Author Archives: Chris Colabella

Funding Secured for Rental Development in West Chelsea

A path to the new development has been somewhat stalled for a vacant lot in West Chelsea. Sitting at the very center of the tech community, where giants like Amazon and Facebook headquarter themselves (or will very soon), and mere blocks from the 25th Street-Penn Station Subway line, the High Line, and the Hudson Yards, the site at 241 West 28th Street has been an underutilized piece of property for some time now, and even with plans to start a mixed-use project emerging last year, there has seen some significant delay thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak and other setbacks. 

However, a recent approval for funding through lenders Madison Realty Capital (MAC) has set the ball rolling, at long last, and West Chelsea will be home to a huge rental development in a few short years with spaces even for affordable housing. 

What Has Changed Between the Start of the 241 West 28th St Project and Now?

There has been news over the last couple of years that the now-split L&L Mag had filed permits for the land, including a 99-year ground lease. MAG Partners retains ownership, and in the time since, the plans for the property at 241 West 28th Street have changed significantly:

  • No longer mixed-use. Originally, there were discussions of placing retail spaces on the ground floor, common of many developments in the Manhattan area of late, but in lower demand since the turn of the year.
  • A taller building, more space. Once slated for 11 stories and 266 units, the plans are now slated for a 22-story, 479-unit multi-family residence. Square footage shifted from about 248,000 to 372,000 before L&L MAG broke apart, and there is no current information on what the new estimation will be. 

Previous accounts suggested the original plan was for a concrete-based building with a cellar and a rear yard measuring about 64 feet. There have been no announcements whether these features have changed. 

What is known as of now is that 30 percent of the available units will be priced as affordable housing. As a trade for the retail spaces, this answers a growing need for affordable rental spaces in the New York City metro area, made more significant by the COVID-19 epidemic, and the choice to incorporate affordable housing also means the project will likely be deemed essential should another shutdown occur. 

241 West 28th Street — The Road to Completion

The development will begin in earnest next month, with completion slated for 2022. COOKFOX Architects DPC were attached to the original project, no word on whether they remain, and this information is likely to be revealed in the coming months. Once ground breaks (with demolition unlikely as the lot is vacant), the space may be two years away from its first residents, but that time will be filled with steady jobs for the tradespeople involved in the project. 

The coming months will be all about learning what the new plans have for the finished product — is a cellar space still in the cards? Will there be landscaping and outdoor space for the residents? With 70 percent of the units going at market value in a neighborhood that ranges between rents of around $1500 for a studio and the multiple tens of thousands for condos, the expectation for a quality build and luxury amenities may strongly affect the build. 

Expect further developments as everyone moves into 2021. 

Islanders New Home Arena at Belmont Park Tops Out

An ongoing development reported by CIS Leads, the Belmont Arena — now renamed the UBS Arena in Belmont Park — is to be the new home for the New York Islanders, and this Saturday reached a major milestone nearly a year since its last major update. The 19,000-seat arena, said to be the centerpiece of the Belmont Park Redevelopment Project, topped out — or, “topped off,” as Gov. Cuomo and others present chose to call it. 

With a ceremonial placing of the highest beam by Empire State Development Board chair Steven M. Cohen and Acting Commissioner Eric Gertler joined NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky, the UBS Arena has reached its full height, and with more to go. 

The Main Details on UBS Arena and the Belmont Park Redevelopment Project, as They Stand Today

In the year since CIS Leads reported on the start of the then-named Belmont Arena Project, far more details have come to light regarding the development and its amenities. In fact, the most detail that could be reported in September of 2019 was its capacity, as well as the promise for retail and office spaces in the surrounding park. Updated information includes:

  • A large, luxurious entertainment hub. Slated at 17,000 capacity for NHL games and 19,000 for concerts, UBS Arena is built for hockey and music. The site boasts that the finished structure will be a seamless merging of “boutique hospitality” and “live entertainment” that includes VIP suites and clubs, eight bars with a view of the ice and stage, and two outdoor terraces, among other features. 
  • About 350,000 square feet of retail and food. Over the entire complex, visitors will find a swathe of options, from experiential retail and food options to a larger retail village. 
  • A 210,000 square foot hotel, details to be disclosed later. Likely part of a later phase of the full redevelopment project, little is known about the hotels’ amenities or the overall size, but many praise this as the piece that will complete the complex as the sports and entertainment hub of the area. 
  • The first new, full-time LIRR train station in nearly half a century. One of the latest revelations is that the Long Island Rail Road would be constructing a new connection, the Elmont stop, the first in almost fifty years, which will drive more shoppers and sports and music fans to the area without the need to arrange accommodations. 

