March 01, 2016
Chinese money keeps pouring into New York City real estate. The latest infusion comes from China Vanke, the largest residential developer in China, which has partnered with Adam America Real Estate and Slate Property Group to pay an eye-popping $116 million for a former Lower East Side AIDS nursing facility that was originally built as a schoolhouse in the late 19th century. The developers plan to turn the vacant, 150,000-square-foot building at 45 Rivington Street into luxury condo apartments.
“We will continue to commit to the U.S.,” Vanke’s Kai-Yan Lee tells the Wall Street Journal. “We will continue to seek out good opportunities and good partners.”
China Vanke is also developing properties in midtown Manhattan, and in Park Slope and downtown Brooklyn.
The Rivington Street building was sold to the developers by the Allure Group, a private nursing home operator, which paid $28 million for the building last year and closed its 219-bed AIDS nursing facility last December, citing failure to obtain state Medicaid reimbursements. The sale to China Vanke was finalized only after the city made the controversial decision to lift a restriction on the deed, which required the building to remain a nonprofit nursing home in perpetuity.
Before the sale was finalized, Community Board 3 passed an angry resolution, saying the De Blasio administration lifted the deed restriction “with a total lack of transparency and without fair or reasonable public notice.”
Written by Marianne Schaefer on February 25, 2016
Every co-op and condo board in the city is in a perpetual hunt for the sweet spot: Low monthly maintenance plus a building that’s healthy fiscally and physically. When the board at the 1,728-unit Seward Park Co-op on the Lower East Side of Manhattan announced on Jan. 28 that they were hiring a valet parking firm to run the co-op’s 388-space garage and parking lot, they were “thrilled” to note that the change would keep parking prices below market rate, shorten the waiting list by increasing the number of spaces, and generate up to $200,000 in additional annual revenue. The board had hit the sweet spot, right?
February 22, 2016
The Department of Buildings has given its blessing to the demolition of one of the oldest and quirkiest buildings on the Lower East Side – a 200-year-old Federal row house at the corner of Grand and Essex Streets, The Lo-Down reports.
The building’s owner, Jennie Lai, plans to erect a 6,500-square-foot mixed commercial and residential building on the site, which recently housed a pizza parlor and flower shop on street level. The building is not landmarked because it had undergone too many alterations over the years, and so it was not protected by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
The DOB rejected Lai’s original development plans earlier this month. She paid $4 million for the building, which will soon enter the graveyard of forgotten olde New York.
Written by Bill Morris on December 14, 2015
When I applied to sublet an apartment in a co-op recently – something I had never done before – I received a crash course on a little four-letter word that is vital to the health of many co-ops: fees. Specifically, I got schooled on the fees that I, the potential subletter, would pay to the co-op and, far more important, the fees the shareholder would pay to the co-op for the privilege of renting her apartment to me.
Written by Bill Morris on December 10, 2015
When I got word that my landlord was not going to renew my lease on the condo apartment I’d been renting for the past six years in Alphabet City, I got busy. My hunt brought me eventually to a lovely one-bedroom apartment with a terrace and knockout views of midtown and downtown Manhattan, for about the same rent I’d been paying for my apartment across the street from a housing project in Alphabet City. There was just one hitch: the building was a co-op, which meant, for the first time in my life, I would have to undergo a co-op’s vetting process for subletters.
October 01, 2015
When Yaniv Cohen of Acmos on Chrystie LLC purchased 173 Chrystie Street for $15 million, the plan was to build a 10-story luxury condo tower. Bowery Boogie reports that the owners have submitted demolition permits to the Department of Buildings. Although "the paperwork on file with the DOB is still listed as disapproved," so far we know that the tentative completion date is 2018, that the building will span a total floor area of 25,265 square feet spread across 13 units plus a private roof deck, and that amenities will include a cellar gym and bike storage. ODA Architecture has released a rendering showing us what 173 Chrystie will look like, pending the DOB's approval, of course.
