After stalling repeatedly over design disagreements, budget woes, and funding squabbles, NJ.com reports that The Port Authority said it hopes to have a new midtown Manhattan bus terminal built in New York by 2030, shovels in the ground by 2021 and be “well underway” by 2026. Though some lawmakers expressed doubt about the ambitious schedule, Steven P. Plate, Port Authority chief of major projects, said at a Legislative Oversight Committee joint hearing about the agency’s $32 billion revised capital plan, “We will have full environmental approval, permits in place and construction well underway” according to that timeline.
In a press release sent out yesterday, Governor Cuomo gave an update on his $500 million overhaul of NYC’s bridges’ and tunnels’ tolling systems. When he first put forth the plan in October, he included flashy renderings of the new cashless collection systems, complete with LED light shows, but his latest announcement tells us that by the end of 2017, old-fashioned tollbooths will be a thing of the past at all MTA-operated bridges and tunnels in the New York metropolitan region.
6sqft has previously shared data that it only makes sense to buy a home in New York City after having lived here for 18.2 years, longer than anywhere else in the nation by a long shot. When and if that time comes, Manhattanities are looking to drop an average of $500,000 for a down payment, according to a new report from Property Shark. To put this figure into perspective, the average price nationwide to buy an entire home is $300,000. And in the Manhattan luxury market, the median down payment is a whopping $3.15 million, which might explain why, according to 2014 census data, only 32% of New Yorkers owned their homes.
The city’s hotly debated 421-a tax abatement program expired in January after a 44-year run. CityRealty reports that the NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development has seen the number of applications for tax exemption decrease by 45 percent from that time to September 2016, costing the city $1.2 billion this fiscal year. Over the summer, the Governor presented a revised version of the program that would offer wage subsidies to construction workers, but this drew concern from the Real Estate Board of New York, who say the proposal would cause construction costs to rise by up to 30 percent. Now, Politico reports that Cuomo, developers, and unions have been engaging in closed-door negotiations to bring his plan forward and extend the previous 25-year tax break up to 45 years (REBNY and the Mayor had presented a 35-year extension last summer).
Fifth Avenue is known around the world as the high-end shopping address, but rising rents are leading to an increase in vacant space along the retail corridor. According to data from Cushman & Wakefield reported by Crain’s, the availability rate spiked to 15.9 percent in the third quarter of this year, up 10 percent from the same time last year. On the stretch that has the world’s highest rents, from 49th to 60th streets, retail space is listed at an average of $3,213 per square foot, up from $2,075 in 2011. To put this in perspective, current rents in Times Square are $2,104 per square foot after tripling over the past four years.
When Governor Cuomo revealed his plans for a new Penn Station-Moynihan Train Hall complex early last week, things seemed to be moving full steam towards a 2020 completion date thanks to flashy renderings and the selection of a high-profile developer-builder team. But architect Vishaan Chakrabarti was not convinced, and he and his firm the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism decided to create their own vision, one that repurposes Madison Square Garden, a facet of the plan he feels Cuomo failed to address.
These days, everything seems to get the Brooklyn stamp. The Post even went so far as to declare Pennsylvania’s Amish Country the new incarnation of the borough. But a bit closer to home, Jersey City’s Journal Square is making serious headway in the race to become the next frontier. As CityRealty.com recently explained, the slightly-inland area, easily accessible to Manhattan via the PATH train, is prime for development due to lower land and construction costs than the waterfront. At least 10 major residential projects are planned for Journal Square, and according to Ken Pasternack, chairman of developer KABR Group, “Rents for a new-development high rise will be $40 a square foot here, as opposed to $100 in Manhattan. We’re betting tens of millions of dollars that in the next 10 years, the neighborhood will be a brand on par with Brooklyn.”
Yesterday, 6sqft took a look at a Brookings institute study that showed three New York City sports stadiums–Yankee Stadium (the most expensive of all in the country), Citi Field, and the Barclays Center–have received $867 million in direct and indirect federal subsidies. This resulted in the loss of $3.7 billion in government revenues since 2000, due to “lost tax revenue from issuing exempt bonds and the indirect proceeds high-income bond holders receive.”
Because of this drain, the authors of the study advocate that stadiums should not be eligible to receive tax-exempt bonds, especially since they claim “there is little evidence that stadiums provide even local economic benefits.” But not everyone agrees, likening stadiums to other public enterprises like parks. And, at least as pertains to the stadiums in New York, these venues host other community events aside from ticketed sports games. Which side are you on?
As of late last month, summer construction work on the Barry Diller-funded Pier 55 was complete, with the first nine piles propping up the offshore park having been installed. It seemed as though all systems were a go at the $130 million futuristic park, but yesterday 6sqft reported that The City Club of New York, the civic group who was behind an earlier lawsuit and stop work order, may have a backer in none other than Douglas Durst.
And today the Wall Street Journal shares that opponents had their first day in front a panel of state appellate-court judges to express environmental concerns and frustrations that the initial planning between billionaire Diller and the Hudson River Park Trust was done behind closed doors. What are your thoughts on the issue?
When 6sqft shared views yesterday of how a trio of new residential towers will alter the South Bronx skyline, we also looked at developer Keith Rubenstein’s ambitious, albeit misguided, plans to rebrand the neighborhood. After dubbing the area “the Piano District” and throwing a party that made light of the troubled “Bronx is Burning” days of the 1970s, locals criticized his insensitivity and blatant attempts to accelerate gentrification. In addition to the aforementioned project, which will yield a total of six towers, Rubenstein is planning a food and beer hall nearby. And he’s not the only one turning to this new frontier. Other seemingly “trendy” establishments that have opened up in recent years include the Bronx Brewery, Bronx Baking Company, a slew of coffee shops, and the Port Morris Distillery, and there’s the plan to transform the Bronx General Post Office into a dining/drinking/shopping destination.
But on the other side of the coin, the Bronx has been a hotbed for affordable housing development. In fact, the borough was issued the most residential permits in the city during the first six months of 2016, likely due to the fact that 43 percent of units under Mayor de Blasio’s affording housing plan that began construction during this time were in the Bronx. But is this enough to preserve the diverse culture and demographics of the South Bronx, or is it poised to become the next “it” neighborhood?