22 Thames Street Set to Become Downtown’s Tallest Residential Building

22 Thames Street, rendering from Fisher Brothers

While previous permits for 22 Thames revealed the height to its highest occupied floor, the elevation of the tower’s pinnacle remained a mystery; now, DOB documents confirm that the skyscraper will stand 960 feet in total, making it the tallest residential building in Lower Manhattan. Fisher Brothers and The Witkoff Group are developing the site, and the architect is Rafael Vinoly.

22 Thames DOB Plans

22 Thames elevation diagram via the DOB

Downtown’s race to the sky began with the new World Trade Center, but the latest round of residential towers is narrowing the gap; 22 Thames will stand just 17 feet shy of 150 Greenwich Street, located one block to the north. 150 Greenwich will still be far bulkier than 22 Thames — consequently, maintaining its prominence — but Vinoly’s latest addition to the skyline will be impressive in its own right.

22 Thames DOB Plans

22 Thames Approved, via the DOB

Per the DOB, 22 Thames will total 359,130 square feet, with retail occupying 11,435 square feet on the first two levels. The remainder of the 70-story building will be residential, with standardized floor-plates just shy of 6,500 square feet.

Perhaps the height of 22 Thames is most surprising because it will be rentals, unlike nearby skyscrapers at 56 Leonard and 30 Park Place; the market for buildings of significant height has been almost entirely dominated by product that can be bought and sold.

22 Thames Street

22 Thames Street – image from Fisher Brothers

The Financial District may soon provide proof of profitability for extremely tall rental developments, as 70 Pine Street — which stands 952 feet to its pinnacle — also happens to be undergoing a conversion to apartments. While the site is currently for-sale, 111 Washington Street could also yield a tower of similar proportions to 22 Thames.

22 Thames and 150 Greenwich

150 Greenwich looming over the site for 22 Thames Street

It seems that the Fisher Brothers’ latest venture in Lower Manhattan will provide a crucial litmus test on the demand for rental product at soaring heights, and if the condo boom is any indication, the development will be a major success. 70 Pine’s imminent lease-up will be an equally important indicator, and combined with 22 Thames, the towers could determine whether rentals in the Financial District begin to soar even taller.

22 Thames and 133 Greenwich

22 Thames Street at right, site for new Marriott at 133 Greenwich at left

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Posted in 22 Thames Street | Architecture | Downtown | FiDi | Fisher Brothers | New York | Residential | Vinoly | Witkoff Group

Change of Plans: 80 South Street

80 South Street; Calatrava scheme at left, Morali's plan on right

Plans for 80 South Street are changing once again, as Howard Hughes is looking to become involved with the site; the current owner is Cord Meyer, but Hughes is looking to take a controlling interest in the project.

While the New York Post speculated that Howard Hughes’ interest in 80 South Street was due to the issues encountered at the company’s other Seaport tower, atop the Fulton Fish Market, YIMBY has learned that is not the case, and that Hughes intends to proceed with both projects.

Per a representative from the firm, Hughes has a 100% commitment to move ahead with both the current work at the Seaport and the mixed-use project.

80 South Street has seen several plans over the course of the last decade, with an initial scheme designed by Santiago Calatrava falling through during the recession; over the past two years, Morali Architects has taken the helm of the tower’s design aspect, and the most recent iteration was to stand 1,018′ to its pinnacle.

Despite the apparent progress on the Morali plan, it appears that SHoP may be taking over at 80 South Street. The firm will soon have several projects on both the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines, with a 1,350′ tower at 111 West 57th Street set to become one of the tallest buildings in the city.

Whether SHoP is involved at all with 80 South Street remains to be seen, but given the firm’s previous work with Hughes on mixed-use projects, the speculation is justified.

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Posted in Architecture | Downtown | Howard Hughes | Morali Architects | New York | Residential | Seaport | SHoP | Supertall

Vertical Potential: 111 Washington Street

Old plan for 111 Washington Street, image by Pinkstone Capital

While 111 Washington Street has been a vacant lot for quite some time, the team at Massey Knakal has crafted new renderings of the site’s potential, which is enormous. The project has development rights of 362,301 square feet, which have been amassed by years of gradual acquisitions; the assemblage takes air rights from four adjacent lots, as well as 105 Washington Street. The above image is of the old plan; proof of its age is the presence of the Deutsche Bank Building‘s silhouette, as that tower was fully demolished in early 2011.

