Ten Questions With Joseph Moinian, CEO Of The Moinian Group

3 Hudson Boulevard, image from The Moinian Group3 Hudson Boulevard, image from The Moinian Group

When it comes to building big, The Moinian Group is one of New York City’s most notable developers. With Sky now the largest residential building in the Five Boroughs, YIMBY sat down with the firm’s CEO, Joseph Moinian, to discuss their recent work, what’s coming next, and whether the cavern under 41st Street and 11th Avenue will ever yield a subway station, as was originally intended. YIMBY in bold.

What projects are you working on at the moment?

We are intensely focused on delivering The Moinian Group’s flagship project, 3 Hudson Boulevard, our 2 million-square-foot, 57-story Class A office tower located in the heart of the Hudson Yards District. We are constantly making updates to further align 3 Hudson Boulevard with current and future architectural and environmental standards. We officially broke ground on the project in November of last year, and construction is now actively underway.

We are also close to opening the leasing office at Oskar, our new, luxury residential rental property at 572 11th Avenue, featuring elevated, refined, urban design elements and finishes by the award-winning design firm, CetraRuddy. Oskar is located directly across the street from SKY, our 1,175-unit luxury residential project, which is now nearly 100 percent leased.

Outside of those, what’s your favorite new development currently under construction within the five boroughs?

Governor Cuomo’s tremendous push to improve New York City’s infrastructure, including major commitments at LaGuardia and JFK airports, new bridges, and renovations at the Jacob Javits Center. Together these infrastructure projects propel the city to new heights and enable developers to plan even bigger real estate projects and investments.

Which neighborhoods are you most optimistic about through 2020, in terms of impending price appreciation?

The entire West Side of Manhattan continues to emerge in a way that previously would have been unthinkable. From the beginning of the High Line north through the Hudson Yards District and into Clinton Hill, we see real estate values increasing dramatically, especially as you get closer to the Hudson River. In addition, values Downtown near and around the Financial District have skyrocketed, as the area has emerged as a 24/7 residential neighborhood and a major attraction for industries old and new.

What parts of the city need zoning reform the most?

Now that both Midtown East and West are zoned more efficiently, Upper Manhattan would benefit from major rezoning efforts. It is a neighborhood with untapped potential.

What’s your favorite existing building?

All of our properties! But our most recently completed project, SKY, continues to stand as a tremendous example of the standards we set for ourselves.

What is the worst architectural abomination in the Five Boroughs?

New York is a beautiful city with incredible architecture throughout. As we always have, I’m sure we will continue to see new and fascinating structures arise that will take our breath away.

3 Hudson Boulevard is adjacent to the new 7 Train station in Hudson Yards. How do you think the City could work better alongside developers to build new infrastructure?

The capital raise for the 7 train station at 34th Street was successful through bond sales. I would imagine that additional bond issuances to raise capital for the 7 train station on 41st Street, as well as other infrastructure projects throughout the city, would be great for New York.

Do you think the empty cavern under 11th Avenue and 41st Street will ever yield a subway station?

100 percent yes.  If made a reality, the new 7 train station at 41st Street and 11th Avenue will be a money maker from the very first day it opens. Easy access to transportation at the northern section of the Hudson Yards District will ultimately be just as important as access to the southernmost section by 34thStreet.

Could reforming the state cap on residential FAR allow the realization of legitimately affordable high-rise or supertall housing in the City’s core neighborhoods? How quickly do you think developers would take advantage of increases in allowed density and what do you think is a reasonable new limit, if any?

The model is already in place. The key will be to expand the model to other parts of New York City.

What’s your overall sentiment on the market for 2018?

I remain positive about 2018 as long as the low-interest-rate environment continues, along with healthy employment figures, and a solid national economy.

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