Business and Accommodations at SORA West

Acting as a gateway to Conshohocken, SORA West is a 3.6-acre project outside of Philadelphia that will have a different feel in the area once completed. 

With two components — a 127-key hotel under the Hilton brand, and a fully-leased office building, the project will offer much-needed facilities in the area. Initially the developer aimed to build a 165-room hotel but it was scaled back.

What’s on the Inside of SORA West?

On the inside of the hotel at SORA West patrons will pass through the hotel to the restored firehouse restaurant via a second floor connection for a unique indoor-outdoor experience. The outdoor terrace will be about 650sf while the interior area will be 1,294sf.

SORA West Outdoor Structures

Beyond the terrace at SORA West, the area is surrounded by key public transit networks as well as trains and buses for easy access.

To accommodate commuters and patrons, there will be a 1,500-space parking structure.

Funding

As of January, the project was awarded $1 million from Pennsylvania through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. This award is given to projects that foster historical, cultural, and economic improvements.

For more information on SORA West and other projects, visit our website.

Hoboken Monarch Waterfront Development Blocked; Settlement Reached

The Monarch Waterfront Development Site has been an item of dispute for years. Initially, the Ironstate Development Company planned to build two 11-story high-rise buildings on Hoboken, New Jersey’s waterfront. However, the city was not in agreement, and the City of Hoboken took their displeasure to the New Jersey Supreme Court, who ruled against the City of Hoboken in 2014. 

What Has Happened Since 2014?

After the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled against the City of Hoboken in 2014, the City of Hoboken then took their case to the New Jersey Appellate Court, citing zoning laws that were newly enacted in 2013 as evidence. However, in 2019, the New Jersey Appellate Court also ruled against the City of Hoboken, and in 2020, the New Jersey Supreme Court decided to have one more look and sided with the appellate court. 

What Are the Terms of the Agreement?

Still, even after many years of haggling in court, the Ironstate Development Company and the City of Hoboken reached an agreement. Instead of two 11-story towers on the 15th Street Pier, they will build an 11-story residential building where the old Municipal Garage once stood on Observer Highway. This site is within walking distance to the Hoboken train station, so it would be convenient for future residents. The ground floor will be used as 15,000 square feet of retail space. The land at the 15th Street Pier will instead be used to build a small park, and it will remain open space. 

There will still be a need for a municipal garage, so the city has announced they will plan to build one in northwest Hoboken, and this will be funded by Ironstate Development Company, per the terms of the agreement. This garage will be part of a different project, known as the Hoboken North End Redevelopment Plan.

What Are Some Other Terms of the Redevelopment Plan?

In addition to the parking garage, other terms of the North End Redevelopment Plan include a new facility for the Department of Public Works, 4,000 square feet of retail on Observer Highway, 264,000 in a transit rental building, and 11 percent of all housing units tagged as affordable housing. 

The Hoboken City Council had to vote on the agreement that concerned the Monarch Waterfront Development Site for it to be approved, and they did so on February 3, 2021. The agreement passed with an 8-0-1 vote. There is no set a date for development to begin on the project that will now commence on Observer Highway. 

Contact CIS Leads for information on this project and others in the area.

Grand Central Terminal’s Hyatt Hotel Replacement Is in the Works

Former President Donald Trump replaced the Commodore Hotel with the Grand Hyatt Hotel in 1980. This major development project was situated in a prime location next to Grand Central Terminal. Now, developers TF Cornerstone and RXR are proposing to tear down the Grand Hyatt, and the remains of the old Commodore underneath, and replace it with an 83-story tower. 

Why is this Project Important?

Some of the reasons the RXR/TF Cornerstone Project has importance is because structural columns that are part of the Commodore Hotel underneath are blocking entrances and access to stairways in the Grand Central Terminal subway station. The new proposal will demolish those columns, and the columns that replace them will be placed outside of the station. 

Project Details 

This 2.2 million-square-foot tower will be 83 stories tall, with a ground floor that serves as a public train hall that allows the public street entrances to Grand Central and the 4, 5, 6, and 7 lines. This project will also relocate from the mezzanine, often a source of crowding and chaos, to the train hall at the street level.

TF Cornerstone will also develop a 12,000-square foot underground passageway that links several train lines together: the Long Island Rail Road to the East Side Access Terminal, below One Vanderbilt to Metro North, as well as the subway mezzanine. This will allow the LIRR and Metro North commuters access to the subway platforms, rather than having to walk through the Grand Central concourse, which can often be crowded and time-consuming. 

