800-Foot Tower Planned for 75 Nassau Street

75-83 Nassau Street, from Bing Maps

With several enormous residential towers under construction or soon to rise across the Financial District, the neighborhood’s real estate boom continues to accelerate. And now, YIMBY has learned of yet another giant that may join the current wave of projects, which will rise on the lots spanning 75-83 Nassau Street.

ODA has been selected to design the tower, which will stand approximately 800 feet tall. While renderings have not yet been made public, sleuthing reveals a tiny glimpse of the skyscraper in images posted to ODA’s Facebook, where it can be seen standing behind the oculus of Fulton Center.

75 Nassau Street

Peek at 75 Nassau Street, at top, with Fulton Center at bottom, from ODA’s Facebook

This past June, Crain’s reported on the sale of three buildings spanning 75-81 Nassau Street, which form the bulk of the assemblage. Lexin Capital bought the trio for nearly $46 million. YIMBY has learned that 83 Nassau Street will also be included (according to city records Lexin appears to have paid another $17.4 million for No. 83 and development rights associated with No. 85).

While areas around major transit hubs like Fulton Center are traditionally better suited to commercial development, housing supply in the city has become so squeezed that residential development is the highest and best use nearly everywhere in the five boroughs, and the Financial District is no different. New buildings are planned for both 92 and 118 Fulton Street. On adjacent blocks, nearby projects under development include the Beekman at 115 Nassau, along with Lexin’s planned tower at 75 Nassau Street.

All of these new buildings speak to the need for more liberal zoning in the Financial District, which has been constricted by limitations on both residential and commercial development. While the aforementioned towers will certainly be tall, none will make any particularly notable dent in the demand for new construction downtown. And if any neighborhood could take advantage of residential FARs above the state-imposed limit of 10 (or 12 with inclusionary housing), it is the Financial District. The neighborhood is already shrouded in shadows due to the much bulkier pre-1916 zoning code buildings that dominate the area, and there is no expectation of expansive, guaranteed views, or even much in the way of NIMBYism.

As with the other towers, 75 Nassau will likely be largely luxury rentals or condominiums. While Crain’s previously reported that the site could hold a new tower of 100,000 square feet, evidently the scope has increased substantially. If the developer maxes out their zoning allotment by including commercial space (offices are possible, but retail and a hotel seem more likely), the parcels from 75 to 83 Nassau Street can hold 200,000 square feet of net development, with another few tens of thousands of square feet possible from the inclusion of No. 85′s air rights.

A representative from Lexin Capital told YIMBY that plans for the tower – including what sort of uses will fill out the commercial component – have not yet been finalized.

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Posted in 75 Nassau Street | 75-83 Nassau Street | Architecture | Downtown | FiDi | Financial District | Lexin Capital | New York | ODA Architects | Residential

Revealed: Park West Apartments at 2026 Westchester Avenue, Castle Hill

Park West Apartments at 2026 Westchester Avenue, rendering by MAP

On Friday, the management team at the Park West Apartments, on the border between Castle Hill and Parkchester in the East Bronx, started accepting applications for the affordable housing project under development. Located at 2026 Westchester Avenue, between Pugsley and Olmstead Avenues, the building will sit up against the 6 train’s rumbling elevated structure.

Designed by Magnusson Architecture and Planning, the Park West is among the nicest looking affordable housing projects we’ve come across this year. Its most notable feature is its clean façade, with no PTAC units or through-wall Fedders and Friedrich brand air conditioners creating a visual blight and wreaking havoc on the building’s energy performance. They’ve instead been replaced, presumably, by more efficient, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing central air or electric mini-splits – rare in any rental building in New York City, but almost nonexistent in affordable housing projects.

MAP further describes the design on their website:

The commercial parking entrance, which must be located on Westchester Avenue due to zoning regulations, becomes a break point of the long building mass. The design takes this opportunity to create two building masses of different proportions to echo dynamic movements of the fast evolving neighborhood fabric as well as the elevated train. Westchester Avenue façade is further articulated with cast stone, brick and EIFS.

