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Midtown West from Weehawken, New Jersey (Credit: F*ckYouSpez via Reddit) Midtown West from Weehawken, New Jersey (Credit: F*ckYouSpez via Reddit)
While three upstate New York regions are likely to begin the first four tiers of reopening over the weekend, New York City is not likely to be so lucky: Deaths and hospitalizations remain down, but Mayor de Blasio has predicts that the city will not reopen until June. However, the city that never sleeps has not stayed quiet. On the contrary, its landlords and retailers have spent this time gearing up for what could be major changes ahead. See the latest below.

First look at Naftali's new Upper East Side condo to be called The Benson

Coming together at 1045 Madison Avenue in Carnegie Hill is The Benson, a ground-up 18-story condominium to bring 15 graciously-sized homes to market. The four- through six-bedroom residences will all be full-floor units or duplexes. A newly-launched registration site states Peter Pennoyer is steering the Classical design, Achille Salvagni is handling the lobby and cinema design, and the unit kitchens will be crafted by the renowned Christopher Peacock. Amenities include a fitness center, spa and steam room, a theater, a common terrace, and a lounge. Sales are anticipated to begin later this year.
Madison Avenue Madison Avenue in Carnegie Hill (October 2019)
The site in October 2019

The priciest unit to come online yesterday was 3-bed at One57 with Central Park views

One57 One57, 157 West 57th Street, #38F (Extell Development Marketing)
View north over the park
Midtown apartments
The priciest listing to come online yesterday was One57, #38F, a floor-through three-bedroom with both Central Park and Midtown skyline views. The sponsor unit has been on and off the market since 2015 and was originally priced $11.2M. A similar, but slightly larger unit below, #37F, closed for $9,833,749 in August 2016, and the slightly smaller #39F closed for $9,931,437 in October 2015. See the full listing here.

Former Kelloggs store to be replaced by slender office building designed by BKSK Architects

Union Square (Credit: Library of Congress)
Two weeks ago, permits were filed to erect an 11-story office building at 31 East 17th Street, along the north side of Union Square. BKSK Architects will be steering the design. The listed owner is Four Roses LLC, who has been affiliated with the property since 2000. The existing two-floor retail box at the site holds an AT&T store at ground level and the recently-vacated second-floor space of Kelloggs' breakfast cafe. The site is not in a historic district but given the chosen designer, the new building will likely be contextual to its neighbors. BKSK was also responsible for the imaginative adaptive reuse of the old Tammany Hall building at 44 Union Square.

The existing glass and metal building is the remains of the 11-story Jackson Building, which mostly succumbed to a fire in 1930. According to the New York Times, the Jackson Building featured a Romanesque-style facade with a big half-round arch over the first three floors and a gable-ended tower flanked by two pinnacles. The building was finished in 1890 as one of the first curtain-wall metal-frame structures in New York City.
31 East 17th Street North end of Union Square with 31 East 17th St. on the right (May 2020)
44 Union Square The nearly-finished 44 Union Square with the turtle shell-inspired addition by BKSK Architects

NYC landlords call for a property tax strike

Midtown SOuth skyline View of Midtown South buildings from 117 East 29th Street, #5A ??? $3,250,000 (Corcoran)
Between the economic fallout of the pandemic and a May 1 rent strike advocated by housing activists and elected officials alike, the National Multifamily Housing Council reported that May 2020 rent payments came in at 80.2 percent, below the figures some had projected and in a decrease from this time last year. Add the extension of the moratorium on evictions to the mix, and many landlords are worried about being able to keep their buildings inhabitable and fully staffed.

To that end, industry leaders and housing advocates are pushing Congress to include rent relief funding in the next round of federal stimulus programs. And according to Crain’s, a group of city landlords is planning a class-action lawsuit against the city to contest property taxes and demand a subsidy for tenants unable to pay rent.

The latest look ahead for Macy's

Macy's-01 Rendering of Macy's office tower via FXCollaborative
As Macy’s department stores get ready to reopen and bring back furloughed workers, things are going to look quite different. Shoppers and employees will be required to wear masks; only a handful of fitting rooms will be open at any given time; and the cosmetics counters will offer “no-touch” beauty consultations. And behind the scenes, Crain’s reports that Daniel Kretinsky, a Czech billionaire and investor, has amassed a 5% holding in Macy’s. The purchase puts him among the company’s top five shareholders, and he plans to use his newfound clout to engage management on ways to improve the retailer’s performance.

The news of Mr. Kretinsky's holding comes on the heels of Macy’s plans for a massive office tower to rise above its iconic Herald Square flagship. Renderings show a glassy tower with several setbacks and a crown. By having the department store serve as the podium, it could reach “supertall” status.

Permits filed to double the height and convert two historic Tribeca loft buildings

83 and 85 Chambers Street 83 and 85 Chambers Street (Google Street View)
Yesterday building permits were filed to convert/add floors to two historic Tribeca loft buildings dating back to the 1850s. A pair of applications filed by Greenberg Farrow Architects call for nearly doubling the height of the five-story buildings to 111 feet. The listed developer is an LLC that can be traced to Albert Laboz's United American Land. The buildings lie in the Tribeca South Historic District so any exterior modifications and the design of the additional bulk will need past muster with the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Their lots extend through the block to Reade Street so it's possible the new addition might not be visible from street level.

Currently configured as rentals with an Army Careers Center at the ground floor, 83 Chambers (65 Reade) is planned to receive one new floor and a total of eight apartments. 85 Chambers Street (67 Reade) held a fashion boutique on the ground floor and will be converted from commercial to residential. It will also hold eight apartments and will be a fitness center and storage for residents.

According to the report, 83 and 85 are among the fist four loft buildings erected in the area specifically to host dry goods wholesalers. 83 Chambers Street was built in 1853-54 for the estate of tea and wine merchant Jacob Binniger and leased to Gage, Sloan & Dater, dry goods jobbers.
Median condo prices in Tribeca over time
After dozens of high-priced closings in big-ticket new developments such as 111 Murray, 30 Park Place, and 443 Greenwich the median closing price of a Tribeca condo has cooled in recent years now coming in around $1,764 per square foot. Next door to the site is the relatively recent condo development Reade Chambers whose last sale was a one-bedroom that closed in September for $1.525M. The building has one listing on the market, 4-bed, 4.5-batha asking $5,995,000.

April 2020 (CItyRealty)

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