First Look: 36 Central Park South, Park Lane Hotel Redevelopment

36 Central Park South, image by Spivak Architecture

The imminent redevelopment of the Park Lane Hotel at 36 Central Park South has become one of the most talked about projects in real estate over the last few weeks, as reports emerged of a frivolous battle to preserve the original structure as a landmark. Now, YIMBY has obtained the first renderings of what the replacement may look like, though the images likely do not depict a final product.

Still, the idea conveyed is perfectly clear, and it appears that the original structure will receive a gut-renovation and vertical addition, avoiding a complete tear-down.

36 Central Park South

36 Central Park South, image by Spivak Architecture

Unfortunately, onerous neighborhood zoning may prevent the complete demolition of the current building, which is a relative eyesore on the Central Park skyline. Per the Wall Street Journal, a completely new development would only be able to contain two-thirds of the tower’s current 370,000 square feet.

This invites creativity with the existing envelope, in a way similar to 425 Park Avenue, where the bottom portion of the original structure will also be integrated into the new building. The mandate for preservation is completely arbitrary and nonsensical, but so is most of the city’s zoning policy, so in the context of greater bureaucratic incoherency, it actually makes sense.

In the rendered plans, produced by Spivak Architects, the Park Lane emerges from its conversion as a plain and glassy box, with some additional height. Essentially, current FAR is reconfigured within a taller envelope to give higher ceilings, which are a must for new luxury developments.

36 Central Park South

36 Central Park South lobby atrium, image by Spivak Architecture

The inflexibility of existing zoning translates into a rather banal design. While the tower would be dominated by the supertalls along 57th Street anyways, Central Park South is deserving of the best design possible; to the east, 220 Central Park South offers a glimpse at what can be built when ground-up construction is viable.

While indications are to the contrary, per Witkoff, the above images “have nothing to do with 36 CPS.”

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Posted in 36 Central Park South | Park Lane Hotel | Witkoff Group

Construction Update: 290 West Street & 460 Washington Street

290 West Street and 460 Washington Street

The High Line is in full bloom with construction cranes, but the linear promenade is only one front in the West Side’s building boom. The other lies along the Hudson River, where West Street is awash in construction, from the World Trade Center to Riverside South.

Somewhere in the middle lie 290 West Street and 460 Washington Street, a pair of buildings rising in the northern tip of Tribeca, separated from each other by a red brick prewar building at 288 West.

290 West Street

290 West Street, image by Adjmi & Andreoli

The building on the left, 290 West Street, is an Adjmi & Andreoli design (VE Equities is the developer) that YIMBY revealed in June, and it has just about topped out. The nine-story building will eventually hold 13 high-end condominium units spread over nearly 37,000 square feet of residential space, for an average unit size pushing 3,000 square feet – larger than the average new American single-family home.

290 West Street

290 West Street, almost topped-out

On the south side of the block sits the 10-story 460 Washington Street, designed by BKSK, and it also looks to have topped out. It will be significantly more affordable than its neighbor, with smaller units than 290 West Street. Developed by Related, the building will have 107 apartments divided over 141,000 square feet of residential space, for a much more reasonable average unit size of around 1,300 square feet.

460 Washington Street

460 Washington Street

Both buildings will have modern designs; 290 West will have a glassy facade, utilizing Adjmi’s trademark casement windows, while 460 Washington will be a relatively simple exercise in brick. Together, the projects represent the continued positive evolution of a formerly industrial neighborhood, and both are set for completion next year.

460 Washington Street

460 Washington Street

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Posted in 290 West Street | 460 Washington Street | Adjmi and Andreoli | Architecture | BKSK Architects | New York | Related | Residential | VE Equities

Construction Update: Columbia University’s Jerome L. Greene Science Center, Manhattanville

Jerome L. Greene Science Center, image by Tectonic

Last week, YIMBY covered a pair of permit filings for private residential projects in Manhattanville, in West Harlem. But the neighborhood’s real building boom is in the educational sector, with Columbia University starting to make good on plans for its 17-acre master planned expansion, concentrated west of Broadway between 129th and 133rd Streets.

Among the first buildings to rise is the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, which will sit on 129th Street, beside the elevated 1 train structure on Broadway.

YIMBY checked out the building last year, when the 450,000-square foot, nine-story structure had just topped out.

Now, YIMBY Forums user Tectonic has an update on the construction progress. The façade of the main building contains two glass curtain walls, and appears to be substantially completed. The base, however, remains unfinished; according to the rendering, it will have a more transparent façade.