As Phase I continues, locals and job seekers can look to continuing, steady progress and more details as they emerge. 

What Remains to Be Done Before the UBS Arena Is Completed?

Developers are expecting to have the roof complete by December. UBS Arena is looking to open its doors in the Fall of 2021, just in time for the 2021-2022 NHL Season, and sources suggest that at least 60 concerts have already been booked for the venue. Despite two months of delay at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in New York, developers are confident that they will finish on time. 

The project itself has already created over 10,000 construction jobs, and since the completion of the arena is only the first phase of several, that promises further work to come for perhaps several years, and that’s to say nothing of the thousands of local jobs that Belmont Park is predicted to bring once the final bricks are laid. 

Peekskill Affordable Housing Development Advances After September Groundbreaking

In the city of Peekskill in Westchester County, one of the latest initiatives in Governor Cuomo’s Five-Year Affordable Housing Plan through New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) has broken ground in recent weeks and begun to take shape. The $51 million affordable housing development on 645 Main Street is one of several projects involved in Peekskill’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, making it one of many cities to benefit from the state grant program in recent years. The new apartments and additional parking will be centrally located in the community and aims to have an eco-friendly bend. 

What Makes the 645 Main Street Project Eco-Friendly? 

“Every New Yorker deserves a safe, decent and affordable place to call home,” said Governor Cuomo when he announced construction. “This new, energy-efficient development builds upon our continued strategic investments in downtowns throughout the state and will provide more than 80 brand-new, affordable apartments for families and the community.” Energy efficiency plays a huge role in making any residence more affordable by saving residents on utility costs. 

The 645 Main Street units are going to include: 

  • High-quality air conditioning and heating systems in apartments that are well-insulated are safer and cheaper to run. 
  • Efficient appliances in the kitchen and low-flow plumbing save energy and water use. 
  • Finally, photovoltaic solar panels will be installed on the roof can further offset costs by allowing the building to make some of its own energy. 

It appears that most of the eco-friendly amenities are centered around saving on utility costs. This is further aided because one of the larger energy eaters will be communal: The building will have communal laundry facilities. Additionally, tenants will benefit from permanent, tax-exempt climate bonds that are figured into the building’s budget. The project is certified by the International Climate Bonds Initiative, which funds efforts to lower New York’s carbon footprint. 

What Else Can People Expect of the 645 Main Street Affordable Housing Complex? 

With architects at L&M Design and construction helmed by Wilder Balter Partners Inc., pricing on the apartments will aim toward incomes that are at 40-80 percent of the area median income or below (which puts a one-bedroom apartment at about $900). 

Environmental Assessment Completed, Renderings Revealed for 21-Story Mixed-Use Office Building in Queens

RXR Realty’s ongoing efforts to construct a sprawling 21-story mixed-use commercial development in the Long Island City Area has very recently passed muster in a couple of key instances. The 42-11 9th Street environmental assessment has finally been finished and filed and the site’s long-sought rezoning permits appear to have been certified as of September 14th, 2020. 

Why the Delays in the 42-11 9th Street Project? 

RXR Realty was one of many names hoping to break bread with Amazon when it tinkered with the idea of a second headquarters in the New York City metro area, only to be forced to seek fertile ground with other clients. Of course, the firm has moved on to other projects in the year since the shipping giant ultimately left LIC. However, the site at 42-11 9th Street, located near the Queensboro Bridge has been waiting to get off the ground for nearly as long, with news of filed plans in the latter months of 2019. 

Recent images of the site released show the structures of the property’s previous owners, Titan Machine Corporation, still present, and reports from last year suggested construction would begin in July of this year, one wonders why RXR is waiting. 

