Monthly Archives: November 2020

One Madison Avenue Redevelopment Project Begins in Flatiron District

While many large conglomerates may be temporarily pausing projects due to the pandemic, Manhattan’s largest office realty group, SL Green, recently closed on a $1.25 billion dollar construction loan for One Madison Avenue, a square right in the heart of the Flatiron District. Chairman and CEO of SL Green shook off any worries about starting construction on this billion-dollar project, saying, “Our commitment and belief in New York City is unwavering…we remain focused on boosting the New York City economy by creating thousands of construction jobs and bringing a new, best-in-class office tower to the highly sought-after Flatiron/Midtown South submarket.”

SL Green is also partnering with the National Pension Service of Korea and Hines, and as of November 27, 2020, construction has already commenced on the $2.3 billion redevelopment project. SL Green and Hines are working with the architectural firm of Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF), with plans to convert the current 13-story building into a 27-story class A office building with more modern features. 

What Changes Will Be Made to the Current One Madison Avenue Building? 

Both SL Green and KPF agree that they want to preserve the building’s original integrity while providing upgrades not only to improve aesthetics, but to improve cleanliness and air quality, which is extremely important in a post-COVID world. The existing structure will be demolished, but only to the ninth floor; 18 floors will be built above it.

Above the redeveloped podium, 530,000 square feet will be added to the structure with 32 35,000-sq. Ft floor plates, which are designed to improve internal flexibility within the building. Additionally, new HVAC and circulation systems will be installed, to seek both LEED-Gold and WELL certification. These new systems should improve air quality within the redeveloped building.

What Is the History Between SL Green and KPF?

SL Green and the architectural firm Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF) have worked together before on other projects within the city and are excited to be working with one another again. KPF and SL Green worked together on One Vanderbilt, the tallest office tower in Midtown Manhattan, and has now become a staple in New York City’s skyline.

What Is One Madison Avenue?

One Madison Avenue is the east wing of a skyscraper that comprises a complete block in New York City’s Flatiron District. It is known as the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Tower (or simply the Met Life Tower), and has two distinct sections: the North Building and the South Building. The Met Life Tower is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is quite famous for its clock tower. 

Like many early skyscrapers, it has different wings (of which One Madison Avenue is one), and many additions have been built onto it throughout the years. Construction first began on the Met Life Tower in 1890 but updates were needed from time to time; it was completely renovated in 1957. 

The SL Green and KPF renovation project is supposed to be completed sometime between 2022 and 2024. 

M Station Breaks Ground in Morristown

Last week, developers and town officials gathered to break ground on the $225 million M Station Redevelopment project at the former Midtown Shopping Center site in Morristown, NJ. Now, construction begins on what is being called a “transformative” project for the town, the most significant commercial development in the decades.

The first part of the multi-phased project will be two mixed-used office and retail buildings on the five-acre site on Morris Street, between Lafayette Avenue and Spring Street. One building will be seven stories with 233,770 square feet of office space and 19,400 square feet of retail. The second building will have six stories and 118,900 square feet of office space and 10,130 square feet of retail. Plans call for large outdoor terraces on the top floor of each building.

M Station is expected to act as a connector between the town’s New Jersey Transit station and the Green and tenants are already signing on. Deloitte has agreed to move its Parsippany operations to 110,000 square-feet at M Station.

According to the project plans, there will be a promenade and public plaza, as well as a parking garage with 889 parking spaces and 33 surface spots. Other site improvements include landscaping, pedestrian improvements, road reconfiguration of Spring Place, and a new roundabout on Morris Street.’

Last month, the Morristown council approved a 30-year PILOT agreement between the developer and the town. The council also endorsed issuing up to $8.8 million bonds for the roundabout and other off-site improvements.

Murdock Solon Architects Eyes Historic East Village Building for Renovation, Submits Proposals

While infrastructure, housing, and commercial ventures remain a steady demand in Manhattan’s bustling construction market, the area of historical preservation remains a common area of negotiation in a community that values both progress and reverence for its rich history and landmarks. 

Over the past several years, many progressive New York City efforts have gone toward reworking older structures into habitable, modern spaces, a trend seen in projects such as the Empire State Dairy. Like it, there often comes a caveat to do with preserving the appearances of the original buildings, many of which, however, faded and obscure, often hold great historical significance to the area. 