The developer of the project is listed as Westpark Inc., led by Marc Kurman, and the project was built through HDC’s Low-Income Affordable Marketplace Program and HPD’s Low Income Rental Program.

The seven-story building has 136 apartments spread over 114,000 square feet of residential space, with 13,000 square feet of retail and an 833-square foot community facility space.

Rents will range from $801 a month for studios to $1,196 for three-bedrooms, available to individuals and households earning in the $30,000s and $40,000s a year. Around half of the units will be studios and one-bedrooms and half will be two-bedrooms, with a pair of three-bedroom units thrown in for good measure. (If you meet the income criteria, you can try for an apartment in the building by entering into the increasingly competitive lottery for this project and others at the city’s NYC Housing Connect website.)

The building’s location makes it a relative rarity among new below-market buildings in the Bronx in that it will be constructed in a neighborhood where demand is high enough that new market-rate development, among the cheapest in the city, is also viable. Just across the street, for example, is a pair of smaller eight-unit structures, built to the same density during the last market cycle.

The development was enabled by a 2008 spot rezoning, which doubled the density allowed in this part – but just this part – of the south side of Westchester Avenue, upzoning it from R5 to R6. The disparity in allowed densities is arbitrary and not rooted in any sound principles of planning, something that the Department of City Planning and City Council tacitly acknowledged when they signed off on the zoning change.

The city should remedy the disparity by rezoning a larger swath of Westchester Avenue – and, ideally, some of the residential areas of Castle Hill, below it – for the tenement-scale development allowed in R6 zones, allowing small market-rate builders without the clout to win rezonings equal opportunity to build in the area.

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Posted in 2026 Westchester Avenue | Castle Hill | East Bronx | HPD | Magnusson Architecture and Planning | Park West Apartments | Parkchester | Westpark

Semi-Revealed: 323 10th Avenue, 35-Story Chelsea Rental Tower

Zoomable at link

A project with multiple components has been in the works for the site on the southwest side of 10th Avenue and 29th Street for several years, and with the amount of new construction nearby, redevelopment has always seemed to be just around the corner (both literally and figuratively, with the recently-completed Avalon West Chelsea on the same block, The Abington one block to the north, and Zaha Hadid’s building now rising one block south).

Now, we have the first vague visual idea of what’s in store for 319-323 10th Avenue thanks to zoning diagrams from the Department of Buildings, which also reveal that the tallest part of the project will stand 398 feet to its roof. That will make it taller than The Abington, but by the time 323 10th Avenue rises, both buildings will be dwarfed by the Hudson Yards office towers just to the north.

Two additional 13-story buildings will round out the full development, spanning a jagged through-block sliver between 28th and 29th Streets, with the DOB filing’s address given as 507 West 28th Street. Per the Schedule A, the 10th Avenue tower will have 220 apartments, and another 155 will be located in the mid-block structures.

Avinash Malhotra is listed as the architect, and the firm’s recent work includes The Linc in Long Island City, and a similarly-styled rental tower at a slightly higher price point would appear likely for 323 10th Avenue. Lalezarian is the developer and The Real Deal reported on their plans this past September.

Completion is currently expected in 2016, and the project will also include a significant retail component.

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Posted in 323 10th Avenue | Architecture | Avinash Malhotra | Chelsea | Lalezarian | Midtown | New York | Residential | The High Line

Permits Filed: 39-08 29th Street, Long Island City Hotel

39-08 29th Street (vacant lot and building to the right), image from Google Maps

New York City hotel watchers have been warning of a glut since back when the New York Sun was still publishing, but so far, builders have not been deterred. The latest front in hotel construction is industrial neighborhoods in close-in locations in the outer boroughs, with Long Island City and adjacent neighborhoods seen as particularly attractive, with their easy transit access to Midtown and “M” zoning that rules out more lucrative residential uses.