Of course, COVID-19 and the delays in certain types of construction is likely a certain culprit. Since the planned structure would house only retail, office, and manufacturing spaces, there would be little reason to give an exception to a not-yet-launched project that did not immediately suit existing guidelines to progress. A much delayed environmental assessment also topped the list of necessary concerns, important since the site was known to have been contaminated in an oil spill before RXR’s acquisition.

The 42-11 9th Street Project, at a Glance

The mixed-use complex detailed in recently released renderings is massive, comprising nearly 400,000 square feet of area to be leased to different clients. 

Its spaces will be divided between a smaller parking structure, ground floor retail spaces for shoppers, office spaces, and manufacturing space. This combination explains why multiple sources have discussed the filing of rezoning permits, all of them largely to do with allowed floor area rations. This project encompasses multiple types, all housed within a single building. 

Other pertinent details suggest that the finished project will include: 

  • A 21-story building, topping out at 330 to 370 feet in height 
  • A two- to three-story base, including retail spaces, upon which a taller tower structure of 17 to 18 stories will rise
  • Nearly 270,000 square feet of office space
  • Just over 70,000 square feet dedicated to industrial space
  • Over 4,000 square feet dedicated to retail
  • An enclosed parking structure with space for 67 vehicles
  • A planned outdoor public space, not featured in any current renderings

Before understandable delays, construction on the 42-11 9th Street project was intended to begin earlier this year. While the completion projections may be pushed back, as far as anyone knows, the intent is still to complete within a single phase, lasting 27 months. Even if they were to have broken ground this month, that would still put the project past its original 2022 completion goal, by a hair. 

There is no news as yet on which construction firms have been tapped to handle this massive undertaking, but it can’t be far off. The start of this particular race has been long-awaited. 

Construction Wrapping at Bloom on Forty Fifth, Target to Open in Hell’s Kitchen

Back in 2016, Xin Development International sought the space between West 44th and West 45th streets in Hell’s Kitchen a gas station once stood. Even back then it was to become the firm’s second condominium venture, perhaps even to rival other similar and recent construction projects in the area, such as The West, which topped out earlier this year

In the years since, Bloom on Forty Fifth (formerly Hudson Garden) has evolved into one of the more significant up-and-coming mixed-use projects in Hell’s Kitchen, especially once word broke in 2017 that a “flexible format” Target location would be taking up residence in the ground floor. 

What Are the Details of the Bloom on Forty Fifth and Target Projects? 

With Marvel Architects designing and Leeding Builders Group helming construction, the nearly complete Bloom and Target have traveled a long road to come this far. This has included a period of delays and eventual refinancing in early 2019 that brought Kuafu Properties on as project managers. 

The Target on the ground floor will span 29,000 square feet, and while it will be smaller than some of their more sprawling locations (deemed “super” sized when they began to offer groceries in competition with Wal-Mart). 

Details about its “flexible format” suggest a space that is customized to suit the residence upstairs and other locals, including the following: 

  • Men’s and women’s apparel and accessories
  • Home items that specifically cater to people living in apartments or condos
  • Portable tech
  • Health, beauty, and personal care products
  • Groceries, to include fresh produce and ready-made foods like sandwiches, salads, snacks, drinks, and more
  • Target Mobile and Order Pickup services, useful as New Yorkers continue to social distance

Bloom’s upper floors on Forty Fifth will divide 92 units into north and south towers, each condominium ranging from studios to three-bedroom residences that boast “intelligent design” but no details on what this means. Amenities will include:

  • 8,000 square foot, elevated courtyard
  • Private terraces for some residences
  • Storage spaces
  • A bike room for residents
  • A dedicated fitness room

Pricing for these spaces are yet to be announced. 

What Remains to Be Finished at the Bloom on Forty Fifth?

The two coinciding projects appear to be in their “finishing touches” stages. While earlier reports back in June showed the building topped out and ready for glass installations, that has long passed, and steady progress has continued since. 

Target spokesperson Whitney Webster confirmed in a statement that the ground floor will be open to the public by the end of the year. “As we get closer to opening the store,” she said, “we’ll have more specific details to share — including how the shopping experience will be tailored to serve local guests and the grand opening date.”

