Monthly Archives: January 2021

More Apartments and Retail Planned for Rittenhouse Square

Developer Southern Land has plans to add another project to Rittenhouse Square in Center City, Philadelphia, even before their present project is completed. The developer, who is based in Nashville, recently purchased at 19,000-square foot piece of land at 1620 Sansom St. for $24.5 million on December 31, 2020, a purchase that fits into the developer’s current plans to demolish a parking garage on Sansom St. and build both apartments and retail space. 

What Are Some of the Details of the Transaction and Project?

Rittenhouse Realty Advisors brokered the most recent purchase for an anonymous buyer, which closed on December 31. The purchase of the 19,000-square-foot parcel of land allows Southern Land to make plans to demolish the parking garage that currently stands at 1608-1634 Sansom St. in the Rittenhouse Square district. After razing, plans include a $180-million, 28-story multi-family tower that includes 32,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. 

Overall, there will be 308 apartment units with a 55-car underground parking garage. Ken Wellar, managing partner of Rittenhouse Realty, said, “This was one of the last, best development sites in Rittenhouse Square.”

Since taking the property under contract in late 2019, Southern Land took their plans to the Civic Design Review process and had them approved. Most businesses underneath the parking garages on Samson St. have closed; however, several businesses remain open underneath but have plans to close during the early months of 2021.

What Is Southern Land’s Other Rittenhouse Square Project?

Southern Land is currently also working on another Rittenhouse Square project that has not yet been completed, and the construction at Samson St. is one of the last, best development sites in the district. Southern Land is also working on a 48-story skyscraper at 1911 Walnut Street known as The Laurel.

Ground on this project was first broken in 2019, and it is expected to complete in Fall 2022. Concrete was recently poured on the 22nd floor. When the building is fully completed, it will be the tallest residential building in the city of Brotherly Love. 

Vertical construction on the Rittenhouse Square Samson project is expected to begin by August 2021, and forecasts have the project completion to occur sometime in mid-2023.

Contact CIS Leads for more information on this and other projects in the area.

South Brooklyn Part of the Reimagine, Rebuild, Renew Program

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on January 13, 2021, that New York would be developing several wind energy programs and systems throughout the state, including an offshore wind turbine staging facility to be built at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal at Sunset Park. 

The Governor said during his announcement that, “New York can and will be the nation’s leader for renewable energy innovation and production, all while securing jobs of the future for New Yorkers.”

What Are Some Details of the Sunset Park Wind Turbine Project?

This project is currently in the pre-planning stages and is part of an overall offshore wind project that will affect other ports and areas throughout the state, including other projects that will take place in Albany, near Jones Beach, and near Montauk Point in Long Island. New York State will be partnering with Equinor Wind US LLC for the projects, with BP being a 50% partner in some of the projects. 

The turbine project will comprise approximately 73 acres, and Equinor has said it will be the ‘largest dedicated offshore wind port” in the US. The Sunset Park project alone is projected to create 1,000 short-term construction jobs to build the hub and 200 long-term jobs, as the facility is to serve as a maintenance hub after it is completed. 

What Will the Project Accomplish?

Initially, developers had wanted to build a 35-acre manufacturing and retail complex, which was withdrawn after criticism from environmental activists, who had wanted a greener port. Additionally, activists also thought it would displace people in the community. Keeping in mind that the wind turbine is part of a greater project, the overall project is intended to help the state of New York reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050. 

New York State Energy Research & Development’s office is funding $200 million toward the project, with another $200 million coming from private funds. Governor Cuomo says his overall Reimagine, Rebuild, 

Renew plan will create over 50,000 jobs for New York residents and create 12,400 megawatts of green energy that will power 6 million homes.

Waretown Town Center Project Finally Open Doors for Development

There has been discussion of the redevelopment of a 24.52-acre lot in Waretown, New Jersey’s town center, for quite some time, and the Township of Ocean’s first Economic Redevelopment Plan was first proposed in June of 2000. Multiple amendments have been made to the project since that time, and because of this, the Waretown Town Center Project has been unable to move forward. Now, as of December 2020, new ordinances serve to get the project on its feet finally. 

