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Balcony overlooking the Hudson River at 165 Charles Street Balcony overlooking the Hudson River at 165 Charles Street
“New York is like our South Korea now.” So says an epidemiologist of the city’s drop in coronavirus cases and ability to contain the virus for longer than officials imagined. Months after the devastation of April, only around one percent of the city’s tests are coming back positive.

Public health officials credit the city- and statewide shutdown, cautious reopening in phases, and strict rules about social distancing and face coverings with controlling and containing the outbreak. However, between difficulties in contact tracing and travelers from other states failing to adhere to the state-mandated 14-day quarantine, New York’s leaders are expecting the low numbers to begin rising again. The impending start of the school year and plans to reopen gyms have also caused worry among officials.

However, not all aspects of reopening are perceived to have such great risk. The city’s museums and cultural institutions may reopen starting August 24, albeit with masks on and at limited capacity. Bowling alleys may also reopen, but with every other lane blocked off to ensure social distancing.

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Parlour, 243 Fourth Avenue
Parlour, 243 Fourth Avenue Park Slope
Oosten, 429 Kent Avenue
Oosten, 429 Kent Avenue Williamsburg

Seaport adaptive-reuse project wraps up construction

“Eat Fish Live Longer,” says the banner painted on these newly-restored buildings at 104-106 South Street. Ravaged by Sandy in 2012 and previously home to the 100-year-old fishmongers M. Slavin & Sons (bankrupt in 2011), the 19th-century buildings will now host rental apartments and ground-floor retail. BKSK Architects masterfully handled the adaptive reuse project which was approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2012.

Across South Street, at the old site of the Fulton Fish Market, developer Howards Hughes is bringing a 50,000-square-foot, Jean-Georges-curated food hall inside the Tin Building and the Fulton Market Building.

The Benson rises on the Upper East Side

Upper East Side condos The Benson under construction in early August 2020
New development applications have substantially declined in Manhattan over the last year, especially since the onset of the pandemic this past spring. The approximately two-dozen new condo developments to hit the Manhattan market this fall/winter may be among the last batch of sponsor offerings available to buyers for some time. While the Upper East Side's Gold Coast was never a hotbed of construction activity, several top-of-the-market ventures are swiftly moving along.

Recently out of the ground and quickly rising is The Benson, an 18-story condo steered by Miki Naftali’s Naftali Group. As we previously covered, the 15-condo venture is being designed by Peter Pennoyer Architects and illustrations show it will be dressed in hearty materials with pre-war-esque details ubiquitous to the area.

After assembling much of the site in 2017, and demolishing a four-building string of pre-war rowhouses, the superstructure is nearly halfway up in its 210-foot climb. All 15 layouts will be either full-floor or duplex abodes. Some homes will feature private outdoor space and Central Park views. However, all will have custom kitchens designed by millwork-extraordinaire Christopher Peacock. Ample amenities for comfortably hunkering down include a fitness center, spa and steam room, lounge, common terrace, and screening room designed by Achille Salvagni Atelier. Though the pandemic will likely be over by its late 2021 delivery, social distancing won't be much of an issue with its modicum of units and likelihood of part-time residents.
The Benson condos upper east side August 2020
Upper East Side new development

Sam Chang to build 199-key hotel at 62 Mulberry Street in Chinatown using existing garage

62 Mulberry Street hotel Google streetview of existingn parking garage at 62 Mulberry Street
Now might seem like a strange time to be building a hotel in Manhattan, but perhaps in two years, with the possibility of many existing inns going belly up/converted, the gamble might just pay off. At least that's what prolific banal hotel-builder Sam Chang may have in mind. Buiding applications were filed at 62 Mulberry Street in Chinatown, across from Columbus Park and close to the site of a tragic fire that ripped through a 120-year old community center and cultural building that housed the Museum of Chinese America.

Chang, who is supposedly winding down his business according to TRD, purchased the parking garage for $18.75 million in 2019. As per plans filed earlier in 2020, Chang tapped his go-to-architect Gene Kaufman to design a 199-key hotel that will build upon an existing eight-story parking structure at the lot. The building will double in height from 87 feet to 165 feet and there will be between seven to eight hotel rooms per floor. Amenities will include a ground-floor restaurant/bar. The application has yet to be approved so Chang may still wait and see how the hotel market shakes out in the coming months.

