $20 million sale between the seller, McSam Hotel, LLC led by Sam Chang, to the buyer, Senior Living Options, Inc.,
    Hmmmm ... Turns out that Senior Living Options, Inc. developed another wirednewyork favorite:

    519 West 42nd Street
    519/517-521 West 42nd Street
    19 stories 216 feet
    H. Thomas O'Hara Architects
    Dev-Senior Living Options Inc.
    Residential Rental

  10. #70


    That building has become the epitome of the new ugly buildings that we complain about. That photo I took must be in about ten different threads. Take the ESB off the main page and put that photo up.....haha

  11. #71


    Why would they continue to put up these horrendous buildings? I know its quick and cheap but there has got to be something else that is as equally efficient but better looking. argh...

  12. #72


    Quote Originally Posted by bigkdc
    Why would they continue to put up these horrendous buildings? I know its quick and cheap but there has got to be something else that is as equally efficient but better looking. argh...
    I completely agree. Is it that much cheaper to build a horribly ugly building??

  13. #73
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    When you're dealing with the combo of a hack architect and an unscrupulous and / or bottom-line developer you've got to wonder if they can even see the difference between "ugly" and everything else.

    Seems all they see is green (in the old sense) ...

  14. #74


    Quote Originally Posted by Stern
    I for one don't want fashionable stores in this neighborhood. I for one enjoy the flower district and enjoy the cheap array of export import goods in the neighborhood, the leather goods, perfume, watches, and kitchen-ware. I like having an entire street dedicated to leather wallets, the Hasidic Jews, the Eastern Africans, and the Indians displaying their culture. I like the chaos and I like barganing with the store owners, I like buying $5 leather wallets and a $25 dollar leather bag. I like the lunch time hangouts and the dollar stores that are packed and stocked.

    What I don't want is the city to look like one big Yuppy neighborhood.
    Ugg. I hate the counterfeiters, the bootleg DVD thugs. The cops are constantly raiding buildings in this neighborhood because the bootlegers also deal drugs and carry weapons. There are fights over turf. It has not been safe. There have been numerous shootings and stabbings in the last year. thank god the cops FINALLY are cleaning up the streets to make them walkable.

  15. #75

    Default maybe....

    Quote Originally Posted by sfenn1117
    Maybe Kaufman is just a little self-conscious; and therefore has the need to design buildings more hideous than himself.
    ...or he's just a whore to the developer

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