Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Photo Credit: Julia Staerck
The Nolitan Hotel is expected to open mid-June and by the looks of it, the workers will have to put in a little overtime. There was one big delay along the way that involved the DOB claiming that the building was one story too tall. There was nothing on the net to indicate how this problem was resolved, but it obviously wasn't by chopping the controversial 9th floor off.Share B
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
(Image credit, NY Times)
A funny bit in today's Huffington Post by Matt McCue. Apparently the Ace Hotel has become so hip and comforting that quasi-corporate types can't resist the urge to set up shop there. At first, hotel management tried to discourage them with placards, but eventually gave in. So we now have management peacefully co-existing with both the old tenants of The Breslin, hotel guests, and corporate squatters. Maybe we should call Alex Calderwood in to see if he can work some magic in the Middle East?
Manhattan's Newest "Office" Sits In Hotel Lobby In No Mans Land (Huffington Post)Share B
Monday, February 1, 2010
Macklowe Exits The Residential Business. It's been a long, ugly couple of years for Harry Macklowe whose ill fated dealings with Sam Zell a couple of years ago has cost him the majority of his empire. Latest to go, three residential towers: The River Tower (pictured left) on 54th Street and First Avenue, 777 Sixth Avenue, and The Longacre House at 50th and Eighth Avenue. The deal for the 910 total units included in the deal is said to total around $450 Million. Ironically, the sale was to Zell's Equity Residential. In a related story, Macklowe has sold off his interest in the prized Drake Hotel site on 56th and Park to CIM Group for $305 Million. it is unclear at this point if Macklowe will retain any interest in the Park Avenue site.
Three Macklowe Towers Snapped Up By Sam Zell (Crain's)Share B
Three Macklowe Towers Snapped Up By Sam Zell (Crain's)Share B
What's that rising at 32nd and Sixth Avenue next to Jack's 99 Cent Store? Why it is Tower 111, a 47 story residential rental with 31,000 square feet of retail on the first 2 floors and a few offices. It is being built by Atlantic Realty Development and designed by Costas Kondylis. While I might ordinarily criticize glass wall construction, maybe I'll give this a recession waiver. After all, it's just good to see something going up these days! And how about that lot line on the south side (left side in the pics) of the building? Looks like a lucky few were spared and will continue to enjoy the light of day. Finally, is this glass extra shiny or extra reflective. From a few of the pictures I took it seems as though it is so reflective that it virtually vanishes. An invisible building? That would be a concept!Share B
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
(Photos: Neil Mori, Tipster Extraordinaire)
Looks like this 51 unit condo (architect Stephen B Jacobs) on Thompson and Broome is moving right along. The white stone is in! Occupancy is expected in Q2, 2010 and it looks like they are more or less on time. The curved corner is a nod to the old Tunnel Garage on Broome which could not escape the wrecking ball. No details on pricing or broker representation yet.
End Of The Tunnel (Forgotten NY)
Whole Bunch Of 520 Broome Stories (Curbed)Share B
Friday, October 9, 2009
It is not often that I am totally floored by a new condo project, but 211 Elizabeth did just that.
From the outside, on the corner of Elizabeth and Prince, the red brick building looks like it belongs. The scale matches the neighborhood and so does the aesthetic. It looks like it is a century old. That is the idea, but it is barely 2 years old. What is probably even more stunning is that the project is the brainchild of first time developer, Peter Manning. Manning, who has a theatrical background has taken his love for prewar to the next level.
I had the opportunity to tour 211 with Peter and as he put it he was "sweating the details" all the way through. On the initial purchase of the site, he had to work with a quirky seller, but "it was worth it" and he "had to have it, so nobody else would (expletive) it up". Peter's love for the project is palpable, and sweat the details he did. With the help of architect Roman& Williams, and inspired by the Candela Era, everything had to be just right, from the exterior bricks (many recycled) to the walnut floors, think and ample moldings, high ceilings, dimensions, and as he pointed out the "reveal" of the windows of 7 inches. He said such a reveal cost valuable square footage, but that was the cost of doing it right. One of my favorite aspects of the apartments were the over sized wood windows with sitable sills. Wood windows? Wow is this guy meticulous! The result of all his efforts is the best new development I have seen in years, and a developer whose future efforts I would endorse and anticipate with eagerness. Peter's goal was to "honor the neighborhood", that was clearly accomplished, now we only need him to honor more!Share B
Friday, September 25, 2009
The unbridled passion with which hotelier Alex Calderwood operates is evident throughout his captivating and hip Ace Hotel. I was lucky enough to land a personal tour with Alex last week at the hotel on 29th and Broadway, which, in previous incarnation was the former SRO Hotel Breslin. All but 30 Breslin residents have moved and/or been bought out and most have them have been consolidated on the top floor with a separate entrance which is now being renovated. Although Alex doesn't like to comment much on that he says that they process has actually gone "pretty fine". What has taken place of the former Breslin is nothing short of remarkable.