111 Washington Street

111 Washington Street — image by Massey Knakal

The presented vision is a minor departure from the site’s former plan, which depicted a slightly atypical glassy box; the previous developer was Pinkstone Capital, which designed the tower using an in-house team. Permits for the old iteration were filed in February of 2013, though they are obviously no longer relevant given the expected changes to 111 Washington.

Besides the Pinkstone plan, images via Selldorf Architects may have also presented an alternative plan for 111 Washington, though the exact location of the rendered tower remains unknown; that design also matched the tower’s permitted size, and its louvered facade would have been an innovative and remarkable addition to the Lower Manhattan skyline.

Selldorf Tower

Selldorf Tower, which may or may not have been slated for 111 Washington Street

Ultimately, the delay in construction may result in a starchitect-quality design, especially given the lot’s $260 million asking price. The overriding trend in the Financial District — and really, across all of Manhattan — has been to build as tall as possible, with the recent reveal of Fisher Brothers’ 22 Thames Street likely heralding a taller eventuality at 111 Washington Street.

Indeed, the current plans for 22 Thames Street stretch approximately 360,000 square feet of air rights roughly 900 feet into the sky; 111 Washington has nearly the same square footage, and its location is equally prime to the Fisher Brothers project. While nothing formal has been revealed, the Massey Knakal rendering is likely shorter than what will eventually be built, if nearby projects are any indication of the site’s potential; given the sky-high price-tag for the assemblage, something that takes full advantage of the air rights and maximizes views would definitely be warranted.

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Posted in 111 Washington Street | Architecture | Downtown | Massey Knakal | New York | Pinkstone Capital | Renderings | Residential | Selldorf Architects | Selldorf Tower

Interview: Market Trends with Douglas Elliman’s Clifford Finn

Go East! Long Island City and Brooklyn are booming.

YIMBY sat down with Clifford Finn, Executive Vice President of Douglas Elliman’s new development marketing team, to discuss his thoughts regarding what’s up and coming in New York City, the latest happenings in NoMAD, and the continued ramifications of Hurricane Sandy. YIMBY in bold.

Have you heard anything about Journal Square, and do you see it becoming more like Downtown Jersey City or Long Island City? How quickly is it going to develop?

It’s interesting. You know, in the past, Jersey City was more of a suburban mentality; that goes for the people building there, and the audience that was going there. Although many Manhattanites found their way there, a wide audience was filling those buildings; it was a little bit different than crossing the other rivers. But that’s changing, because now everybody is looking there due to the increase in land costs. Brooklyn is not a huge discount to Manhattan anymore, and Long Island City is not far behind it; everybody is looking for the next great, convenient, commutable destination, and they are setting their sights back on Jersey City and the surrounding area.

Journal Squared

Journal Squared – image via Handel Architects

Moving back to Manhattan, YIMBY attended 1182 Broadway’s opening, which is a converted building in NoMAD; what are some features that make conversions in NoMAD stand apart from new developments in the neighborhood, and what’s special about The Centurian?

In the past, conversions of this type were typically larger buildings that go condo — like 10 Madison Square West. But for rent, you either had the Sixth Avenue high-rises and the few hot buildings off that corridor, or much older conversion stock that doesn’t have the luxury standard of today’s market. And I think what sets The Centurian apart from the rest is that it’s rental, but was built with a condominium sensibility and comparable finishes.

The Centurian

The Centurian — image from the Museum of the City of New York

It seems geared towards wealthy bachelors in technology.

Well, some units were; on the typical floor-plates before you get to the upper, larger apartments, we have two loft-style layouts that don’t have a formal bedroom. And then we have two [layouts] that have formal bedrooms, and they’re all similar in size. So I think it’s not just about singles; definitely couples too, and more established people. In that neighborhood, we’re seeing a cross-section of different types of people; it really speaks to a lot of audiences.

