Revealed: 42-44 West 29th Street

42-44 West 29th Street

Another day, another cheap hotel going up on the West Side. Today’s street wall-wrecker sits at 42-44 West 29th Street, wedged in between two pre-war loft buildings on a block where retail mostly caters to wholesale clothing and accessory buyers.

Gene Kaufman is the architect of record, and the 18-story and 43,580-square foot building will contain 109 hotel rooms. Devli Properties — which really didn’t want to talk to Curbed about it two years ago — is the developer.

42-44 West 29th Street

42-44 West 29th Street

The site should be destined for dense residential development, but with local politicians hostile to luxury housing, the area has held onto its outmoded M1-6 zoning, which only allows commercial uses. Since cheap hotels are the most profitable commercial use, these are the only things that are generally built in the vast M-zoned lands on the West Side.

42-44 West 29th Street

42-44 West 29th Street

One day, perhaps rents in the area will rise to the point where new office buildings are the highest and best use, but sadly, today is not that day. The neighborhood’s inflexible zoning code is to blame for penny-pinching buildings and unsightly setbacks, and until policy changes, the blight will continue.

Per on-site signage, completion of 42-44 West 29th Street is slated for June of 2016.

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Posted in 42-44 West 29th Street | Architecture | Chelsea | Construction Update | Devli Properties | Flatiron | Hotel | Kaufman | Midtown | New York

Revealed: Plaza Renovation at 1250 Broadway

Most New Yorkers may recognize the office tower at 1250 Broadway as the entrance to Koreatown, but owner Jamestown is well on its way to repositioning the black-and-white modernist skyscraper as a tech hub. To that end, the landlord is embarking on a $3 million renovation of the building’s plaza and lobby, and shared renderings of the project with YIMBY.

The makeover involves a new glass curtain wall at the tower’s base and a new stainless steel canopy, as well as replacing “the existing stone metal cladding at the corner of the building with new ‘white glass’ primary façade material,” per a press release.

Jamestown bought 1250 Broadway in 2008, and while it doesn’t have the stereotypically pre-war aesthetic of other tech-y buildings — like Chelsea Market, soon to undergo a major expansion — it has still attracted a fair number of firms, showing that a prime location on Silicon Alley and a dearth of older buildings with affordable rents will lead to companies stepping outside of their comfort zone.

Varonis Systems just tripled their space for a total of 46,000 square feet over three floors, while Rocket Fuel and Piksel, among others, also count themselves as tenants.

The renovation of 1250 Broadway should wrap up in the fall. The new design is by Moed de Armas & Shannon Architects, who are also heading up the redesign of nearby Herald Center at 1293 Broadway.

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Posted in 1250 Broadway | Architecture | Construction Update | Jamestown | Koreatown | Midtown | Midtown South | New York | Office

Construction Update: 855 Sixth Avenue

855 Sixth Avenue

Full renderings may be lacking, but construction at 855 Sixth Avenue has begun in earnest, where the Durst Organization is erecting a 41-story mixed-use tower (with the help of some foreign EB-5 investors looking for a slice of the American dream), as YIMBY previously reported.

The tower will be predominately residential, with 375 luxury apartments (20 percent of which will be rented at below-market rates), but will also include a sizable office component and 57,000 square feet of retail space.

855 Sixth Avenue

855 Sixth Avenue

Because the large development site bleeds into the industrial M1-6 zone between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, the developer cannot build the entire site to its highest and best use – luxury residential – and will therefore be including a substantial 127,000 square feet of office space on the second through sixth floors (to put that in perspective, that’s not that much smaller than the Jeanne Gang-designed all-office “Solar Carve” tower going up on the High Line).

While the office space won’t be as profitable as luxury apartments – and office space hasn’t been more profitable than residential space anywhere in the five boroughs for longer than we’ve been around – Durst will likely have no problem finding tenants. Unlike the towers going up at the World Trade Center and on the Far West Side, 855 Sixth sits squarely within the Midtown South subdistrict, where tech and creative companies are eager to lease space.