Likewise, Bloom on Forty Fifth’s higher floors are expected to be finished and ready for residents by the end of the year. Photos of the current, quite polished state of the building appear to confirm this, with signs of ladders and other equipment visible through windows suggesting that interior details and installations may be all that remains.

Construction on Gleneagle Green Affordable Housing Project in Long Island Is Underway

As the year draws into the latter months, resumed and newly launched construction projects in the metro area continue to grow. For a region ever in need of expanded affordable housing initiatives, the Gleneagle Green project in Brookhaven is a recent groundbreaking (from May of this year) that has begun to show clear results in the time since. 

The $30 million Atlantic Avenue project was among numerous affordable housing projects that Gov. Cuomo tapped to fund on Long Island. There is a greater push for both affordable spaces and affordable rentals, specifically. Affordable housing has become a high-priority to re-energize the area—not only serving lower-income residents in the community but also enticing younger New Yorkers to live and work there. This is a recurring theme that CISleads discussed briefly in its coverage of the Manhasset Square project a year ago.

Gleneagle Green – What Are the Details?

Gleneagle Green will comprise about 70 units across nine buildings, suggesting an average of 6-7 units per building. The amended proposal from November, 2019, reveals a number of telling details:

  • All nine buildings will comprise mixtures of one and two-bedroom apartments. 
  • The complex will sit in a “horseshoe” configuration around a common green area, facing south. 
  • There will also be two other buildings: a single story, 7400 square foot community center and a 400 square foot Sanitary Sewage Disposal System Control Building to be housed on-site. 
  • The complex will be gated, with exit and entry points on Atlantic Avenue and emergency access established through Patchogue Ave. 
  • Roughly two off-street parking stalls per unit will also be constructed. 
  • 11 of the 70 units will be reserved for residents with disabilities. 

Other sources promise amenities such as seating areas and structured playgrounds. It will also sit close to Robert Rowley Park and Bellport Area’s Boys and Girls Club. The overall image presented in these plans and subsequent reports have been quite different from recent mixed-use endeavors around the New York City metro area, but it hearkens more to the suburban feel of some of Long Island’s more settled areas. 

Funding assistance is coming from both the State of New York and Suffolk County. 

The Timeline – What Remains to Be Finished on the Gleneagle Green Project?

So far, images of the very beginnings of one of the nine apartment buildings have emerged, with the skeleton of the structure and the particleboard in place to show an idea of the structure it is to become. The buildings themselves will not be the only parts of the project for long, with the roadways, the entrances, fencing, landscaping, and the play areas to follow. The details about a waste management structure suggest a little more work to do in terms of infrastructure beyond merely connecting with local utilities. 

Full completion of the project is estimated to be Spring of 2022.

Bishop Valero Residence, Low-Income Senior Residence Under Construction in Astoria, Queens

This summer, construction commenced on another low-income housing initiative in Queens, the likes of which have been in high demand in many parts of the New York City Metropolitan area. Unlike other affordable housing ventures, such as those CISLeads has covered like the Empire State Dairy and Archer Towers projects, Bishop Valero is one of the first to emerge since the start of the pandemic to focus chiefly on affordable housing for seniors. 

Bishop Valero is helmed by Catholic Charities Progress of Peoples Development Corporation and designed by Dattner Architects. The property located at 23-11 31st Road in Astoria, Queens, on the former site of the Catholic Charities Catherine Sheridan Senior Housing parking lot was meant to close in March of 2020. The COVID-19 shutdown delayed these plans in the earlier part of the year. Should another occur, its status should protect its continued progress as an affordable housing project.

Citing affordable housing as one of NYC’s enduring crises, Monsignor Alfred LoPinto, CEO of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens stressed that the project would “provide much-needed housing to low-income seniors and a supportive environment for formerly homeless,” as “there are thousands of individuals in need of affordable housing in New York City, and we cannot build fast enough.”

What Are the Specifics of the Project?

