Ben Shaoul founded Magnum Real Estate Group in 1999, focused on renovating small, rundown rental apartments. After growing its portfolio extensively over the past five years to includeretail properties, condos, and even a dormitory, the firm is now one of the city’s leading ground-up development companies. Their impressive portfolio includes 389 East 89th Street on the Upper East Side, 100 Avenue A in the East Village, and 100 Barclay in Tribeca, as well as their latest development that’s on the rise at 196 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side. Adjacent to the famed Katz’s Delicatessen, the building will ultimately top out at 11 stories tall and host 94 condos when it’s completed next year. CityRealty recently caught up with Shaoul to discuss the project, its design, and the ever-evolving Lower East Side.
Interview: Developer Ben Shaoul on 196 Orchard Street, his Lower East Side condo rising next to Katz’s, Fri, May 5, 2017
6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, fine art and portrait photographer James Maher exposes the changing face of NYC post 9/11. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
It all started at the University of Madison in Wisconsin with a surprisingly successful fake ID “business,” which was James Maher’s first introduction to portraiture and Photoshop. After moving back to his hometown of New York post-graduation, Maher studied at the International Center for Photography, assisted commercial photographers, and became a certified tour guide, exploring the architecture and streetscapes of the city. In 2006, he opened his own photography business, combining his varied interests, which also come through in his black-and-white series “Luxury for Lease,” where New Yorkers are captured candidly against the background of New York. In it, Maher exposes how quickly things changed in the years after 9/11; instead of coming for “acceptance and freedom” and “a culture of creativity,” wealthy persons from the suburbs and elsewhere began to move back “with an insatiable appetite.” By snapping photos of distracted New Yorkers, many of whom are zombie-fied staring at their phones, Maher examines the “disconnection, hyper-gentrification, conformity, and consumerism” that’s infiltrated our streets.
Paula Scher is one of the most recognizable names in the design world, considered legendary in the industry for creating the identities of major New York institutions. Scher moved to New York in the 1970s to begin her design career and got her start in the music industry. As art director for CBS, she designed around 150 albums a year and produced numerous ads and posters. Her record covers include everything from the Rolling Stones’ Still Life to Leonard Bernstein’s Stravinky, four of which were recognized with Grammy nominations. As a record designer, Scher was credited with reviving historical typefaces and design styles—and typefaces still play heavily in her work today.
Scher left Atlantic Records to begin her own design firm in 1982, and in 1991 she joined her current firm, Pentagram, as the company’s first female principal. Although Pentagram is an international design company, its New York office is behind the identities of some of the city’s most beloved establishments. It was at Pentagram Scher established her reputation as a New York designer who created unique, lasting identities.
In our series 6sqft Studio Visits, we take you behind the scenes of the city’s up-and-coming and top designers, artists, and entrepreneurs to give you a peek into the minds, and spaces, of NYC’s creative force. In this installment we take a tour of the Bed-Stuy urban farm Square Roots. Want to see your studio featured here, or want to nominate a friend? Get in touch!
In a Bed-Stuy parking lot, across from the Marcy Houses (you’ll know this as Jay-Z’s childhood home) and behind the hulking Pfizer Building, is an urban farming accelerator that’s collectively producing the equivalent of a 20-acre farm. An assuming eye may see merely a collection of 10 shipping containers, but inside each of these is a hydroponic, climate-controlled farm growing GMO-free, spray-free, greens–“real food,” as Square Roots calls it. The incubator opened just this past November, a response by co-founders Kimbal Musk (Yes, Elon‘s brother) and Tobias Peggs against the industrial food system as a way to bring local food to urban settings. Each vertical farm is run by its own entrepreneur who runs his or her own sustainable business, selling directly to consumers. 6sqft recently visited Square Roots, went inside entrepreneur Paul Philpott‘s farm, and chatted with Tobias about the evolution of the company, its larger goals, and how food culture is changing.
When you couple recent uncertain times with the gray February weather and frigid temperatures, it can be easy to get bogged down in feeling a bit melancholy. But today is the day of love, and in honor of that, 6sqft asked 20 New Yorkers–from fellow reporters and bloggers to architects and urbanists–what they love most about NYC. From big-picture things like the skyline and street energy to smaller fortunes like having tea with friends and spotting an old ad on the side of the building, there’s plenty here to lift your spirits and make you fall in love with this great city all over again.
6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Sam Golanski gives Park Avenue doormen their moment in the spotlight. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].
Sam Golanski grew up in a small town in Poland, but has been residing in Manchester, U.K. since 2005. Though he thinks New York is “a tough place to live,” he fell in love with its energy as a child watching films set in Manhattan from the ’60s and ’70s. Now all grown up, he comes to New York frequently to visit friends and work on his urban and social photography projects (“I have to admit I shredded a few pairs of shoes by just walking up and down for days everywhere with my camera bags,” he says). In his series “Park Avenue Doormen,” Sam gives the men who safeguard the Upper East Side’s ritziest buildings an opportunity to step from behind the velvet ropes and in front of the camera.
Interview: Greystone Development’s CEO discusses development in emerging neighborhoods around New York City, Thu, January 19, 2017
Jeff Simpson, the CEO of Greystone Development, is due to celebrate his ten year anniversary with the company this February. In his decade with the real estate firm, founded in 1992, he has overseen Greystone’s reemergence into the New York market by tapping into emerging neighborhoods around the city. Before he joined Greystone, Simpson worked with the Equity Office Properties team, helping reposition a number of their New York City office buildings, and oversaw over $100 million of redevelopment projects for Jones Lang LaSalle.