Dutch Kills, a micro-’hood centered around Queensboro Plaza, has, despite also being zoned for housing, attracted a fair amount of hotel development. And, according to a permit application filed today, another new hotel is planned, at 39-08 29th Street – right next to the Nesva Hotel, opened in 2012, and across the street from an even larger Holiday Inn.

The hotel planned for 39-08 29th Street would have 30 rooms divided over nearly 15,000 square feet of commercial space. (The owner appears to have purchased some air rights, because the proposed density – it’s planned to have a floor area ratio of nearly three – is 50 percent more than normally allowed in the mixed-use M1-2/R5D zone.) The six-story building would have hotel uses on its first five floors, and a “photo and video recording studio” on the sixth, per the Schedule A filing.

The property’s owner is listed as Nestor Varela, and the designer as prolific outer borough architect Gerald Caliendo. The 50-foot-wide parcel, which includes a nearly vacant lot with a garage and another lot with a two-story prewar building (demolition permits for both were filed yesterday), was acquired in 2012 for $850,000.

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Posted in 39-08 29th Street | Gerald Caliendo Architect | Long Island City | Nestor Varela

YIMBY Today: 443 Greenwich Street Unveils Exterior, More

443 Greenwich Street, model by CetraRuddy

443 Greenwich Street [Curbed]: The seven-story, 200,000 square-foot former factory building at 443 Greenwich Street, in Tribeca, is being converted into 53 condo units, and the above model offers a peek at the exterior, sans scaffolding. Developer Metro Lofts is also constructing a 4,000 square-foot courtyard, and CetraRuddy is designing.

The Marx, rendering by Fogarty Finger

The Marx, rendering by Fogarty Finger

34-32 35th Street [Curbed]: SDS Procida is developing a seven-story, 33-unit residential building — dubbed The Marx — at 34-32 35th Street, in Astoria. An existing two-story townhouse must first be demolished, and Fogarty Finger is designing.

658 Broadway [The Real Deal]: Corner Broadway LLC has plans for a seven-story, 64-unit mixed-use building totaling 93,000 square feet — including 18,126 square feet of commercial space — at 658 Broadway, and also 89 Bartlett Street, in Broadway Triangle. An existing single-story structure must first be demolished.

2046 2nd Avenue, rendering by Perkins Eastman

2046 2nd Avenue, rendering by Perkins Eastman

2046 2nd Avenue [DNAinfo New York]: Groundbreaking occurred this week at the site of 2046-2050 2nd Avenue, in East Harlem, where a six-story, 51,286 square-foot charter school is being built. East Harlem Scholars Academy is to call the new building home, and completion is set for 2016.

21-21 44th Drive [The Real Deal]: Slate Property Group has filed plans for an eight-story, 88-unit residential and retail building of 86,712 square feet at 21-21 44th Drive, in Long Island City. The developer expects to close on the property “by early 2015,” and an existing two-story structure would need to be demolished.

1770 Madison Avenue

1770 Madison Avenue

1770 Madison Avenue [Harlem+Bespoke]: The eight-story, 32-unit mixed-use building underway at 1770 Madison Avenue, in East Harlem, has topped out and will soon receive its façade. Avinash Malhotra is designing, and completion is expected in the Summer 2015.

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Posted in 1770 Madison Avenue | 2046 2nd Avenue | 21-21 44th Drive | 34-32 35th Street | 443 Greenwich Street | 658 Broadway

DOB Digest: Excavation to Begin for 28 Units at 1045 Fulton Street in Clinton Hill, More

1045 Fulton Street demolition as of late August, photo from Fort Greene Focus

BROOKLYN:

1045 Fulton Street: Fulton Street Gardens LLC has filed applications to begin excavation for their planned six-story, 28-unit residential building of 21,048 square feet at 1045 Fulton Street, in Clinton Hill. Karl Fischer is designing, and the site’s three-story predecessor was demolished earlier this month.

