Rail Yards, High Line, West Side Highway from Above

landslides1.jpg

[Photo (c) Alex S. MacLean/Landslides Aerial Photography. Click image to enlarge]

Better Know a Developer: Tishman Speyer

2007_11_tishman21.jpg

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be providing you with some quick-hit style background information on the various developers who have submitted bids for the West Side Yards site. Today, we’re starting with Tishman Speyer, whose bid is pictured above.

Founded in 1978 in New York, Tishman Speyer (“TS”) has managed 77 million square feet of real estate assets since its inception. In the last three years, the company has been involved in three of the largest real-estate deals in American history. TS is traded publicly and has around 1100 employees in 25 offices worldwide. They recently spearheaded (along with Lehman Brothers), a takeover of Archstone, which was at the time the third largest Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) in the country.

After the jump, check out the details of some of Tishman Speyer’s notable developments and properties.

Continue reading

MCNY Panel Calls for West Side Development Oversight, Funding Transparency

At a panel discussion at the Museum of the City of New York last night, planners and community advocates criticized the lack of coordination going into the planning for the West Side.

The sheer mass of public and private development planned for the West Side (between 14th and 42nd Street, West of 8th Avenue) is staggering.  

Besides the Rail Yards themselves, current planning initiatives include:

Community Board 4′s Anna Hayes Levin and former MTA chair Richard Ravitch both called attention to the lack of an overarching body to oversee the planning and financial aspects of this development. Ravitch called the West Side “planning run amok.” He pointed to Moynihan Station as the key to smart planning, saying,”Until Moynihan Station is resolved, there will be a serious impediment to development on the whole West Side.” Expansion of the station would promote natural growth of Midtown by adjacency, he explained, rather than starting with large commercial developments on 10th and 11th Avenues. He encouraged the MTA to hold off plans for the Rail Yards until Moynihan Station was settled.

All panelists called for financials of each project to be made public. University of Pennsylvania Planning Professor Lynn Sagalyn  noted that press coverage of West Side development has not pushed the City, State or MTA to reveal how much these projects will cost or who would pay for them.

Likely, full buildout on West Side development will happen over the course of the next three decades or so. Chances are high that these projects will shift, scale back, or possibly fall through completely. This development burst is in its infancy, so it’s crucial that the public stay informed and demand accountability in both the planning and funding of these major projects.

 A video of last night’s dicussion will be up next week.

MTA Pushing Developers to Lease the Rail Yards

According to Crain’s,  it now looks as if the MTA would prefer to lease the Rail Yards site to developers for 99 years, rather than sell it.   

A source at one developer said the MTA was caving in to public pressure not to sell the property, which includes active MTA rail operations. But the MTA spokesman says that under a 99-year lease agreement the developer would still control the site.

 In this plan, the MTA would also recieve a portion of the profits from individual building leases, but the agency has not made any numbers public.

On Monday, the MTA sent a 60-page financial questionnaire to the five developers, so it could compare the proposals. The document outlined the MTA’s ideal financial structure, and the developers now have three weeks to respond with additional information, or alter their proposals in response. The MTA has acknowledged that it will still consider proposals to buy the site, though its preference is to lease.

The agency hopes to possibly narrow down the field once the questionnaires are returned, and have a developer selected by the end of March.

 MTA Prefers Leasing Hudson Yards (Crain’s)

Crain’s Video: Rail Yards Developers at REBNY Gala

crainsvideo.jpg

Crain’s caught up with four of the five Rail Yards developers at the 112th annual Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) gala.

Ric Clark from Brookfield, Stephen Ross from Related, Douglas Durst from Durst/Vornado, and Jerry Speyer from Tishman Speyer all make the case for why their development plan was the best.

News Roundup January 7-14, 2008

The Times reports that ad firm Ogilvy-Mather plans to take over a building at 11th Avenue & 47th Street, making them pioneers on the Far West side. Though, it must be noted, their building is not really all *that* close to the Rail Yards site.

Andrew Berman (he of many community activist organizations) takes out the big guns for the current status of the planning process in Chelsea Now – making a number of excellent points in the process.

Crain’s notes the HYCAC’s open letter, giving special attention to the organization’s implicit support for the Brookfield site plan.

The New York Observer’s real estate blog suggests that Merrill Lynch’s decision to renew its lease on current offices at the World Financial Center (owned and administered by Brookfield Properties) could potentially work in favor of the Brookfield plan… although the suggestion that Brookfield could conceivably talk Merrill into becoming the anchor tenant they currently lack seems unfounded at this juncture.

And, to file under “Old but worthy:” Stephen Holl discusses his strategies to make the Extell plan “9/11 proof” in New York’s Daily Intelligencer.

Historical Photo: High Line Construction Cranes

historic-034.jpg

[Courtesy Mary Habstritt. Click image to enlarge]

This 1930′s shot was taken looking West along 30th Street from around 11th Avenue, as the High Line was being built. Construction equipment can be seen mounted onto temporary rails. Cranes were built to pass over the trains in the rail yards.

 The photo was part of a construction survey done by contractors the George A. Fuller Company. The Fuller Company (which still exists) was formerly one of the largest construction companies in the world. The Company worked on the Lincoln Memorial, the National Cathedral, and the Louisiana State Capitol, among many others.

As the catalogue label shows, the High Line was referred to as the NYC Viaduct, and the architect is listed as NY Central, the rail road. Again, the Miller Elevated Highway can be seen in the background.

A historical birds-eye view is here.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.