The $62 million project has secured its funding from Bank of America, Barings, and Richman Housing Resources but also tax credits through the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Renderings show a six-story building with a plain tan masonry facade on the ground floor and brick-red cement on every floor above. The windows are asymmetrical on all the upper floors, giving it a slick, modern vibe. 

  • The residences will make up 102 units within the building, with one superintendent unit, comprising about 84,900 square feet in total, all on the upper floors.
  • The ground floor will house a 200-seat senior center, run by Catholic Charities Neighborhood Services. 
  • There will be daily, on-site prepared hot meals, referral services, educational seminars, fitness classes, and case management services in the senior center. 
  • 100 percent of all units will go to seniors making up to 60 percent of Area Median Income (AMI), with 30 percent of the units reserved for formerly homeless seniors with severe mental illnesses.

Rent subsidization will come through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 voucher program.

What Kind of Work Is the Bishop Valero Project Creating? 

Tradespersons and firms involved with the project can expect steady work through the next year, at the very least. Construction and ground breaking reportedly took place in early July. No demo has taken place or been scheduled. Along with the necessary wiring, plumbing, and structural work that goes into a building of this size, there will also likely be alterations to the area around, from sidewalks to any landscaping. The apartments themselves will likely include more than the standard residence by their need for accessibility. 

Currently, no timeline for completion is on record.

Progress on The Prime in Long Island City Steadily Continues

The Prime approaches another milestone as it marches toward completion. Since Circle F Capital acquired the property for development in 2016, the mixed-use project at 22-43 Jackson Avenue in the neighborhood of Hunters Point has been gradually taking shape for years now, and the project remains about a year from coming to an end. 

Featuring condominiums for sale on the upper floors and commercial space on the ground, the Prime’s slower stretch to the finish line can at least partly be attributed to the shutdown of construction in the early months of the COVID-19 outbreak, where all residential construction, aside from those deemed essential, was shut down. Other mixed-use projects in Long Island City managed to bypass this because their plans included affordable housing. 

Recent visits to the Prime have shown that the exterior details such as guardrails and the facades, which were still in progress a year ago, are taking their final forms. 

The Prime: The Project at a Glance

Circle F Capital’s initial plans for the Prime revealed a structure reaching eleven stories above ground, hugging the obtuse-angled intersection of 46th and Jackson Avenue. The first images revealed in 2017 showed SRA Architecture + Engineering’s designs for a mixture of light-colored masonry and tall, protruding walls of windows, and the developments since have shown little has changed. 

Once finished, the Prime will feature at least 71 residences averaging 900 square feet, ranging from one to three-bedrooms, and are being marketed starting at $675,000. The total square footage for the residences is a little under 64,000 square feet.

The ground floors will feature over 11,000 square feet of commercial space, and with the Court Square subway station across the street and the 23rd Street station just blocks away, this would mean easy transit for shoppers and residents alike. 

Most reports suggest the finished structure will amount to 120,000 square feet of space. Eastern Consolidated suggests new residents can expect centers for business and fitness, a children’s playroom, outdoor spaces, and bicycle storage, but is the only source to claim this. 

One can only assume more information is forthcoming, but at present, even the Prime’s main website remains cryptic. 

What Remains to be Completed on the Prime at 22-43 Jackson Avenue?

Exterior photos of the Prime show that most of the windows and outer masonry have been installed, with the dotted lines of rail-less balconies delineating each of the floors. A large area of the open wall remains where a hoist once stood. No longer needed, this gap is gradually being filled in. 

The area that seems to be the furthest from completion is the mechanical section on the roof, which still shows signs of waterproofing in progress. No information about how far along interior construction and design happens to be, though the interior designer has been confirmed to be Andres Escobar.

Initial reports on the property in the early part of its development projected a 2020 completion date. Right now, brokers and buyers can expect construction to wrap up sometime in 2021. 

Steiner Studios to Bring Massive Production Hub to Made in New York Campus in Sunset Park

Another portion of the old Bush Terminal complex is slated to become the site of another major transformation in the ongoing Made In New York campus project. Steiner Studios, known to manage multiple Brooklyn Navy Yard sound-stages, will be constructing an enormous TV production hub, projected to comprise around 500,000 square feet of space. It will bring over 2000 new jobs to the area and that’s excluding the work the construction, itself, will bring over the next couple years. 

