Still in disbelief that a 68-story building (though it’s being marketed as 80 stories) could rise at the edge of Chinatown? Well behold One Manhattan Square‘s construction site, buzzing with activity and flagged by a stalwart kangaroo crane foreshadowing the 850-foot-tall tower to come. Unlike the Chinese investment market, Extell’s skyscraper is heading in one direction — up. And after more than a year of site preparation and foundation work, the first pieces of re-bar have emerged from their mucky surrounds and are peaking above the lot’s blue construction fences.
Lower income residents of Extell’s notorious “poor door” building at 50 Riverside Boulevard are not happy with what they’re considering glaring disparities between those like themselves who live in the affordable units and those in the luxury section of the building. Aside from having to use a separate entrance, the lower income tenants don’t have access to amenities such as a movie theater, two gyms, a doorman, and a bowling alley. They also claim their apartments lack dishwashers, light fixtures in bedrooms and living rooms, and have faulty intercom systems.
But are their complaints warranted? After all, the affordable units start at just $833 a month for a prime Upper West Side location, compared with millions of dollars for one of the luxury units. And many market-rate renters throughout the boroughs who are paying significantly more still don’t get doormen and dishwashers. Which side are you on?
Image via One Riverside Park
After receiving 88,000 applications for 55 affordable apartments last February, the residents chosen from among them have been moving in to the rental side of the 33-story luxury building at Extell Development’s 50 Riverside Boulevard in Lincoln Square. The lower-income/luxury split sparked the heated “poor door” controversy due to the significant amenity differences and efforts to physically separate the two parts of the building (the rental, low-income portion of the building actually has a separate address of 40 Riverside Boulevard). Now, according to the Post, low-income tenants have been discovering that the differences are indeed notable.
A Google street view of the six buildings set to be razed
Yesterday, Gary Barnett’s Extell (the developer behind the Nordstrom Tower, One57, and the controversial 250 South Street, to name just a few) filed a string of demolition permits with the city’s Department of Buildings to raze six buildings along West 46th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The doomed four- and five-story structures are at 3 West 46th Street, 5 West 46th Street, 7 West 46th Street, 9 West 46th Street, 11 West 46th Street and 13 West 46th Street. And on Monday, The Real Deal reported that Barnett has secured ownership of two neighboring properties at 562 and 564 Fifth Avenue from Thor Equities and SL Green Realty. The prolific developer also owns 2 and 10 West 47th Street on the northern side of the block in the heart of the Diamond District.
Back in 2014, sources said that Extell was planning for a new hotel tower at the site, but given the large amount of land the savvy developer has assembled (more than 30,000 square feet by our count) it will likely yield the largest tower built on Fifth Avenue in more than a generation.
Extell hasn’t been making many friends with its new tower currently on the rise at 250 South Street, right next to the Manhattan Bridge. But even with hordes of locals cursing the mega-sized 80-story tower, Extell seems unfazed by the hate. Not only have they been unwavering about the development’s 850-foot out-of-context height (the Manhattan Bridge is only 330 feet tall, mind you), the developer also has little interest in selling any units to anyone stateside, instead marketing their condos first to Asian buyers.
Now, The Lo-Down has gotten their hands on the brochure that’s being sent to Asia’s wealthiest, an 88-pager revealing fancy apartment interiors and all of the “over-the-top” amenities that will fill the building, including things like a 70-seat movie theater, a tree house, a tea pavilion, a putting green, a sunken tranquility garden, a bowling alley, 75-foot indoor pool, a dog spa, a cellar bar…As written in the packet: “One Manhattan Square will redefine downtown luxury living.”
Bloomberg News reported yesterday that the restless developer Gary Barnett will soon begin marketing the 800 condominiums of his upcoming One Manhattan Square development to Asian buyers first. Apparently not satisfied with erecting two of the tallest and priciest residential buildings in the city, One57 and the Central Park Tower, the Extell Development Company founder and CEO is busy laying the groundwork for one of the largest condominium towers in the city at the foot of the Manhattan Bridge.
Going by the address 252 South Street, the bipartite tower is being designed by Adamson Associates Architects (AAI) and will soar 80 stories tall, roughly to the same height as the Comcast Building (former GE/RCA Building) in Midtown. At nearly 850 feet, the tower will be the tallest skyscraper on the island between Midtown and downtown, and by far the tallest building directly along the waterfront. Its staggering 800 units will fall just short of the city’s largest individual condo-tower, the 816-unit Corinthian in Murray Hill.
Now that the hoopla surrounding his design for Two World Trade Center has simmered down, we’ve got a fresh set of renderings from Danish starchitect Bjarke Ingels. NY Yimby revealed the preliminary designs for his firm’s 11-story East Harlem apartment building at 146 East 126th Street, which show a T-shaped structure that cantilevers over the Gotham Plaza retail center on 125th Street. The real fun is on the 126th Street side, though, where Bjarke employs a play on the conventional street wall with an undulating facade that seems to be a modern interpretation of the surrounding brick buildings. The project is being developed by none other than Extell, along with the Blumenfeld Group.
Extell’s 800-foot tower at 250 South Street has been controversial since day one. As we recounted on Friday, “The building was first reported to be 68 stories, then 71 stories, then 56 stories, and now the latest filing with the Department of Buildings has a revised height pinned again at 68 stories, or 800 feet at its highest floor. To put that in perspective, the neighboring Manhattan Bridge is only 330 feet tall, and just 170 feet at its roadway—meaning the building will be nearly five times the height of the bridge’s road deck.” And of course, there was the recent issue of the building’s construction causing a nearby street to sink. While many local residents feel this is far too out of context for the Lower East Side neighborhood, others are swooning over the development’s panoramic views and over-the-top amenities. Which side are you on?
Images: Aerial rendering based on zoning diagrams, via CityRealty (L); Entrance to the building via Extell (R)
If you need more proof that there are some serious flaws with the 421-a program, once again, look no further than One57. As reported by the Journal, the super-luxe tower was the beneficiary of a whopping $65.6 million tax cut, an abatement granted in exchange for a paltry $5.9 million contribution to help cover the cost of 66 affordable apartments in the Bronx. That means your tax dollars subsidized apartments at nearly $1 million per unit—the highest known subsidy under the program—when affordable units on average cost a mere $179,000 apiece. It’s estimated that the generous cut could have provided for 367 affordable apartments. The findings came from the latest review by the city’s Independent Budget Office (IBO).
After being slapped with a partial stop-work order about three weeks ago for causing a local street to sink, Extell’s Lower East Side mega-development at 250 South Street appears to be back on track. A recent visit to the site shows that piles for the building are again being driven into the bedrock. However, it appears excavation will continue to be an arduous journey since most of the parcel sits on landfill and is only a few feet above street level.
Since its reveal last year, the tower has been met with intense public outrage due to its unprecedented height for the mid-rise neighborhood. The building was first reported to be 68 stories, then 71 stories, then 56 stories, and now the latest filing with the Department of Buildings has a revised height pinned again at 68 stories, or 800 feet at its highest floor. To put that in perspective, the neighboring Manhattan Bridge is only 330 feet tall, and just 170 feet at its roadway—meaning the building will be nearly five times the height of the bridge’s road deck.