855 Sixth Avenue

855 Sixth Avenue

The tower should add some heft to an area that’s been crying out for height to accompany the once-lonely Empire State Building. And the partial renderings that have been released show a clean façade designed by Cook + Fox (SLCE is the architect of record), mercifully bereft of the PTAC heating and cooling units that normally pockmark rental buildings in New York City, but which are unheard of in office towers.

855 Sixth Avenue

855 Sixth Avenue

Per on-site signage, completion of 855 Sixth Avenue is expected in April of 2016.

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Posted in 855 6th Avenue | Architecture | Construction Update | Cook + Fox Architects | Durst | Midtown | New York | Office | Residential | SLCE

Demolition Update: 45 East 22nd Street

45 East 22nd Street -- demolition as of July

Demolition is now complete at 45 East 22nd Street, paving the way for construction to begin on the future 64-story building; Bruce Eichner of Continuum is developing, and Kohn Pedersen Fox is the architect.

The 372,684 square-foot building will have 83 units, and while pricing has not been released, numbers will likely be astronomical, especially given Related’s results at One Madison. 45 East 22nd Street will stand 150 feet taller than One Madison, topping-out 777 feet above 22nd Street.

41 East 22nd Street

45 East 22nd Street, image by KPF

Financing for the site remains undisclosed, but given the ongoing demand for super-luxe residences, 45 East 22nd Street would seem well-positioned for imminent verticality. While 57th Street and Lower Manhattan have several similar proposals in the works or under construction, the area surrounding Madison Square Park is bare of comparisons outside of One Madison and Eichner’s tower, which would seem to brighten prospects.

45 East 22nd Street

45 East 22nd Street — demolition progress as of April

The structures that formerly occupied the site came down one by one over the past few months, and shots during demolition — April above, June below — show how quickly removal occurred.

45 East 22nd Street

45 East 22nd Street — demolition progress as of June

Per Curbed, completion of 45 East 22nd Street is slated for 2016; while the target seems slightly ambitious, it would also herald excavation beginning in the very near future.

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Posted in 41 East 22nd Street | 43 East 22nd Street | 45 East 22nd Street | Architecture | Bruce Eichner | Construction Update | Continuum Company | Kohn Pedersen Fox | Midtown | New York | Residential

Renderings Revealed: 41 East 22nd Street

41 East 22nd Street's pinnacle, image by KPF

After last week’s post on the latest DOB filings at 41 East 22nd Street, a tipster passed along additional documents, complete with renderings, that reveal the full scope of the project. The site’s developer is Continuum — headed by Bruce Eichner — and the architects are Kohn Pederson Fox and Goldstein Hill & West.

41 East 22nd Street

41 East 22nd Street, image by KPF

While the previous drawings were comprehensive, the new renderings offer significantly clearer details on the skyscraper, which will become the tallest building between Midtown and Lower Manhattan. Plans may have undergone slight revisions since the included images were conceived in November, but they appear to be very similar to the most recent DOB filings. The tower will eventually stand 60 stories and 777 feet tall.

41 East 22nd Street

Different angle of the project, image via KPF

Per the tipster, the concept for 41 East 22nd Street has undergone a series of evolutions, and the tower has gained height during the design process. KPF’s hand is evident, and the scheme bears similarities to the firm’s similarly glassy and jagged creations at Related’s Hudson Yards development.

41 East 22nd Street

41 East 22nd Street’s base, image via KPF

Perhaps the tower’s most striking element — besides its sheer height — is the cantilever, arching over neighboring buildings to the west. The ‘champagne glass’ has clearly been refined, but the base definitely resembles a stem, fluting upwards into the structure’s residential floors.

41 East 22nd Street

41 East 22nd Street, base diagram

Glass dominates the vast majority of the exterior, but the amenity-laden base is actually clad in masonry; the new drawings note that the “design [is] pending confirmation,” but as the renderings make clear, there will be a marked contrast between the podium’s facade and the rest of the building.