And do you think the broad appeal of NoMAD heralds its emergence as one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city?

I think that it’s one of them, because there’s a lot of similarities between NoMAD and neighborhoods like SoHo and Tribeca — but you have a park, and you’re more centrally located. It’s convenient to Midtown, Uptown, and Downtown, and it’s a great spot if you have to get out of the city quickly because it’s so close to the bridges and tunnels. You’re a little bit more centrally located, but you still have the flavor and feel that you’re not in Midtown.

1165 Broadway

A new building set for 1165 Broadway — image from Spector Group

Where would you say the neighborhood’s boundaries are? Because it’s still emerging.

Madison Square Park ends at 26th Street, so up to about 30th. I think once you cross 30th it gets much more Midtown-like. And then down to 23rd Street; below 23rd people consider it to be Flatiron. And it extends between Broadway and Park Avenue.

Sandy devastated sections of the city; do you see prices being affected in areas like the West Village and the Seaport, if measures to mitigate future events are not taken? If there is another event, do you think the double-whammy could result in a sustained drop in prices?

Not in the immediate future, I mean I myself live in a Zone 1 neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, and it didn’t affect the market for those neighborhoods at all.

But if there was another one?

I think it depends on if they get worse. I think that everybody feels like what happened was very inconvenient, but there was nothing truly devastating. I think the Seaport was much more affected, and that neighborhood is a little more sensitive to future impacts than the West Side. We have a lot of projects that are in flood zones, and plans have remained the same, it’s just that some components have been elevated. And that’s the way things need to be moving forward; you have to build for the tide to go through the property, and not disrupt the tower. We have to build to accommodate; I don’t think people are scared as long as they know that the issues are being addressed.

What about insurance companies?

It’s hard; again, I’m in a Zone 1 building, and our insurance premiums doubled. And that’s unfortunate, but if you have a house on the ocean, it’s a risk you take to be on the ocean. And it’s the same with living in these prime neighborhoods.

As prices in Manhattan rise, Brooklyn and Queens are becoming go-to destinations for luxury real estate. What do you see in the future for Downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City; will the impending development boom keep prices steady, given the amount of supply that will soon be coming online?

No, prices are climbing, and I think they’ll continue to rise. Everything that we’ve been touching has been climbing, and I believe that the bulk of the rental marketplace out there is really what isn’t being built in Manhattan, so it’s not like it’s in addition to anything going up in Manhattan — so there isn’t an abundance of new product. Those price-points won’t exist in brand-new developments on the island, so people have to go to Queens and Brooklyn for these buildings, and I don’t see supply hitting demand — at least in any of the studies we’ve looked at. And the discount, even with future conservative growth, is respectable.

CityPoint phase I and 388 Bridge Street

CityPoint phase I and 388 Bridge Street

What about Harlem? It seems like people neglect it even though prices there are also increasing.

I think people focus on where the obvious discounts are, and when those go away, they set their sites on the next ones. It’s like Bushwick; is that the next one? No, now it’s Bensonhurst. It keeps moving farther out, and farther up; everything is cyclical. I think people were hot on Harlem a few years ago; people caught on, then the obvious discounts were gone, so the momentum shifted elsewhere. But now everything has elevated, and they are re-visiting Harlem, because what might have not seemed like a discount previously is now well-priced. I think we’re going to see a lot of movement in East Harlem in particular.

But what about all the public housing? Don’t you think that will prevent revitalization?

Yes and no. Anything that’s a destination — a building’s presence will overshadow that. I think people in New York City are accustomed to public housing being all around them. If you look at the West Side, you have the Amsterdam Houses by Lincoln Center; twenty or thirty years ago, you would never walk around back there. But now, it is completely surrounded on all four sides with extremely expensive luxury housing, and neighborhoods that didn’t exist back then. I think people are accepting, and if it’s a neighborhood on the verge, people are likely to take the discount. You don’t have to twist anybody’s arm to buy near the Amsterdam Houses today.

So, finally: If you could pick the top three neighborhoods to invest in today, which would they be?