In addition to the master plan for the Manhattanville campus expansion and the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, world famous Genoa-born architect Renzo Piano will also design the Lenfest Center for the Arts (slated to open around the same time as the Greene Science Center), as well as the Academic Forum conference facility.

Meanwhile, the Science Center is scheduled to open in 2015, and will house the Mind Brain Behavior Initiative.

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Posted in Architecture | Columbia Manhattanville | Construction Update | New York | Renzo Piano

Five Brand New 3-Bedroom Apartments That Rent for Less than the de Blasios’ Park Slope Home

The de Blasios' home at 442 11th Street, image by Kirby Sommers

Local landlord-turned-mayor Bill de Blasio has just rented out one of his three homes (two in Brooklyn that he owns, and one on the Upper East Side that he grudgingly moved into). One of his two wood-frame houses on 11th Street in Park Slope, with three bedrooms, is now rented for the next year at $4,975 a month, or a few thousand dollars more a year than the median New York City household income.

Bill de Blasio the politician has called for a rent freeze and even supported, as the Democratic mayoral nominee, rent stabilizing some illegal basement conversions and “granny flats” in homes in immigrant neighborhoods worth much less than his own.

But Bill de Blasio the property owner is cashing in on rising home prices in South Slope.

Bill de Blasio the politician has taken a hard line with real estate developers, with his housing team sending a clear message that they value market-rate development for nothing beyond what can be wrung from them in terms of affordable housing.

But Bill de Blasio the property owner is renting out his home for more than many similar properties ask in brand new buildings. The home he’s renting out is actually pricier than many newly-built three-bedroom apartments throughout Brooklyn, and a few in Manhattan, too.

So without further ado, YIMBY presents a list of five brand new (or almost new) homes that market-rate developers have built for more affordable price points than the house Bill de Blasio and his family have just rented out. So if you’re tired of the unaffordable housing that the de Blasios are pushing in historic Park Slope, try giving a call to the brokers listing apartments in these new buildings, where you can at least (usually) get two bathrooms for your money.

1209 Dekalb Avenue, image from <a href=""></a>

1209 Dekalb Avenue, image from

1209 Dekalb Avenue

In South Bushwick, near where the M train splits from the J/Z, a new rental project, branded as Colony 1209, was built by Nexus Development. Would-be residents can rent a three-bedroom apartment there for just $2,771 a month (net effective rent) – about half the price of the home on 11th Street. In addition to a doorman, parking and plentiful outdoor space, the unit comes with two bathrooms – twice the number found in the de Blasios’ home.

475 West 146th Street, image from <a href="">Trulia</a>

475 West 146th Street, image from Trulia

475 West 146th Street

While many of the brand new units renting at the de Blasios’ price point are in Brooklyn, there are some to be found elsewhere, like this three-bedroom, three-bath unit in Hamilton Heights/Sugar Hill. Opened last year, the ornate, prewar-styled building is offering this duplex unit – a massive 2,500 square footer, twice the size of the de Blasios’ home – for $4,100 a month, and comes with a private terrace.

62 Avenue B, image from <a href="">Streeteasy</a>

62 Avenue B, image from Streeteasy

62 Avenue B

Closer to the heart of the city, there’s a three-bedroom building on offer in a six-story building that opened in 2013 in Alphabet City. The building – “Bloom 62,” it’s marketed as – boasts built-in air conditioning units (no window units, like on 11th Street), an in-unit washer/dryer and a gym. It can be all yours for just $4,775 a month, or $200 less than the de Blasios’ home.

80 Meserole Street, image from <a href="">Jewish Business News</a>

80 Meserole Street, image from Jewish Business News

80 Meserole Street

In trendy East Williamsburg, this three-bedroom, two-bath apartment can be all yours for $4,450, saving you over $6,000 a year off rent in the de Blasios’ 11th Street home. The building opened in 2011, and features private outdoor space, a yoga room, a dog-washing room, and underground parking.

351 Franklin Avenue, image from <a href="">Brownstoner</a>

351 Franklin Avenue, image from Brownstoner

351 Franklin Avenue

This Bed-Stuy building, opened in 2012, might be off the G train, but at $3,800 for a three-bedrom, 1.5-bath apartment, it’s much more affordable than 11th Street. It comes with 1,650 square feet of living space, significantly more than you get with the de Blasios, and includes central air conditioning – a rare amenity in new rental buildings, which is much quieter, comfortable and more energy efficient than the leaky window units on 11th Street. The building has a laundry room, but there’s also a washer/dryer hookup in the apartment if you want to bring your own. The apartment is a duplex, and it includes yard and balcony space.