41 East 22nd Street

41 East 22nd Street, profile diagram

Despite the stone exterior, the base will still have enormous windows looking out onto 22nd Street, and the lobby of 41 East 22nd Street will be an experience unto itself. With One Madison located down the block, the neighborhood offers ample competition in terms of condominium product, but it would appear that Eichner’s 81-unit development is poised to take the super-luxe crown for all of Lower Manhattan.

Roof Diagram -- image by KPF

Roof Diagram — image by KPF

While no completion date has been announced, demolition of the existing structures is now underway.

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Posted in 41 East 22nd Street | 43 East 22nd Street | Architecture | Bruce Eichner | Continuum Company | Flatiron | Goldstein Hill West | Kohn Pedersen Fox | Midtown | New York | Renderings | Residential

Permits Filed: 55 West 17th Street

55 West 17th Street

The first permits are up for a new development at 55 West 17th Street, which Toll Brothers City Living is developing; The Real Deal reported on the site’s sale last October, when it was bought for $68.5 million. Morris Adjmi is listed as the architect of record.

Despite the lack of drawings or renderings, the filings give the first detailed look at what will likely house a host of high-end condominiums; the development’s total scope is 91,714 square feet, which includes 5,231 square feet of ground-level retail. The remaining 86,483 square feet will be split between 55 residences, averaging nearly 1,600 square feet apiece.

Toll Brothers has a penchant for high-end design, and the company’s current roster of projects includes Portzamparc’s fantastical ‘fortress of glassitude’ at 400 Park Avenue South, as well as the more traditional 1110 Park Avenue, designed by Barry Rice. Adjmi’s past designs have proven appealing to a high-end clientele, explaining the architect’s involvement at 55 West 17th Street, which will likely target the boutique luxury segment of the market.

55 West 17th Street will rise nineteen floors, and stand 200 feet in total; the Schedule A has additional specifics. The second and third levels will have six units each, with the number of residences per floor shrinking as the tower rises; duplexes begin on the 13th story, the 17th floor will be occupied by a single unit, and the penthouse will span the entirety of the top two levels.

55 West 17th Street

55 West 17th Street

No completion date has been announced, but the market in the neighborhood is increasingly lucrative; Walker Tower is located two blocks to the west, and that development has set astronomical price milestones. Given the demand for units in the vicinity — and the fact that demolition permits for the existing six-story building on-site were filed and approved in February — construction appears to be imminent.

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Posted in 55 West 17th Street | Architecture | Chelsea | Flatiron | Morris Adjmi Architects | New York | Residential | Toll Brothers

Interview: Market Trends with Douglas Elliman’s Clifford Finn

ESB's view, East New York in distance.

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: 35 XV

35 XV

Exterior work is nearly complete at Alchemy Properties35 XV is nearly complete, and cladding has wrapped up along the majority of the structure; the only side of the building that remains semi-bare is the tower’s east-facing wall. The architect is FXFOWLE.

35 XV

35 XV

YIMBY toured 35 XV back in January, and the views from the building are impressive; the ‘Skymark’ stands relatively alone, at 35 West 15th Street. The development’s mid-block location on the southern edge of Chelsea ensures it is removed from structures that would otherwise obstruct views, and the vistas from upper floors are comprehensive.

35 XV

35 XV

From the ground, 35 XV offers a refreshing take on contemporary architecture, and its sleek, jewel-like form is enhanced by the contrast with surrounding pre-war structures. While modern buildings are relatively rare in the surrounding blocks, Alchemy’s tower does an excellent job of integrating into both the street-scape and the skyline; the metal accents along the windows give the appearance of beveled edges, and the facade bears a similarity to Extell’s International Gem Tower, located thirty blocks to the north.

35 XV

35 XV

Clearly, the Gem Tower and 35 XV are from different worlds — and the towers are dedicated to different uses — but taken together, the buildings could herald a new trend in contemporary design. Improving technology allows much greater versatility with glass, and the progression of modern architecture towards texture-driven facades could re-humanize cutting-edge design; another example of ‘window depth’ can be found in 475 Park Avenue South.

35 XV

35 XV

Completion of 35 West 15th Street — which stands 24 stories in total, and has 55 residences — is slated for later this year.

