Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, was thwarted in its quest to lease at Related Companies’ retail center in East New York, Brooklyn. But sources tell the Observer that the company is looking at some vacant land that would support a 300,000-square-foot store near the Queens-Brooklyn border. One possibility: Ridgewood, near the rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick, according to Douglas Elliman broker Faith Hope Consolo. Meanwhile, a Wal-Mart spokesman told the salmon paper that there’s “nothing new regarding Walmart in NYC,” but said that New Yorkers want to shop at the store and travel to suburban locations to do so. The company’s most recent quarterly earnings missed estimates.
More zoning changes are in store for flood-prone areas that may include Howard Beach and the Rockaways. The City wants to change building rules to conform to the latest federal standards for flood resistant construction, and the public review process started Monday, City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden said. New rules would affect building heights, the location of mechanicals and off-street parking, the placement of stairs and ramps, activities on ground level, and the quality of the streetscape. But raising the ground floor above the flood line can make for some really ugly buildings, so the rules would allow gradual grading, stair turns, porches and plantings to “prevent unnecessarily stark landscapes with blank walls, and promote ‘eyes on the street’ to foster street-level vitality,” as a City press release put it. Burden, a Bloomberg appointee, has already rezoned a staggering 36 percent of the City, according to Crain’s, including areas like Jamaica and Flushing.
TF Cornerstone’s newest Long Island City rental tower, 4545 Center Boulevard, has begun leasing, the developer said Monday. Rents will start at $2,300 per month for the building’s 820 units, which include studios, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units.
Arquitectonica designed the building’s exterior, and the Rockwell Group designed the lobby. Leasing will be done in-house, a TF Cornerstone rep tells Brownstoner. The development has a resort-like amenity package that includes a sand volleyball court, two tennis courts and a reflecting pool. To cater to the family crowd, the building has a children’s playroom and playground.
It’s TF Cornerstone’s fifth building along the Long Island City waterfront. The developer’s sixth project, 4610 Center Boulevard, is under construction. When completed, TF Cornerstone will have a total of 2,615 rental units and 184 condos in the area.
A rendering of the amenity spaces after the jump. (more…)
The Times spoke with a couple over the weekend, Marni and Chaz King, preparing for twins and being squeezed out of their Murray Hill apartment. They were looking for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment for $3,500, a difficult get in Manhattan. The Upper East Side was “retro in a bad way” and another unit in Murray Hill only offered a one-year lease.
In a chance encounter at a physical therapy office, Chaz King heard gushing about a foreign land known as Long Island City. They checked it out and found a 900-square-foot listing at the Karl Fischer-designed Crescent Club at 41-17 Crescent Street, represented by Justin Martinez of Christie Property Group. The couple was wary of the 7-train and the neighborhood’s rough edges, but eventually signed on for $3,775 a month, 26-month lease with two months free; their actual rent is just shy of $3,500. (And they’re not the only ones–we reported back in February when the project signed its 100th lease.)
They’re still concerned about the lack of family necessities, commenting that the “strip-club-to-supermarket ratio is not in favor of the grocery stores,” but the simple reality of more space appears to have won them over, at least for now. The twins are due next month. “Chaz says he can’t imagine trying to squeeze into the old apartment. I’m, like, ‘Another box from diapers.com got delivered.’ We would have had no place for any of that stuff, and the kids aren’t even here yet,” Marni King tells the Times. Maybe it’s time to rent some temporary storage? GMAP
Landscape architecture firm Starr Whitehouse has posted renderings of the outdoor space at Hunter’s Point South. The firm was hired by the Related Companies, who are building out the first phase of the project. Phase one includes a 37-story building 619 housing units and a 32-story building with 306 units. Construction began earlier this year, and the project is expected to be completed in 2015.
A nearby waterfront park will include 11 acres of waterfront open space and will open in July. That project was designed by architects Weiss/Manfredi and landscape architect Thomas Baisley. Meanwhile, the city has issued a request for proposals for another 5 million square feet of housing in “Parcel C.” Additional renderings below… (more…)
The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is facing millions of costs stemming from Superstorm Sandy damage and the ongoing maintenance of its massive portfolio of over 4,000 tenants. So, the authority is seeking to utilize one of its most precious assets: space.