I think one of the best — and I’m not just saying this because we have a building going up there — but I think Inwood is one of the very few sleeper neighborhoods still around, and I really like it. I still think, for different reasons, that FiDi is still comparatively undervalued. You’re starting to see the trickle-down effect from the Village and SoHo, as it heads Downtown. With North FiDi, especially; all those buildings on the border of Tribeca.

Like 56 Leonard?

Yes, 56 Leonard, 101 Leonard; they’re on Broadway, or Worth, or Leonard. They’re at the cross-roads of entering the Financial District, and we’re seeing those numbers shoot up. And as we see businesses populating the World Trade Center — plus the Fulton Center and the new malls — basically they’re going through the process of building an infrastructure that never existed Downtown, so that it can compete with other residential neighborhoods. It always catered to the business community, and I think the FiDi has been around for long enough as a residential destination that we’re just now seeing the makings of a true residential area in terms of amenities. So I like it for those reasons; it still has a lot of room to grow.

It would be difficult to pinpoint a neighborhood in Brooklyn, but I love Gowanus; I think it’s like a case-study.

56 Leonard

56 Leonard

Have you been there?

Yes, we’re working on projects there. The thing about Gowanus is that it’s the epicenter of many other neighborhoods. It’s between Carroll Gardens and Park Slope, which are two fabulous neighborhoods.

Isn’t it centered on a toxic canal?

For many years the canal was toxic and polluted, and not very attractive –

So it’s basically like Greenpoint-lite.

Yes, but that’s changing; it’s being cleaned-up and redeveloped. There is a population of young artists and creative types that have been living in that area, and it’s been one of those sleeper neighborhoods for a long time. And as pricing continues to escalate in adjacent established neighborhoods, Gowanus is on the verge of major change.

And why has it remained so undervalued; the pollution?

Well because it had a very old stigma attached to it because of the canal, so people stayed away. But at this point we’re out of land, and it’s there, and it is a very good location — and the pollution is being addressed, and re-mediation has been ongoing for years, though it has not been obvious to people. But it’s really on the way. And Whole Foods is opening a Gowanus location, and I think that says a lot.

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Posted in 1182 Broadway | Clifford Finn | DoBro | Douglas Elliman | Downtown | FiDi | Gowanus | Jersey City | Journal Square | Long Island City | Midtown | New York | Residential | The Centurian

Construction Update: 30 Park Place

30 Park Place

The new Four Seasons Hotel and Residences at 30 Park Place is making rapid vertical progress, and the Robert A.M. Stern-designed building is now passing its shorter neighbors. Silverstein is developing the 67-story skyscraper, which will soon become the tallest residential tower in Lower Manhattan.

30 Park Place

30 Park Place

As of the last update, from one month ago, the tower was it its fourth floor; now that superstructure work has passed the podium levels, the building has begun to shoot upwards. 30 Park Place is now rising at the rate of two floors per week, with the simplified floor plans aiding the speed of construction.

30 Park Place

30 Park Place

The most recent permits indicate that the 937-foot tower will have 179 hotel rooms and 159 condominiums, with residences starting on the 24th floor; a mechanical level will separate the building’s components. Construction should continue at the current pace for the remainder of the tower’s rise, which means that 30 Park Place could potentially be topped-out before the end of 2014.

30 Park Place

30 Park Place

A new teaser website for the building is also up; while no new renderings have been released, it does have a penthouse view, captured in the below screen-grab. With the highest residences in the building located over 900 feet above street level, the vistas will be impressive and unobstructed — though the rapidly-rising 56 Leonard will eventually intrude on the panorama, albeit in a positive way, since the Herzog & de Meuron-designed tower will be an architectural marvel.

30 Park Place

30 Park Place, penthouse view — image via the official website

Completion of 30 Park Place is expected in 2015.

30 Park Place

30 Park Place — via YIMBY reader JPH

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Posted in 30 Park Place | 99 Church | Architecture | Construction Update | Downtown | FiDi | Hotel | New York | Residential | Robert Stern Architects | Silverstein

Revealed: 55 Broad Street

55 Broad Street -- image via Google Maps

Several details regarding a potential tower at 55 Broad Street were discussed by Lois Weiss at the New York Post last month, and now YIMBY has the first vague renderings of the tower, courtesy of an anonymous tipper. Rudin Management is developing the site, and FX Fowle is the architect of record.

