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Midtown

As part of a strategy to shore up its flagging retail business, Macy’s is considering providing New York City with more public park space right on the rooftop of its Herald Square flagship store, the New York Post reports. Doug Sesler, EVP of Real Estate for the chain, said in an investor presentation Tuesday that the store was “Exploring ways to activate upper levels (e.g.rooftop) and overall property while retaining Macy’s store and presence.” To attract shoppers and add more excitement to the shopping experience, Macy’s execs are looking at plans to develop the rooftop of the 2.2 million square-foot 34th Street store, including restaurants, green space, trees and benches.

Why a park?

Architecture, Midtown, Top Stories

While the Brutalist architecture of the MetLife Building, formerly the Pan Am Building, makes this 59-story skyscraper stand out among Midtown’s many tall towers, its large sign touting its namesake makes it easy for all to identify. Beginning this week, the insurance company will replace the massive letters with a brand new typeface, as Crain’s reported. The installation of the new, more modern logo will be the first time the building’s sign has changed since 1993 when 15- and 18-foot-long letters spelling out MetLife replaced Pan Am’s sign. Additionally, the firm’s new corporate logo–made more colorful in an attempt to shift their marketing strategy along with a new tagline “Navigating life together”–is being installed on the tower’s east side.

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Midtown

While the debt continues to grow, the ticker that estimates the current national figure is temporarily coming down this month. The National Debt Clock at 1133 Sixth Avenue will be moved on June 8 to make way for a new entrance at the Durst Organization’s building just one block away to One Bryant Park (aka the Bank of America Tower), the spot where the original clock first stood, as the Post reported. Real estate developer Seymour Durst first put up the ticker on the corner of Sixth Avenue and 42nd Street in 1989, when the debt was a mere $3 trillion. Today’s debt totals over $19 trillion, with each family’s average share more than $168,000, according to data from the US Treasury.

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Midtown, Policy

For the past few years, the federal government has claimed that the tower at 650 Fifth Avenue, owned by nonprofit the Alavi Foundation, is controlled by the Iranian government, which would violate U.S. sanctions. Since the court decision that allowed the government to seize the 36-story building was overruled last year, a trial has kicked off again this week to determine if the organization was funneling money to Iran. As reported by amNY, the government must prove the office tower, worth just under $1 billion, is a front for the Iranian government and will do so using emails, letters and journal entries from an Alavi board member.

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History, Landmarks Preservation Commission, Midtown

State Senators Brad Hoylman and Liz Krueger have asked the Landmarks Preservation Commission to designate the Rose Main Reading Room at the New York Public Library’s main branch and the Bill Blass Public Catalog Room at the 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue branch as interior landmarks, according to DNAInfo. The library’s main branch, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, was given landmark designation in 1967 and Astor Hall and the grand staircases within the building were designated as interior landmarks in 1974. Interior landmark designation would give the two reading rooms–favorites of literary greats including Norman Mailer, E.L. Doctorow and Elizabeth Bishop–the same protection moving forward.

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Interiors

Coughlin Architecture, hearst building, 56th street apartment

Living in a tiny apartment no longer has a stigma attached to it. If anything, their inhabitants and the architects who outfit them seem to revel in their diminutive stature. One such example is this mere 500-square-foot penthouse apartment located on West 56th street across from the Hearst Tower, recently given a sweeping update by Coughlin Architecture. The home’s owner, an actor splitting time between NYC and LA, requested an open, bright space, with a minimal kitchen and bathroom.

see more inside

Midtown, real estate trends

Ralph Lauren announced Tuesday that it will close its flagship store on Fifth Avenue and 55th Street, citing falling revenue and rising rents. As reported by the New York Times, the company, which opened this location in 2014, plans to reorganize by investing more in their online stores. Keeping afloat a business on New York City’s most expensive shopping strip is not a problem unique to Ralph Lauren; Kenneth Cole, Juicy Couture, and H&M have also recently closed their doors. Soaring rents, plus a drop in tourism, has lead to an increase in vacant space along Fifth Avenue.

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Midtown, New Developments

The 103-year-old landmarked Lord & Taylor flagship store at 424 Fifth Avenue may be getting a luxurious makeover. As the New York Post learned, the speculative project includes constructing a steel-and-glass skyscraper and redeveloping the building into an office and residential tower, keeping the 11-story department store as the base. Sources tell the Post that NYC property executive Richard Baker, who acquired Lord & Taylor in 2008, is behind the development talks. And though few details are known, “real estate insiders” point out that nearby towers rise as high as 60 stories.

