Earlier this month, New York City officially pitched four neighborhoods to house Amazon’s HQ2: Long Island City, the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, Lower Manhattan and Midtown West. During its third-quarter earnings call Tuesday, Vornado Realty Trust said the Moynihan Train Hall remains at the forefront of the city’s Midtown West bid, citing the project’s proposed 730,000 square feet of office space and 120,000 square feet of retail as meeting the retailer’s key requirements (h/t Commercial Observer). Vornado, along with Related Companies, Skanska USA, and architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, is converting the former James A. Farley Post Office into the Moynihan Train Hall, an effort led by Governor Andrew Cuomo to create a world-class transit center.
Vornado Realty Trust
A previous rendering of 666 Fifth Avenue, courtesy of Kushner Companies/Zaha Hadid Architects
Instead of the 41-story Midtown tower becoming an 80-story office building with hotel rooms and luxury housing, 666 Fifth Avenue will now get a much more simple upgrade. According to Bloomberg, Vornado Realty Trust, the project’s partner alongside Kushner Companies, told brokers the property will remain an office building, with“mundane” renovations planned. As one of the most financially troubled developments for Kushner Cos., the Fifth Ave project has been losing money since its purchase was first coordinated by Jared Kushner, currently a senior advisor to President Donald Trump, in 2007.
A rendering of 666 Fifth Avenue, courtesy of Kushner Companies/Zaha Hadid Architects
In 2007, Kushner Companies purchased a 41-story tower in Midtown for $1.8 billion, which was the most expensive real estate deal ever in the U.S. at the time. The transaction of 666 Fifth Avenue, coordinated by Jared Kushner, now a senior advisor to President Donald Trump, was ill-timed, making the purchase just before the economic recession. As the Washington Post reported, the Fifth Avenue project is one of the most financially troubled for Kushner Cos., with one-fourth of office space empty, and its lease revenue not covering monthly interest payments. While Kushner has divested his stake in the property to avoid conflicts of interest, the property’s value has dropped and foreign entities have withdrawn financial support. Currently, Kushner’s dealings are under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, as part of the broader investigation into Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.
A rendering of the Pelli Clarke Pelli design for 15 Penn Plaza, courtesy of Vornado
Plans to replace the century-old Hotel Pennsylvania with a 1,216-foot office building have surfaced again. Financial firms Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank are reportedly contemplating a move to Vornado Realty Trust’s planned supertall skyscraper, 15 Penn Plaza, according to the Post. Vornado first won the city’s approval in 2007 to build a supertall at the location of Hotel Pennsylvania on Seventh Avenue and nearly signed a deal with Merrill Lynch to be a tenant until the financial crisis dissolved the agreement. This design, by Pelli Clarke Pelli, is being presented to the firms along with new options says a source.
Park Avenue has for decades been the office district of choice for many of the city’s high-profile–and high-rent–corporations. But a recent Crain’s article points to impending departures–such as the decision of investment firm Black Rock to decamp for new space in Hudson Yards or the World Trade Center, raising the question of whether the avenue’s biggest office zone, from East 45th to East 59th streets, is falling out of favor with big-ticket business tenants.
The city’s office market is, without a doubt, changing. Industries like tech are growing and the financial industry is consolidating and in some cases downsizing its office space. The neighborhood, which charges the city’s highest average rents, has been slow to catch up with the needs of new office tenants.
Rendering for a proposed new MSG by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Moving MSG to make room for a bigger, better Penn Station train hub would be really expensive and probably not a good idea, according to a new report by transit think tank Rudin Center for Transportation Policy. Commercial Observer reports that the just-released study outlines the concern that moving the arena would come with a price tag of over $5 billion, take, like, forever, and would generally “become an urban planner’s worst nightmare.” The study refers to the proposed overhaul of Pennsylvania Station and the idea of extending it to the post office off Eighth Avenue as well as suggestions by urban planners for relocating MSG.
Carter Uncut, Construction Update, Features, hudson yards, Major Developments, Midtown West, Starchitecture, Urban Design
Carter Uncut brings New York City’s breaking development news under the critical eye of resident architecture critic Carter B. Horsley. This week Carter brings us the third installment of “Skyline Wars,” a series that examines the explosive and unprecedented supertall phenomenon that is transforming the city’s silhouette. In this post Carter zooms in on Hudson Yards.
The Hudson Yards neighborhood in Far Midtown West is one of the country’s most active construction areas. Construction cranes dot its emerging skyline and dozens more are promised now with the district’s improved connection to the rest of the city. Last fall, the 7-line subway station at Eleventh Avenue and 34th Street opened with one-stop access to Times Square. The newly-minted station features a lengthy diagonal escalator bringing commuters to the front-door of the huge mixed-use project being created over the rail yards west of Tenth Avenue between 30th and 33rd streets. Originally, a second station was contemplated on 41st Street and Tenth Avenue but transit officials claimed it could not afford the $500 million expenditure, despite the enormous amount of new residential construction occurring along the far West 42nd Street corridor.
Nevertheless, the finished Hudson Yards station deposits straphangers into a new diagonal boulevard and park between 10th and 11th Avenues that will ultimately stretch from the Related Companies / Oxford Property Group’s Hudson Yards master plan northward to 42nd Street.