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SL Green Unveils $210 Million Renovation Plan for Grand Central Station

12 Sep 2014, 9:18 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The developer behind the giant office tower that will rise just west of the Grand Central subway station in Midtown Manhattan plans to invest around $210 million in extensive renovations and improvements at the iconic transportation terminal that’s been around for more than 140 years.

Grand Central Terminal and One Vanderbilt - Midtown Manhattan

Grand Central Terminal and One Vanderbilt – Midtown Manhattan

Crain’s New York Business reports that, in order to build the 65-story One Vanderbilt tower just west of Grand Central Terminal, SL Green Realty reached a deal with the de Blasio administration and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to redevelop the transit hub and the surrounding area in exchange for permission to build the 1.6 million-square-foot structure.

The renovation project—which must reach completion before tenants start moving into the office building—was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and includes three new staircases that will be added to the subway platforms, two new street-level entrances (including one on 42nd Street with access to the Times Square Shuttle platform), an upgraded mezzanine area under the Grand Hyatt Hotel, and a 4,000-square-foot waiting area for commuters who use the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) or Metro-North.

Grand Central Terminal - waiting area

Grand Central Terminal – waiting area

Additionally, the terminal will be extended to the west, making room for additional riders, in an effort to serve the station at peak hours—according to Crain’s. This is the second busiest station in the MTA system, with an average of nearly 155,000 riders per day. A pedestrian plaza will be created on a section of Vanderbilt Avenue that will be closed between 42nd Street and 43rd Street.

According to Crain’s, the new waiting area will be the centerpiece of the Grand Central renovation process. It will be built at the base of One Vanderbilt and will have a direct entrance into the subway station, which will be connected to the subway station via a below-grade concourse. The waiting area will feature a “living wall” with green plants and a large board that will display LIRR and Metro-North timetable information.

SL Green hopes to receive all approvals by the end of spring 2015 and start renovations at the terminal shortly after that, The Wall Street Journal reports. Both terminal improvements and construction at One Vanderbilt are expected to take at least five years to complete.


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Renderings by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates




Hilton Garden Inn New York/Times Square Central Sold to DiamondRock for $127.2 Million

8 Sep 2014, 1:58 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

DiamondRock Hospitality, a real estate investment group based in Bethesda, Md., recently added a new hotel to its portfolio of 27 properties across the U.S.

Hilton Garden Inn New York/Times Square Central during construction

Hilton Garden Inn New York/Times Square Central during construction

The company acquired the 282-room Hilton Garden Inn New York/Times Square Central in a $127.2 million transaction which translates into approximately $451,000 per guest room. DiamondRock expects the new asset to generate $5 million of adjusted earnings in 2014, according to an official statement.

“Leisure demand is robust for this location with Times Square remaining the most visited tourist attraction area in the world with more than 39 million visitors per year,” said Mark W. Brugger, president and chief executive officer of DiamondRock. “We expect this hotel to be very successful and one of the highest RevPAR and highest profit margin hotels within our portfolio,” Brugger added.

Located at 136 West 42nd Street between Avenue of the Americas and Broadway, Hilton Garden Inn New York/Times Square Central  is within walking distance to various Manhattan landmarks such as Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, Grand Central Station and Jacob Javits Convention Center. The hotel, which celebrated its grand opening on September 1, will be operated by Highgate Hotels. According to a previous report by The Real Deal, the 282-room mid-priced hotel is a new development which broke ground in spring 2012 as a joint venture between Highgate Holdings, Crown Acquisitions and Ashkenazy Acquisitions. Rising 35 stories above ground, the structure was designed by Peter F. Poon Architects and includes nearly 23,000 square feet of premium office and retail space on the first three floors. The original investors will maintain control of the hotel’s commercial component and are expected to rent out the spaces at around $1,000 per square foot, the news source reported.

The list of amenities at the Hilton Garden Inn New York/Times Square Central includes a self-service business center, meeting spaces equipped with the latest presentation technology, a fitness center, Wi-Fi access, and an onsite restaurant located within the hotel lobby on the fourth floor.


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Images courtesy of Hilton garden Inn/Times Square Central via Facebook


Gaia Real Estate Takes Over 144-Unit Portfolio at The Corinthian in $147 Million Transaction

4 Sep 2014, 1:25 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Massey Knakal Realty Services announced the sale and financing of a big portfolio of apartments in The Corinthian, a huge residential tower located a full block front of First Avenue between East 37th Street and East 38thStreet in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan. According to the real estate company, the units were sold in an all-cash transaction that was valued at $147 million, while Massey Knakal Capital Services committed $125 million toward the units’ acquisition and renovation.

The Corinthian

The Corinthian

The transaction, which was handled exclusively by Chairman Bob Knakal and Vice Chairman John Ciraulo, consists of nine studios, 91 one-bedrooms, 30 two-bedrooms and 14 three-bedrooms. Totaling nearly 151,000 square feet, the portfolio of 144 residential condominiums scattered throughout the tower was sold for about $975 per square foot or roughly $1.02 per unit.

The buyer is Gaia Real Estate, a locally based real estate investment company focusing in acquisitions, operation, management and repositioning of properties in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. CoStar reports that this is Gaia’s second investment in The Corinthian—in December 2013 the company paid $14.6 million for 15 units on the building’s 50th floor.

