Thursday, March 5, 2009
(L) Inside the lot at 440 Park, (R) Fence around the lot
It is a sad sight. Where once the proud and revered Drake Hotel stood now stands a vacant lot, shrouded behind a black fence. Oh, there were big plans, big plans indeed for the spot on 56th and Park where Harry Macklowe planed a tower to span as high as 50 stories. Whether it was to be residential, office or some combination was never determined. All of that planning and dreaming went up in smoke with Macklowe's financial difficulties, the credit crisis, etc., etc.. So now we are all stuck with one big, empty, unused, 25,000 square foot lot. Last we heard, DeutcheBank was foreclosing or threatening to foreclose on the property and iStar Financial was looking to offload it's senior mortgage on the property at a discount.
We should not allow the arrested development syndrome to turn to blight. There are far too many vacant lots in the city where once there was a dream. Since the Drake lot is in such limbo, and any prospect of building on the lot is probably a minimum of a couple years away, perhaps we should make chicken salad out of, you know, chicken stuff. I would propose that such a space, already demo'd and levelled can relatively easily be transformed to space for temporary public use. If the DOT can turn streets on Broadway into pedestrian malls, why not a huge lot on Park?
iStar Financial Offering Drake Loan At Steep Discount (The Real Deal, Jan 2009)
Stories About The Drake Hotel (Curbed)