You enter the hotel through a festive, classic marquee and into a large lobby with 18' ceilings. The space is open and intriguing. There is a creative use of materials throughout. Ordinary materials are used in extraordinary ways, like the metal piping that hold light fixtures in the lobby lounge. Concurrently, good bones, like the old tile mosaic floors have been cleaned up and re-used. When asked what motif you would call such a look, Calderwood answered "Spare Bohemia"(a term he used for the first time and likes), as well as "utilitarian, but celebrated". The effect, to me at least, is a visually stimulating fusion of modern, industrial, and pre-war. It also has a very "hip" feel. If you know me, I am the antithesis of hip, but the hipness is not intimidating, but warm and welcoming.
The rooms were equally interesting. I took a look at rooms that ranged in price from $219 for a standard room, all the way up to $979 for a herringbone hardwood floored corner loft. While there are standard features in each room like a signature bed-bug repelling eco-friendly mattress with original custom Scottish blankets, every single room is different. Unique furnishings included items like working turntables and Gibson guitars, and no standard furniture aside from the bed and Smeg fridge. Oh yeah, the fridge, what a mini-bar indeed! Aside from the assorted and ample usual product, was a Heineken Mini-keg! Gotta love that and priced at $30 who would think twice? The feel is much more like you getting the keys to a friends place than to staying at a hotel. It's downright homey!
And how about this Alex Calderwood fella? As Alex and I went from room to room, it was evident that this was someone who has an incredible passion about this project as well as an encyclopedic memory of where each individual piece in each room came from. He had an exceptional amount of energy, especially considering that he doesn't drink coffee (although the quality of the "Stumptown Coffee" off the lobby may make him want to reconsider). I asked him where he lives, and ironically, he answered "a soulless glass tower in Chelsea". He moved there out of convenience to be close to The Ace, but is planning another move soon. If there was a neighborhood that best reflected his personality? At first he answered "East Village" but then quickly amended his answer to "downtown". His goal with The Ace Hotel? He'd like it to be "an instant classic" and more importantly fit in as "a thread in the fabric of the city". To that I say, well done!
For more on Ace: Ace Hotel WebsiteShare B
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Left: September, 2009. Right, March 2009.
What a difference Six months can make! What was no more than a hole in the ground at East 4th and Bowery, Six months ago, is now a nearly topped 2 Cooper. The 156 unit rental building, owned by "To Better Days LLC" and being built by Bruce inspired "10th Avenue Freeze Out", is further along then I expected when I scoffed at the "Coming In 2009" sign 6 months back.
Well, it may not be done in 2009, but it is coming, so perhaps better days do lie ahead for this developer.Share B
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
180 Ludlow Street and 180 Orchard Street
Back of 180 Orchard (on Ludlow) and 179 Ludlow Street
The first half of 2008, wasn't it great? There was the 421-a induced construction boom, people buying apartments based on floor plans, people racing to buy apartments before the next looming condo amendment, fringe neighborhoods were in, and bonuses were still bonuses. Ahhh, good times my friends, good times! If you liked life at the peak, there is a city block bordered by Houston and Stanton, and Ludlow and Orchard which is preserved in time like a dinosaur in a tar pit. Now, you have to use your imagination and ignore the rust on the rebar, the yellowing and decay of posted permits, and the weeds in the cleared lots, but in that location you can easily turn back the clock several quarters and relive the boom times. Perhaps the entire block should stay that way forever, as a monument to the crash, when all the banks balked, an arrested development museum of sorts.Share B
Monday, August 24, 2009
Break out the sunglasses! Frank Gehry's Beekman Tower is getting all steel-ed up, and if you are anywhere withing viewing distance on a sunny day, UV-protecting eye wear is a must. With its undulating steel frame you are bound to catch a glare at just about any hour. For those of us that love the design, I dare say, this project is exceeding all expectations.Share B
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Moondance, 2007 (James Estrin, NY Times)
Moondance 2008 (Gothamist)
Moondance 2009 Day
Moondance 2009, by moonlight
It started back in the 30's as The Holland Tunnel Diner with 6 tables and 10 counter seats. It was eventually renamed The Moondance Diner and refurbished in the early 80's. It has been seen by millions on TV (Friends, Sex and the City), Films (like SpiderMan) and even an AhHa video. But in 2007 it was all but a goner. Rent had made the business no longer viable and plans had been hatched to build the 255' Grand Street Hotel on the site. Extell development donated the diner to the American Diner Museum who sold it to an enterprising couple in Wyoming. The husband drove it with his father by flatbed to LaBarge, Wyoming. But the winter of 2008 nearly proved devastating. While the foundation for it's new home was being built, the weight of snow collapsed the roof and damaged the walls. For many of us following the story, that was the last that we heard. Well, there is a happy ending! Many of the significant artifacts were safe in storage, and on January 12th of this year, the Moondance Diner opened anew! I reached Lynn, a friend of the owner at the diner this morning, and she says business has been "quite busy". In fact, Lynn says that Moondance has now "become a tourist destination spot."Share B
On Sixth Avenue and Grand Street, site of the famed former "Moondance Diner" rises the 255' Grand Street Hotel. The intriguing structure is getting glassed up and looks like about six months from completion. But, the hotel already has it's first guest, oh yes, the jumbo rat!
