Thursday, April 30, 2015

Fed Flash: Rates Remain Unchanged, Likely To Remain Flat Until The Fall

The Fed has once again left rates unchanged. The April meeting concluded very much like the March meeting in statement and substance. I remain convinced that a rate hike is unlikely before Fall, and rate hikes and an ease of accommodative policy will be very gradual. The Fed outlines six factors to consider before raising rates: the labor market, inflation gauges, inflation expectations, and "financial and international developments", and of course the strength of the economy. The strongest of these indicators at present is the labor market which has remained healthy. Jobless claims are at a the lowest level in a decade, so the gradual improvement in the labor looks good. Wages are just starting to uptick, which would suggest that the slack in the labor market has finally started to tighten up. Inflation is tame, especially in light of lower energy prices, but the expectation in the ever vague fed-speak of "medium term" looks to be around their target of 2%. The financial markets are relatively stable for now, yet the international situation remains shaky. So, by most indicators, we are still in a holding pattern. The Fed sees the Winter pause in growth as "transitory", but will have to see evidence that it is right before it takes any action.

How does this play for the NYC real estate market? For now, more Goldilocks!

Keep an eye on the blog for an upcoming entry looking at the NYC real estate market in depth.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Update: 205 East 92nd Getting Bricked, Up to 15 Stories

205 E 92nd, Front (A. Fine 4/2015)

205 East 92nd Back- East Face (A. Fine, 4/2015)

Brick (A. Fine, 4/2015)
Last we checked in on 205 East 92nd Street, back in January, the base was just coming together. What a difference a few months makes. The building is now taking shape, rising 15 stories, and giving us a preview of the neutral brick fa├žade. The finished product by Related will rise 425 feet, include 231 residential units (they are probably leaning condo, but last report was condo/rental mix), a 46,000sf school for the learning disabled, and 33,000sf of retail.

What I find most interesting is that the average size apartment will be a little better than 1400sf. That is a stark contrast to the full floor, 3000+ square foot McManhattamansions (yes, I am using that made up word) being built in the area. I can only hope that this is a trend towards "reasonable sized" apartments. Yes, there is demand for some of the huge apartments, but the demand for normal sized apartments is extreme. I am sure Related will be rewarded for recognizing this segment of the market.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Dazzling "Fata Morgana" Art Installation at Madison Square Park Takes Shape

Fata Morgana (A. Fine, 4/2015)
Fata Morgana Worker (A. Fine, 4/2015)

Fata Morgana Path (A. Fine, 4/2015)
"Fata Morgana" (referring to a mirage just above the horizon), an ambitious art installation by local artist Teresita Fernandez, is taking shape in Madison Square Park. The completed work, which consists of large golden polished metal disks shaped reminiscent of foliage, should be ready by June 1st. The installation will cover 500 feet of walkways with the fanciful disks and last through the winter.

I'm not an art aficionado, but from this layman's sensibilities I find the art both pleasant and intriguing. The warmth from the golden glow from the disks gives parkgoers a different perspective of the environment. The reflections also enhance the senses and alter your perception of your surroundings. It's different, interesting and ever changing based on your angle, the amount of light, and the season. This being New York, there are reports that some locals are "outraged" and "furious" about the shade that these disks create and the size of the project. As Artnews, that noted this anger points out, the installation covers just 9% of the park. Hey, this is New York, we love art, so to the sourpusses that have a problem with it, I say "Get-ova-it"!

Mad Sq Art: Teresita Fernandez (Madison Square Park Conservancy)
Parkgoers Furious Over Teresita Fernandez Sculpture at Madison Square Park (Artnews)

100 East 53rd (formerly 610 Lex) Sees Daylight

100 East 53rd (A. Fine, 4/2015)

100 East 53rd (A. Fine, 4/2015)
100 East 53rd Render (Foster & Partners)
What was an upscale vacant lot just a year ago, and a 40 foot hole in the ground seven months ago is now 50' above street level and ready to soar. We know the hard work of financing and then foundation building is done, so Aby Rosen's re-addressed 100 East 53rd Street is set to soar.

The project, which initially stalled during the financial crisis is an exciting one. Foster and Partners, who have only one rendering available, promise a modern take on Modernism. The inspirations are the nearby Seagram Building, and one of my all-time faves, the Lever House. The finished product is to rise razor sharp at 61 stories with 94 apartments, a two story restaurant, and the expected plethora of amenities including 9th floor pool. As reported by The Real Deal, the initial offering plan calls for a $763 Million sellout without amendments. Sales are expected to begin sometime in the next few months.

Curbed Files on 610 Lex, now 100 East 53rd (Curbed)
Aby Rosen's RFR Plans $763 Million Condo Offering at 100 East 53rd (TRDNY)
100 East 53rd Street (Foster and Partners)
Name Changers: 610 Lex Will Now Be Known As 100 East 53rd (Observer)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Nearly Sold Out 10 Madison Square West Nearly Clad

10 Madison Square West is nearly clad and nearly, if not totally sold out! It was this time last year that it was reported that 119 of the 125 were listed in contract in an astounding 9 months. At least one of the two $35 Mil penthouses is in contract and the buildings website shows a blank page for "availability". StreetEasy does show one last apartment left, 14D, a corner 8 room apartment with views for $14 Million.

It appears that there is still a fair amount of work to be done on the 7 stories that were added to the old Toy Building, and some work on the commercial space on the bottom floors. But, things are clearly taking shape.

