Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Brodsky's 127 East 79th Development Hits Paydirt

Demolition has been completed and excavation and foundation work is underway at Brodsky's future condo at 127 East 79th Street. While there is little info and no renderings for the project, through a little internet research here is what we know about the project:

- 19 Stories.
- 210 Feet tall.
- 119,006sf residential, 642sf commercial.
- The lot is approximately 100' x 100', and will be built 100' x 70' with 30' rear yard.
- 32 units are expected- that is an average of 3718sf per unit.
- Units are expected to fetch $3000 per square foot.
- $120 Million loan has been secured for the project.
- An architect has not been named, but by virtue of DOB filings, looks like SLCE.
- Construction workers on site say the building should be complete by Spring 2014.

What we don't know is what the building will look like. You have to highly doubt a glass tower in that location, that is for sure. I would expect another "modern classic." If SLCE is indeed the architect, you might look at the smash hit "The Laureate" as a template. I have a call into Brodsky, I will keep everyone posted as more details come available.

Building Permit (Department of Buildings)
Brodsky lands $120 loan to build UES condo (Crain's)

200 East 79th Soars, Final Product Still A Mystery

April 24, 2012

Early March, 2012

They certainly ain't messing around with this one! What stood at 4 stories a mere six weeks ago, has now reached the 17th floor, and at this rate could be topped any day. But, alas, there is some mystery left with this purported "contemporary classic"- there is not a rendering to be had anywhere! The architect, Cetra-Ruddy, has not released anything, despite my pleas on their Facebook page. There is a hint though. According to an unnamed construction worker on site the exterior will be comprised of "pre-cast stone", which I assume is something along the lines of the exterior for The Touraine. However, the same worker said that the windows would be "mismatched" and in "different patterns." Hmmm, that threw me for a loop! Perhaps this will be more contemporary than I would have guessed? With the building nearly topped and a broker named for marketing, this is sure to be a mystery that won't last very long, but I have to say, I am intrigued!

Wilf Closes On $112 Million Construction Loan For UES Condo (The Real Deal 3/2012)
Previously: 200 East 79th, Foundation In Progress, Cetra-Ruddy Remains Architect (A Fine Blog 11/2011)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Extell and de Portzamparc's One57 Gets Glassed!

To look straight up at this massive skyscraper is dizzying! The blue skies and passing clouds mimic the glass now beginning to fill Christian de Portzamparc's skyline altering combination hotel/condo tower. Now at approximately 60 stories, the tower, which is clearly visible from nearly any point in Central Park, is only two-thirds of the way to its 90 story peak. Eventually at 1000 feet, this is soon to be New York's tallest residential tower. The project, known as One57, is commanding and apparently getting a sky high $6000 per square foot. Among the offerings, the 10,923sf penthouse at $110 Million, as well as between 94 and 134 other units (depending on who you source). The Park Hyatt will operate a 210 room hotel on the base floors. What a sight!
An Abundance of Curbed Coverage (Curbed)
Lap of Luxury, One57's Cheapest Apartment $7.35Mil. (Sheftell/NYDN)
Could a $110 Million Penthouse Be a Billionaire's Bargain? (Forbes)

Monday, April 16, 2012

West Coast "Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf" Opens On 83rd & Third; Passes Americano Test

coffee locker

There is a new coffee shop player in town and this one has Southern California roots. "Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf" is taking Manhattan by storm, opening its fourth store in six months on 83rd Street and Third Avenue. The space, which had been a bar for the past 50 years, housed famous Martell's for decades, and only more recently to frat-friendly Wicker Park. Part of the good news is that neither Wicker, nor Coffee Bean have made any dramatic changes to the character of the space. Coffee Bean has retained the classic mosaic tile floors, mahogany wood booths, and have made a clever re-use of the old bar that now serves as a counter for the caffeine starved masses. The space is bright and appealing, and what I believe was the former kitchen, now serves as a "quiet room" complete with "coffee lockers" to store beans and glassware for regular guests. There is also a "coffee cellar" to store beans fashioned on the concept of a wine cellar.

So how is the coffee? My test, as it is my regular drink, was a 12 ounce americano with an extra shot of espresso. I have to say that I was very impressed. It was strong yet very smooth and I would suggest a strong competitor to the same drink at Think Coffee and Everyman Espresso. Since we don't have either of those shops on the UES, you could say this is the best espresso in the hood. Another consideration is the food. Unlike at Starbucks, where everything looks like your very last food option, Coffee Bean has some appealing choices from authentic looking, full-sized bagels and enormous bear claw pastries, to full sized Italian subs. In many ways the food selection looks sort of like a Starbucks, but with Coffee Bean they have morphed to full-sized, animated, and edible.

