A new bar/terrace at 335 Madison overlooking Grand Central, © SHoP Architects
Since the announcement of One Vanderbilt more than four years ago, much attention has been paid to the controversial Midtown East Rezoning, which was approved last summer. Howard Milstein was one of many developers looking to take advantage of the rezoning, proposing a plan to raze the Grand Central-adjacent office tower 335 Madison and replace it with a modern structure that would expand the building’s tech incubator. But he ultimately decided to forego the demo and undertake a $150 million renovation by SHoP Architects that more than doubles the square footage of Grand Central Tech and creates a new lobby and retail/amenity spaces for tenants. Renderings for the new “vertical tech campus” known as Company have now been revealed by Arch Daily.
More details and all the renderings
New York City has said no to a $48,000 break President Trump has been receiving on the annual tax bill for his Trump Tower condo after inquiries by the Daily News into his eligibility. The News reports that the city says the president was set to get $48,834.62 knocked off his condo taxes for the tax year beginning July 1 via the city’s condominium abatement, which is available for condo and co-op owners on their primary residence. Tax rules state that only “the dwelling unit in which the owner of the dwelling unit actually resides and maintains a permanent and continuous physical presence” is eligible for the savings, and Trump hasn’t kept a “permanent and continuous physical presence” in the Midtown pad since he moved to the White House in January of 2017.
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Photo via Wally Gobetz/Flickr
In May, the minority owners of the iconic Plaza Hotel, Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, went into contract on the landmarked building, matching the $600 million offer made earlier in the month by a separate group of investors. However, reports out today tell us that the deal closed on Monday, with Katara Hospitality, a subsidiary of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, buying the minority owners’ 25 percent stake, along with Indian business group Sahara’s 70 percent stake and hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal’s five percent stake. Katara is the Qatar Investment Authority’s hotel division and this is their first foray into the NYC market. According to sources referenced by The Real Deal, the minority group decided to drop its bid because Katara offered greater “certainty” of closing.
The long road to selling the Plaza
After starting construction last summer, Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM)‘s reimagined Moynihan Train Hall is now beginning to take shape. Part of Governor Cuomo’s Empire Station Complex revamp of Penn Station, the old James A. Farley Post Office will be transformed into a crystal palace-esque boarding concourse with a 92-foot high skylight atop the 1913 building’s original steel trusses. CityRealty recently got an exclusive aerial look at how construction is progressing on the glass skylights ahead of the Train Hall’s anticipated 2020 opening.
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Grand Central Terminal Lobby via Wikipedia
On June 26th, 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a momentous decision that wouldn’t just save a cherished New York landmark, it would establish the NYC Landmarks Law for years to come. This drawn-out court battle was the result of a plan, introduced in the late 1960s, to demolish a significant portion of Grand Central Terminal and erect a 50-story office tower.
Though the proposal may seem unthinkable now, it wasn’t at the time. Pennsylvania Station had been demolished a few years earlier, with the owners citing rising costs to upkeep the building as train ridership sharply declined. The NYC Landmarks Law was only established in 1965, the idea of preservation still novel in a city practicing wide-scale urban renewal. Finally, Grand Central wasn’t in good shape itself, falling apart, covered in grime, and home to one of the highest homeless populations in New York City. But a dedicated group of preservationists–aided by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis–took the fight to the highest levels of the court. Keep reading to find out how, as well as learn about the celebrations planned by the MTA surrounding the anniversary.
Here’s how Grand Central was saved
During a nearly two-hour public hearing on Tuesday, passionate preservationists, architects, and community groups testified in front of the Landmarks Preservation Commission in support of designating the postmodern skyscraper at 550 Madison Avenue as an individual landmark. Best known as the AT&T Building, the 37-story tower was designed by Philip Johnson, along with his partner John Burgee, and completed in 1984.
As postmodernism’s first skyscraper, 550 Madison has stood out for its pink-gray granite facade, arched entryway and Chippendale-inspired crown. A wide range of people on Tuesday voiced support for giving 550 Madison landmark designation, including architectural critic Paul Goldberger. In his testimony, Goldberger cited his own 1978 New York Times review of the building, before it was built, when he called the AT&T Building “a major monument” of postmodernism and “the most provocative and daring skyscraper to be proposed for New York since the Chrysler Building.”
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Photo courtesy of Lord & Taylor
Lord & Taylor’s iconic New York City flagship store will close its doors next year, after occupying the Fifth Avenue building for 104 years. In an attempt to keep afloat last year, Hudson’s Bay, owner of the department store, sold the 676,000-square-foot building for $850 million to WeWork, who planned to make the landmark its new global headquarters.
While Lord & Taylor was left with roughly 150,000 square feet of space at 424 Fifth Avenue, the company struggled to maintain profitability after the turnover of the building to WeWork. Including the iconic flagship, the company will also close as many as 10 Lord & Taylor stores total (h/t Bloomberg). In a first-quarter report, Hudson’s Bay said: “Exiting this iconic space reflects Lord & Taylor’s increasing focus on its digital opportunity and HBC’s commitment to improving profitability.”
Photo via via Alexandra Ferguson
The city released on Monday a plan to preserve at least 300,000 square feet of production space in the Garment District for the fashion industry by providing tax breaks for owners who lease manufacturing space. While the district, bound by 35th and 40th Streets and Broadway and Ninth Avenue, was once home to hundreds of thousands of fashion jobs, it has lost 85 percent of firms in the last three decades.
In addition to the tax incentives, the plan creates a new zoning rule that would help limit the construction of hotels by introducing a special permit. The Garment Center IDA program, backed by City Hall, the city’s Economic Development Corporation, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and industry leaders, also includes lifting previous protections from a 1987 mandate that preserves millions of square feet of apparel-production space on certain side streets. According to the Wall Street Journal, if the plan is approved by the city council, owners would be allowed to convert buildings to other uses, like offices.
Google Street View of 666 Fifth Avenue
Kushner Companies has agreed to purchase the remaining 49.5 percent stake in 666 Fifth Avenue from Vornado Realty Trust for $120 million, nearly wrapping up the drawn-out saga of the problem-plagued condo tower. According to the Wall Street Journal, Vornado said the contract with Kushner is expected to close in the third quarter of this year and is conditional and “there can be no assurance that this transaction will be completed.”
Kushner Cos. first purchased the 41-story building in 2007 for a record $1.8 billion, but the economic recession created enormous financial strain for the company. To help restructure the building’s major debt, they brought in Vornado, which purchased the stake in the building for $80 million and the assumption of half the property’s $1.2 billion mortgage in 2011.
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Image via Swarovski
Swarovski has tapped architect Daniel Libeskind to redesign a new star to top the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, the first time it will be replaced in 14 years. Libeskind, who is best known for designing the master site plan for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site, called the star “a symbol that represents our greatest ambitions for hope, unity and peace.” According to Architectural Digest, Libeskind’s geometric, angular designs made him an easy choice as the new topper’s designer.
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