Curbed Files on 10 Madison Square West (Curbed)
No Toys But A Park Nearby (NY Times, May 2013)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Battery Maritime Hotel Takes Shape In Lower Manhattan

Battery Maritime Building, Close-up (A. Fine, 4/2015)
Battery Maritime Building (A. Fine, 4/2015)

Battery Maritime Building, Rendering by Rodgers Architects
Construction is moving along quickly at the future hotel, in and on top of the historic Battery Maritime Building. The Beaux Arts structure, with landmark status, was originally built to ferry passengers to Brooklyn during the early 1900's. Planned and taking shape is a large glass addition with will hold 140 "boutique" hotel rooms, a rooftop bar and restaurant, as well as a "grand hall" on the 2nd floor of the existing structure. The Dermot company has assigned the fragile $150 Million task to Rodgers Architects. An onsite construction work quotes "a year and a half or so" to completion. He adds "it's spectacular."
Curbed Files on Battery Maritime Building (Curbed)
Battery Maritime Building (Rodgers Architects)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

On East 82nd Street 1444 Third Avenue Begins Demo, But Will Rendering Become Reality?

1444 Third Avenue (A Fine, 4/2015)
1444 Third Avenue Rendering (ODA Architecture)

Demolition is now well underway at the future new development (presumably condos) at 1444 Third Avenue. While the two buildings on the southwest corner of East 82nd Street and Third Avenue are being brought down brick by brick, the final product, seems far from etched in stone at this point. ODA Architecture describes the 10 story structure as having the "elegance of limestone townhouses of Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue modernized" and will offer "individual floor homes". The rendering was leaked fully two years ago, yet the permit for this structure appears remain in limbo. In fact, several permits have been disapproved, rejected, or pending as the development challenge process continues "pending zoning approval." Perhaps the as-of-right square footage of 26,000 is in question? Considering the scale of other high rises on the avenue and the surrounding area, I'm almost surprised they couldn't pull off an even larger structure.

Regardless, I hope the final product gets approved. At first look I wasn't in love, but the design is growing on me for two reasons. First, you have plenty of limestone, a staple of classic Manhattan construction. The re-imagining of the use of this material is ambitious. Secondly, it is not another ubiquitous, bland, sheet glass special. Of course, we'll have to see if the rendering meets reality and the permits become reality.

Striated Structure to Replace UES Tenement on Third Avenue? (Curbed, 4/2013)
ODA Architecture Accidentally Posts Mysterious UES Rendering (Observer, 4/2013)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

"Dos Alas", East Harlem

"Dos Alas" the mural just east of Third Avenue since 1999 is still in great shape. The two revolutionaries, Ernesto "Che" Guevara and Pedro Albizu Campos, are depicted along with the Cuban and Puerto Rican flags. The mural was expanded and refurbished in 2011.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Top 10 Epic Signs of East Harlem

While most of New York City transforms from an fascinating quilt of Mom and Pops stores to a bland collection of Starbucks and Chase Banks, a certain stretch of Manhattan in East Harlem should be savored and appreciated before it too is gone. Third Avenue from 104th Street to 125th Street is an area on the fragile cusp between glorious relic and rapid condo development. While the neighborhood has long been home to discount stores with audacious branding, you just sense that the wave is oh so near. So, before this unique stretch of New York City too vanishes, let's take a moment to enjoy the10 most epic signs of East Harlem, in no particular order:

V.I.M! (A. Fine, 4/2015)
Save-A-Thon (A. Fine, 4/2015)

99 Rush- the only one on Lexington (A. Fine, 4/2015)
J Dept Store (A. Fine, 4/2015)
Uptown Jiggie Sports (A. Fine, 4/2015)
Envy Nails (A. Fine, 4/2015)

American Outlet (A.Fine, 4/2015)

Easy Shopping (A. Fine, 4/2015)
Dollar Diva (A. Fine, 4/2015)

Slamdunk (A. Fine, 4/2015)
Hope everyone enjoyed!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

21 West End Avenue Nearly Topped, Gets Glassy

21 WEA from west (A. Fine, 4/2015)
21 WEA from the east, action shot! (A. Fine, 4/2015)

Part of the five tower "Riverside Center" complex, 21 West End Avenue is the first to be nearly topped. My how we have grown! Friend NYYIMBY counted 3 stories back in August, and friend Field Condition counted about half way just 8 weeks ago. It appears that this building is growing at better than a floor per week now and it now stands around 36 stories with just 7 to go. In the meantime, much of the cladding is in place and the building is actively getting glassed. Built by Dermot Company and architect SLCE the future rental will house 616 rentals and a K-8 school in the base.

Construction Update 21 WEA (NYYIMBY, 8/2014)
Riverside Center (Field Condition, 2/2015)
Curbed Files for 21 WEA (Curbed)
Dermot Company In JV with AFL-CIO (PR Newswire 12/2012)

Pyramid Building, 625 West 57th, Is Mind Numbing and Fantastic!

The pictures should speak for themselves here as a pyramid meets the Hudson River at West 57th Street. This Durst Organization effort peaks at 450 feet and will contain 709 rental units with an obvious abundance of terraces. The design is mind blowing and something to behold at any angle. Wow!

From the south at West 57th Street
Heart of the pyramid from the south at West 57th (A. Fine 4/2015)
Pyramid from the West at WEA and West 58th (A. Fine, 4/2015)
Pyramid from the north at 61st, west of WEA (A.Fine, 4/2015)
Inside West 57th Street (Field Condition 3/2015)
625 West 57th (Curbed Files)