Investing in New York City
NYC's 7 Most Ambitious Projects: A Year-End Roundup
2014 is nearing closure, but there are several mega-projects that will still be in progress when your calendar flips back to the beginning.
1. Hallets Cove:
A massive residential and commercial development called Hallets Point recently switched hands. Lincoln Equities received the city council’s greenlight last fall, and planned to add 1,700 apartments to the Hallets Cove peninsula between 4th and 9th streets. But before anyone breaks ground on the $1.5 billion project there are three parcels of land that must be purchased for $130 million. So for now it’s stonewalled.
2. Essex Crossing:
A residential-commercial-retail-cultural megaproject on Lower East Side called Essex Crossing is presently facing community scrutiny. “We were hearing that, ‘We want the place to be quiet, we want it to be relaxed, and we want nature,’” Claire Agre, landscape architect of West 8 said at a community meeting last week. When completed, the development will run juxtaposed to Broome Street, between Clinton and Suffolk
However, the community wants more authority on the private park’s creation. Agre appears to consent to this, but Community Board 3 wants something more binding. In response, the parks committee passed a resolution advocating a system to include neighbors in the development and life of the park. Whomever’s say is so, construction will begin March 2015, to be completed by 2017.
3. Hudson Yards:
There’s some serious economic, psychic and heartfelt despair over the amalgam of sixteen towers currently under construction known as Hudson Yards during this year’s end. Coach, an upscale leather goods store who were courting and pursuing property there is probably going to renege the deal and lease back the space. According to the New York Post, this is due to disappointing sales. Whoever suits the abandoned space, it will be several years until the tower in the Related Companies and Oxford Properties-developed Hudson Yards is completed.
Perhaps a Japanese firm will pick up the slack: A real estate investment firm called Mitsui Fudosan will probably take a big stake in an office spire planned for the Hudson Yards west of Penn Station. The tower under question’s 55 Hudson Yards, a tower that developer Related Cos. will construct between West 33rd and 34th along 11th Avenue. But the nation’s largest bank (J.P. Morgan Chase) was already engaged in talks to purchase that site--along with the adjacent property 50 Hudson Yards--for its global headquarters. The negotiations have since broken down.
If this redistribution of investment and equity goes down this way then Mitsui Fudosan will be the largest investor. Negotiations may still fail, but the Tokyo-based company is a powerful and formidable competitor, raising $3.2 billion in a stock offering during summer it’s since invested worldwide. Mitsui Fudosan has a strong hand in the Hudson Yards, and if the deal reaches full fruition it would be a major force among the elite powers in this city’s neighborhood of the future.
4. Storm Preparedness:
The deluge of calls for a single mega-fix of New York City’s vulnerability to superstorms attacking from the south resembles that of Sandy herself. One idea involves constructing mega sea gates to shield the harbor from rising swells of deadly water. Other, more realistic proposals include stone revetments on Coney Island Creek to minimize “backdoor” flooding, solar-powered streetlights on the East 12th Road boardwalk in Broad Channel, Queens (which seems to flood with each major storm, doesn’t it?). “We didn’t want to just build barriers; we wanted to build an ecosystem,” said Henk Ovink, Dutch water-management expert.
5. Pacific Park:
In the meantime in Brooklyn, Pacific Park is finally restarting construction on a previously indeterminately paused building: Forest City Ratner is buying out Skanska’s stake in Atlantic Yards to resume construction on their own terms. The pause mentioned above stretches back to two months ago, when Skanska terminated its agreement with the developer Forest City Ratner (FCR), predicating serious design flaws upon FCR’s design for the B2 Modular. Skanska thus forestalled completion, leaving B2 at a diminutive ten of the expected thirty-two stories the Barclay Center-neighboring-tower was supposed to be.
However, FCR took immediate action to carry on its greater Atlantic Park Project. Not long after the B2 ordeal mentioned above, Forest City Ratner moved on to the project’s next building; 535 Carlton. Cookfox, an architectural firm on better terms with FCR, will have someone break ground this December. How did they do it? A Shanghai-based company called Greenland Holdings Group’s purchased of a 70% interest in the project, after which the project was redubbed “Pacific Park.” This Chinese firm has its fingers in projects that span the whole world, and says it’s driven to bring the project to a “speedy and efficient completion within the next ten years.”
6. Big U:
There’s a ten-foot-tall slurry-filled earth-topped series of berms wrapped like a chin guard around Manhattan island part of an all-encompassing project called Mr. Bergmann’s firm’s Big U. And if this proposal’s totally approved, it’ll transform Lower Manhattan into a gigantic string of waterfront parks. And a barrier. “We could have built walls, but walls are only used 0.01% of the time, during crises. We wanted something that was aesthetically pleasing, well designed and [also] useful all the time,” said Mr. Bergmann. The plan’s first phase will happen in Battery Park, molding a series of “upland knolls,” out of the earth so that people can sunbathe, garden or even farm. It’s also hoped that the built-up landscape will stand up to mega storms.
7. Billionaire's Row:
Finally, Billionaire’s Row, those seven sky-high luxury apartment buildings to going up in midtown Manhattan over the next decade are sure to permanently transform the cityscape. “It’s one thing to rend about $130 million apartments--it’s another thing to see just what an impact these obelisks will have on the Manhattan skyline.”
City Realty generated a simulated rendering they assure us limns what the city will look like in 2018, based on development of buildings already under construction or still in planning stages. “The Manhattan skyline is changing more dramatically than it has in decades. Major residential buildings will only get more jagged, until eventually we’re all living in hover apartments just below the clouds,” hopefully with a strong likeness for Fifth Element’s third-millenium NYC Super-Topia. In fact, construction is progressing at such a regular rate that a team of architects and neurologists conducting scientific research have hypothesized what psychological effects the change in aesthetic could have on the populace.