Rendering of 173 Chrystie by ODA Architecture
Almost one month ago, Lower East Side residents voiced serious concerns about the construction site for a new luxury condo tower after parts of Cherry Street — located behind the site — began to crack and sink. Now locals have learned that the building "on the East River waterfront could rise up to 800 feet — almost three times taller than the neighboring Manhattan Bridge [as well as] the tallest buildings in the area," according to DNAinfo. Talk about sticking out like a sore thumb. Curiously enough, DNAinfo reports that "[Extell Development Company] previously had a permit to construct a 68-story building but applied to lower its height to 56 stories in March.... Extell received a permit to build the 56-story tower last month, according to [the Department of Buildings'] website, even though a sign at the construction site says the building will be 71 stories tall." Residents are not happy, especially since — in addition to the sinking street and construction concerns — they’ve also lost a supermarket thanks to the new development. One thing's for sure, neighbors are ready to air their grievances about the tower "in a July 29 meeting hosted by Community Board 3 and the Two Bridges Tenants Association. The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. at the Two Bridges Tower community room, located at 82 Rutgers Slip."
Rendering by CityRealty
Speaking of super-tall condo towers that are causing people a lot of grief, get a load of this one. Parts of Cherry Street, located behind an active construction site, have cracked and sunk a few inches, locals say. Trever Holland, president of the tenants' association at Two Bridges Tower, told DNAinfo that residents of the affordable housing high-rise building — located adjacent to the construction site — are nervous: "if the land is sinking on Cherry [Street]," they wonder, "what is the land doing under [our building]?" What's being constructed at 250 South Street? Curbed reports that documents dated May 29, 2015 confirm the luxury tower will be condos. Those condos. Holland also told DNAinfo that "the roadway was just one of a number of construction issues facing residents of Two Bridges Tower. The sidewalk that provides the building’s access to the street has also buckled… and the pile driving at the construction site — which occurs six days a week — can be heard for blocks for several hours a day." Affordable housing community versus luxury condo development: which will win? Well, let's see what's being done to remedy the situation. DNAinfo reports: "A Department of Transportation spokesman said the agency, along with the DOB, had inspected the site last week and this week and asked Extell [the developer] to monitor the situation on a daily basis." Hmm, okay. In the meantime, residents of Two Bridges Towers "plan to address the issues with the developer at a quarterly construction meeting next month." These issues also include cracks in the walls of their apartments as well as misaligned doors and mailboxes, which the developer has reportedly promised to fix.
Photo credit: Bowery Boogie
It was only a matter of time, really. The gritty Lower East Side was already changing by the nineties. But revitalization tends to mean gentrification and, today, condo prices are starting to soar as high as those in historically pricier neighborhoods, such as SoHo, NoLIta, and NoHo. The New York Times reports that "one of the newest condo developments to be marketed on the Lower East Side — stretching from Houston Street to the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Bowery to the East River — is 50 Clinton. Demolition to make way for the seven-story masonry building, which replaces a row of one-story shops that included the restaurant WD-50, began in May, with occupancy set for the fourth quarter of 2016." Average ticket price? Approximately $2,100 per square foot. For those keeping track, that figure is nearly double "the $1,167 average price per square foot for Lower East Side condos over the last year, and well over the $705 per square foot average price of co-ops, according to data provided by CityRealty, a real estate listings and research service."
Speaking of white-glove buildings, it looks like the "poor door" is making headlines again. According to the New York Daily News, Extell Development wants to build a 56-story luxury tower near the Manhattan Bridge, the former site of a Pathmark supermarket. Next to it would be a 13-story "poor door" building where the low-income population in the complex would live. Activists are saying hell no. The "poor door," they say, "reeks of discrimination." The Daily News reports that last Wednesday, "hundreds of Chinatown and Lower East Side residents gathered in front of the 227 Cherry St. construction site to demand that [Mayor Bill] de Blasio protect their waterfront community." They mean business, too, planning to carry on the protests on the last Wednesday of every month. They are calling on the mayor to stand by the promise he made in 2014 to end the use of the poor doors. Scheduled to be completed by 2018, the luxury tower would be located in the midst of several public housing projects — so this fight is more than just saying no to the segregation affecting the low-income population. This fight is also about a city that, according to many, doesn't seem to have its priorities in check. One activist points out that what the city needs are schools, not (more) luxury towers. And it's also about gentrification: "Luxury buildings push rents through the roof and displace low-income people; the loss of local, affordable businesses such as Pathmark also forces people out," adds another activist. For them, scrapping plans for a poor door isn't enough. They want to stop the entire development in its tracks. "We put you in office," they say to the mayor for whom affordable housing is so high on the agenda. "So we demand that you stop the Extell project!" They're mad as hell, and they're not going take it anymore.
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