Designed by Der Scutt and Michael Schimenti, the 57-story tower was built in the late 1980s by Bernard Spitzer—a real estate mogul and philanthropist whose son Eliot was the 54th Governor of New York. Totaling 1.1 million square feet, The Corinthian was the largest residential building in the city and one of the most spectacular in Manhattan thanks to its curvilinear architecture

The tower includes 863 apartments, 125,000 square feet of commercial space on the first through third floors, as well as a 48,000-square-foot garage that was sold in 2009 for $10.3 million to Gregg Reuben of Alliance Parking, according to The Real Deal. High-end amenities such as an indoor swimming pool with spa, a gym and yoga studio, an outdoor jogging track that circles the 4th floor, a golf simulator, 24/7 doorman and concierge services make The Corinthian a premier residential building in Murray Hill. The new owner plans to renovate and rebrand the 144 rental units, and then sell them as individual residences.


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Image via Gaia Real Estate


The Stack Shows How Modular Construction Could Solve NYC’s Housing Crisis

10 Aug 2014, 10:52 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

Now that New York City’s affordable housing shortage has achieved crisis status, some real estate developers are lending a helping hand by implementing innovative designs and cost effective construction technology in their multifamily projects.

The Stack

The Stack

A seven-story apartment building located in Inwood, the northernmost section of Manhattan, opened in May this year as one of the city’s first modular residential buildings. Located at 4857 Broadway between Academy and 204th Streets, The Stack was developed by Jeffrey Brown and Kimberly Frank and designed by GLUCK+ as a prefabricated steel-and-concrete structure that includes 28 luxury rental apartments in a combination of studios, one-, two- and three-bedroom units, as well as 4,000 square feet of ground floor retail space.

The Stack—which was named the August 2014 Modular Building of the Month by the Modular Building Institute—is being marketed as housing for moderate income families, with 6 of the 28 apartments reserved for affordable housing. According to CBS New York, rents at the $13 million prefab property start at roughly $1,600 for studios, $2,200 for one-bedroom units, $2,630 for two-bedrooms and $3,700 for a three-bedroom apartment.

The 38,000-square-foot building is made up of 56 modules that were manufactured off site by DeLuxe Building Systems in Berwick, PA in early 2013, and then shipped to Manhattan where the foundation, basement and first floor had already been conventionally prepared. It took exactly 19 days, eight construction workers and one crane for the steel-framed models to be fit together like a large jigsaw puzzle, and a few months to install the mechanical systems and attach the façade panels.

In other words, the developers saved 6 to 8 months of construction time—the project was completed in half the time of the traditional on-site construction—and 15 to 20 percent of the approximately $7 million in construction costs. Described as a “quality and economically viable housing solution” by GLUCK+, The Stack is one of the first development projects that will help rebuild and fill the gaps in New York City’s outdated housing infrastructure.

 Two similar projects are underway in New York as if to underline the city’s commitment to micro-housing: the nine-story My Micro NY building that is being constructed in Manhattan’s Kips Bay neighborhood and a 32-story apartment building called B2 in the massive Pacific Park Brooklyn (the former Atlantic Yards development). According to information from the New York City Department of Buildings, around 40 modular projects are waiting in line for review and approval.

 Click here for more market data on New York City.

Rendering courtesy of GLUCK+

Brooklyn Brewery Looking to Open $70 Million Facility on Staten Island

4 Aug 2014, 4:32 am

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

One of the strongest and longest-running brewing companies in New York City is looking to expand from its roots in Brooklyn to somewhere on the western shore of Staten Island in response to the rising demand for its products.

Brooklyn Brewery logo

Brooklyn Brewery logo

SILive.com reports that the Brooklyn Brewery—which started small in mid-1980s as a joint venture between Steve Hindy and Tom Potter and last year opened an 8,000-barrel waterfront brewery all the way in Stockholm, Sweden—plans to open a large-scale brewery on a portion of a 675-acre former industrial site that was previously green lighted for a NASCAR racetrack.

As revealed by the source, the Brooklyn Brewery recently filed plans with the New York City Regional Economic Development Council (NYCREDC) for a $70 million, state-of-the-art facility that will require 20 to 25 acres of land on Staten Island, an ideal location thanks to its proximity to the city. The proposed brewery will span 200,000 square feet and will have an initial capacity of 400,000 barrels that could expand to 1,000,000 barrels. Additionally, Brooklyn Brewery’s partner Galvanina Group SpA, an Italian bottled water company, could co-locate its American operations at the planned facility and this move could pump another $10 million into the project. The plant would create 240 construction jobs and up to 100 full-time jobs.

NYCREDC has until the end of 2014 to identify the best site for Brooklyn Brewery’s proposed manufacturing center, and the new brewery could be fully operational by the end of 2017.

According to the New York Observer, the Brooklyn Brewery has been based in a 135,000-square-foot, five-building complex at 79th North 11th Street in Williamsburg for nearly three decades. In November last year two buildings used as warehouse by the brewery were sold by owner 110 North 11th Street Association LP for $16.4 million to North 11th Associates.

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Image via Brooklyn Brewery; credits to Lyndon (Aussie Dingo) on Flickr

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