Category Archives: Uncategorized

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. 

$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.

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. 

MacArthur Airport Breaks Ground on New Transportation Center

Another major step in the modernization of MacArthur Airport broke ground earlier this month. When CISLeads last examined this corner of Suffolk County, MacArthur commenced a remodel of the West Terminal apron—just one of several stages of an ongoing facelift for the location, bringing decades-awaited upgrades in some cases. In early October, the next major step forward was the commencement of MacArthur’s new Ground Transportation Center, which will consolidate every facet of ground transportation to and from the airport. (See CIS’s projects for GC, Plumbing and Electric and also the HVAC bid.)

Shelly LaRose-Arken, the airport aviation commissioner, recognized this update as sorely needed. “It’s been more than 20 years since the airport’s passenger facilities have been upgraded,” she said, recognizing the unique need to prioritize ground travel for visitors and residents alike. 

What Are the Specifics of the New Ground Transportation Center?

At the groundbreaking ceremony, Governor Andrew Cuomo affirmed the $8.4 million project, saying, “This new one-stop facility at Long Island MacArthur Airport will give businesses and visitors to the New York City and Long Island regions an improved and streamlined travel experience.” 

Presently, many parts of the ground travel experience at MacArthur sit in different areas. Taxis are currently located near the baggage claim. The Suffolk County Bus Stop sits in a somewhat unsafe space in the main terminal roadway’s outer lane. These services and countless others, including car rental kiosks and areas for every form of mass transit (buses, taxis, shuttles, and more) are essential. Personal vehicle pickup will also be possible from here. 

The 12,000 square foot facility, built from a renovated existing building, will also include lounge areas and a covered pedestrian walkway. LaRose-Arken also reported that the new transportation center’s aesthetic would “reflect the feel of Long Island,” with modern fixtures and a copper, blue, and sand color scheme throughout. 

Funding, Construction Jobs, and the Next Ten Months

The project is expected to complete by the end of Summer in 2021. With regard to funding, Islip’s Supervisor Carpenter has stated that “This major renovation project comes at no expense to local taxpayers and provides many benefits to our airport and community.” It was also reported that there have been over $50 million in renovation projects completed and ongoing over the last four years, and this guarantee has held true. 

While MacArthur Airport is continually seeking additional grants, part of their funding so far is coming from generated revenue from regular operations, as well as a $650k grant from Empire State Development and another $800k in grant money from New York State aviation.

Through the coming 10 months, the new transportation center will call for laborers’ skilled hands to create a functional hub, with vehicles and pedestrians in constant transit within and out of the airport altogether. The relatively short timeline largely comes from the decision to work with an existing structure rather than build something wholly new. 

One of the major logistical challenges will be to move multiple services — car rentals, taxis and Ubers, bus stop, shuttle stops — into a centralized location without creating congestion and upsetting traffic flow through that area. The renovation will also need to meet the roomy, modern aesthetic of other updates at McArthur, aiming to be pleasing to the eye while also facilitating the need for greater social distance. 

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.