All posts by Devin Gannon

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Hotels, Midtown East

The Chinese government now owns the Waldorf Astoria

By Devin Gannon, Fri, February 23, 2018

Photo via Wikimedia

The Chinese government has taken control over debt-ridden Anbang Insurance Group, a Beijing-based firm known for snatching up prominent properties around the world for billions of dollars. One of those high-profile properties includes New York City’s iconic Waldorf Astoria, which the group purchased for $1.95 billion in 2014. According to the New York Times, the government takeover comes after Abang violated regulations, although the exact violations committed are unclear so far. Anbang will be overseen for one year by a group that includes China’s central bank, the country’s securities and banking regulator, the regular of foreign exchanges and other government agencies.

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Policy, Transportation

penn station, 34th street, nyc subway

Two stations at 34th Street will be renovated; photo via dog97209 on Flickr

The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved on Thursday a $213 million plan to rehabilitate eight subway stations, despite objections from the authority’s city representatives. Under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $1 billion Enhanced Station Initiative, the stations–six in Manhattan and two in the Bronx– will get outfitted with USB ports, LED lighting, digital countdown clocks and artwork (h/t New York Times). The board first delayed the vote on the construction contracts in January after board members, appointed by Mayor de Blasio, questioned the necessity of these cosmetic improvements when the system’s infrastructure remains in desperate need of repair.

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Major Developments, Midtown East, New Developments

270 Park Avenue via MikePScott’s Flickr

Plans to replace JPMorgan Chase’s current headquarters at 270 Park Avenue with a much taller tower at the same site is facing opposition from architecture and preservation buffs, shortly after the proposal was announced. Not only will the project become the largest intentionally demolished building in history, as YIMBY reported, the landmark-worthy Union Carbide Building was also designed in 1960 by Natalie de Blois, a pioneer of American architecture and one of the few female senior designers at that time. As the first project under the Midtown East rezoning, JPMorgan Chase’s existing 700-foot tall structure will be bulldozed to make way for a tower that will most likely be over 1,200 feet tall.

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Central Park South, Midtown, Recent Sales

Image courtesy of Extell/One57

Founder and CEO of Dell Technologies, Michael Dell, was revealed as the buyer of the sprawling penthouse at One57 for $100.47 million, the most expensive home ever sold in New York City. According to the Wall Street Journal, Dell first entered a contract to buy the unit in 2012 when the Billionaires’ Row building, located at 157 West 57th Street, was still under construction. He closed the transaction through a limited liability company in 2014.

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Green Design, Manhattan, Technology, Urban Design

Although Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last year new mandates to force building owners to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a way to fight climate change, a Dallas-based architecture firm has taken the idea of sustainable design to the next level. During last month’s International Builder’s Show, Humphreys & Partners presented a conceptual plan for a mixed-use project on Manhattan’s waterfront. In Pier 2: Apartment of the Futurethe architects tackled major issues prevalent in many cities, like affordability and energy efficiency (h/t Curbed NY). The futuristic proposal includes two towers with modular and micro-units, which would boast futuristic amenities like artificial intelligence, drones, home automation and more.

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Major Developments, Midtown East, Policy

A model of what the future 270 Park Ave building might look like via CityRealty

Mayor Bill de Blasio and JPMorgan Chase announced on Wednesday plans to build a new 70-story world headquarters at the site of the bank’s current offices at 270 Park Avenue, the first project under the East Midtown Rezoning plan. Approved by the City Council in August, the rezoning affects 78 blocks running from East 39th Street to East 57th Street and from Third Avenue to Madison Avenue. The updated zoning code is expected to clear the way for 6.5 million square feet of modern office space and allow for taller buildings. JPMorgan Chase’s new building will have enough room for about 15,000 employees, compared to the old building’s capacity of just 3,500 employees.

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More Top Stories, Technology, Transportation

the boring company, elon musk, hyperloop

The tunnel-digging machine; photo via The Boring Company

The Boring Company, led by Elon Musk, received a building permit this week from the Washington, D.C. government, potentially jumpstarting the tech entrepreneur’s plan to bring a high-speed tube system between New York City and D.C. Although Musk said last summer he received “verbal” approval from officials, the new, written permit allows preparatory and excavation work to begin on a parking lot on New York Avenue in D.C., the Washington Post reported. The Hyperloop One would be able to take passengers from NYC to D.C., with stops in Philadelphia and Baltimore, in just 29 minutes via a tube moved by electric propulsion.

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Astoria, Transportation, Upper West Side 

N train at 30th Ave Station via Wikimedia

Thousands of straphangers on the Upper West Side and Astoria will have to rethink their daily commutes come spring, as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans on closing some stations for up to six months for repairs and upgrades. The station makeovers fall under the MTA’s Enhanced Station Initiative, a plan to improve the reliability and customer experience inside the subway system. Planned enhancements include installing digital countdown clocks at subway entrances, glass barriers, LED lighting and adorning station walls with artwork.

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Major Developments, Starchitecture, Upper East Side

249 East 62nd Street, Upper East Side, Rafael Vinoly

Rendering of 249 East 62nd Street via Rafael Viñoly Architects

First announced over a year ago and later approved by the city’s Department of Buildings in September, Rafael Viñoly’s residential project planned for 249 East 62nd Street moved forward this week after the architect released a new rendering. As YIMBY reported, the 510-foot building will feature retail and a townhouse at its base, with apartments above it through the 12th floor. The uniqueness of this project’s design lies with its 150-foot-tall octagonally-shaped core, aimed at raising the height of upper-level apartments without counting it toward usable square footage.

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Astoria, Major Developments, New Developments, Queens, Rentals

The first building of Durst Organization’s seven-building $1.5 billion development on the Astoria waterfront got new renderings this week, months ahead of its 2018 scheduled opening. As Curbed NY learned, the developer said leasing will launch for the two-tower 10 Halletts Points this summer. As the first building to open on the Halletts Point campus, the tower will feature 405 apartments, of which up to 25 percent will be affordable.

More details here

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