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Posted in 35 West 15th Street | 35 XV | Alchemy Property | Architecture | Chelsea | Construction Update | FX Fowle | New York | Residential

Demolition Imminent: 3 West 29th Street

3 West 29th Street

The green fencing of doom has risen around the base of 3 West 29th Street, which will be torn down to make way for a mixed-use development by HFZ Capital. The Real Deal reported on the building’s impending demolition last week, which will vanish along with adjacent structures at 11 West 29th Street and 8 West 30th Street.

While YIMBY supports new development, the existing 3 West 29th Street — aka The Bancroft Building, which was built in 1896 — is one of the best remaining examples of nineteenth century New York City in the neighborhood. The facade’s brickwork is remarkable, and the structure adds significantly to NoMAD’s character.

3 West 29th Street

3 West 29th Street — the fencing of doom

Demolishing the interiors would be one thing, but the facade merits preservation. The adjacent structures will be no great loss, but The Bancroft Building is a definite gem, and — if anything — integrating its brickwork into the future skyscraper would boost potential pricing. Projects like the Hearst Tower and 111 West 57th Street prove that incorporating legacy buildings can be both aesthetically pleasing and cost-effective, and it often results in pricing premiums.

Plans for the future development are vague, though a massing diagram — via Curbed — outlines the site’s potential. With air rights totaling 350,000 square feet, the replacement will likely make a mark on the skyline.

Given NoMAD’s surging profile and cache, it is entirely possible that HFZ’s development will be aesthetically superior to The Bancroft Building; progress is not possible without sacrifice. The neighborhood is no stranger to change, and even The Empire State Building — located four blocks to the north — came at the cost of the old Waldorf Astoria.

3 West 29th Street

3 West 29th Street

Regardless of sentiments for historic architecture, it does appear that 3 West 29th Street will be coming down. Permits confirm the green fencing of doom is here to stay, as demolition was approved on February 12th. While HFZ’s project will put the land to a higher and better use, it would still be nice the exterior of The Bancroft could remain. No completion date for the new building has been announced.

3 West 29th Street

3 West 29th Street

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Posted in 3 West 29th Street | Architecture | Construction Update | Demolition | HFZ Capital | Midtown | New York | NoMad | Residential | The Bancroft Building

Permits Filed: 292 Fifth Avenue

292 Fifth Avenue -- image via Google Maps

UPDATE: Per DDG, the firm involved at 292 Fifth Avenue is a different DDG, so the comparison to 100 Franklin Street and 345 Meatpacking is invalid.

Fresh permits reveal a 20-story hotel and residential building is about to begin rising at 292 Fifth Avenue, in the booming NoMAD neighborhood. The existing structure will soon be demolished, with permits for that portion of the job filed in early January. The architect of record is Rawlings, and the developer is DDG.

The site is currently occupied by a 6-story low-rise, which is of no architectural significance; 292 Fifth Avenue’s block has several nicer pre-war buildings that will hopefully be saved from future development, but the building to be demolished will be no great loss. As NoMAD continues to develop, much of the district’s historic legacy will be bulldozed to make way for new hotels and condominiums, which is fine, as long as the new structures are better than the old.

Given DDG’s involvement in the project, a stellar design is likely, and Rawlings’ track record is also impressive. DDG’s recent developments include 345 Meatpacking, which has a brick and bronze facade; the firm’s vision for 100 Franklin Street is similarly fantastic, and DDG’s collective portfolio signals a bright future for 292 Fifth Avenue.

The development will total just over 52,000 square feet, with the bulk of space to be utilized by the new hotel, which — per the Schedule A — will span the building’s first fourteen floors, with 130 rooms. Approximately 10,000 square feet will be dedicated to twelve residences on the top four floors.

No completion date has been announced, but with demolition and construction permits pending approval, work is likely imminent. DDG’s latest project will add another feather to the neighborhood’s proverbial cap, and confirms NoMAD’s continued evolution into one of the most desirable areas of Manhattan.

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Posted in 292 Fifth Avenue | Architecture | Construction Update | DDG | Hotel | Midtown | New York | NoMad | Rawlings Architects | Residential

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