406 Prospect Place: Level One Holdings has filed applications for a four-story, two-unit mixed-use building of 3,161 square feet at the vacant lot of 406 Prospect Place, in western Crown Heights. Nearly 1,000 square feet will be designated as commercial space, and Issac & Stern is designing.

3566 Canal Avenue: NYC HDP has filed applications to begin construction of two three-story, three-unit residential buildings — each of between 2,750 and 2,900 square feet — spanning the vacant lots of 3566-3568 Canal Avenue, on Coney Island; Gerald Caliendo is designing.

QUEENS:

35-22 Prince Street: Prince Park Realty has filed applications for a four-story, 9,545 square-foot community facility building at 35-22 Prince Street, in Flushing. Shiming Tam is designing, and the existing 2.5-story structure was approved for demolition in May.

148-11 87th Avenue: Applications have been filed for a two-story, single-family home of 2,332 square feet at 148-11 87th Avenue, in Briarwood. An existing structure will be built upon in the process.

STATEN ISLAND:

849 Rockland Avenue: Jake Rock LLC has filed applications for a three-story, six-unit residential building of 6,221 square feet spanning the lots of 849-851 Rockland Avenue, in New Springville. Joseph Morace is designing, and the site’s two-story predecessor was demolished in May.

135 Platt Street: Applications have been filed for a three-story, single-family home of 2,251 square feet at the vacant lot of 135 Platt Street, in Oakwood.

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Posted in 1045 Fulton Street | 135 Platt Street | 148-11 87th Avenue | 35-22 Prince Street | 3566 Canal Avenue | 406 Prospect Place | 849 Rockland Avenue

Revealed: 781 Metropolitan Avenue, 81 Units Coming to East Williamsburg

781 Metropolitan Avenue, image from Adam America

This past September, Gothamist reported on the razing of the White Castle at 781 Metropolitan Avenue, and back in 2013, the Brooklyn Paper covered the site’s sale for $6.72 million. Now, YIMBY has the reveal for the White Castle’s handsome replacement, which is being developed by the increasingly prolific Adam America.

In Adam America’s own words, “The new structure is expected to be the next hottest development in the area. It is just minutes away from an endless amount of cool hangouts.”

781 Metropolitan Avenue

781 Metropolitan Avenue, image from Adam America

Indeed this is true, as the building’s East Williamsburg surrounds are improving, and vacant lots continue to be transformed into developments that contribute to the community’s tax base. And in the case of 781 Metropolitan Avenue, designed by the talented Issac & Stern, the project will actually be aesthetically appealing.

This will present a stark contrast against most of Williamsburg and Greenpoint’s older building stock, and besides the lofty industrial spaces, both areas are dominated by vinyl-sided homes that possess no character and zero aesthetic value. In fact, encouraging more new construction like 781 Metropolitan in the vicinity would be a great thing; existing density is underwhelming considering transit accessibility, and most of the current housing stock was hardly designed for ultra-long-term permanence, perhaps an explanation for why so much of it is unattractive.

781 Metropolitan Avenue

781 Metropolitan Avenue, image from Adam America

Within its eight-story brick and metal facade, Adam America’s latest project will have 81 rental units, with 20% set aside as affordable housing. There will also be a 10,000 square foot retail component, which is ideal given the site’s location right above the Graham Avenue L stop.

No new building permits have been filed, but a late 2016 completion date is anticipated.

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Posted in 781 Metropolitan Avenue | Adam America Real Estate | Brooklyn | Issac & Stern | Williamsburg

What Could Have Been: Harlem Renaissance Ballroom, 2351 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard

Harlem Renaissance Ballroom redevelopment proposal, rendering by Rickenbacker + Leung

Last month, YIMBY brought you the first look at a new residential building coming to Harlem, planned for the site of the famous Harlem Renaissance Ballroom, an African-American cultural icon in its heyday.