Posted in Bill de Blasio | De Blasio | Park Slope

YIMBY Today: 88 Richardson Renderings, Palantir Leases at 430 West 15th Street, More

Leonard Pointe, rendering by Karl Fischer via Fiddler Realty

88 Richardson Street [Curbed]: Construction is nearly complete at the seven-story and 188-unit residential building at 88 Richardson Street, in northern Williamsburg. Leasing begins next month, and Karl Fischer designed the project, which also has an address at 395 Leonard Street, and has been dubbed Leonard Pointe.

350 East 86th Street [Crain's New York]: A single-story retail structure at 350 East 86th Street — in the Upper East Side — has hit the market as a development site with 153,000 square feet of building potential, including affordable housing bonuses. The building “could fetch $100 million or more,” and the current tenant’s lease expires in early 2016.

430 West 15th Street

430 West 15th Street — image by A+I

430 West 15th Street [New York Post]: California-based Palantir Technologies “has leased [77,293 square feet at] the former garage building that is being transformed” into 99,558 square feet of commercial space at 422-430 West 15th Street, in Chelsea; the conversion is expected to be finished next summer.

163-25 Archer Avenue [Queens Courier]: A 90,000 square-foot retail building and seven-story parking garage — spanning 163-05 – 163-25 Archer Avenue, in Downtown Jamaica — has been purchased by “Jamaica Tower” for $22 million; nearly 720,000 square feet of building potential exists.

19 East Houston Street, rendering by Perkins Eastman

19 East Houston Street, rendering by Perkins Eastman

19 East Houston Street [DNAinfo New York]: Renderings have surfaced of Madison Capital’s planned six-story and 30,870 square-foot commercial building at 19 East Houston Street, in SoHo; Perkins Eastman is designing the office and retail building, and applications were filed last month.

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Posted in 163-25 Archer Avenue | 19 East Houston Street | 350 East 86th Street | 430 West 15th Street | 88 Richardson Street

DOB Digest: Permits for 115 King Street in Red Hook, New Jamaica Mid-Rise, More

115 King Street pre-demolition, via Google Maps


115 King Street: King Equity Partners has filed applications for a three-story and 52,377 square-foot residential building — with an undetermined number of units — spanning 107-125 King Street, in Red Hook. A single-story structure at No. 115 was approved for demolition in August, and Jeffrey Cole is designing.

1122 Chestnut Avenue: An LLC has filed applications for a seven-story and 57-unit mixed-use building of 61,629 square feet — containing 12,562 square feet of commercial space — spanning the vacant lots of 1116-1124 Chestnut Avenue, in Midwood. Joseph Spector of Dome Architecture is designing.

2819 West 17th Street: Applications have been filed for a five-story and nine-unit residential building of 9,144 square feet at 2819 West 17th Street, on Coney Island; an existing three-story structure was approved for demolition in August, and Harry Hong is listed as the architect.

604 20th Street: Applications have been filed for a three-story and seven-unit residential building of 8,933 square feet spanning 594-604 20th Street, in Windsor Terrace; existing one- and two-story structures must first be demolished, and Rybak is designing.

217 Buffalo Avenue: An LLC has filed applications for a four-story and eight-unit residential building of 6,032 square feet at the vacant lot of 217 Buffalo Avenue, in eastern Crown Heights; Gregory Switzer is designing.


92-61 165th Street: Silverstone Property Development has refiled applications for a 14-story and 89-unit residential building at 92-61 165th Street, in Downtown Jamaica. An existing single-story structure was approved for demolition in August, and Aufgang is designing the structure, which will include 7,234 square feet of retail.

31-77 37th Street: An LLC has filed applications for a five-story and 29-unit residential building of nearly 20,000 square feet spanning 31-75 – 31-77 37th Street, in Astoria; an existing single-story structure must first be demolished, and T.F. Cusanelli & Filletti is designing.


429 Jersey Street: Applications have been filed for a three-story and two-unit mixed-use building of 3,000 square feet at the vacant lot of 429 Jersey Street, in St. George.

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Posted in 1122 Chestnut Avenue | 115 King Street | 217 Buffalo Avenue | 2819 West 17th Street | 31-77 37th Street | 429 Jersey Street | 604 20th Street | 92-61 165th Street | Uncategorized

New Look: The Beekman, 115 Nassau Street

115 Nassau, aka The Beekman, image by GFI Development/Gerner Kronick + Valcarcal

While 5 Beekman renderings have been released sporadically, with a first look hidden within the depths of a New York Magazine article, YIMBY has a fresh perspective of the development — this time, featuring images that have not been steeped in an Instagram filter. And without the overly saturated colors, the building actually looks quite attractive.