In similar fashion, Murdock Solon Architects has turned its gaze on the site of Bath House Studios, one of Manhattan’s premier event rental properties. Formerly the site of one of New York City’s fifteen public baths, the design firm has begun submitting proposals to the Landmark Preservation Commission to restore the original façade as well as make major updates to the interior. 

538-540 East 11th Street, Bath House Studios, and History

Bath House Studios stands to benefit from a full restoration of the historic façade, as its identity is clearly tied with the facility’s history that once stood behind it. 

The 538-540 East 11th Street former Free Public Bath is one of the better-preserved examples of its kind, built in the early 1900s at a time when the largely immigrant population did not have access to baths within their own homes. It remained open until the 1950s. In the mid-90s, the location was converted into the private studio of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Eddie Adams. 

Vacated in 2004 after Adams’ unfortunate passing, the site would be designated a landmark in 2008.

What Will the Bath House Studio Project Involve?

The smallest changes to be made at 538-540 East 11th Street will happen indoors. The building’s ultra-modern interiors (including two studio venues and one residence) contrast heavily with the preserved exterior and call for the installation of a new A/C unit, new hardwood floors throughout, and a remodel of one of the kitchen areas. Windows on multiple floors will also be replaced.

The most significant efforts will go into that historic facade and the entryway. Originally designed by Arnold William Brunner, the facade features a familiar Neo-Italian Renaissance design that distinguishes it from other buildings on the street. These features will need to be preserved in exacting detail. Part of the work will be to better marry the more modern features that have been added in the time since the original bath house’s closure with that original, classic design. 

Current plans—as they are written—involve a deep cleaning and repair work on the front elevation, to start, where weather stains and some damage are visible from the street. It will also involve adding a new metal gate at the entrance and trading out the current electrical lamp fixtures for flame-lit ones. New hand railings and treads on the entryway stairs will be installed, and finally, a number of windows are expected to be replaced. 

The timeline for completion has not yet been announced. 

Plan for Trail at Princeton Pike Residential Project Approved

The Trail at Princeton Pike residential housing plan was approved earlier this month to begin construction at the site at the end of Lenox Drive in the Princeton Pike Corporate Center. 

The project will build 189 residential units comprised of 145 market-rate townhomes or condominiums and 42 affordable housing rental apartments. It also includes a one-bedroom apartment to be used as a sales office and a one-bedroom apartment for maintenance staff.

The townhouses would be three-bedroom units with two bathrooms and range in size from 1,500- to 2,500-square feet. One- and two-car garages are planned. There will be one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartment units with outside parking spaces for renters.

Original plans were altered to address concerns that the housing site was too close to the 18th-century historic farmhouse, the Brearley House, which Lawrence Township owns.

$439 Million Bay Park Conveyance Project Announces Design-Build Contractor

In a recent announcement, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled the selection of a contractor for Long Island’s ongoing Bay Park Conveyance. This infrastructure project has been in development for more than a year. Its aim will be to improve water quality and resilience to storm damage in the Western Bay area of Nassau County. 

The finished project is expected to significantly reduce the amount of treated wastewater and nitrogen effluent dumped into the Western Bay area by diverting it to Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant’s ocean outfall. This will, in turn, eliminate foul odors from the area (caused by rotting algae and oxygen-deficient water), make the water safer for marine life, and improve the Western Bay coastlines’ resilience to harsher weather patterns. 

“From damaged ecosystems to problems with shoreline resiliency, Long Island’s coastal environment has suffered immensely from decades of nitrogen pollution, and it must be stopped,” said Governor Cuomo, of the Western Bay area as it is now. “Along with our local partners, New York has worked tirelessly to address this ecological threat (…) and the selection of a design-build contractor is an important step in advancing this critical project and getting it done faster and cheaper.”

What Is Design-Build and Why Is This Significant? 

CISLeads covered a report in 2019 about the cost-effectiveness of the most common kinds of contracts for infrastructure projects. Design-build — when a single contractor handles both the design and construction of a project, rather than leaving it to two separate entities — falls in line with the savings one can see in specific, single projects. 

Without go-betweens or the need for multiple teams to sync, what one gets is a smoother workflow and far less time and money wasted. Cuomo also noted that it incentivizes the private sector to finish infrastructure projects faster. 

He appears to be correct in both regards: The Bay Park Conveyance Project, as design-build, comes in at a budget of $439 million and is expected to be finished in a few short years, whereas other methods would have cost as much as $600 million and taken nearly a decade. 

