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New York City is the only region in the state that has not yet reopened, but that may not be the case for long: Mayor de Blasio announced that hospital admissions and positive tests for COVID-19 are dropping throughout the city and continuing to go down. If the numbers continue to fall and the city meets the remaining required health and safety benchmarks, we could see New York City starting to reopen at the beginning of June.

This summer is going to look quite a bit different from past years. At the end of last week, the city opened an additional 13 miles of open streets across the five boroughs, bringing the total to 45 miles of open streets. This is the largest amount of protected streets in the nation and roughly half of the 100 miles promised by Mayor de Blasio. In the meantime, the New York City Council is urging the mayor to open the city’s beaches to swimming. Cocktails to go could become permanent if a new bill passes, and the New York City Council plans to introduce legislation requiring the mayor to open streets, sidewalks, and public plazas to outdoor dining.

Bullish on New York, Naftali Group closes on a major waterfront parcel

470 kent Avenue Google Earth aerial showing location of 470 kent Avenue
The Naftali Group has become one of the busiest developers of late with a portfolio of tasteful new residential developments peppering the city (think The Shephard, The Seymour, and the soon-to-come Benson). Today, the Midtown-based firm, headed and founded by Miki Naftali, announced the acquisition of one of the last major underdeveloped sites on the Williamsburg waterfront. According to a press release, the site at 470 Kent Avenue was purchased for $102.38 million, making it the largest land transaction recorded since the city shut down in late March.

"We believe in the future of New York and are invested in this great city," said Miki Naftali. “While we recognize the difficult times that we are facing from the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City will come out of this crisis stronger and better than before – just as we have done in the past."
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The South Williamsburg site, previously home to Boro Park Certified Lumber & Home Center for more than three decades, is nearly three acres in size and overlooks the Wallabout Channel and Brooklyn Navy Yard. To the north is Schaefer Landing, its ferry launch and Eliot Spitzer/ODA Architecture's 420 Kent Avenue development. To the south is a large development site at 500 Kent that once held an imposing Beaux-Arts Con Edison power station.

In 2011, the Bloomberg administration approved the rezoning of 470 Kent, giving the green light to non-manufacturing (pending site remediation of course). A previous master plan for the site, named Rose Plaza, was put forth by Abraham and Isack Rosenberg and called for a trio of towers ranging from 18 to 29 stories. There would be a waterfront park, 500 parking spaces, retail, and approximately 750 housing units with roughly a third set aside for affordable housing. Given the low-rise nature of the Navy Yard area, the site possesses cinematic views of the East River skyline. No word on what Naftali will bring to the table but an as-of-right plan will likely be similar in scope to Rosenberg's vision.
470 Kent Avenue Clunky South Williamsburg skyline in 2018 with 470 Kent at the far right.

Developers show LIC community ideas for sites around Anable Basin; previously eyed by Amazon

Anable Basin Overall master plan for sites near LIC's Anable Basin pitched by a group of developers via LIC Post
The LIC Post reports that a conglomerate of owners of a 28-acre Long Island City waterfront property, previously eyed by Amazon for HQ2, is being pitched for a 10-to-12-million-square-foot development with high-rises ranging from 30 to 60 floors. Approximately 50% of the total built square footage would be devoted to office space, with much of the remainder geared towards mixed-income housing. The developers would also construct a seven-acre park, three new schools, and cultural/community facility uses.

As we previously noted years ago, the developers propose to build a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the Anable Basin. The developers involved include longtime LIC stakeholders: TF Cornerstone, Plaxall, Simon Baron Development and MAG Partners Inc. The LIC Post notes that the developers were asked about the scale and density of the plans given COVID-19 pandemic. Ashley Cotton of MAG Partners provided the perfect response:

“We think density makes New York City great and we remain committed to that,” said Ashley Cotton, with MAG Partners. “We think immigrants, young people, professionals, and college grads will continue to come here.”

Read the full LIC Post story here.
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Permits re-filed for 410 West 49th Street in Hell's Kitchen

Galahad Realty Corporation has re-filed permits to bring a seven-unit multi-family development to 410 West 49th Street in Hell's Kitchen. The designer of record is SBLM Architects and a rendering published on their page depicts a slender, 3-bay builidng with a pale brick facade, canted spandrel sections, and large windows. Up from an initial 4 units filed back in 2018, the revised application calls for seven full-floor apartments. The new building is to replace a one-story garage and is situated on a atypical tree-lined Hell's Kitchen block of walk-ups and small apartment buildigns. Major nearby developments include Stella Tower, developed by JDS Development in 2014; the soon-to-finish 611 West 56th Street; and Bloom on Forty Fifth which will include a flexible-format Target in addition to 92 condos.