Gerner Kronick + Valcarcal is designing the 47-story tower — located at 115 Nassau Street — which will rise on the backside of the Temple Court Building, at 5 Beekman Street. While the Temple Court is being turned into a 287-room hotel, its skyscraper sibling will have 68 condominium residences.

The Beekman/115 Nassau

The Beekman/115 Nassau, construction progress as of September

Exposed structural elements accentuate the skinny tower’s rise, and add to a skeletal appearance, which is further enhanced by cladding that appears to be cast-concrete. While previous renderings of The Beekman bathe the facade in sepia undertones, it will actually be white, offering a bright and refreshing contrast against grittier pre-war surrounds.

The most obvious homage to the Temple Court Building is located at the top of 115 Nassau, where two pointed pinnacles echo the parapets atop its shorter neighbor. These take The Beekman’s total height to approximately 700 feet, making it one of the tallest residential buildings in Lower Manhattan.

The surrounding neighborhood is seeing rapid changes, which largely began with the construction of 8 Spruce Street. Since the late 2000s, buildings have risen at 33 Beekman and 113 Nassau, and additional developments are planned at 19 Beekman, as well as the J&R site, at 1-15 Park Row.

5 Beekman will become the highest-end development in the vicinity, which is on the northern edge of the Financial District. As remaining opportunities for new construction dwindle, prices in the neighborhood will continue to increase, as zoning and the state limit on residential FAR cap built potential to unreasonably low levels. This is despite proximity to the Fulton Transit Center, and a range of other subway stations, which make the location one of the most accessible in New York City.

GFI Capital and GB Lodging are developing the project, and it is has risen quickly since climbing above ground level earlier this year, with completion expected by late 2015.

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Posted in 115 Nassau Street | 5 Beekman Street | Architecture | Downtown | FiDi | Financial District | Gerner Kronick + Valcarcal | GFI Development | New York | Residential

Revealed: 70-32 Queens Boulevard, Elmhurst

70-32 Queens Boulevard, rendering by Michael Kang

As Queens’s Chinese population has sprawled in all directions out of Flushing, developers from the community have followed. Elmhurst and Woodside are the western outpost of the borough’s new mega-Chinatown, and now they’ve got a new 11-story building to prove it.

The new 69-unit residential building at 70-32 Queens Boulevard, in Elmhurst, is being designed by Flushing-based architect Michael Kang. It will include about 55,000 square feet of residential space, with all apartments around 800 square feet in size. In most of the city this would mean rentals, but these will simply be small condos, as is common in New York’s Chinese neighborhoods.

The building includes 5,500 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor and a small 180-square foot community facility, topped by condos with balconies and an asymmetrical rooftop setback to form penthouse terraces. The parking garage will have room for 59 cars.

Steve Cheung, based in nearby Bayside, is the developer, and bought the land in early 2011 for $1.8 million, or just $33 per buildable square foot. About a quarter of the project’s cost was borne by EB-5 investors, likely from China. These backers make job-producing investments (10 per visa is the requirement) in the United States in exchange for green cards, and have been tapped for financing on projects as large as Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn and Hudson Yards on Manhattan’s Far West Side.

The project was made possible by a 2006 rezoning, which enabled apartment buildings of up to 125 feet with ground-floor retail to rise along Queens Boulevard, between 50th and 73rd Streets, where barely anything was allowed before. While this change was welcome, an artery as wide as Queens Boulevard could easily support towers of twice the size or more, compensating for the systemic restriction on development in the borough’s interior residential neighborhoods.

Construction of 70-32 Queens Boulevard is already underway, and should wrap up about a year from now.

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Posted in 70-32 Queens Boulevard | Architecture | Elmhurst | Michael Kang | New York | Queens | Residential | Steve Cheung

Permits Filed: Two Market-Rate Projects in the Bronx, 866 East 178th Street & 2131 Mapes Avenue

2131 Mapes Avenue, abandoned blue house at center, via Google Maps

As the fortunes of the Bronx improve, we’re starting to see more permit filings for mid-sized multifamily buildings that appear to be market-rate developments. Yesterday, two such applications showed up: one at 2131 Mapes Avenue, in the Belmont section of the Bronx (the closest thing the borough has to a Little Italy), and the other just a few blocks away, at 866 East 178th Street, in nearby West Farms.

The 178th Street project will reach six stories and hold 40 units, spread over 30,000 square feet of space. The Mapes Avenue one will reach seven stories and have 23 apartments in nearly 15,000 square feet of residential space. Both are the work of Badaly Architects, led by Mohammad Badaly, and responsible for a number of other developments in the borough.