What Are the Specifics of the Bay Park Conveyance Project and Its Eventual Completion?

Laborers on this project will be in charge of constructing a pump station in Bay Park and two pipelines that will run some 20-60 feet below street level and relining the century-old aqueduct running under Sunrise Highway. One pipe, spanning two miles, will run from the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant to the aqueduct. Just 1.6 miles in length, the other will run from the aqueduct to Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant’s ocean outfall pipe, which will discharge waste some three miles or so out in the Atlantic Ocean. 

While a contractor has been chosen to helm it, the Bay Park Conveyance Project still has a few more steps of approval to pass through before construction can begin. 

These include reviews by the County Comptroller, Executive Curran, and Finance Control Board. It was most recently submitted to the County Legislature, where a vote will be held on November 23. 

Contact CIS Leads for more information about this and other similar projects in and around Long Island, New York, and the Tri-State area.

Transformation of Bogota Riverfront Continues

It took years to overcome many obstacles—including extensive remediation and drainage work to avoid the frequent flooding—but the The River Club Apartments and Retail project in Bogota, NJ, is pushing toward successfully transforming the former industrial area into a residential and retail neighborhood.

Construction is ongoing on the $100 million project at the former Hess Tank Farm Site on West Fort Lee Rd. When it is finished, there will be five, four-story buildings with a total of 424 luxury apartments. Ten percent of those units will be designated as affordable housing for veterans. Two of the buildings should be done shortly with the other three to be completed soon after. There will be retail space on the ground floor of one building.

The four-phase project on the more than 13-acre site includes many amenities, including an 8,000-square-foot clubhouse, 5,000-square-foot public recreation area, a dog park, heated pool, 2,200-foot walkway along the Hudson River, and a new, on-site NJ Transit bus stop.

Construction Begins on Affordable and Supportive Housing Project in the Bronx

At the end of October, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that construction had, at last, commenced on a new affordable housing project in the Bronx that has been in its planning stages for at least two years. Replacing a former parking lot, the new mixed-use high-rise is part of a continuing trend toward the governor’s $20 billion five-year housing plan, which has already produced many new affordable housing projects, such as the recent groundbreaking in Peekskill

“We continue to make unprecedented investments in affordable housing that will help tackle the dual inequality and homelessness crises,” Governor Cuomo said in his announcement. “New developments like this project demonstrate our ongoing efforts to provide Bronx residents with high-quality, energy-efficient homes with supportive services for the most vulnerable among us.” 

The 1159 River Avenue Project, Part of a Larger Initiative

The 1159 River Avenue project, helmed by Maddd Equities in partnership with nonprofit Community Access, is one of two in the area. Just across the street stands another affordable housing initiative in the works, at 1164-1184 River Avenue. This second project will come in two phases, constructing two 17-story mixed-use affordable housing buildings. Combined with 1159 River Avenue, this promises nearly 750 units that are 100 percent affordable housing. 

This, in itself, is part of an even larger initiative, as these two projects are part and a result of the recent Jerome Avenue Rezoning, which opens up 92 blocks of city space for development and aims to bring an additional 4,600 new residences to the Bronx, which means years of construction work for local contractors on the horizon. 

What Are the Specifics of the 1159 River Avenue Project, and What’s Left to Be Done?

The 1159 structure will top out above its neighbors across the street, coming to 19 stories. The site is a former parking lot, and it is located just four blocks from Yankee Stadium and very near to the 6, B, and D metro lines. 

Features include the following:

  • Early reports in 2018 suggested the structure would span about 200,000 square feet.
  • It will contain 245 units, with one superintendent apartment and 148 reserved for families and individuals previously homeless, including any in need of support services. 
  • The ground floor will feature over 20,000 square feet of retail space.
  • Support services for 128 households will include access to on-site services like rental assistance, vocational training, self-advocacy training, and more. 
  • The site includes art, laundry, and computer rooms for residents to access. 

All of these characteristics pose their usual challenges for laborers, but included with the standard builds, this project must also adhere to Enterprise Green Communities Standards and Energy Star’s Multi-Family High Rise Standards (which will involve the use of water-saving low-flow installations and Energy Star appliances throughout). 

The project at 1159 River Ave is presently expected to complete in the latter part of 2022, assuming there will be no untimely delays.