Find out more here

Midtown, Policy

NYC may have to compete for Trump Tower security funds

By Devin Gannon, Fri, March 31, 2017

While the President has yet to visit Trump Tower since his inauguration, the price of protecting the First Lady and 10-year-old Barron costs the city an average of $136,000 per day, according to the NYPD. Congress offered only $7 million to reimburse the city for the $24 million the police department said they have spent protecting the building between the period of Trump’s election and his inauguration. However, as Crain’s learned, that payment is not guaranteed, and NYC may have to compete with New Jersey and Florida, both places the president frequents, for the money.

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City Living, Midtown

Jeffrey Beebe, BravinLee gallery, Trumpy the Rat

As a symbol of resistance to the Trump administration, Chelsea-based contemporary art gallery BravinLee created a Kickstarter to raise $10,000 for an inflatable, 15-foot rat sporting a comb-over and an ill-fitting suit (complete with an inflatable piece of scotch tape to ensure his tie won’t blow in the wind) that will be placed outside Trump Tower. As the A.V. Club learned, artist Jeffrey Beebe was inspired by Scabby the Rat, the inflatable rat that attends union strikes to signal unfair and unsafe practices by management. With the deadline to fund “Trumpy the Rat” set for April 19, the project has raked in just over $5,500.

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Architecture, Green Design, Urban Design

Metals in Construction magazine has just announced the winner and finalists in the magazine’s 2017 Design Challenge, “Meeting the Architecture 2030 Challenge: Reimagine Structure.” The competition invited architects, engineers, students and designers to submit their visions for combatting global warming in their design for a high-rise building. The winning design, “Orbit Tower,” was created by architects and engineers from ODA Architecture and Werner Sobek New York. The building–though purely conceptual for the purposes of the competition–would be located in midtown Manhattan at 1114 Sixth Avenue on the north side of Bryant Park in place of the Grace Building.

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Construction Update, Midtown West, New Developments

Central Park Tower, Extell Developments, Midtown

West 58th Street elevation of Nordstom’s podium; CityRealty

When it reaches its projected 1,550-foot height, Extell Development’s Central Park Tower will have the highest roof-line of any residential building in the Western Hemisphere, besting the current record holder 432 Park. Though the $2.98 billion project won’t be complete until 2019, construction is moving ahead along Billionaires’ Row, reports CityRealty. The 58th Street side, which will hold a 285,000-square-foot, seven-story Nordstrom store, is currently receiving its fluted-glass skin, a “Waveforms Facade.”

See more views here

Architecture, Design, Midtown

Big Bend Rendering, Oiio

New York City Architecture firm Oiio has proposed a conceptual skyscraper that would curve at the top and then return to the ground, becoming what the firm believes to be the “longest” building to ever be created. As reported by dezeen, their “Big Bend” proposal challenges Manhattan’s obsession with supertall skyscrapers by substituting extreme height with length—stretching 4,000 feet from end to end. If they are able to design this building, Oiio hopes it could potentially provide a solution to the height limitations imposed by city zoning laws.

See the renderings here

Green Design, Midtown, Technology

Image courtesy Murphy Burnham and Buttrick Architects

Nearly two years ago, St. Patrick’s Cathedral removed the scaffolding that had been shrouding its neo-Gothic facade to reveal a restored landmark. The work was part of a larger four-year $177 million restoration and conservation that’s also included an interior overhaul, renovation of the garden, and a new heating and cooling system. This last component is also now complete, as The Architect’s Newspaper reports that the Cathedral has activated their new, state-of-the-art geothermal plant, just in time to warm things up for St. Patrick’s Day. The system will cut the building’s energy consumption by more than 30 percent and reduce CO2 emissions by roughly 94,000 kilograms.

How did they accomplish this?

condos, Landmarks Preservation Commission, Midtown, New Developments

In news that will come as a surprise to no one, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously this morning to designate the interiors of the famed Waldorf Astoria a New York City landmark. According to Curbed, the decision was made within minutes without hesitation from any of the board members. The announcement also comes hot on the heels of the hotel’s closure just one week ago, as its new owners, Anbang Insurance Group, undertake what’s expected to be a three-year renovation and conversion that will bring forth 840 updated hotel rooms and 321 luxury condos.

more details here

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