Eliot Spitzer Updates YIMBY On 420 Kent Avenue In Williamsburg And His Company’s Forthcoming Hudson Yards Developments

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

Interior at 420 Kent

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.

Sunset from 420 Kent

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.

Harry Macklowe just got $192M closer to building his Midtown skyscraper

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)

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.

Opportunity Zones, real estate’s next big thing, fails to attract much investment

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)

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

180 East 88th Street’s Façade Nears Completion on the Upper East SIde

180 East 88th Street’s Façade Nears Completion on the Upper East SIde – New York YIMBY

Completion on the Upper East SIde

180 East 88th Street. Rendering by DDG

By: Michael Young 8:00 am on September 19, 2019

The brick and architecturally finished concrete façade of 180 East 88th Street is getting very close to completion. The 31-story reinforced concrete skyscraper holds the title of the tallest structure on the Upper East Side above 72nd Street. The residential project is designed by DDG, with HTO Architects serving as the architect of record. Petersen Tegl, a Denmark-based firm, is in charge of the Kolumba masonry brick façade. The narrow property will yield 100,242 square feet of residential space, averaging 2,088 square feet per unit. There will also be 10,255 square feet of residential amenities and 1,093 square feet of communal facilities on the lower part of the superstructure.

New photos from ground level show the state of the façade and how close it is to being finished. The only portions awaiting completion are the ground floor, the arches, and the very top of the structure above the penthouse.

180 East 88th Street. Photo by Michael Young

The slim eastern elevation. Photo by Michael Young

The ground floor. Photo by Michael Young

It appears that the surface of the arches has yet to be cleaned, smoothed, and textured to match the pattern of the brick masonry, as seen in previous renderings. The varying parabolic heights and spans of the concrete arches and their scalloped edges create an interesting play of light and shadow.

The Gaudi-inspired arches. Photo by Michael Young

The central arches. Photo by Michael Young

Looking up at the crown of the southern corner. Photo by Michael Young

The upper floors of the eastern elevation. Photo by Michael Young

Below are close-ups of the masonry. The corners of the building feature intricate detail and craftsmanship, with a dense pattern of horizontal feathering that softens the edges of the elevations from the bottom to the top of the structure. The bronze-colored accents on each window frame will complement the crown’s final color.

180 East 88th Street penthouse and the bronze-clad crown, via Teaser Website

Photo by Michael Young

A close-up of the masonry corner craftsmanship. Photo by Michael Young

On another portion of the exterior, a vertical line of brickwork crests outward in a stitch-like pattern.

A close-up of the lower windows. Photo by Michael Young

The development will contain a total of 48 half- and full-floor homes with 14-foot-high ceilings. Amenities span eight floors and include a half basketball court, one of the city’s only private indoor soccer pitches, a children’s playroom, a game room, a residential lounge, wine storage, a private gated entry on East 88th Street, and a 24/7 attended lobby.

Completion of 180 East 88th Street is expected by the end of 2019.

Journal Squared’s Next 72-Story Skyscraper Set to Eclipse 53-Story Sibling, in Jersey City

Journal Squared’s Next 72-Story Skyscraper Set to Eclipse 53-Story Sibling, in Jersey City – New York YIMBY

Journal Squared’s Next 72-Story Skyscraper Set to Eclipse 53-Story Sibling, in Jersey City – New York YIMBY Journal Squared, rendering by HWKN

By: Michael Young 8:00 am on August 31, 2019

The second tower of the Journal Squared complex, aka 537 Summit Avenue, is rising rapidly and will soon surpass the adjacent 563-foot-tall, 53-story building, which was the first completed segment of the upcoming trio of residential skyscrapers. The Jersey City property is designed by HWKN/Hollwich Kushner and Handel Architects and developed by Kushner Real Estate Group. The second phase of Journal Squared will rise 754 feet, yield 704 units, 18,000 square feet of retail space, and feature a gross floor space of roughly 1,000,000 square feet.

New photos from above show the prominent stature of both structures, which are positioned on a hill over the Journal Square PATH station.

Looking at both structures from the west toward Manhattan. Photo by Michael Young

The first and second skyscrapers of Journal Squared dominate their surroundings. Photo by Michael Young

Looking southeast at Journal Squared. Photo by Michael Young

Residents will have panoramic views of the Jersey City and New York City skyline, as well as abundant daylight exposure. The lack of any tall structures in the vicinity makes Journal Squared particularly conspicuous. All three towers will have architecturally identical curtain walls and flat roof parapets.

