Governor firms up call for moratorium on mortgage payments, foreclosuresTRD NEW YORK /March 21, 2020 09:04 PMBy Georgia Kromrei
Governor Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Getty Images)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order Saturday urging banks to postpone mortgage payments for 90 days for homeowners in financial distress because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The order states that “it shall be deemed an unsafe and unsound business practice” if state-regulated banks do not offer strapped borrowers forbearance on mortgages for 90 days. It demands the superintendent of the Department of Financial services write “emergency regulations” to ensure banks make the applications to receive the benefit widely available to consumers.ADVERTISING
The mortgage relief is directed toward homeowners who lose their jobs or are in financial distress because of the coronavirus. It does not apply to commercial loans secured by property.
Cuomo issued the executive order after his top aide Melissa DeRosa told reporters that “some people were detracting” from the measure, which was announced by the governor on Thursday. A memo issued by the Department of Financial Services hours after the announcement showed that postponing mortgages was a suggestion, not mandatory, casting doubt on Cuomo’s ability to dictate banks’ lending practices via press release.
But Saturday morning, DeRosa said that the Department of Financial Services had reached a deal with the banks. The heads of commercial banks had been negotiating directly with Cuomo’s office since earlier in the week, according to sources.
“[Department of Financial Services] actually struck an agreement with the banks. We try to do this in a way where we’re not dictating to them,” said DeRosa at a press conference in Albany.
Indeed, the measure does not specify how the government will ensure the banks comply with the order. But a finding of an “unsafe and unsound business practice” could subject financial institutions to fines by the regulatory agency, which oversees insurers and state-chartered banks.
As for renters, many may face challenges paying rent on April 1. To slow the spread of the virus, Cuomo has ordered that all non-essential workers stay home — leaving many unemployed or without pay.
Landlord groups say that relief for them must also come from the government, in the form of a tax abatement, a direct subsidy to renters or mandatory forbearance of their loans. Tenant groups demanded a suspension of rents during the crisis, but have so far stopped short of a full-blown rent strike. Sen. Michael Gianaris from Queens proposed a bill to forgive 90 days of rent in light of the coronavirus.
The executive order also states the superintendent can draft a regulation to restrict fees for ATM use, overdrafts and late credit card payments during the crisis. But it stops short of demanding the department’s superintendent, Linda Lacewell, do so.
Lacewell was appointed by Cuomo to the department in June of last year. Before that, she was the governor’s chief of staff, after having served as Cuomo’s special counsel since before he became governor.
500 West 25th Street’s Alabama Limestone Façade Revealed, In Chelsea
500 West 25th Street, designed by GF55 Partners
BY: Michael Young 8:00 AM ON MARCH 13, 2020
500 West 25th Street is beginning to reveal more of its Alabama Limestone and glass envelope as the scaffolding comes down. Located at the corner of West 25th Street and Tenth Avenue in Chelsea immediately to the east of the High Line, the ten-story residential building is designed by GF55 Partners and being developed by GDS Development. L’Observatoire International is in charge of the façade lighting.
Recent photos show the grid of recessed floor-to-ceiling windows framed with angled pieces of cut stone. Much of the netting and scaffolding remains but should be disassembled as spring arrives.
500 West 25th Street, photo by Michael Young
500 West 25th Street, photo by Michael Young
500 West 25th Street, photo by Michael Young
500 West 25th Street, photo by Michael Young
Renderings seen on 500 West 25th Street’s website highlight the view from the High Line of the building’s cantilevered upper levels, loggias, and balconies. Homes are set to come with white oak cabinetry, natural stone countertops, and Gaggenau appliances. Master bathrooms will feature oversized walk-in showers, a freestanding bathtub, a marble accent wall, and heated marble flooring.
Looking south along the High Line
The main entrance and lobby is located on the corner of the northern elevation, while the adjacent ground-floor retail space takes up the rest of the double-height first story.