The Renny (the one that will be built), rendering by GF55

The Renny (the one that will be built), rendering by GF55

Today, the Wall Street Journal reported on the redevelopment, writing:

In 2007, the development corporation tried to develop the property into a community facility at the base and apartments on top. Abyssinian officials advocated against landmarking the property, but indicated that they would preserve some of the facade, according to Landmarks Preservation Commission testimony from the time.

Abyssinian poured millions into pre-construction costs, such as demolishing part of the structure, but the project stalled with the recession in 2008.

The decision now to tear the building down entirely has angered residents and preservationists. But Karen A. Phillips, who spent two decades at the Abyssinian Development Corp. from the 1980s until 2002, trying to save the property said investor interest has come too late and the property has deteriorated too much to be salvaged. She is happy to see the property finally redeveloped.

There were a number of plans to redevelop the property but save some of the existing structure, and we shared one rendering for a redesign by Davis Brody Bond last month.

Rendering of a discarded plan for the site, by Davis Brody Bond

Rendering of a discarded plan for the site, by Davis Brody Bond

Now, we have an additional rendering for another ill-fated scheme. This one was created by South Brooklyn-based firm Rickenbacker + Leung, for a redevelopment proposal by Full Spectrum of N.Y. and L+M Development Partners (the same redevelopment team behind the Kalahari, on West 116th Street). The design was done in 2012, when the Abyssinian Development Corporation was in the earlier stages of reconsidering their pre-recession plans for the site.

Harlem Renaissance Ballroom redevelopment proposal, rendering by Rickenbacker + Leung

Harlem Renaissance Ballroom redevelopment proposal, rendering by Rickenbacker + Leung

While the L+M-led team felt that at least parts of the northern and western façades could be saved, they ultimately did not come to an agreement on terms with the Abyssinian Development Corporation.

Instead, the structure will be completely razed, to be replaced by a 134-unit rental building designed by GF55 Partners for BRP Development Corporation. We assumed that ditching the façade preservation was a move that would enable greater affordability, but according the Journal, it will be a normal 80/20 project – rents in 20 percent of the units will be far below market, accessible to families of four making $51,540 a year or less.

Harlem Renaissance Ballroom redevelopment proposal, rendering by Rickenbacker + Leung. Like many designs in New York City, its massing was heavily influenced by the zoning code and its diagonal sky exposure planes.

Harlem Renaissance Ballroom redevelopment proposal, image by Rickenbacker + Leung. Like many designs in New York City, its massing was heavily influenced by the zoning code and its diagonal sky exposure planes.

DNAinfo also wrote last week about a local professor’s dismay at the demise of the Renny:

On Sunday morning, Michael Henry Adams, a historian who has written two books on Harlem architecture, staged a one-man protest in front of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, which once promised to preserve the historic structure but sold it for $10 million [ed. note: WSJ reports that it was actually $15 million] earlier this year.

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Posted in 2351 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard | Architecture | Full Spectrum of N.Y. | Harlem | Harlem Renaissance Ballroom | L+M Partners | New York | Renaissance Ballroom | Residential | Rickenbacker + Leung

Permits Filed: 406 Prospect Place, Crown Heights

406 Prospect Place, image from Google Maps

The triangle of land bounded by Grand Avenue, Washington Avenue, and Prospect Place, on the border between Prospect Heights and Crown Heights, is zoned for residential use, but you wouldn’t know that by just looking at it. The block, with its small and irregularly sized lots, is dominated by Master Auto Repairs, with the sidewalk on Grand almost completely consumed by cars parked by the auto body shop (illegally, we’re guessing, since as far as we know, there is no city program to deed sidewalk space for car parking).

But the forlorn strip of land is zoned for housing, and one developer is finally taking advantage of that. Over the week, a permit application was filed for a new four-story mixed-use building at 406 Prospect Place, to be designed by Issac & Stern.