55 Broad Street

55 Broad Street — image by FX Fowle

The site is located in the heart of the Financial District, and has development rights of 388,000 square feet; the massing diagram depicts a 53-story tower that would stand nearly 750 feet, which would make it one of the tallest skyscrapers in Lower Manhattan. The William Beaver House — which stands 527 feet — is rendered adjacent to 55 Broad Street in the massing study.

While 55 Broad Street could rise over 50 stories as-is, the lot has additional potential, thanks to the failure of the initial plans for the Nobu Tower, at 45 Broad Street. The two sites could potentially be combined, and the resulting tower’s air rights would total approximately 650,000 square feet, and an assemblage of that size could rise significantly taller than the current plans.

45 Broad Street

Concept for 45 Broad — existing 55 Broad to the right

The ‘supertall’ milestone has proven daunting for residential developers in Lower Manhattan, though several buildings will approach the mark; 30 Park Place, 22 Thames, 56 Leonard, and 101 Murray Street are all slated to stand between 800 and 1,000 feet tall. If the Rudins manage to acquire 45 Broad, 55 Broad Street could approach supertall status.

No completion date for the site has been announced, and given the existing 35-story office building must be demolished before work proceeds, construction is a long ways off; still, the potential is there, and demolition of the current 55 Broad Street appears to be imminent.

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Posted in 55 Broad Street | Architecture | Downtown | FX Fowle | New York | Residential | Rudin Management

Construction Update: 133 Greenwich Street

133 Greenwich Street

Excavation is underway at 133 Greenwich Street, which will soon become a 30-story Marriott Courtyard. The project’s architect is Danny Forster Design Studio, and the developer is Hidrock Realty LLC; the site is located adjacent to the World Trade Center.

133 Greenwich Street

133 Greenwich Street — image from Danny Forster Design Studio

New renderings of the tower’s planned design are also online, and the overall scheme echoes the nearby 150 Greenwich Street, in a miniaturized form. The building creatively uses its air rights, and in a cue that other architects should take, 133 Greenwich Street utilizes an extruded screen to conform to the street-wall along its lower levels, which ensures its envelope meets zoning requirements.

133 Greenwich Street

133 Greenwich Street — image from Danny Forster Design Studio

This minimizes the floor-plates of the podium levels, allowing the tower to shift its mass upwards. DOB diagrams indicate the building’s height will be 356 feet.

133 Greenwich Street

133 Greenwich Street — image from Danny Forster Design Studio

Besides the innovative arrangement of interior square footage, the design’s similarity to 150 Greenwich Street will aesthetically integrate the tower into its surroundings. Across the street, work is about to begin on 22 Thames Street, which will be another glassy skyscraper; the vicinity’s oft-dilapidated pre-war stock is rapidly modernizing, and the imminent opening of the entire World Trade Center complex will likely spur additional development.

133 Greenwich Street

133 Greenwich Street

Completion of 133 Greenwich Street is expected in the fall of 2015.

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Posted in 133 Greenwich Street | Architecture | Construction Update | Danny Forster Design Studio | Downtown | FiDi | Hotel | New York

Construction Update: 161 Front Street

161 Front Street

The new Fairfield Inn hotel at 161 Front Street has topped-out, and cladding has begun rising on the Peter Poon-designed tower. The building stands 31 stories tall, and the developer is the Lam Group.

161 Front Street has approximately 65,000 square feet of space, and the Fairfield Inn will have 200 rooms. The tower is located on the periphery of the Financial District, standing one block to the south of the South Street Seaport.

161 Front Street

161 Front Street

NIMBYs in the Seaport have vociferously opposed the development of a 50-story hotel by Howard Hughes on the neighborhood’s waterfront; while 161 Front Street is a good deal shorter, its relative prominence is not that dissimilar. Indeed, while the Hughes tower also appears to be high-quality — courtesy of SHoP — the same cannot be said for 161 Front Street, which faces the Seaport with a blank wall, characterized by arbitrary zig-zags.