The main entrance and adjacent retail space
The main entrance and adjacent retail space
The main lobby and front desk
The main lobby
Walking into the main lobby
Perhaps the most eye-catching feature of the design is the eastern profile facing Tenth Avenue, which features an assembly of thin louvers in front of the windows that span the full height of 500 West 25th Street. They will create an architectural contrast with the rest of the structure while matching some of its subtle details and trims.
The full-floor residences at 500 West 25th Street will occupy about 22,000 square feet, from levels two through eight. A total of nine units are planned, including a duplex penthouse on the upper floors that will include 12-foot-high ceilings and its own private rooftop terrace. More photos of the interior spaces can be viewed on the project’s main website.
500 West 25th Street could likely be completed by the end of the year.
UPDATED March 2, 2020, 6:33 p.m.: The Department of Buildings on Monday said newly formed zoning lots cannot consist of partial tax lots, settling an issue that has dominated a contentious case over a condo development at 200 Amsterdam Avenue.
The clarification — issued in a sparsely worded bulletin — is effective immediately and is not retroactive, said Jane Meyer, the deputy press secretary at the mayor’s office. That means it won’t apply to the Amsterdam Avenue tower.ADVERTISING
In mid February a judge found that the city should not have let developers SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America use a gerrymandered 39-sided zoning lot for the 668-foot tower, which topped out last summer. The decision contradicted previous decisions from the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals, which supported the Department of Buildings’ decision to issue the permit.
Lawyers for the developers relied on a historical interpretation that a zoning lot could consist of partial tax lots — drawn from the 1978 “Minkin Memo” — but a 2018 bulletin from Buildings offered a conflicting interpretation. The developers’ lawyers argued the latter bulletin was merely a draft and, moreover, that it should not be applied retroactively.
The latest bulletin clarifies the issue, going forward.
“The developers of 200 Amsterdam took advantage of a decades-old zoning interpretation to create a gerrymandered 39-sided zoning lot in order to construct a luxury building that is one of the tallest on the Upper West Side,” the city’s Meyer said in an email. “We are closing this loophole so that developers will no longer be able to cobble together partial tax lots for new buildings.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the developers of 200 Amsterdam said that, “This bulletin clearly states previous applications of the Minkin Memo relying on partial tax lots, which includes numerous existing buildings in the city, are permissible, which includes our permit issued in 2017. Furthermore, the city recognizes that its new interpretation should not be applied retroactively. This is the fourth time the city has affirmed our permit.”
The lawyer representing opponents of the project had a decidedly different take.
“I’m glad that the Department of Buildings is recognizing what I consider obvious and what they have previously recognized in their draft [bulletin],” said Richard Emery. “I think their position regarding the currently issued permits that violate the zoning law is insupportable, especially with respect to 200 Amsterdam.”
It is not yet clear whether the city will join the developers in an appeal. In a statement, senior counsel Kimberly Joyce said the city is “nearing a decision about its appellate options.”
Nearly half of new condo units in Manhattan that came to market after 2015 remain unsold TRD New York /January 10, 2020 09:45 AMStaff
The last decade saw the development of ultra-luxury condos that altered New York City’s skyline — and the rise of gentrification and need for affordable housing.
More than 54,000 condos were erected in the last decade in the five boroughs by firms including Extell Development, which built some of the priciest. But a slow market at the top and excess inventory has led developers to offer concessions to convince buyers to sign on the dotted line. A data analysis prepared by Nancy Packes Data Services for the New York Times showed that nearly half of new condo units in Manhattan that came to market after 2015 remain unsold — 3,695 out of 7,727.
“You never had this kind of supply in these price ranges,” said Gary Barnett, the president and founder of Extell Development. “The $5 million to $10 million market is hammered — there’s way too much of it.”
Working class neighborhoods were also transformed by the influx of glassy towers: Williamsburg saw the most new condo units built, 3,201, between 2009 and 2019. The Queens neighborhoods of Flushing and Hunter’s Point added 3,075 and 2,484, respectively. In Manhattan, 23,204 units were delivered, concentrated in the Upper West Side, Midtown West, Tribeca, Lincoln Square and the Financial District.