Simpson has more or less done it all when it comes to real estate, holding roles in investment, construction, engineering and management across all sectors of the market. At Greystone, he oversees the firm’s development team, managing new acquisitions as well as design, construction, sale and leasing. CityRealty spoke with Simpson on how the company has distinguished itself as a New York developer since it ramped up its investments in 2012, taking on projects in City Island, Brooklyn and Harlem. He also filled us in on new projects the company will debut next year—and the one development that’s most meaningful to him.
Skyscraper heights may be what make news headlines, but at the end of the day it’s the call of a stunning interior that gets a contract signed.
Developers of New York City’s most luxurious buildings understand this well, and it’s why the same bold-faced names in interior design are often associated with the most splendid of buildings. One firm that has firmly cemented its place on this esteemed shortlist is Pembrooke & Ives. Established in 1987 by Andrew Sheinman, Pembrooke & Ives has worked on everything from sprawling lodge interiors in Aspen to outfitting private jets for the world’s 1 percent. And here in NYC, the firm has been involved in designing the interiors for a number of much-talked about residential buildings, including The Chatsworth at 344 West 72nd Street, The Astor at 235 West 75th Street, 155 East 79th Street, and what some call the ultimate Manhattan address, 212 Fifth Avenue (In fact, Alec and Hilaria Baldwin recently toured a $16.6 million spread at the building). Ahead we catch up with founder Andrew Sheinman about the evolution of Pembrooke & Ives, what it’s like to work with game-changing developers like Thor and Madison Equities, what influences his firm’s work, and more.
In just 11 more days, Donald Trump will take office as the 45th President of the United States. And just as Trump is gearing up for his four-year term, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump are preparing to take on major roles as well. Last week it was revealed that the pair would be moving into a six-bedroom, $5.5 million mansion in D.C., and now the New York Times reports that Kushner will step down as CEO of Kushner Companies as he transitions from real estate mogul to full-time presidential advisor.
After working for decades advocating for transit equity and environmental justice at various organizations, Ya-Ting Liu came on board as the Executive Director of Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector. It’s been almost a year since the non-profit advocacy group first released a proposal for a streetcar to run along the borough’s waterfront, and since that time the city has stepped in to back the estimated $2.5 billion project, even appointing a director and creating preliminary maps of the streetcar’s possible routes. As one of several transportation undertakings on the table, the BQX certainly has a big year ahead. 6sqft recently sat down with Ya-Ting To get the scoop on what’s to come, as well as some insider thoughts on the streetcar’s common misconceptions.
Castro at the U.N. General Assembly
Just four months after Cuban President Fidel Castro led a successful revolution to overthrow Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959, he visited New York City for 11 days on an invitation from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. With his signature green army uniform and boots, bushy beard, and exuberant nature, Castro reportedly hired a PR firm (though it seems he hardly needed to), enjoyed the city’s famous hot dogs, and “kissed ladies like a rock star, and held babies like a politician,” according to Mashable. During a tour of the Bronx Zoo, which he called “the best thing New York City has,” Mr. Castro is said to have jumped a railing and stuck his hand into a cage to pet a Bengal tiger.
Image Kushner Co./LIVWRK
Our newest president’s right hand man got his start—much like Donald Trump—as a New York real estate developer. Kushner Companies is a private family real estate company now run by Jared Kushner, husband of Ivanka Trump and son of Charles Kushner, who founded the firm in 1985. Kushner, as Donald Trump’s son-in-law, was an early partner in his presidential campaign, ultimately serving as a chief advisor. Now that President-Elect Trump has won the White House, the future of Kushner Companies might be up in the air, given Jared’s possible involvement in the new administration. But under him, the firm has evolved from a New Jersey-focused development company to a major New York powerhouse that’s taken on ambitious, high-profile projects across the city.
Outspoken starchitect Frank Gehry is taking the whole “I’m moving if Trump wins” thing quite literally. The Canadian-born, LA-based architect told French paper La Croix just before the election that President Francois Hollande assured him he could go into exile in France if Trump became president. But as ArtNet points out, a possible relocation may have more to do with a personal beef than political leanings. In 2010, Gehry’s 8 Spruce Street surpassed Trump World Tower as the city’s tallest residential building, and we know how feisty the Donald gets when it comes to size…
Some architects just consider the building they are working on. But Eran Chen, the founder and executive director of ODA, Office for Design and Architecture, takes a broader view. Not only does he focus on the specific architecture for each building project but he considers the spaces the building creates, the way the architecture can affect people on emotional levels, and the vitality of the city, all as equally important. Chen’s work evokes cities of the past when amenities were provided by the built environment, not the buildings themselves. He designs with an innovative and sleek modernity while seeking to recreate cities that function as a whole versus disassociated parts.
Ahead CityRealty interviews Eran Chan about how his philosophy fits into his New York City designs.
Our ongoing series “My sqft” checks out the homes of 6sqft’s friends, family and fellow New Yorkers across all the boroughs. Our latest interior adventure brings us to Westbeth Artists Housing in the West Village. Want your home to be featured here? Get in touch!
When the old Bell Telephone Laboratories building was transformed to the Westbeth affordable artists’ housing in 1970, one of the original creatives to move in was Ralph Lee, a theater jack-of-all trades who is best known for his larger-than-life puppets and masks. His whimsical creations served as the props for the very first Village Halloween Parade, an event that has since grown into an annual, nationally-known event. Today, his characters from the early days of the parade adorn his eclectic live/work studio in Westbeth, where he still lives and continues to make puppets and masks for his company the Mettawee River Theatre. Ralph recently invited 6sqft into his space, where we got up close and personal with the puppets and were able to see how the magic happens.