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Unable to line up tenants, developer to cap his second Trade Center tower at seventh floor.
Developer Larry Silverstein is planning to halt construction by the end of the year on the second of the two towers he is currently building at the World Trade Center site if he can’t find a major office tenant, sources close to the company said.
Minor modifications have already been made to the ongoing construction of the tower that will allow it to be capped at the seventh floor—73 short of its planned height. Retail tenants would be sought for the seven-story podium.
If Mr. Silverstein finds a tenant before the tower is capped, he can go ahead and complete what will be known as 3 World Trade Center, although there might be some delays, depending on when the deal is struck. The building was slated to be completed in 2015.
Mr. Silverstein is not currently close to signing a tenant, sources said. The building’s cap can be removed and construction can resume after he finds one. Mr. Silverstein’s spokesman declined to comment.
The move to cap the tower stems from a 2010 agreement between the developer and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, the site’s owner, to end a long-running feud. Under the deal, Mr. Silverstein has to pre-lease 400,000 square feet in his second tower, line up $300 million of private equity and secure private construction financing in order to qualify for debt guarantees from the Port, the city and the state.
But amid financial tumult in Europe, a weak U.S. economy and a cooling in the city’s office-leasing environment, Mr. Silverstein has been unable to attract a tenant. Experts say his near-term prospects are dim.
“The willingness of large-scale tenants to commit in this environment is limited because companies don’t want to go out and spend a lot of money,” said Peter Hennessy, president of Cassidy Turley’s New York Tristate Region. “It’s not the building; it’s the market.”
Cheaper to stay put
Despite a host of government incentives to lure firms to lower Manhattan, Mr. Hennessy estimates that a 400,000-square-foot tenant would need to spend about $100 million just to outfit an office. Faced with those kinds of costs in a lackluster economy, Mr. Hennessy said, it’s likely that more companies might opt to renew their current leases.
Morgan Stanley, for example, has been searching for months for between 1 million and 1.4 million square feet. Now, sources said, the bank is very close to renewing its lease at 1 New York Plaza and taking some additional space there, which would be a much more cost-effective option.
While other big companies—including Time Warner, News Corp. and Credit Suisse—continue to prowl the market for huge digs, their ranks are thinning. Last year, the number of tenants seeking more than 100,000 square feet tumbled 23%, from 74 to 57, according to Cushman & Wakefield Inc.
To land tenants, Mr. Silverstein faces competition from both existing buildings and other planned state-of-the-art towers. Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group are seeking tenants for their massive project at the Hudson Yards west of Penn Station, while Brookfield Office Properties wants to lure firms to the 7.4 million-square-foot complex it plans in the same neighborhood. In addition, by the end of next year, as several large tenants move out, Brookfield will have 2.8 million square feet of space available at its World Financial Center—37% of its total—across West Street from Mr. Silverstein’s towers.
Seeing is believing
Sources say Mr. Silverstein’s tower has an advantage over other planned projects for now: Tenants can actually see the start of the building and visit the World Trade Center site. In contrast, except for one building, Related has to build a huge platform over the rail yards before it can start construction, as does Brookfield. That requires tenants with the imagination to envision the finished product and the confidence to take a chance that the neighborhood can be successfully transformed into a premier office market.
In addition, all three landlords are seeking tenants at a time when they are getting more skittish. While overall activity rose 16% last year, the amount of space leased in the second half of the year fell by 31% from the first half of 2011, and was down nearly 10% from the corresponding period in 2010.
Of course, large deals get done even during choppy times. Two months ago, luxury leather-goods maker Coach agreed to be the anchor tenant for a new tower at Hudson Yards. And just last week, publishing giant Condé Nast exercised its option to lease an additional 133,000 square feet at 1 World Trade Center. That will bring the publisher’s total to 1.19 million square feet in that building, which is being developed by the Port Authority and the Durst Organization.
But sources said the Condé Nast deal was heavily subsidized by the Port because it wanted a strong anchor tenant to establish 1 World Trade Center as a premier corporate location. For example, the Port has agreed to assume the last four or five years of Condé Nast’s lease at its current headquarters at 4 Times Square.