The collaboration with Dattner Architects will take place in one of the remaining parts of Bush Terminal where the city has retained ownership once the Made in NY Campus initiative went into motion in 2017. It follows a continuing trend as more movie and television studios begin to move operations to the New York area, with past examples including Lionsgate, who announced a New York base in 2019. 

The Made in New York Campus, at a Glance

Expected to remain under construction until 2021, the Made in NY Campus is in itself an enormous undertaking and has been since plans for it were unveiled several years ago. Its aim: to create a focal point for local manufacturers. Bush Terminal, already a center for industry and home to multiple garment manufacturing plants, has grown increasingly derelict through the decades, with many proposals for renovation and redevelopment coming to very little. 

The Made in New York campus, once completed, will provide a new center for garment manufacturers outside of New York’s Garment District, as well as additional soundstages for television and film production. Its original proposal involved renovating two historic buildings and a 200,000 square foot building called the Hub, which will be fitted to serve between twenty and thirty tenants specializing in sample production, pattern making, and cutting and sewing. 

The Steiner Studios project, an addition to these already existing plans, will take up a space much larger than the Hub. 

The Full Details: What Will the Steiner Studios Project Involve? 

Steiner Studios will be personally investing $320 million into the new complex and also extending their efforts to other parts of the surrounding area, including completing construction on the nearby Bush Terminal Piers park and contributing $25,000 every year to park programming. They also expect to contribute to local hiring, job training, and workforce initiatives at local high schools, the surrounding community, and nonprofits that promote diversity and inclusion in television and media. Their 500,000 square foot studio space will include: 

  • Eight soundstages.
  • Two historical buildings to be fully renovated and serve as production support. 
  • A six-story parking structure.
  • Exclusive loading docks.

Along with an expected 2,200 new full-time jobs once the structures are finished, as many as 1,800 temporary positions are forthcoming for laborers and construction workers. The work entailed will They are expecting a 25 percent participation rate through Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises. They will be required to recruit from the local community through HireNYC. 

Steiner Studios is presently expecting a 2022 completion date.

Long Island City Mixed-Use Project Completes Foundation, Progresses

On a busy corner of Jackson Ave in Long Island City, the latest from KSQ Architects and the Vorea Group shows signs of life and hopes to begin to emerge above-ground. Jackson Square has been in development since at least 2016, with plenty of time since then to evolve. It is one of many mixed-use projects that has managed to continue steady development in the Long Island area. 

However, unlike other local mixed-use ventures like Lighthouse Point, Jackson Square will not include permanent housing, much less affordable housing, which has been a major sticking point for keeping certain construction projects open during the pandemic. It has nonetheless continued to progress in the last few months, with foundation work beginning in April and drawing to a close in August. 

The Project: How Has Jackson Square Evolved? 

The first whisper of this project began in 2016 when the Vorea Group purchased a 99-year lease for the property, a mere 10,000 square feet prior to development, with initial images showing a simple corner retail space rising to towering heights of…a single story.

The location sits a single block away from Court Square Subway Station, with access to the G and 7 trains, and immediate plans appear to center around making the most of that. 

From the very beginning, proposals involved at least 50,000 square feet of new construction, including retail space, offices, and a hotel. Commuters looking to shop, work, or stay over would have immediate access to the city’s transit system. 2016 reports projected 30,000 square feet dedicated to retail on the ground floor, with no immediate information on the division between office space and hotel space.

It would take another two years before the demolition permits would be filed, the rest a year later in 2019. At this time, it projected that the finished project would be nearly 150 feet tall, and estimated around 67,000 square feet of space, including speculations on rental units. 

In the time since, at least two renderings of the space have been released to the public, both wildly different. The earlier ones featured a gray steel and concrete-based facade, and the latest features a more classical dark red exterior. By the time of the first rendering releases in October 2019, the plans then specified ground floor and cellar retail space, offices on two floors, and a 72-unit hotel on the remaining six floors, totaling nine above-ground floors.

As of April 2020, when foundation work began, the final plans promise a structure with over 87,000 square feet of space.