The developer behind the 178th Street project is Kim Tasher, based on West 24th Street in Manhattan. The project at 2131 Mapes is a more local affair, owned by Atlantic Renovations. The firm is led by Robert Lumaj, who hails from the Albanian-heavy neighborhood of Morris Park, in the Bronx. (Albanians are major players in the small world of market-rate real estate development in the borough.)

The Mapes Avenue project is being built on the site of a dilapidated single-family detached wood-frame home, which Lumaj bought earlier this year for just $170,000, according to property records.

866 East 178th Street

866 East 178th Street, vacant lot at corner, via Google Maps

The building on 178th Street, on the other hand, is being erected on a surface parking lot that ran Tasher $875,000. Genealogical records show that there was once an apartment building on the site, back when the neighborhood was still Jewish and Italian. It was likely among the massive number of tenements that burned or were abandoned and razed during the decades of urban decline and disinvestment.

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Posted in 2131 Mapes Avenue | 866 East 178th Street | Architecture | Atlantic Renovations | Badaly & Badaly Architects | Belmont | Bronx | Kim Tasher | New York | Residential | Robert Lumaj | West Farms

One Vanderbilt’s Biggest City Contribution? Property Taxes

One Vanderbilt, image by KPF/SL Green

As the city continues to mull SL Green’s request to erect One Vanderbilt, a new supertall office tower next to Grand Central Terminal, the focus has been on what the developer will deliver to New York in terms of transit improvements.

Manhattan’s largest office landlord is offering to spend $210 million on improving the various subway and commuter rail stations that make up the broader Grand Central complex. Questioned by community board members and a litigious air rights owner about the exact breakdown of the spending (a fine-tuned investigation that the board never bothered with for East Side Access, a project whose price tag has exploded to around 50 times the cost of SL Green’s improvements), the builder has released a detailed breakdown of the costs.

But all this discussion of what special goodies the city can wring from SL Green – which will set a precedent for what the city can ask of other developers seeking to build in the broader Midtown East area likely to be rezoned – misses the bigger issue: property taxes.

Value capture may be the buzzword of the day, but vanilla property taxes are still the city’s primary means of funding essential municipal services – like, for example, transit improvements that will be enjoyed by many more people than the occupants of the new skyscrapers. And on that score, SL Green’s regular tax payments will be far more important to the city’s fiscal health than a one-time transit upgrade.

The ballpark estimate for One Vanderbilt’s annual property tax bill, a spokesperson for SL Green told YIMBY, is $50 million. That would be a massive jump over the current levy for the prewar buildings on the block bounded by 42nd Street, Madison Avenue, 43rd and Vanderbilt, which currently pay around $8 million a year.

While the total built square footage of the block would nearly triple, increasing the strain on municipal services, the extra revenue would far surpass the costs to the city. Office buildings don’t send children to public schools and tend not to make many 911 calls. And on a per gross square foot basis, One Vanderbilt’s bill – nearly $28, according to our back-of-the-envelope calculation, on par with trophy towers like the General Motors and Solow buildings – would be much higher than the $10 to $12 that the current prewar structures pay.

The fact that One Vanderbilt would pay its full property tax bill in the first place is somewhat of an anomaly for glittering new office towers in New York City. On the West Side and downtown, tax abatements are handed out like candy. The government agencies that dole out the tax breaks for office towers are frustratingly opaque about what the spires actually pay, but pretty much all major towers rising outside of Midtown East get some sort of break – from the Bank of America Tower and the New York Times building to the forest of office towers planned for Hudson Yards and the World Trade Center.

And while plenty of other office towers have made payments to the city for improvements outside of regular property taxes – from One Court Square, finished a generation ago, to the towers at Atlantic and Hudson Yards, currently under construction – we’re not aware of any that have made such a large contribution and pay their full property tax bills. (Vornado’s proposal for 15 Penn Plaza – the tower near Penn Station that was planned to be slightly larger than One Vanderbilt – would have paid its full bill, but its transit payments would have totaled only $100 million, half what SL Green’s offering.)

The only building that seems to come close to paying what One Vanderbilt will is the General Motors Building, the country’s most valuable office tower. The annual tax bill for the GM Building is $32 per gross square foot, or about $5 more than what One Vanderbilt will pay, given its Central Park views and superior Plaza District location. But when you add in the $210 million that One Vanderbilt will pay upfront, the towers will likely come out about even.

There are of course other considerations aside from fiscal impact for the city to take into account when considering rezoning applications. But in terms of taxes and tax-like payments, there should be no doubt about it: One Vanderbilt will be extremely lucrative.

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Posted in One Vanderbilt | SL Green


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