Mr. Silverstein has the right to build three office buildings on the World Trade Center site. The first, 4 WTC, is a 72-story building that is due to be completed next year. About 60% of it is leased. Below-ground infrastructure work is being done on the third tower that is expected to end soon, but the building is on hold indefinitely.
David Goldstein, an executive vice president at Studley, said it’s possible that Mr. Silverstein may find a tenant as firms seek to take advantage of the current environment.
“There are lots of opportunities in this market,” said Mr. Goldstein. “And I wouldn’t count Larry out.”
View from Biscayne Boulevard – Planting at grade has a native focus in which environment suggests planting strategy.
Landscape design for a 5 level, state of the art Science Museum in the heart of Downtown Miami. The site is comprised of 4 acres and will share an elevated plaza with the new Miami Art Museum. The Miami Science Museum will be an institute of technology, education and the environment, and the landscape design will serve as an extension of this. Outfitted with a 17,000 sf garden roof, ½ acre rain garden, and civic scaled plaza; the landscape design plays a major role in the Museum experience. In addition to illustrating regional landscape types, this “functioning landscape” reduces water use, improves water quality, enhances biodiversity, provides educational opportunities, and even produces food.
The plaza provides civic open space for public and museum-related events, and screens sub-grade parking. A planned art and event space will link it to the Miami Art Museum.
Planting at grade has a native focus in which environment suggests planting strategy. A ½ acre rain garden fronting Biscayne Boulevard affords a decorative landscape that provides stormwater attenuation for Museum Drive, reducing the need for retention and infrastructure. Irrigation demands and potable water use have been mitigated throughout the project by the use of native, drought tolerant planting as well as stormwater collection to a 25,000 gallon cistern.
Source and addition drawing: World Landscape Architecture
House of the Tree is the most recent project designed by Kokaistudios, an award winning architecture design firm founded in 2000 in Venice by Italian architects Filippo Gabbiani & Andrea Destefanis and now headquartered in Shanghai, China. Located at the 48th and 49th floor of a high-end residential tower in Shenzhen, China, House of the Tree is a penthouse designed with the concept of “living between the city and the nature” and offers a modern lifestyle with luxury and relaxation.
The elegant and exceptional entrance, punctuated by a tree incredibly planted at the 48th floor of a residential tower, allows a panorama view that enhances the relationship between the interior and exterior, and provides an opportunity to bring in a large quantity of daylight indoor. It is the result of a large-scale of architectural modification applied to the original layout of the penthouse, a joint unit of two regular apartments and a typical situation in high-rise residential towers in current China market, does not allow any perception of two floor apartments.
By enclosing a small portion of outdoor terrace into a glass pavilion in the center of the penthouse, Kokaistudios create the new core of the apartment in an impressive double height atrium with the opportunity to bath by the natural light.
This new core space, with walls removed from original layout, increasing the kitchen and the dining area conceived as dynamic spaces. Surrounded by the amazing outdoor swimming pool, it is able to be divided by semi transparent glass partition to satisfy various scenarios.
A transitional space distributes the functions between first and second floor and at the same time to prelude the entrance to the living room and to the guest bedroom located on the first floor to guarantee privacy from the family area located on the second level.
The staircase has been designed with a great sculptural attitude with a deep study of details making it a prominent symbol of the space.
The multi-functionliving room originally divided by a partition that does not allow for a connection between the north and the south view has been reconfigured by locating a fireplace in the middle of the space to create a dynamic layout for social flexibility.
Thanks to the great opportunity created by the architectural approach to the design, a bridge connects the staircase to the family room, which is designed for relaxation and meditation, on the second level allowing the view of the entire apartment and the amazing perception of the double height space of the core of the penthouse.
Attention to details
Particular attention is given to the selection of materials, Kokaistudios choice being driven both by the desire to choose environmentally friendly materials and finishing techniques, as well as by the desire for a strong architectural aesthetic and feeling for the project.