Urbanspace to open food hall in Zero Irving, new tech hub on the rise

Zero-Irving-01 (l-r) Zero Irving rendering via NYCEDC; construction via CityRealty
Urbanspace has signed a lease for a 10,000-square-foot food hall at Zero Irving, a new tech hub rising where Irving Place begins in Union Square. It will be the fifth Manhattan outpost and, as befits its location in a tech building, be distinguished by a mixed online/offline platform. It will also offer catering to both building tenants and users of Zero Irving’s event and conference center.

In addition to the new Urbanspace and the event and conference center, Zero Irving will feature a tech and job training program, office space with high ceilings and outdoor space, a bike room, and a fitness center. The project was deemed essential construction when most sites were closed during the pandemic, and is getting close to its 22-story height.
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The news of Urbanspace’s newest location comes at a time when food halls all over New York are reopening and adjusting to the new normal. Chelsea Market set up socially distant tables, menus accessed via QR code, and pickup windows. “Smorg to go” offers takeout options from Brooklyn’s most famous food market, and Gotham West Market and the Time Out Market have opened outdoor spaces as well. Some have wondered how sustainable this model is, but some industry professionals told The Wall Street Journal that food halls’ larger space and lower rents may make it more attractive to food tenants than traditional restaurants.

Small commecial building coming to 335 West 39th Street

Rendering via Loopnet, R: Google streetview of 335 West 39th Street
Demolition permits were filed earlier this month to clear a 25-foot-wide Garment District lot of its four-floor walk-up. The site is between Eighth and Ninth avenues, in the midst of a collection of tall budget hotels that have shot up like weeds in recent years. The commercial leasing website Loopnet shows a possible rendering of the replacement stucture: a non-descript glass-clad building rising 14 stories with a setback terrace.

Amazon to bring over 2,000 new employees to former Lord and Taylor space

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Just over three months since Amazon bought the former Lord & Taylor flagship for $1.15 billion, more details have emerged on what will take place there: The e-commerce behemoth is planning to expand its corporate offices throughout the country, and 2,000 employees will be housed in the one on Fifth Avenue.

As of the day of the announcement, Amazon is allowing employees to work from home in response to the pandemic. However, remote work is not expected to be forever: Employees are currently only permitted to work from home until January 8, 2021, and the company is expected to move into its Midtown office in 2023.

Oosten condo tops list of Brooklyn’s biggest contracts

429-Kent-Avenue-01 Oosten via Compass
From August 10-17, 15 Brooklyn listings priced $2 million and up went into contract for a total of $39,045,000. A report from Compass notes that this is a slight slip from the previous week’s total of 18 deals aggregating to nearly $55 million, but The Real Deal nevertheless took it as a sign of continued deal activity in Brooklyn.

Townhouses are typically Brooklyn’s top performers, and this week’s highest contracts did include four townhouses. However, condos in amenity-rich new buildings took the top spots this time. The week’s most expensive contract was for a three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath condo in Williamsburg’s Oosten, measuring 3,500 square feet and asking $3,375,000. It was slightly trailed by a four-bedroom condo in Parlour, a new Park Slope condominium, asking $3.1 million.

Shoe designer ECCO signs lease at Brooklyn Navy Yard

Brooklyn-Navy-Yard-01 Rendering via Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation
For its first studio space outside Denmark, footwear and leather goods retailer ECCO has signed a five-year lease for a design and prototype studio in Brooklyn Navy Yard. Panos Mykaros, Executive Vice President of Global Shoe Production at ECCO, said in a statement, "This studio will allow us to draw closer to our American market, and we see the Brooklyn Navy Yard as the ideal space to do just that."

The new studio will be in Brooklyn Navy Yard's Building 212, which features more than 130,000 square feet of manufacturing and creative office space. In addition to the city's first Wegmans, it is home to design firms such as Fydelity, Kaimin, Poolside, and Trendy Accessories. It is well situated near several subway stops, the Brooklyn Navy Yard ferry stop, and Citi Bike docking stations.

ECCO comes to Brooklyn Navy Yard in the midst of its ongoing $1 billion expansion. This is the largest since World War II and includes ecently completed renovation of Building 77 to provide space to vertically-integrated design and manufacturing companies and the ground-floor Food Manufacturing Market; Nanotronics’ high-tech manufacturing hub under construction in Building 20; the Green Manufacturing Center, which houses New Lab; and an expanded Steiner Studios film and production studio.

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