The new towers coincided with the increase of median rents, especially in Brooklyn. Greenpoint and Williamsburg saw the greatest increase over the decade, where rents soared 54 percent, from $1,207 in 2010 to $1,854 in 2018, according to the Furman Center. [NYT] — Georgia Kromrei
A roughly 418,000-square-foot building from NYC Health + Hospitals in Manhattan’s Alexandria Center for Life Science was the largest project filed in January — by a wide margin.
The second largest, Gary Barnett’s 22-story mixed-use development by 97th Street and Broadway on the Upper West Side, was almost 200,000 square feet smaller.
The 10 largest filed last month included projects in Queens, two in Manhattan, two in Brooklyn and one in Staten Island.
1. 500 East 30th Street, Manhattan The largest building plan filed in January was a 417,734-square-foot office property in Kips Bay from NYC Health + Hospitals. It will stand 21 stories and 384 feet. It is part of the third phase of the Alexandria Center for Life Science, according to YIMBY.
2. 2555 Broadway, Manhattan Gary Barnett’s Extell Development plans a 22-story project by 97th Street on the Upper West Side spanning 224,945 square feet. The development will have 215,866 square feet of residential space and 9,080 of commercial, and 130 residential units. Extell finished its assemblage for the project in 2017 by closing on 262 West 96th Street for $80 million. The property was previously home to a Gristedes supermarket.
3. 1 Ellis Street, Staten Island A storage facility in Tottenville spanning 146,364 square feet grabbed the No. 3 spot. The structure from Charles Brown’s Ellis Storage LLC will stand three stories and 37 feet tall.
4. 88-20 153rd Street, Queens The largest Queens project filed last month is from the Chetrit Group on its Mary Immaculate Hospital site in Jamaica. The residential building will span 132,085 square feet with 207 residential units, and it will stand 80 feet and eight stories tall. It is the fifth building the company is planning for the hospital site, along with a four-building, 481-unit complex at 150-13 89th Avenue.
5. 136-18 Maple Avenue, Queens This mixed-use project in Flushing from developer Vicki Zhi will span 105,621 square feet and have 68 apartments. The project will include commercial and community space, and stand 14 stories and 147 feet tall. The building is one of many mixed-use developments on its way to the neighborhood.
6. 134-11 221st Street, Queens The third Queens project to make January’s list comes from Myron Berman: a 72,130-square-foot building in Jamaica with 64,642 square feet of residential space and 7,488 square feet of industrial. It will stand four stories and 42 feet tall and have 81 residential units.
7. 35-01 36th Avenue, Queens This mixed-use building in Astoria comes from the real estate company AKI. The 10-story project will span 43,423 square feet, split between 33,375 square feet of commercial space and 10,048 square feet of community space. It will stand 179 feet tall and feature nine parking spots.
8. 408 Lefferts Avenue, Brooklyn The biggest Brooklyn project filed in January is a mostly residential building from United Elite Group in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. The development will span 43,129 square feet, divided between 40,110 square feet of residential space and 3,019 of community space. It will stand six stories and 65 feet with 56 residential units.
9. 397 Kingsland Avenue, Brooklyn This 40,000-square-foot Greenpoint parking garage is from the film and production company Broadway Stages. It will stand 35 feet tall and have 150 parking spaces.
10. 17-11 Hancock Street, Queens January’s list closes out with a project in Ridgewood. Leo Kaufman filed plans for a 39,673-square-foot residential building that will stand seven stories and 70 feet tall with 60 residential units.
Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Craig Melvin, and Al Roker co-hosted the Christmas in Rockefeller Center TV special, while Access Hollywood’s Mario Lopez, WNBC-TV news anchor Stefan Holt, and News 4 New York anchor Natalie Pasquarella hosted from 7:00pm to 8:00pm. There were live performances from Derek & Julianne Hough, Idina Menzel, Lea Michele, Ne-Yo, Billy Porter, Straight No Chaser, Jordan Fisher, and Skylar Astin & Alex Newell from NBC’s Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. Additional appearances by Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin, the Radio City Rockettes, Jon Bon Jovi, Chicago, Brett Eldredge, John Legend, and Gwen Stefani were also a big part of the show.