The penthouse personality is defined by the core materials and workmanship rather than by the finishing decorations. The texture and surface characteristicsof the materials stimulate all the senses of the guests; oak timber floors from north east China treated with natural oils are combined with white cream Spanish stones finished with ancient hand hammered techniques and the walls are finished with luxurious Venetian “marmorino” plasters which are hard and glossy as is marble but able to transmit soft and warm mood by distributing the light as no other material is able to.
The soft furnishings are a combination of unique custom designed furniture pieces and award winning pieces from some of Italian finest contemporary furniture producers.
With its unique location at the boundary of the fast growing Central Business District in Shenzhenon thenorth and nature landscape of Hong Kong on the south, the result is a stunning penthouse occupying a privileged point of living between the nature and the city.
The end product stands as an example of Kokaistudios vision of luxury living with timeless-chic taste; defined by a connection to nature, a connection to fine materials and craftsmanship, while meeting the demands of a modern way of living.
The house spans 616 square metres and was completed in November 2011.
Source: Property Report
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has recently added a new landmark to the skyline of Kuwait City: the Al Hamra Firdous Tower, now the tallest building in the country, peeks through the clouds with its quarter-mile-high torqued form. Unless record height is achieved, ‘supertall’ skyscrapers rarely sustain attention these days, but SOM’s latest tower has received notice for its unusual appearance. The Al Hamra Firdous Tower is the only skyscraper with an asymmetrical exterior; the structure wraps around like a robe, choosing to conceal or reveal depending on one’s angle of approach.
The Al Hamra Firdous Tower is notably constructed with malleable concrete as opposed to traditional steel. At ground level, curving concrete buttresses interlace to create stunning structural nets that again conjure allusions to fabric. The crisscrossing forms evoke the structural integrity of the Gothic as well as the latticed, exposed steel arms of architecture at the dawn of the industrial revolution.
In SOM’s design, 500,000 tons of concrete weave upwards to form a folded, monolithic tower culminating with a sharply asymmetrical, winged crown. The exterior of the ‘robe’ embraces the shiny, smooth façade of other buildings of its class, but its interior aspires to project a different image. Not only is this partially enclosed facade paved in lusterless concrete, but the windows also appear deeply set and unevenly coffered, casting a pattern of shadows on the matte surface that not only suggest the designs of Middle Eastern textiles but also make the building appear massive.
In doing so, the design refuses to fully conceal its core material and recalls a more vernacular building practice. With an unexpected turn to concrete, the Al Hamra Firdous Tower respects its site and innovates accordingly, creating an impressive building to match its own impressive views.
All images © SOM
Redeveloping the six-block-long property overlooking the Hudson will give a huge boost to efforts by the government and a growing number of developers to recreate the long-desolate far West Side of Manhattan.
Even Richard Kahan thinks it’s time to demolish the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center—and he built the facility 26 years ago, as head of the Convention Center Development Corp. Mr. Kahan also praises Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to transform the site into a mixed-use development modeled on Battery Park City—a project he also once led as the head of the BPC Authority.
“I don’t like seeing my buildings torn down, but a mixed-use project is the highest and best use for that site,” said Mr. Kahan.
Legions of real estate executives agree with him. They say that redeveloping the six-block-long property overlooking the Hudson will give a huge boost to efforts by the government and a growing number of developers to re-create the long-desolate far West Side of Manhattan. The governor’s vision of a mix of office buildings, apartment houses, museums and parkland for the 18-acre site would close a key gap. To the south below West 33rd Street is a fast-rising area along the hyper successful High Line and the ambitious Hudson Yards redevelopment. To the north across West 41st Street stands a bevy of newly constructed high-rise apartment towers.
“It’s a great location,” said Douglas Durst, chairman of the Durst Organization, a prominent family development firm. “I’m sure my family would be interested in it.”
New York history, however, is littered with big, bold plans that have gone nowhere, including plans for expanding Javits. The governor’s latest plans are particularly complicated. To move the project forward on the West Side, an immense new convention center must first be built in Queens, a task that carries its own challenges. Beyond that, crafting a new neighborhood on the Hudson will require billions of dollars, community consensus and a slew of government studies and approvals. And it comes as a time when financing for big projects has all but evaporated as developers from the neighboring Hudson Yards and Atlantic Yards in downtown Brooklyn can attest.