The second superstructure still has just over 20 floors to go before topping out, which could occur around the end of the year. The third and final tower will eventually ascend 60 stories and top out at 633 feet tall. It is unclear when construction on this component will commence.

Completion of the second skyscraper is expected sometime in 2020. The entirety of the Journal Squared complex is scheduled to to finish by 2024.

Real estate stocks push up this week as U.S.-China trade tensions ease

With a cooling trade war, stocks perform well, including real estate.

A renewed optimism for trade talks between the U.S. and China helped push real estate stocks up so far this week, along with the broader stock market.

Since Monday, the S&P 500 is up 2 percent.

And 19 of the 28 real estate stocks The Real Deal follows — a mix of real estate investment trusts, real estate services firms and technology companies — also made gains for the week.

Among TRD’s stock list, CBRE was Thursday’s winner for the day. The real estate services firm’s stock jumped 3.03 percent since market open to close at $51.63.

For the week so far, two brokerages have seen the biggest percentage gains. Marcus & Millichap rose 4.12 percent, from $34.12 to $35.66; and Newmark Knight Frank ticked up 4.11 percent, from $8.27 to $8.61.

On the other end of the spectrum, national brokerage Realogy’s stock plummeted almost 23 percent to $4.73 on Thursday and was down 26% from Monday’s opening bell. Realogy disclosed on Wednesday that it is shutting down its military rewards program, a move that will impact its 2020 earnings.

Other industry indices saw a similar scenario play out, though with weaker gains than the S&P.

The Real Estate Select Sector SPDR Fund — an index that is heavily weighted in the real estate sector — inched up 0.43 percent for the week, ending the day trading at $39.20. And the week-to-date returns on industry group Nareit’s All-REIT index were up 0.66 percent as of Wednesday.

Though real estate stocks also have been hurt by broader market fluctuations, there are signs they are outperforming.

For example, over the past month, the SPDR Fund has grown 5.5 percent, compared to the S&P, which has fallen 3.3 percent.

The stock market overall has taken hits over the past several weeks on fears of a looming recession and the U.S.’s trade war with China. For example, concerns over an inverted yield curve —
a potential red flag for a U.S. economic downturn — sent the Dow spiraling 800 points earlier this month. And last week, a new round of tariffs imposed by China set off another market selloff.

Central Park Tower Surpasses Chicago’s Willis Tower On Way To Tallest Roof Height In Western Hemisphere

Central Park Tower Surpasses Chicago’s Willis Tower On Way To Tallest Roof Height In Western Hemisphere – New York YIMBY

By: Michael Young 8:00 am on July 29, 2019

Central Park Tower Surpasses Chicago’s Willis Tower On Way To Tallest Roof Height In Western Hemisphere – New York YIMBY

Central Park Tower, aka 217 West 57th Street, has surpassed the 1,450-foot-tall Willis Tower (née Sears Tower) to claim the title of highest roof in the Western Hemisphere. The Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill-designed supertall is being developed by Extell and will soon top-out at 1,550 feet tall over Billionaires’ Row.

New photographs document the ongoing work at the dizzying summit of the reinforced concrete superstructure.

Looking at the southern elevation with the cantilever at the bottom of the photograph. Photo by Michael Young

The difference in the color of the glass is striking. All panes will eventually be stripped of the blue protective film. Photo by Michael Young

Looking from Columbus Circle. Photo by Michael Young

The glass curtain wall on the upper portion of the building is being installed without the blue protective film that coats the remainder of the structure.

Looking east. Photo by Michael Young

The top of Central Park Tower. Photo by Michael Young

Looking east from the New Jersey Turnpike. Photo by Michael Young

Extell is expecting a project sellout of $4 billion. Meanwhile, the Nordstrom flagship store, which will occupy the tower’s podium, will open on October 24, 2019.

The protective film on the wavy glass panels of the retail base is starting to show the transparency of the curtain wall. Photo by Michael Young

Completion of Central Park Tower is expected sometime next year.

Two Bridges developers plan to contest judge’s ruling against plans for LES mega development

August 02, 2019 09:30AM

Supreme Court Judge rules against LES development

Supreme Court Judge rules against LES development

Citing a book that laments the “proliferation of skyscrapers” during the turn of the 20th century, Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron spoiled the plans of Two Bridges tower developers CIM Group, L+M Development Partners, Starrett Development and JDS Development Group — for now.