New York skyscrapers in the clouds

The Woolworth Building
world trade center L: One World Trade Center (CityRealty); R: World Trade Center (Credit: 9/11 Museum Collection, Photo Katie Day Weisberger)
111 West 57th Street 111 West 57th Street | Cloud City by Brandon @nyconstructionphoto Instagram

Hudson River waterfront condos snag last week's top contract-signings

173 Perry Street 173 Perry Street, #4N was the 2nd biggest contract signing of last week (Douglas Elliman)
According to Olshan Realty's weekly report, only three apartments above $4 million entered contract last week, and a three-bedroom unit at Two Waterline Square took the top spot, asking $5.15 million. The buyer visited the apartment in November 2019 and February 2020, and cited its private terrace as the deciding factor. Remaining availabilities at Waterline Square start at $1.9 million, and the development's marketing now emphasizes the hospital-grade air and water filtration systems.

The second-highest contract took place further downtown at 173 Perry Street, where a two-bedroom with a private balcony entered contract for $4.6 million. This buyer visited the apartment a few weeks before the city went on lockdown, but didn't make an offer until mid-April. This contract was not contingent on financing, and the buyer planned to make the most of mortgage rates at an all-time low.
When construction was still underway, Waterline Square was named the fastest-selling new development of 2017. Years later, the excitement shows no sign of abating. About a month after New York went on lockdown, a family from Peru paid nearly $27 million for eight units in the Upper West Side development, saying they felt their money was safer in New York real estate than in a bank. Two Waterline Square was second only to 220 Central Park South as the top-selling building of April 2020. More recently, Waterline Square is home to a new retail tenant (see below) and the top luxury contract of the past seven days.

Speaking of which, here's Architectural Digest's tour of Kerry Washington's Hudson River-facing apartment

Waterline Square signs lease for sommelier-founded wine store

Waterline-Square-01 Waterline Square via Noe & Associates with The Boundary
Between Cipriani’s first-ever food hall, an outpost of popular taqueria Empellon, a nearby Morton Williams, and the custom Italian kitchens in all units, Waterline Square would appear to have been built as a gourmand’s paradise. Further proof of that comes in the form of the development’s newest retail tenant: Somm Cellars Wine & Spirits, a luxury wine store crafted by renowned sommeliers Jason Jacobeit and Daniel Jung, has signed a lease for 1,300 square feet in the base of One Waterline Square.

Somm Cellars will offer a curated selection of wine and spirits varying in price and region, with a particular focus on Burgundy, a favorite of the founders. Messrs. Jacobeit and Jung are already working with Waterline Square’s in-house lifestyle director to offer residents wine-oriented virtual experiences; when the store officially opens this fall, residents will be eligible for special benefits like customized seminars and classes, expert consultations, and on-demand wine delivery to Waterline Square apartments and amenity spaces.

Construction complete on COOKFOX's biophilic office building on the High Line

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512 West 22nd Street is steps away from the High Line, but the recently completed 10-story office building offers an outdoor oasis all its own. It was designed to biophilic principles, as are all COOKFOX projects, and inspired by the connection to nature via the High Line and the views of the Hudson River. The building's structure nods to both the historic warehouses of Chelsea and the contemporary construction that has risen in recent years. It is distinguished by its anthracite terra cotta, zinc, and granite facade, industrial sash-inspired windows, glass arcs around the corners, and custom terra cotta profile.

Future office tenants will enjoy operable windows, light-filled floors, and a lobby with a curated event space and landscaped viewing garden. It is underscored by infrastructure features like a state-of-the-art air distribution system, resiliency features per post-Sandy building codes, and design to LEED Gold certification standards. But best of all is over 15,000 square feet of outdoor space for occupant use. Landscaped terraces are cut into every floor and populated solely with native plant species. At the second and third floors, branches of the thicket meet the overhang above to merge into a canopy.

Governor Cuomo pitches new Penn Station and expanded Second Avenue subway line to Trump

Empire Station Rendering of an expanded Penn Station, named Empire Station, as proposed by JDS Development
It is unclear how New York City will bounce back from the economic fallout of the statewide shutdown, but there is one idea in store: The day after ringing the opening bell at a partially reopened New York Stock Exchange, Governor Andrew Cuomo met with President Trump to discuss federal support for infrastructure improvements set to increase jobs and improve quality of life throughout the city. In addition to a new Penn Station, which "has been torturing people too long" (his words, not ours), these include extending the Second Avenue subway to 125th Street, rebuilding La Guardia airport and adding a direct train there, and the long-awaited Gateway tunnel.

Fantastic drone video of NYC on lockdown

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