What Does the Project Entail?

The details of the project have changed several times, but the details as of September 2020 (which are the current project’s plans), call for 16 buildings on the 24.52-acre lot in Waretown’s center, with 120 residential, attached homes. These would be owner-occupied, two- and three-bedroom townhouses, with a price range between $300,000 and $350,000. Also, there would be some affordable housing units to comply with local legal requirements. 

Within the residential complex, plans also include a swimming pool, walking path, and a single-story clubhouse for residents. As this project is zoned both commercial and residential, there are also plans for a retail building on the property, consisting of approximately 8,550 square feet. The project is to be designed by T&M Associates of Middletown, New Jersey.

How Do the New Ordinances Help the Project?

Part of the concerns regarding the redevelopment project included the roadways surrounding the shopping areas near the center of town. The new ordinances update current roadway structures and ensure that traffic will flow well after the project is built. It was also important to Waretown residents that the “small-town feel” of Waretown be kept while building this project. 

Ordinance 2020-18 and Ordinance 2020-17 were passed in Ocean Township, NJ in December 2020, which gives a green light for the Waretown Town Center Redevelopment Project, also known as the Oceanaire East project. However, the next meeting regarding the next phase of the project has not been announced as of January 2021. 

Willow View Estates Project Is Unable to Move Forward After Multiple Lawsuits

In early 2019, preliminary subdivision plans were first submitted to the Nassau County Department of Public Works Planning Commission. This comes two years after Efrem Gerszberg and Robert Weiss purchased the Woodmere Club for development. The original project was penned as Willow View Estates, with 248 homes in Woodmere, 24 in Woodsburgh, and 13 in Lawrence – 285 homes in total. However, since each municipality must give its approval, and there have been lingering concerns, the project may never get off the ground. 

What Was the Original Proposal?

The original proposal had the minimum lot size at 6,000 square feet and the maximum at 262, 117 square feet, with five additional sites as stormwater basins. Four additional roadways would have to be built to accommodate the development. The original plan was to completely close the golf course in 2021 and begin breaking ground, assuming that the original proposal would be approved or would need just a few small amendments.

What Caused Problems with the Original Proposal?

The Woodmere Club is 120 acres in total, and Gerszberg and Weiss, operating as Weiss Properties, bought the property in 2017 for about $9 million and agreed to take on $15 million in debt the club had owed. Nearby neighbors were immediately against the proposal, claiming that it would be an eyesore in the neighborhood and destroy wildlife. 

By July 2020, the town of Hempstead had passed a new resolution that ordered the Woodmere club to preserve 83 acres of open space, which included a clubhouse and a nine-hole golf course. This leaves very little room for development. 

Where Does the Project Stand Now?

The Woodmere Club owners, Weiss Properties, have filed a lawsuit against the Town of Hempstead for $250 million as of September 2020, which is the sixth lawsuit filed since the original plans were submitted in early 2019. 

In addition to naming the town of Hempstead as defendants, the towns of Woodsburgh and Lawrence are also named on the complaint. Efrem Geszberg, one of the club’s owners, said, “We are prepared to litigate our constitutional rights all the way to the Supreme Court,” when asked about the lawsuit. 

The language that the Town of Hempstead has used marks the 83 acres as a “coastal conservation district,” so developers cannot build on those acres until their case is heard in court. As of now, no date is set.

Hercules Redevelopment Project Expected to Begin in the Spring

The Hercules Country Club has been closed for nearly ten years, and nothing has been approved to be built in its place on Lancaster Pike in New Castle County, Delaware. However, in September 2020, the New Castle County Council approved 258 homes to be built on the site. Although it was met with some opposition, at the time, the project was approved with a 12-1 vote. 

Now, the real estate development firm Pettinaro Co. is expected to begin building on site beginning in Spring 2021, after many years of battle, not only with New Castle County but with the Delaware Supreme Court. 