Lots of Upsides
Still, the proposal has significant advantages. The governor has anointed it a top priority, so he will likely use his considerable power to see it through. In addition, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has long set developing the far West Side and the city’s waterfront as goals of his administration. Meanwhile, the extension of the No. 7 subway line, slated to open in December 2013, will make it much easier to get there.
“There’s no reason this can’t be done,” said Mitchell Korbey, chair of the land use and environmental practice group at law firm Herrick Feinstein. “But projects like this take maybe 30 or 40 years.”
He said devising a detailed master plan that complements other initiatives in the area will be more important than building quickly. That means considering what Related Cos. and Oxford Properties Group are developing at Hudson Yards, a 26-acre site bounded by West 30th and West 33rd streets, on a platform over the rail yards west of Penn Station. Meanwhile, Brookfield Office Properties plans to build 5.2 million square feet of office space over the yards west of Ninth Avenue from West 31st to West 33rd streets. Hope also springs eternal that long-delayed plans to turn the stately post office across from Penn Station into a grand train depot named after the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan will materialize.
The developer with the most at stake is Related. It has several projects under way there. Late last year, Related and partner Oxford announced they would build the site’s first tower, a 51-story spire at West 30th Street that will be home for luxury leather-goods maker Coach. To build out the rest of the site, however, the developers must first erect a $1.6 billion platform over the tracks.
The timing of the Javits project could be critical for Hudson Yards. If it comes to fruition before Hudson Yards has lined up big tenants, Javits could pose a threat as a cheaper alternative, since it won’t require building a pricey platform. On the other hand, if the project takes too long, it could be an eyesore that drags down Hudson Yards’ value.
“We look forward to reviewing the details of the proposal, which is even further evidence of the potential of Manhattan’s West Side,” said a Related spokeswoman.
Source: Crain’s NY
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State speech is likely to address the future for the West Side convention center. There are two Queens sites eyed as a possible successor: Willets Point and Aqueduct Racetrack.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo will talk about the future of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Wednesday afternoon as part of his State of the State speech focus on economic development, Crain’s Insider reported.
It’s unclear how much detail the governor will give, but observers believe his administration has an interest in the Regional Plan Association’s idea to tear down the approximately 1 million-square-foot convention hall on the West Side after building a much larger one in Queens.
Razing the Javits Center would leave a multi-block, $4 billion piece of waterfront property that could be parceled off and developed alongside Related Cos.’ planned Hudson Yards project. The redevelopment could be modeled after Battery Park City, where the state leases the land to developers in exchange for a percentage of their rental income. Revenue for the state would increase along with apartment values.
A new 3.8 million-square-foot international convention and exhibition center was a component of the city’s Regional Economic Development Council plan submitted to the governor last year. Willets Point is a possible site for it because of its proximity to La Guardia Airport and the infrastructure improvements that are already underway. But the Aqueduct Racetrack site in Queens recently re-developed by Malaysian firm Genting as a Racino, has clear advantages too, according to one observer. Genting could build a convention center on one story and, perhaps most important, finance it. An insider familiar with the issue said a constitutional amendment allowing casino gambling would not be a necessary incentive for Genting to build the convention center.
Infrastructure improvements, however, might be. Observers have discussed upgrading subway access to Aqueduct and possibly building an AirTrain spur to connect JFK airport to the site. Mr. Cuomo controls the authorities that manage those systems—the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.
An Albany insider believes the Javits Center will serve to highlight Mr. Cuomo’s focus on job creation rather than legislative priorities, such as pension reform, mandate relief and redistricting.
“It’s going to be interesting to see whether he can generate excitement with this approach,” the insider said. “There are such high expectations after last year.”
New 11-story, Kohn Pedersen Fox-designed building will rise on First Avenue to house schools of nursing and dentistry, as well as a new bioengineering program. Work to begin in spring.
