Real Estate News from October 2011

  • Tallest Residential Building in Manhattan in the Works By Daniel Muhlenberg | October 28, 2011

    The CIG Group, in partnership with Harry Macklowe, the New York City developer who fell from grace when he failed to repay a $5.8 billion loan from Deutsche Bank AG in 2008, plan to build a slender glass high-rise at 432 Park Ave called Drake Tower. Normally, a story like this wouldn’t warrant much more attention than usual, but this case is special. Macklowe has never been one to be deterred by adversity from thinking big, and the project reflects that mentality, to say the least. The current designs for Drake Tower have this luxury condominium standing at over 1,300 feet, which will make it the tallest residential building in New York City. If everything goes according to plan, the Manhattan skyline will be altered forever.

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  • Park 51 Faces Eviction, Goes to Court with Con Ed By Daniel Muhlenberg | October 28, 2011

    Park51 has seen a lot of adversity, but nothing has seriously threatened its existence until now. The Islamic community center and mosque that generated much controversy over its proximity to the World Trade Center site in Manhattan's Financial District is now facing eviction by Consolidated Edison, the owner of 51 Park Place. On September 14th Con Ed sent SoHo Properties, the group that signed the lease for that property, a default notice demanding that $1.7 million in arrears to be paid in one lump sum. The notice stated that if they didn’t pay immediately, their lease would be terminated. In response, SoHo Properties Chief Executive Shariff El-Gamal has filed a lawsuit in the State Supreme Court asking for an injunction from the imminent termination of the lease.

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  • Coach Signs Lease in Hudson Yards By Phil Ryan | October 27, 2011

    At Elegran, we’ve discussed the Hudson Yards megaproject a number of times. Spanning across what is now just a Long Island Rail Road train yard to the west of Penn Station, Hudson Yards would be home to a variety of mixed-use skyscrapers, combining luxury residential, retail, and office space, in essence creating one of Manhattan’s most vibrant neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the development is suffering from an extreme case of bad timing, with little to none of it being built as of now.

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  • Property Values in North TriBeCa Will be Unaffected by New School Re-Zoning Plan By Adam Rothstein | October 24, 2011

    A recent plan proposed by the NYC Department of Education plans to re-zone a portion of Manhattan’s TriBeCa neighborhood as being a part of a new school district. Unveiled at a District 2 Community Education council meeting, the plan is to send children living in TriBeCa north of North Moore Street to P.S. 3 in Greenwich Village, as opposed to P.S. 234. Many parents living in the neighborhood are outraged; not just because they would have to send their children to a new school, but they are also concerned that this new ordinance will decrease their property values. A seemingly valid concern, to be sure, but one that many NYC real estate professionals believe is untrue; in fact, many do not believe it will be detrimental or beneficial to property values at all.

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  • Like Many Others, Gotham West Is Coming Back By Phil Ryan | October 24, 2011

    It seems that in New York City, some of the most ambitious projects always seem to have the worst timing. The Empire State Building was built during the Great Depression, while a myriad of external setbacks stalled the construction of the Second Avenue Subway for decades. In real estate, this is no exception, with numerous residential developments stalled after the stock market collapse in 2008. With a luxury real estate market rebounding faster than almost any other in the United States, Manhattan is poised to see some needed new construction, creating new units in this ever-so-undersupplied sector. Of these luxury rental apartment buildings, one in particular has a unique history: Gotham West.

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  • Jane Jacobs and New York City: Part 1 By Kimberly Milner | October 19, 2011

    After the financially wobbly St. Vincent's Hospital closed its doors last year, locals dissatisfied with the mixed-used condominiums that would rise in its stead recently held up picket signs at public land reviews, promoting a different standard for what a city should be. “What would Jane Jacobs do?” they asked. Jane Jacobs, herself a native of Greenwich Village, was propelled to fame when her 1961 book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, permanently changed the face of modern urban planning. A woman in owlish glasses, Jane Jacobs’ calculus on the “great” cities arguably created the city that sprawls before us today; many urban planners have followed her axioms. But half a century after she herself picketed in the streets to prevent Robert Moses, a czar-like city planner, from razing Greenwich Village, how have Jane Jacobs' ideas about Manhattan real estate influenced the current scope of New York City?

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  • What Is Waterfront Zoning? By Phil Ryan | October 19, 2011

    At Elegran, we have discussed the implications of residential, commercial, manufacturing, and mixed-use zoning on luxury real estate and development numerous times. A successful combination of these districts has created many a treasured New York City neighborhood replete with restaurants, shops, condos, rentals, and the other amenities so desired in Manhattan living. Recently, however, the New York Department of City Planning has instituted a new directive known as waterfront zoning, an innovative concept that will, in some ways, radically alter the structure of New York City and vastly improve its livability.

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  • Going “Phish-ing” on New Year’s Eve By Adam Rothstein | October 17, 2011

    While your hands and feet may be mangos, if you’ve blocked off the the four days between December 28th and December 31st, you’re a genius anyway. Phish, the veritable tour de force of jam bands for the past several decades, and certainly the most accomplished since the Grateful Dead, will be playing Madison Square Garden in what has become their signature end of year extravaganza. Though Phish fans have come to expect a New Year’s Eve concert, as well as several preceding it, there was speculation for awhile that the shows would be played in Miami. However, their announcement to play Madison Square Garden not only marks the second year in a row in which they have done so, but has given residents of Manhattan luxury real estate the chance to let Uncle Ebenezer out of the freezer...and to take him to Midtown to watch one of the greatest quartets of our time.

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  • Learning Something from Williamsburg? By Phil Ryan | October 13, 2011

    Luxury Manhattan real estate seems to fall into two camps: historic and contemporary. The former, encompassing highly sough-after brownstones, lofts, and other centuries-old architecture, experiences some of the lowest vacancy rates and highest property values in the city. Preserved and cherished, historic real estate’s value to the New York City market cannot be underestimated. Yet contemporary rentals and condominiums seem to fluctuate, perhaps counterintuitively. All the amenities in the world don’t seem to help the skyscrapers over in Midtown West and Clinton, many of which suffer from above-average vacancy rates. So what is causing this paradox? The answer might come from somewhere rather unpredictable: the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg.

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  • New Park in the West Village on the Way By Daniel Muhlenberg | October 11, 2011

    After serving the west side of Manhattan for over 160 years, St. Vincent’s Hospital permanently shuttered it’s doors last year. After the Rudin Family purchased the property in hopes of turning it into a luxury condo building, the complicated negotiations with the New York City government began. While they’re far from settled, a significant compromise has emerged: a small maintenance block off 7th Ave will become a public park. This is somewhat ironic considering that it is private property, but New York’s Universal Land Use Review Procedure requires the site to fulfill open air and public space requirements, and that gated plot of land does just that. It currently contains two separate buildings: a former material handling facility in the middle and a smaller building at the westernmost edge. The Rudin proposal will transform the plot by eliminating the facility in the middle of the park, thereby creating more than 15,000 feet of park space for the public.

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