The landmarked clock that sits atop the historic 14-story building at 346 Broadway is more than 100 years old. When developers Peebles Corporation and El Ad Group bought the building from the city in May 2014, many worried about the clock's fate. As 2014 came to a close, the Landmark Preservation Commission gave developers the green light to convert the building into upscale condos. Developers said at the time that they intended to keep the clock functioning. But it didn't change the fact that the clock would be closed off to the public and become part of a new luxury penthouse for one super-rich, super-lucky buyer. And then there were the developers' plans to electrify the beloved landmarked clock. For decades, it has been hand-wound by two retired city employees, Marvin Schneider, 75, and Forest Markowitz, 63. At the time, the Historic Districts Council and the Society for the Architecture of the City were reportedly considering legal action. But no suit came about… until six months later, that is. The New York Daily News reports that a group of preservationists and clock enthusiasts has filed suit to stop the developers from taking the public landmark and completely fencing it off from public view. The group has also criticized the developers' plans to dismantle the clock's historic non-electric mechanism: "The move to electrify the mechanism would completely destroy the landmark character of the clock and kill off one of the few remaining such purely mechanical public timepieces in the country." That's a pretty solid point. Preservationists are especially concerned about "the privatization of public assets," adding that it sets "a dangerous precedent for future landmarking disputes."
May 08, 2015
What do you do after purchasing a collection of buildings along West Broadway, between Warren and Murray streets? Knock them down to make way for a super-duper, mega-ultra, luxury condo, of course. According to Crain's, Cape Advisors purchased the "high-end TriBeCa properties for $1,000 per square foot, a price that underscores the eagerness among builders to deliver luxury housing in the city's most exclusive neighborhoods." For those doing the math, it's $50 million total. The new condo will be approximately 46,000 square feet, and Crain's anticipates that, to turn a profit, Cape Advisors will have to sell the apartments for at least — at least — $3,000 per square foot… or more. They'd better hope that there's no pause or drop in the market. As for word on the street, well, not surprisingly many lament the loss of the buildings, which, though dilapidated, some argue could have been renovated. Instead, we lost another bit of Old New York character and charm for the sake of massive shiny glass and steal. One commenter on the Tribeca Citizen blog nails it: "TriBeCa is done. Welcome to the Upper East Side 2.0."
December 23, 2014
When developers Peebles Corporation and El Ad Group bought the historic 14-story building at 346 Broadway from the city in May, many were afraid that time was running out for the 116-year-old landmarked clock that sits atop it. Early last week, reported DNAinfo.com, the Landmark Preservation Commission gave developers the green light to convert the building into upscale condos — which means the public landmark will become part of a private luxury condo. The good news is that developers promise to keep the clock functioning. And according to the article, the lucky duck who ends up owning the condo will be expected to keep the clock in good working order; officials will be inspecting. The catch? They will electrify the massive clock, "which for decades has been hand-wound by two retired city employees, Marvin Schneider, 75, and Forest Markowitz, 63." You can't make everybody happy all of the time — the Historic Districts Council and the Society for the Architecture of the City certainly aren't and are reportedly considering legal action — but it could be worse. Who would take over the hand-wound crank once Schneider and Markowitz aren't around anymore? At least this way, the clock carries on.
September 15, 2014
The average price of an apartment in certain Brooklyn neighborhoods is now higher than that of Manhattan co-ops and condos, according to a StreetEasy study cited by Crain's New York Business. While the magazine notes the "obvious caveat" of comparing neighborhoods with an entire borough — where apartments in Inwood and other upper-Manhattan locales sell for far less than in such luxury area as Central Park South or Tribeca — at least two Brooklyn spots blow Manhattan's $890,000 median out of the water: DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Underpass), at $1.5 million, and the Columbia Street waterfront, running through Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens, at $1.147 million. DUMBO, in fact, averaged less than just a half-dozen Manhattan nabes. On the bright side, Kensington is still very affordable.
March 31, 2014
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, a co-op board didn't want to let a diabetic senior with Parkinson's disease have air conditioners since, really, what's more important? Your life and health or your building's aesthetic profile? Elsewhere, a hedge-fund giant wants what he wants at his condo's pool — but can he fight the condo's moms and win? In Tribeca a gym is out, in Greenwich Village Philip Seymour Hoffman's last apartment is on sale, and in NoMad — yes, NoMad, that's a thing — there's a high-tech condo called Huys, pronounced "house." Plus, here's what'll happen at your own apartment huys if workers go on strike.
March 10, 2014
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. This week, why didn't anyone tell Co-op City's residents there were outbreaks of Legionnaires' Disease? Why did a community board recommend a restaurateur's liquor license over the objections of people living in the same building? And why did a smokers'-rights group butt out of a condo forum? Plus: You can't take your kid's stroller into the passenger elevator? Seriously?
Written by Bill Morris on February 27, 2014
Phase one was straightforward, at least on paper. There were no mechanicals under this first section of sidewalk, so it was a simple matter of replacing the vault's corroded cast-iron beams and pillars with steel I-beams, setting a metal "cue deck" on top of them, pouring and waterproofing a concrete slab, and finally pouring the sidewalk on top of it.
Written by Bill Morris on February 20, 2014
The structural engineer who drew up the original plans called it "the biggest and most complicated private vault job in the history of New York City." Now the 30-unit condominium The Worth Building, a former industrial loft at 73 Worth Street, had to rebuild a nearly hundred-year-old, two-story vault that covered all the underground mechanicals, waterproofing it and covering it with nearly 300 linear feet of sidewalk. The price tag was a formidable $1.6 million. But money was the least of the obstacles.
January 13, 2014
Recent news affecting co-op / condo buyers, sellers, boards and residents. Lots of board news this week, as a condo board in Tribeca files a lawsuit to keep a Crunch gym out of its building, and the co-op board of Co-op City fails to have its residents pass a five-year cable-TV lock-in with Cablevision. Experts answer whether a co-op board can force out a registered sex offender, and whether a building might gain air rights anew after selling them years ago. Plus, co-op prices go down, condo prices go up, and Drew Barrymore buys an apartment.
December 31, 2013
The largest condominium in New York went smoke-free, boards crawled their way toward formal gun and privacy policies, buildings NIMBY'd restaurants and board prez Joan Rivers won a court battle. And, of course, some things remained constant, like the ubiquitous push-pull between residents and boards. All this and more helped make up the year in co-op and condo news … and we've got the quotes to prove it!
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