There will also be 5,400 square feet of new space to the 42nd Street Passage, with room for ticket machines, signage, and arrival boards. Also, there are plans for a 22,000-square-foot public outdoor space that wraps around the building, complete with a reflecting pool with seating, two cafes, outdoor art, and ADA-compliant elevators that allow passengers access to the subway station and street. 

What Are Other Details of the Tower?

The design’s full details have not been released to the public just yet but are expected to be available in Spring 2021. Developers have said that the building’s shape will be set back at its zenith, similarly to the Chrysler building. 

Besides being an asset to Grand Central Terminal travelers, the tower will also have 2,1 million square feet of office space, 10,000 square feet of retail space, and a 500-key hotel on the top floors. 

Demolition is expected to begin in 2022, and completion of the project is expected to occur by 2030. 

Contact CIS Leads for information on this project and others in the area.

Development Will Begin at Former Cavaliers Country Club in 2021

There have been years of back-and-forth battles considering the proposed 700+-home housing project on the former Cavaliers Country Club property. The New Castle County Council approved the development in late 2020, and Delaware Online has slated the project as one they’re keeping their eye on in 2021. The original application for development was submitted to the board in the summer of 2018.

What Does the Project Entail?

This most recent proposal calls for 196 single-family homes, 130 townhome units, and 288 apartments, for a total of 714 units. Carlino Development, based out of Wyomissing, PA, will be doing most of the work on the project. 

Some parts of the housing project have already been cleared in anticipation of breaking ground; however, the developers must ensure that the ground is safe before moving forward, as herbicides and pesticides were often used at the now-defunct golf course. The development will be just north of the Christiana Mall, south of Churchmans Road. 

Why Were There Roadblocks with the Project?

Residents that live nearby have been voicing concerns for years over how the housing project may affect traffic patterns and cause more traffic on an already congested road. Currently, one can only enter the golf course through one entryway via Churchmans Road. Part of the new, updated plan will have a connected road tying the housing project to the Christiana Fashion Center, near the mall. Carlino Development will build the first half, and the Delaware Department of Transportation will build the second half. Initially, developers wanted to tie the housing development directly to the mall but could not agree with Brookfield Properties, the developers who own the mall.

Mixed-Use Property vs. Town Residents

Initially, the project was also supposed to be mixed-use, with several different commercial properties being part of the development. Still, the developers nixed that idea after complaints from residents and the town. 

Plans had to be modified several times before these most recent plans were put in front of the New Castle County Council, at which time they were approved. Once the ground is deemed safe to build on, the developers expect to break ground as soon as possible. 

For more information on this or other projects, contact CIS Leads.

Plans for Riverhead Shopping Center in NY Deadlocked Over Noise

Plans for a shopping center at Route 58 and Mill Road in Riverhead were first proposed in 2019, but the project remains frozen in the planning stage as residents and developers collide over whether the proposed shopping center would bring too much noise to nearby residents. 

On January 21, 2021, the Riverhead Planning Board discussed whether a sound wall should be built around the proposed shopping center to block loud noises from nearby residents.

What Are the Details of the Proposed Shopping Center?

Original plans of the proposed shopping center call for 45,487 total square feet of development on Route 58 and Mill Road in Riverhead, NY. This plot of land is adjacent to the Riverhead Centre complex. There would be three one-story buildings in total: one with a size of 17,922 square feet, one of 10,904 square feet, and one of 13,232 feet, all of the retail storefronts. There are plans for another building, a 4,935-square foot fast food restaurant with a drive-thru window. 

These businesses are permissible per Riverhead zoning laws as the plot of land is zoned within the business district. The Long Island Cauliflower Association owns the land, and Richmond Realty will complete development. 

Why Is There a Proposed Sound Wall?

Nearby businesses, such as Stop & Shop, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Shops at Riverhead, have built sound walls during development because of noise concerns. The proposed Route 58 and Mill Road development project is close to Millbrook Communities, a gated community, and neighbors are worried about noise.

The Riverhead town code also requires a 50-foot non-disturbed transitional yard to buffer between commercial and residential zones. However, this does not necessarily describe a sound wall per se. Board members discussed the issue but did not come to a clear conclusion over what a solution may be. A traffic study noted that there would be no significant traffic issues caused by the Route 58 and Mill Road development. 

The board members did not decide on the sound wall. Developer Richard Israel from Richmond Realty was present at the meeting and agreed to amend plans but did not necessarily agree to build a sturdy wall. 

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.