What Does the Project Entail?

The 200-acre golf course was once meant for Hercules Powder company and its associates, dating back to the 1930s. However, the golf course has not been in use since 2010 and offers empty space for development. Greg Pettinaro, the lead developer on this project, is planning for 258 homes total on the site, which will include two types of 158 single-family homes as well as 100 townhouse units. 

Why Did the Project Experience Roadblocks?

There are several reasons why the development company experienced some roadblocks in their proposals. The main issue that officials had with the project was traffic. Originally, Toll Brothers, homebuilders based in Pennsylvania, were going to build the project in conjunction with the Pettinaro Co. 

However, a traffic impact study was conducted, and New Castle County ruled that the project would cause too much traffic congestion. The Delaware Supreme Court upheld the decision, and the Toll Brothers walked away. Ultimately, the Pettinaro Co. decided to make the traffic upgrades themselves to move forward. 

Still, then a group of neighbors began to oppose the project, known as “Hold On to Hercules.” However, the group wasn’t able to raise enough funds to oppose the project, and ultimately, with the traffic upgrades, it was approved by a 12-1 margin. 

Other Lancaster Pike Improvements

The Pettinaro Co. is also actively working on other projects in the same vicinity as the Hercules Project, including the Barley Mill Plaza development project, including a new Wegmans grocery store. The plaza will also include other retail and office space, conveniently located to the new Hercules residents. 

The Pettinaro Co. expects that the first homes on the site will be completed within a year and that the entire project will complete in roughly five years. 

Two New High-Rise Towers Proposed in Manhattan’s Financial District

The Howard Hughes Corporation has proposed two new high-rise towers in Manhattan’s financial district at 250 Water Street. The Landmarks Preservation Commission is currently looking over the proposals, including an expansion of the South Street Seaport, located in the Financial District. The lead architect on the project will be Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM), with consultation from historic preservation experts Higgins Quasebarth & Partners and supportive design services from JHPA.

What Are the Specifics of the High-Rise Plans?

Currently, the lot at 250 Water Street is undeveloped and has been for many years. It is situated on the edge of the South Street Seaport Historic District and is the size of one city block. The towers and expansion proposals will encompass the entire block and plot, with two 38-story towers and a low-rise podium. If all plans are approved, the overall height of the building could be as tall as 757,400 buildable square feet. Because the towers’ height may be a bit jarring compared to the landscape within the existing South Street Seaport Historic District, the towers will sit on a five-story podium and will be set back from the street.

What Is the Purpose of the Project?

These new high-rise towers will be multi-purpose and will be residences, community spaces, office buildings, and associated spaces. Residential spaces are the main focus of the project and will occupy the 11th through 34th floors, with residential amenities located on the 8th floor. This project is also heralded as the first affordable housing project built in Manhattan Community Board 1, accomplished through the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program. There will be 360 total residential units, with 25 percent of those deemed “affordable” to families earning less than the median income. 

The project is also expected to bring 2,500 permanent jobs to the city and 2,000 construction jobs to complete the building. Mary Ann Tighe, member of HHC’s Board of Directors, and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Tri-State Region for CBRE, said, “We believe visionary projects like this will help propel the city’s economic recovery.” Also, the South Street Seaport Museum itself will also be renovated, after years of setback and loss. 

What Are the Specifics of the Museum Expansion?

The South Street Seaport Museum is adjacent to the Water Street vacant lot and located at 12 Fulton Street. If the expansion is approved, the museum will extend through the now-vacant lots located at John and South Streets. According to the new proposals, the facade of the Museum would be changed to a punched copper, and it would be renovated to a six-story building with an outdoor roof deck that opens above John and South Streets. 

The developer has also offered a $50 million contribution to the South Street Seaport Museum if the project is approved. However, a meeting was held on January 5, 2021. A group of residents called the Seaport Coalition are fighting against this development and instead want an NYPD tow pound moved to 250 Water Street instead.