Midtown

Architecture, Midtown, New Developments

TSX Broadway, Times Square, L & L Holding Co.

Photo Credit: Courtesy L&L Holding Company

A year after renderings were released and three years after the project’s approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, L&L Holding Company, Maefield Development, and Fortress Investment Group have revealed plans for TSX Broadway at 1568 Broadway, beginning with the demolition–planned for this winter–of the existing 1,700-seat landmarked Palace Theatre, which will be replaced by a 46-story tower with 550,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space. The theater will be elevated 30 feet and secured within the new building and will be completely renovated, after which an entirely new structure containing a 669-key luxury hotel will be built around it.

More renderings this way

City Living, Midtown

Pay to break stuff for fun at these ‘rage rooms’ in NYC

By Devin Gannon, Tue, September 11, 2018

Some New Yorkers in need of major stress relief are skipping meditation and trying an unusual, but apparently effective, alternative. As a self-described provider of destruction services, the Rage Cage lets visitors smash printers, VCRs, dishes, and other items with a sledgehammer or baseball bat. Sessions range from $45 for 25 minutes of raging to a $120 30-minute session for four people (h/t WSJ).

More breaking news ahead

Midtown

FAO SCHWARZ Rockefeller Center, FAO SCHWARZ NYC, FAO SCHWARZ flagship

It’s been more than three years since FAO Schwarz closed its doors after 150 years, ending its run as the nation’s oldest toy store. At the time, owner Toys “R” Us blamed rising rents at Midtown’s General Motors Building, but assured the public they’d be looking for a new location. And since California-based firm ThreeSixty Group Inc. took over ownership in 2016, that day has finally come. According to the Wall Street Journal, FAO Schwarz will open a new 20,000-square-foot location in Rockefeller Center this November. Part of the company’s new strategy is to bring a “sense of theater” to the store, which will include costumed employees, magicians and dancers, and product demonstrators.

Get a look at the new storefront

Midtown

There are two things people remember when they visit the top of the Empire State Building, “the views and the line,” said Anthony Malkin, CEO and Chairman of Empire State Realty Trust, at an unveiling this morning of the landmark’s new Observatory entrance. As phase one of the decade-long Empire State ReBuilding project to modernize the building, the new entrance will greatly increase space and reduce the wait time for the 4.2 million annual Observatory guests. The space includes a “grand staircase which splits around a two-story architectural model of ESB,” along with new self-service ticket kiosks, digital screens showing images of the building over its 87 years, and high-tech “airport-style” security.

Take a tour!

Architecture, Landmarks Preservation Commission, Midtown

This morning the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to designate the AT&T building at 550 Madison Avenue as an individual landmark. Designed by Philip Johnson and completed in 1984, the world’s first postmodern skyscraper originally served as the AT&T headquarters. A decade later, Sony moved in and it became known as the Sony Tower. Recently, a growing roster of preservationists and architects have been urging the LPC to landmark the building after plans surfaced showing significant changes to its architecture.

So what happens now?

Featured Story

Features, History, Landmarks Preservation Commission, Midtown

grand central terminal, amtrak, intercity rail service

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

Landmarks Preservation Commission, Midtown

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.”

More this way

Midtown, real estate trends

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.”

More here

Midtown, Policy

Industry City, Design Week, ICFF, Sunset Park, Brooklyn, NYC

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.

More here

Midtown, Policy

666 Fifth Avenue, Kushner Companies, Vornado

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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