The developer – listed on the permit as Level One Holdings, led by Shlomi Avdoo and based at an address shared by MySpace NYC, the Brooklyn-centric realtor – is seeking to erect a building with a 960-square foot retail space on the ground floor, topped by two apartments. With a total residential floor area of 2,200 square feet, the apartments should each be around 1,100 square feet – a fairly generous size that could be either condos or rentals, though the affiliation with MySpace suggests the latter.

The lot is a mere 53 feet deep and 21 feet wide, which is perhaps why it has yet to be developed, despite builders otherwise now venturing much farther into Crown Heights. The city turned the land over to Prospect Heights Church of Christ in 1979 (its previous owner presumably abandoned it and didn’t pay their taxes around the time much of the city was slipping into decline), and it was recently sold, price unknown, to the current developer.

It’s only a matter of time till the largest parcel on the block, currently home to Master Auto Repairs, is sold to a developer, and its 16,000 square feet of development rights finally realized.

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Posted in 406 Prospect Place | Architecture | Brooklyn | Crown Heights | Issac & Stern | Level One Holdings | New York | Residential | Shlomi Avdoo

The New York Area Is Missing As Many As 200,000 Construction Jobs

Earlier this year, YIMBY was invited to speak on a panel at the Solving Urban Land Use Problems in the 21st Century summit, organized by the city’s three graduate planning schools. Before the panel, organizers sent a list of topics to be discussed, among them ensuring equitable access to construction jobs in New York City.

Non-Hispanic blacks and Asians are underrepresented and Latinos and non-Hispanic whites are overrepresented in the city’s construction sector. A potentially bigger problem, though, even for the underrepresented groups, isn’t how the pie is divided, but how small the pie is in the first place. Our very low housing stock growth has robbed the New York region of as many as 200,000 well paying, solidly middle-class construction jobs.

Rather than squabbling over the share of union jobs on worksites, city and regional politicians would do better to focus on increasing the size of the construction industry as a whole.

Outside of slow-growing areas like New York, Los Angeles, and Boston, construction jobs generally account for between 4 percent and 7 percent of a region’s total jobs. But in New York, the number is much lower: just 2.86 percent.

If the New York area’s construction industry accounted for as large a share of total employment as in and around Chicago, Philadelphia, or Miami, we would have 220,000 construction jobs. If we were more like San Francisco or Washington, D.C., the region would have around 270,000 construction jobs. And if we were booming like Dallas, Toronto, or Houston, we could have somewhere around 350,000 such jobs.

Instead, New York City and its surrounding cities and suburbs have less than 160,000 construction industry jobs.

The situation for New York City is especially dire, due to our lack of manufacturing jobs, which employ similar workers at similar wages. Of the nearly 360,000 manufacturing jobs in the region, almost 80 percent are located outside of the five boroughs.

But unlike manufacturing jobs, which have proven difficult (if not impossible) to resuscitate in urban areas that have lost them, gaining construction jobs is easy: build more. (And in New York City, where the demand is already there, building more means merely allowing developers to build more.)

There is a direct correlation between a region’s rate of housing stock growth and its construction jobs. Tokyo, Toronto, and Houston all have very liberal land use regimes and produce large quantities of housing – the cities proper all build at a rate around three times that of New York, which, despite its tremendous demand, is among the slowest building cities in the country.

And lest you think that a mature city must inevitably slow down its growth, note that Tokyo – capital of a country that’s obviously in demographic decline, and far and away the most populous urban area on earth – is building at a faster rate than almost every American city.

The growth of New York City’s tech industry is a welcome replacement for the city’s retreating finance industry. But a region cannot thrive, even in the 21st century, on highly skilled white collar jobs alone. With no proven way to rebuild the city’s manufacturing base, the only realistic hope to improve the fortunes of job-seeking middle-class New Yorkers is to increase the amount of construction in the city and region, and increase it dramatically.

While Bill de Blasio and his administration have made noises about improving the city’s low housing stock growth rate, they have yet to set any hard targets for overall new construction, making it difficult to know how serious they are about tackling the problem.

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Posted in Jobs | New York | Residential

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