The Christmas tree, which is a Norway Spruce, comes from the town of Florida, NY and was planted as a sapling by Carol Schultz in 1959. It now stands 77 feet tall in the middle of the Big Apple and was shipped over 60 miles to its current resting place. It surpassed the height and weight of last year’s tree by five feet and two tons. Topping the evergreen off is a giant 900-pound Swarovski Crystal star that was designed by Daniel Libeskind and measures 112 inches in diameter. There are three million individual crystals that will brightly sparkle and shine in the daytime and nighttime thanks to LED backlighting. The crystals radiate from the center and are placed on 30 spikes. Over 50,000 multi-colored lights hug and wrap around the Christmas Tree.
The tree will be on display until January 17, 2020, when it will be taken down to be donated and used as lumber for Habitat For Humanity.
Investor co-developing northern portion of St. John’s Terminal siteTRD New York /December 02, 2019 04:35 PMBy Rich Bockmann
110 Leroy Street (Credit: Google Maps)
The developer that sold the site of Google’s future Hudson Square headquarters last year is not done with the neighborhood.
Atlas Capital Group is in contract to buy a large commercial building on the border of the West Village and Hudson Square, just a few blocks from the former St. John’s Terminal building that will house Google’s $1 billion office, sources told The Real Deal.ADVERTISING
The investment and development firm is paying $79.5 million for the nine-story, 80,000-square-foot building at 110 Leroy Street, according to a source familiar with the deal. The seller is Arthur Leeds Associates.
Representatives from Atlas Capital and Arthur Leeds did not respond to requests for comment. A CBRE team led by Darcy Stacom and Bill Shanahan marketed the property. The brokers couldn’t be reached.
Atlas Capital Group, headed by principals Jeff Goldberger and Andy Cohen, is familiar with the neighborhood. The company and its partner Westbrook Partners spent years negotiating a rezoning for the massive St. John’s Terminal a few blocks away in Hudson Square, a portion of which they sold to Oxford Properties Group early last year for $700 million.
Oxford is developing the southern part of the site into a 1.3 million-square-foot office building for Google. Atlas and Westbrook are reportedly planning to build somewhere between 350 and 430 apartments — a mix of market-rate and affordable/senior housing — on land they kept on the northern portion of the site.
Atlas has experience with both commercial and residential investments. The company co-owns a 1.1 million-square-foot former industrial building in Long Island City that Atlas and its partners repositioned as the trendy “Factory” office building. And Atlas developed the 10-unit, Annabelle Selldorf–designed condo building at 42 Crosby Street in Soho.
The immediate area around 110 Leroy Street is full of pricey new residential developments, such as Shibumi Development’s townhouse and condominium project at 601 Washington Street one block over and Property Markets Group’s 13-unit 111 Leroy Street condo directly across the street.
from Fortis editor: We missed posting this article about Eliot Spitzer’s foray into NYC real estate. Originally viewed on September 26
Looking up the East River-facing elevations of 420 Kent Avenue. Photo by Michael Young
BY: Michael Young 8:00 AM ON SEPTEMBER 26, 2019
While construction is booming across the entirety of Williamsburg’s waterfront, one of the first mega-projects of this development cycle to wrap will be 420 Kent Avenue’s three residential towers. Totaling 857 units, the last two buildings are preparing for an imminent opening day. YIMBY sat down with the project’s developer Eliot Spitzer of Spitzer Enterprises to discuss the latest happenings at the ODA-designed site, the former governor’s plans for Hudson Yards, and the perils of potential population loss across the five boroughs.
What’s the current status of each of 420 Kent’s three buildings?
There are three towers, actually two buildings, because the second and third towers come out of one base. The first building at 416 Kent has been open for a number of months. I’m proud to say it is now 100-percent leased. [There is] literally not a vacancy in the entire building, and it’s filled with a lot of happy tenants. The second building with the second and third towers will be occupied starting in about two weeks, and leasing there is continuing at a happy clip. The last bit of construction is finishing up as we speak.
What’s the unit breakdown of each one of those buildings?