So can a big coffee shop, not named Starbucks make it in the hood? I can't claim that I know how much coffee it takes to carry a business, but I don't think Coffee Bean will be lacking for customers. With bright inviting space, wifi, reasonable snacks, and tasty coffee, I'd figure it won't be a week before they are packed with customers jockeying for tables on a regular basis.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New New School Building Gets Its Zig Zag On!

Zig Zag (South Side)

From the SW

Crooked Columns on West Side

Shot From NW Corner (14th+Fifth)

Rendering, Courtesy SOM
The New New School building at 65 Fifth Avenue is starting to get its zig zag on! Pictured is a crain hoisting one of the first zig zags into place on the south side of the building. It the renderings are a true indication (I have no reason to believe otherwise) the zig zags will house transparent staircases in the otherwise woody SOM creation. The massive building, built as-of-right, is up to the 12th of it's 16 stories, and the eventual LEED-Gold building will contain 365,000 square feet of dormitories, a library, performance center, as well as various other school facilities.
New School Funky Fresh Renderings (A Fine Blog 5/2010)
New New School Building Reaches Ground Level (A Fine Blog 11/2011)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

East Hampton: The Sad Ruins of Georgica Beach

Before: Georgica Beach, 2010, facing west

After: Georgica Beach, April 2012

facing west

Eroded dunes (facing east)
UPDATE April 2015: The Army Corp and town have done a great job of restoring the beach to it's former glory. Yet, mother nature has a mind of her own. Erosion of the dunes continues with each storm. The beach, with the help of people will be fine, the mansions on the water, however, are fighting an uphill battle.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, in this case they are all sad. As you can see above, a beautiful picture of Georgica Beach before Tropical Storm Earl during the summer of 2010. Earl really set the groundwork for what has been a continual deterioration ever since. During Earl the tide reached the parking lot (as you can see from earlier A. Fine Blog post), and it looked like it was a one storm deal. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, nearly a year later, Hurricane Irene came ashore, barely a hurricane, and just to the West, but for Georgica Beach it was a devastating blow. The beach looked beat up and the dunes were being eroded, but in the time since, it seems, every high tide is etching away at what is left of the beach. Large jetties that haven't been visible in my lifetime now are. The shipwreck of the Brig Mars (1828) has been unearthed and juts as a hazard in the shallow water. Plain and simple, this is one big mess!At one point, a homeowner to the West of the parking lot tried to put up a fence with metal posts to claim the dune that was no longer there. That lead to various summonses and a trip to court. Yet, all it took was yet another high tide, and nature swiftly settled the debate. The post, the fence, washed away.

Where do we go from here? The town plans to rebuild the 30 feet of roadway that was washed away by the last storm, but what of the beach? I've heard more rumors than real information. "The beach will be open in time for the summer season", "the Army Corp of Engineers on the way" are just a couple of them. If you have real information, please do share. In the meantime, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell you, another big storm and a couple of houses there are in serious peril, and the sea will claim even more of the beach. Hopefully the battle to save the beach will be waged and won. Clearly, mother nature has other plans.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Toll Brothers' Touraine Condo A Clear Contender For Building Of The Year!

There was plenty of skepticism when it was announced that Toll Brothers had purchased the lot on the SE corner of 65th and Lexington Avenue and planned a 15 story "luxury" condominium. The doubters were aplenty. Toll, largely known for suburban "McMansions" had only recently started building upscale condos in the city, and those were largely a variety of modern structures in the outer boroughs. Could they build what was essentially billed as a pre-war reproduction? All indications are that the answer is a resounding yes! The Tourraine has now topped and much of the limestone exterior and wrought iron balconettes are now installed. The complimentary black framed windows are now following. The building, as it stands, is sexy. It exudes both a New York and a Parisian flair. Even some of the toughest and most cynical critics, like my friends over at the wired forum, have come up with one word reviews, like "gorgeous."

As much as this building is a hit from the aesthetic standpoint, the sales have been an absolute knockout! The building had a "soft opening" last October, and a lucky few went to contract at around the $1800 per square foot level. That was before Toll realised what a hot ticket they had (which didn't take long), and it can be safely assumed that prices climbed into the mid $2000's per square foot by the time they had sold out all but the final 2 penthouse residences. Those residences are asking just under $20Mil. and $13.67Mil, or an average above $4000 per square foot excluding outdoor space. All this without the use of an outside broker and before the building is near completion.

A great job by Toll Brothers for exceeding expectations in construction, pricing and consumer demand. Clearly a home run and contender for A. Fine Blog's coveted "Building of the Year".