Special thanks for the pics from tipster (and sister), Liz Fine.
All the Grand Street Hotel coverage you can ever ask for from Wired NY ForumsShare B
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
In a 9-1 vote, the Landmarks Preservation Committee approved the residential component of the St. Vincent's redevelopment plan. The committee lauded Rudin for its consideration of the community and the flexibility it showed in downsizing the project.
Residential Project To Land On St. Vincent's Site (Crains)Share B
Friday, April 17, 2009
Top left- 14th bet A&B. Top right- Kennedy Chicken Is Still PC. Bottom left- Millstein lot bet 2nd &3rd. Bottom right- future 123 Third.
Walking East 14th Street today from Avenue C to Third Avenue is something like walking in a time warp. If you haven't walked the area in 20 years, you haven't missed much of anything. Yes, there is the north side of the "A Building", but that is just a spec in the sea of all that hasn't changed. It could easily be the late 70's- the area is littered with 99 cent stores, discount shops, bodegas, etc...Of Course, on the north side of the street from Avenue C to 1st Avenue stands Stytown, and aside from the window frames turning green and some better landscaping, that looks the same as it has forever.
Notably, between Second and Third Avenues, the Millstein lot that takes up half the block on 13th and about 25' on 14th still stands vacant. Weren't they going to build that about 5 years ago? Guess not, but there is a new green carpet of weeds on the lot, and a couple a graffiti artist have refreshed their works.
The only action East of Third Ave is on the SE corner of 3rd where Orange Management of 22 Renwick fame have actual construction equipment in motion. Expected there is an 18 story condo with 45 units. I have a pretty good lead on unravelling the mystery of what the building may look like, so stay tuned!
In short, if it's the old, gritty NYC you long for, you don't need a time machine, just an hour or so to soak in East 14th Street.Share B
Friday, April 10, 2009
(L) Raising the roof!, (R and below) Curves, curves, and more curves!
There were plenty of rumors swirling about Frank Gehry's Tower at Beekman Street getting cut in half just a couple of weeks ago, but as you can see above, the march skyward has resumed! By my count the structure has progressed to a 39th and 40th story.
More interesting though is that the form is starting to take shape. How about those metallic curves? I like!Share B
Friday, March 20, 2009
(L) Fulton & Broadway From the NW, (R) Actual Activity
(L) More Actual Activity, (R) Light Emanating From The Crater Onto The 4 Platform
I've passed the intersection of Fulton Street and Broadway several times this winter and haven't seen any activity until this week. The large crater like pit on the corner, the home of the Fulton Street Transit Center, now thanks to federal stimulus money may actually have a lid! A fancy Oculus lid at that pictured on Curbed.com (assuming the MTA doesn't find away to lose the current batch of cash, a real risk factor).
And now, I have photographic proof that actual construction workers are actually doing something on site. Wonder why this project is costing so much, is so over budget, and so far behind schedule? It seems like, unless I am missing an army of moles, that there are only a few people working on it at a time. Well, at least from the 4 train platform you can finally see the light, literally.Share B
(L) Freedom Tower from the N, (R) Freedom Tower from the NE
(Above) Cranes everywhere, Ground Zero overview fromNW
Just looking at the chaotic orgy of construction at Ground Zero is enough to make any American proud! Aside from some massive public works project, like, say The Hoover Dam, it's hard to imagine more construction happening simultaneously in one spot. Things are finally progressing nicely as several WTC buildings are being built simultaneously.Share B