161 Front Street

161 Front Street’s Seaport-facing facade

Besides the Howard Hughes tower, additional skyscrapers are planned at 151 Maiden Lane and 80 South Street, both of which could end up taller than the Hughes building. A development boom is expanding across the Seaport-adjacent blocks, and arguments against the redevelopment of the Fulton Fish Market hinge on the neighborhood’s ‘low-rise’ nature.

While a select few blocks are dominated by Disney-esque remnants of 18th and 19th century New York, they are completely surrounded by skyscrapers, and NIMBY arguments against surrounding developments are almost as ridiculous as those posed by opponents of the Torre Verre in Midtown, who characterized 53rd Street as a ‘mid-rise neighborhood.’

If buildings like 161 Front Street can be built as-of-right, better buildings — like SHoP’s tower — should not have an issue rising. Perhaps Seaport residents should instead focus on asking Howard Hughes to incorporate storm-surge mitigation measures into their redevelopment; the greatest threat to the neighborhood — which has apparently been ignored by the NIMBYs — is flooding, which was made abundantly clear after Hurricane Sandy.

Completion of the Fairfield Inn is expected later this year.

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Posted in 161 Front Street | Architecture | Construction Update | Hotel | Howard Hughes Seaport Tower | LAM Group | New York | Peter Poon

Construction Update: 30 Park Place

30 Park Place

Silverstein’s 30 Park Place is making quick progress, after construction resumed at the end of last year; the superstructure is climbing quickly, and should pass 56 Leonard shortly. The Robert A.M. Stern-designed Four Seasons Hotel and Residences will eventually stand 67 stories and 937 feet tall.

30 Park Place

30 Park Place

New permits have also been filed for the project, indicating a shift in the amount of space allotted to the building’s different uses. The hotel has been reduced to the tower’s first 22 floors, with 179 rooms in total; that number has increased from 149 rooms — filed on previous plans — despite the component’s vertical compaction.

There has also been a slight change to the number of residences, with the condominium component expected to have 159 units, down from 161. The shifts in both sections are relatively trivial; in terms of raw square footage, the hotel will measure just under 219,000 square feet, while the residences will spread over 387,000 square feet.

30 Park Place

30 Park Place

Progress on 30 Park Place will accelerate soon, as the concrete passes the relatively complicated lower levels, which will be devoted to common spaces and mechanical elements. After the fifth story — which includes three outdoor terraces — floor-plans become more standardized.

30 Park Place

30 Park Place

It won’t be long before the new Four Seasons begins to make an impact on the skyline, becoming Downtown’s tallest residential tower in the process. Completion is expected in 2015.

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Posted in 30 Park Place | Architecture | Construction Update | Downtown | Hotel | New York | Residential | Robert Stern Architects | Silverstein

Permits Filed: 6 Water Street

6 Water Street -- image via Google Maps

Another hotel collaboration courtesy of Gene Kaufman and Sam Chang will soon begin rising in the Financial District. Construction permits for 6 Water Street have been partially approved, and the tower will stand 29 stories tall, with 249 rooms.

Back in 2008, Curbed reported on the site’s original sale, and the broker apparently had some remorse over the property’s buyer. David Johnson of Eastern Consolidated noted that “though we marketed the site widely, reaching out globally to more than 1,000 investors and developers, Sam Chang still emerged the winner.”

Evidently 6 Water Street has taken several years to get off the ground, as initial permits were also filed in 2008. Now, it appears things are actually getting underway, as a slew of construction documents are going through the approval process. A zoning diagram gives an outline of the tower’s envelope, and it will be fairly simple; at the very least, the tower’s base will meet the street-wall.

6 Water Street

6 Water Street — image via the DOB

The hotel will stand 298 feet tall; though that is short by Manhattan standards, its location at the southern tip of the island will make it semi-prominent, as the site is so close to the water. It seems as though Kaufman has a rare opportunity for visibility on the skyline; hopefully it isn’t squandered with a Fisher Price facade.

No official timeline has been released, but a 2016 opening date would be a reasonable assumption.

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Posted in 6 Water Street | Architecture | Construction Update | Downtown | FiDi | Hotel | Kaufman | New York | Sam Chang

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