It’s 857 total. It is basically 600 in the pair, and then the remainder in the first tower.
420 Kent’s swimming pool, rendering by As-Soba
Has construction on any of the components had any unique challenges, and if so, how were these addressed?
Anything on the waterfront is difficult. The foundation work requires complicated dewatering processes, because even though the river appears to end right at the waterfront, the ground is porous, so water pours into the deck when you’re doing the excavation. We had to drive over 880 piles down 90 feet each to bedrock, so we were really working inside a bathtub that we built to keep out the water. We have to pump out a thousand gallons a minute. So that is something that is truly complicated, drives cost up, and anybody that has built on a waterfront has gone through something similar to this on a rather large scale. Obviously, we anticipated this, but it was part of the process and it was one of the challenges.
What prospective retail tenants will occupy 420 Kent?
We’re going to have a spectacular restaurant. Seawolf, which is in Bushwick, is going to have a presence right on the waterfront. I’m anticipating great things for them. They’re a cool restaurant. If you haven’t gone to their place in Bushwick, it’s awesome. They will be about 50 yards from the ferry stop, and the setting is spectacular. We’ll have some doctors, a doggy daycare-type facility, maybe an expansion of a school. And, we’re toying with potentially another restaurant as well up on Kent. So, we’ll see. Seawolf is going to be a home run and I think everyone’s going to want to go there.
420 Kent’s lobby, rendering by As-Soba
420 Kent’s sculpture gallery, rendering by As-Soba
Photo by Travis Mark
With Domino anchoring the Williamsburg waterfront with its class A office space, and with new office developments also flourishing into Bushwick, have you seen an increasing influx of renters who are both living and working in Brooklyn?
We have. Williamsburg and Brooklyn are increasingly live and work destinations. People are working in downtown Brooklyn and coming to live in Williamsburg, or living and working in Williamsburg. There’s obviously still a substantial number that do cross the river into Manhattan. But the creative new businesses, there’s substantial percentages that are working in Brooklyn in those same sectors, media in particular. There’s also significant numbers of self-employed millennials who are working either at home or in a co-working spaces in Williamsburg. So, it’s a much more complete neighborhood now.
The coworking lounge, rendering by As-Soba
The game room, rendering by As-Soba
The outdoor courtyard, rendering by As-Soba
New York City’s hemorrhaging of residents has reportedly worsened in recent years. What improvements would you envision to reduce the bleed?
I think this is an important issue. One the critical data points that I always look at to determine the health of the urban environment is whether population is growing or shrinking. And you obviously want it to be growing. You want people to be moving in. That drives demand for everything from housing to restaurants, to every other service out there. It breeds a healthy economy. And so this is a worrisome data point for New York City and something people who are making policy decisions should focus on. And people who are making it harder and harder for people getting in, to get housing and live here, should worry about the consequences of their policies. The actual impacts are often contrary to intended impact. I would focus on transportation, which is critical. Cities live and die on transportation. I would focus on housing. We need more housing. We need it desperately. I’m not sure the policies of the state are moving us in the right direction. That’s a separate conversation. But, housing and transportation are the critical issues right now.
New bedroom model for 420 Kent, photo by Travis Mark
Do you think anything extra could be done in Brooklyn or Williamsburg specifically to help retain and attract new residents?
I think transportation is the key. I think we’re seeing significant supply coming online: look at the Williamsburg waterfront, with what Domino is doing. What we’re doing. What is happening a little further down on Kent. All of those added units are good because the more units there are, the healthier the market will be. It’ll work throughout the entire market. [For] transportation, I think the idea of building the Red Hook to Astoria line, whether it’s a trolley or high-speed busses, is very important. I think that the ferries work extraordinarily well. I know there’s a heated conversation out about the cost, the amount of subsidy, but if you look at the amount of people who are using those ferries to go back and forth, not only from Brooklyn to Manhattan, but from every borough to every other borough, it is significant. The ferries add a new dimension to New York city’s transportation system. And that’s very important.
What comes next for Spitzer Enterprises after 420 Kent, and how is your Hudson Yards site coming along?