Judge Engoron enjoined the Department of Buildings from issuing permits until the project is properly approved, according to a press release, after temporarily halting the development in June. In a statement, a spokesperson for the joint venture said the developers plan to fight the ruling, The City reported.

The developers planned to erect four 60 to 100-story towers with 2,775 apartments, with 25 percent of the units set aside as affordable. The plans had been previously approved, but the Department of City Planning voted to change the development sites’ permit without going through a public review. Now, the towers may be headed to Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), a community review process that could stretch on for months.

Two more lawsuits have challenged the Two Bridges development, by community groups including Good Old Lower East Side and CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities. A representative from CAAV said that the ruling gives them time to work on their larger goal of limiting building heights across the board on the Lower East Side.

 Georgia Kromrei

RAMSA’s 220 Central Park South Getting Finishing Touches on Billionaires’ Row

RAMSA’s 220 Central Park South Getting Finishing Touches on Billionaires’ Row – New York YIMBY

220 Central Park South, designed by Robert A. M. Stern.

By: Michael Young 8:00 am on July 1, 2019

The finishing exterior touches are going on 220 Central Park South, Robert A. M. Stern Architects’ tallest project in New York City. The 67-story residential tower contains 593,000 square feet of newly built space and stands 950 feet tall above Central Park South. The classically inspired, pre-war evocative skyscraper is clearly visible from Columbus Circle and the southern end of Central Park. SLCE Architects is the executive architect, the interiors are being designed by Thierry W. Despont, and Vornado Realty Trust is the developer of the $1.4 billion dollar development. The firm is expecting a projected $3.4 billion sellout.

Looking up the full height of the southern elevation. Photo by Michael Young

The crown of 220 Central Park South is nearly finished. Photo by Michael Young

The mechanical hoist that used to be attached to the eastern elevation is now completely disassembled. Work on the motor courtyard is progressing, and some large trees have already been delivered and planted in the center of the outdoor space.

Looking at the motor courtyard. Photo by Michael Young

The ornamental and decorative grilles for the mechanical ventilation on the lower floors have also gone in place.

The ornamental grilles for the ventilation on the lower floor can be seen from street level. Photo by Michael Young

This tower joins Robert A. M. Stern Architects’ other projects in Midtown, including 15 Central Park West and 520 Park Avenue. The property made headlines in January, when its 23,000-square foot penthouse was purchased by Ken Griffin for $238 million, becoming the most expensive home sale in United States history.

An exact completion date 220 Central Park South has not been formally announced. But the project could be done by the end of this year or early 2021 at the very latest.

FAA Permits Submitted for 841-Foot-Tall Tower at 30 Journal Square, in Jersey City

FAA Permits Submitted for 841-Foot-Tall Tower at 30 Journal Square, in Jersey City – New York YIMBY

30 Journal Square, image by Morris Adjmi Architects

By: Michael Young 7:30 am on June 28, 2019

Permits have been submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for work on 30 Journal Square, a proposed 841-foot-tall mixed-use skyscraper in Jersey City. Located at the southern corner of Slip Avenue and Bergen Avenue, the project is being designed by Morris Adjmi Architects and developed by Kushner Companies, which acquired the site for $3.575 million in 2013. The permits filed are for work between December 2019 and December 2022, so activity at the site could begin by the end of the year.

Kushner’s website indicates that 30 Journal Square will have 741 residential units, 15,000 square feet of retail space, and nearly 100,000 square feet of office space. A curated sculpture garden will sit on the ground floor. The outside curtain wall features a bold pattern that goes up the entire height, and incorporates what appears to be expansive outdoor balconies on the residential portion. Situated on a hilltop, the tower will give future residents and tenants clear views of the downtown Jersey City skyline, Lower Manhattan, and Midtown, as well as plenty of daylight.

The PATH trains at Journal Square are a five-minute walk from the property. Along with the nearby trio of residential skyscrapers at Journal Square, the construction at 30 Journal Square will help contribute to this isolated section of the Jersey City skyline. The development also sits 91 feet above ground level, which will visually elevate the height of the proposed skyscraper. In addition, these two large projects will revitalize and invigorate this part of the city with more living spaces and new energy.

If the FAA permits are any indicator, work is expected to wrap by December of 2022.