NYCHA plans to lease land to private developers who would build new units, split between 80% market-rate and 20% affordable housing. Although the first wave is exclusively in Manhattan, students at the University of Michigan looked into potential revitalization of another housing project in Astoria as part of their studies. They were asked by Roy Strickland, a professor of architecture at the school, to tackle both design issues and generate revenue. In The Atlantic Cities, Strickland shared the above rendering, which adds new public space with bikeways and trees.
Students recommended that new Astoria development take advantage of the rise of the arts and technology industries by adding new office spaces and schools. They also propose a move that’s proven controversial throughout New York: zoning for higher density, but only if developers paid for services and amenities.
NYCHA hasn’t announced any plans in Queens yet, but affordable housing is at the forefront of the proposed Willets Point Development, which calls for 875 of 2,500 new housing units to be affordable units. The plan is from the Related Companies (developer of Time Warner Center and Hudson Yards) and Sterling Equities (owned the Wilpons, who also own the Mets). From both Willets Point and NYCHA, it’s clear that New York is depending on private resources to spearhead the next wave of affordable housing.
The U.S. Tennis Association said Tuesday that it would give 1.56 acres to the city’s Parks Department as part of its $500 million expansion in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. But some local park advocates told the Daily News that the deal was a “sham.” “We have gained nothing,” Donovan Finn, a member of the Fairness Coalition for Queens, told the Daily News. “The USTA gets to pretend they are doing a great service to the community — when, in fact, it’s just a bunch of bureaucratic maneuvering.”
The local residents argue that the parkland is already publicly accessible and that the Tennis Association, which is seeking 0.68 acres for its stadium expansion, isn’t giving the community a net benefit. Geoffrey Croft, president of New York City Park Advocates, called the swap “a sham” and said that “nothing’s changed.” However, Queens borough president Helen Marshall has supported the plan. The issue will be decided at a City Planning hearing on May 22. It will then need City Council approval to happen.
Have you done a favor, witnessed a favor or benefited from a favor this month? If so, this is a project for you. Long Island City-based multi-faceted artist Priscilla Stadler has received a Queens Council on the Arts grant to track and celebrate FAVORS in her borough. As such, she is looking for some local favors. In fact, she challenges Queens residents to defy the stereotype of cut-throat, egotist New Yorkers by doing favors for friends, family and strangers during April. All submitted favors will become part of a large-scale installation featuring a borough map indicating where the favors occurred. Participate in the fun by informing Stadler the WHO, WHERE, WHAT and WHEN of the favor via the following:
Much of the world knows him as Furio on the HBO series The Sopranos. But Federico Castelluccio is also a renowned realist painter, art collector and connoisseur of the baroque genre who received a full scholarship to the School of the Visual Arts. Tonight, April 4, the Naples native takes his act to LIC’s Diego Salazar Art Gallery, where the month-long Diverse Visions of Reality exhibit opens. Presented in conference with another respected artist, Nelson Shanks, the show features two works each from 11 painters — co-curators Shanks and Castelluccio, plus Humberto Aquino, Christopher Pugliese, Steven Assael, Mario Robinson, David Brega, Scott Nickerson, Patricia Watwood, Katie O’Hagan and Will Wilson. There is yet another reason to party hearty at this opening as this show also marks the Salazar Gallery’s one-year anniversary.
Video killed the radio star! Get all the details at the Museum of the Moving Image. On April 3, the world famous Astoria/LIC cultural venue will launch Spectacle: The Music Video, an exhibition featuring more than 300 videos, presented alongside artifacts and interactive experiences, in the 4,000-sq.-ft. changing exhibitions gallery, amphitheater gallery and other on-site spaces. Patrons will get behind the scenes via a mixture of interactive installations, projections, video, objects and immersive environments. Of course, Madonna (above in “Express Yourself” mode) will be there in spirit. Ditto David Bowie, the Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails and even Lady Gaga. As part of the fun, there will be SONOS PLAYGROUND, an immersive music visualizer, as well as a series of special events with invited artists, including music video releases and conversations, in the Fox Amphitheater.