New York University unveiled designs Wednesday for the new home of its nursing and dental schools, as well as a new bioengineering program. All will be moving to First Avenue at East 26th Street, along what is known as Manhattan’s health corridor. The new facility is part of the university’s ambitious expansion plans dubbed NYU 2031.
The 11-story, state-of-the-art facility, planned for 433 First Ave., will be 170,000-square-feet large and 183-feet high, according to an NYU spokesman. The previous building on the site, which was used for administrative and academic office for the school’s College of Dentistry, was demolished in September.
“A large portion of the building was not used and the building was deteriorating,” said the spokesman.
Construction of the new property is slated to begin in the spring. Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates is designing the exterior, while EYP Architecture & Engineering is working on the interior design.
When the facility is complete, NYU’s nursing school will move from its current home in Greenwich Village. There will also be space for a new multi-school bioengineering program and an expanded dental school. It is slated to open in 2015. NYU declined to say how much the new building will cost, but published reports pegged it at roughly $140 million.
Plans for NYU’s new health-corridor building have drawn little opposition in contrast to those for the school’s expansion in Greenwich Village. The university released the design a day after announcing that it had officially started the public review process to add 3 million square feet to its campus in Greenwich Village and areas around Washington Square Park.
In order to proceed with much of its growth plans there, NYU needs city zoning approvals. NYU had wanted to begin that process, which takes up to seven months, by the end of last year, but at the request of Community Board 2 it decided to postpone the move until after the New Year.
The university’s 2031 expansion plans have been opposed by preservationists and some local community groups in Greenwich Village, who believe that NYU is overbuilding in the neighborhood. A town hall meeting hosted by Community Board 2, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Community Action Alliance on NYU 2031 and more than 50 local community groups from Greenwich Village, SoHo, Chelsea and Union Square is scheduled for Wednesday evening. There a number of opponents are expected to speak out against NYU.
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Proclaiming it a “defining moment” that will revolutionize the city’s economy, Mayor Bloomberg yesterday offered a first look at Cornell University’s gleaming-new graduate school for applied sciences that will be built on Roosevelt Island.
“It will transform our economy,” the mayor declared at a press conference just 72 hours after Stanford University stunned City Hall by announcing it was dropping out of the yearlong competition to attract a premier engineering school that will serve as one of his administration’s enduring legacies.
Bloomberg described the proposal submitted by Cornell and its partner, Israel’s Technion, as “far and away the boldest and most ambitious.”
“Their proposal called for the most students, about 2,000 a year, the most faculty, about 300, and the most building space, over 2 million square feet,” he said.
Cornell announced last week that it had received a $350 million gift, the largest in its history, from an anonymous donor for the project.
That deep-pocketed donor was revealed yesterday as Charles Feeney, a Cornell alum who made billions as the founder of the Duty Free Stores.
Seth Pinsky, president of the city’s Economic Development Corp., estimated that the number of engineering graduates here will increase by 85 percent once the campus is fully functional in 2037. Operations are scheduled to begin in leased space in September.
In addition to classrooms, labs and dorms, the $2 billion campus will includes “incubator space” for start-up companies and what was described as “spinout space” for commercial applications of research-and-development projects.
Cornell is also immediately establishing a $150 million fund for new tech ventures that agree to stay in the city for at least three years.
“History will write this was a game-changing time in New York City,” the mayor said at Cornell’s Upper East Side medical school.
Officials predicted that Cornell would eventually help generate 30,000 high-tech positions along with 20,000 construction jobs and 8,000 permanent jobs at the school.
The 11-acre school is to be built on land now occupied by Goldwater Hospital, whose patients are to be moved to the former North General Hospital Harlem.
Cornell-Technion’s proposed graduate school for applied sciences
* Location: 11 acres on Roosevelt Island now occupied by Goldwater Hospital
* Total square feet: 2 million
* Completion date: 2037
* Permanent jobs: 8,000
* Temporary construction jobs: 20,000
* Jobs created from high-tech spinoffs, licenses and corporate growth: 30,000
SOURCE: NYC Mayor’s Office