We’re about to break ground on the first Hudson Yards tower. That is very exciting there. We’re partners with Related. I know, again, people have had different views about the aesthetics of Hudson Yards. But, I think what they’ve created is remarkable. It’s a new city: they have added tens of millions of square feet of commercial and residential space. It’s healthy. It creates jobs here, creates housing. I think it’s wonderful. We are proud to be a partner with them in that complex. We’re starting a 400,000-square-foot residential tower in a matter of days, and after [that], we will be building a million-square-foot office tower. So, that’s exciting. It’s a big project for us. We just finished a big project in Washington where we were partners with Rockrose, which is with the Elghanayan family. That’s an 800,000-square-foot project. So, we’ve been busy and plan to keep busy.
Photo by Travis Mark
Will your million-square-foot office building top the 1,000-foot mark?
No. It won’t be that tall. It will be a more proportionate type of structure. It will be right on the Hudson Boulevard Park. It’s an exquisite location.
Money comes from Fortress Investment GroupTRD New York /October 03, 2019 04:51 PMBy Eddie Small Research by Mary Diduch
A rendering of Tower Fifth with Harry Macklowe (Credit: Getty Images)
Harry Macklowe just landed a massive refinancing package for his massive Midtown skyscraper plans.
The octogenarian’s company Macklowe Properties landed a roughly $192 million refinancing from Fortress Investment Group for three parcels at 17 East 47th Street, 5 East 51st Street and 12 East 52nd Street, according to property records. The 51st Street and 52nd Street parcels are part of the assemblage Macklowe has been putting together for an office building dubbed “Tower Fifth” that would stand about 1,500 feet tall, span 1 million square feet and likely cost more than $1 billion.
The refinancing includes a new mortgage for about $50 million and replaces a prior $124 million loan, also from Fortress.
Macklowe bought the six-story rental building at 5 East 51st Street from Noam Management in March for $44 million.
Representatives for Macklowe did not respond to a request for comment, and representatives for Fortress declined to comment. It was not immediately clear if 17 East 47th Street was part of his assemblage play as well, as he had initially been targeting 5-9 East 51st Street and 12-20 East 52nd Street.
Macklowe’s personal life has arguably been as eventful as his professional life lately. The developer just went through a bitter divorce that split his fortune in half and got remarried earlier this year.
Last year, Steve Mnuchin predicted opportunity zones could raise $100 billion
October 22, 2019 01:33 PMStaff
About 100 Opportunity Zone funds have raised just 15 percent of what fund managers expected. (Credit: iStock)
Despite all the hype, investor interest in Opportunity Zone funds simply hasn’t materialized as fund managers had hoped.
According to an analysis by Novogradac, a San Francisco-based accounting firm, 103 Opportunity Zone funds have raised just 15 percent of what fund managers expected. There are at least 285 Opportunity Zone funds in the United States, and many have not shared fundraising metrics, according to the firm, which advises investors on tax incentives.
While Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last year that Opportunity Zones could raise $100 billion of private capital, the funds analyzed in the study raised just $3 billion of the total $22.7 billion fund managers anticipated.
Opportunity Zone investments must be held for 10 years in order to get the most benefit from the program, leading to some uncertainty about the potential upside of deferring capital gains taxes.
“The No. 1 concern [investors] have is the length of time they are investing for and the uncertainty of what can happen over that period of time the money is invested,” Chris Loeffler, chief executive of Caliber Cos., which has raised about $50 million of its $500 million target, told the Wall Street Journal.
Details of the implementation of the program — which was part of a 2017 tax overhaul and apparently created to spur economic growth in disadvantaged communities — are still being decided by federal regulators. That may help explain investors’ hesitancy, experts said.
The Treasury Department first issued guidelines for the program in October 2018 and additional guidance in April 2019.
Though many fund managers are struggling to reach their targets, there are success stories. SoLa Impact, which invests in South Central Los Angeles, closed a $100 million fund in August. The company said much of the money raised for the fund, which will focus on affordable housing, was from investors looking to redeploy their 2018 capital gains before midyear. [WSJ] — Georgia Kromrei