Better Know a Developer: Extell Development Company

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Welcome to the second in our series of posts running down the track records of the various companies competing for the opportunity to build lots and lots of buildings over the West Side Rail Yards. Today we focus on Extell, whose Steven Holl-designed plan (above, and here) has probably received the most architectural critical praise.

Extell, formerly Intell Management and Investment Co., has been an NYC real estate player since 1994, although their profile has heightened considerably in the last few years, especially since their name change in 2005. They are steered by CEO Gary Barnett, a former diamond merchant.

The company notably attempted to play the spoiler during the bid process for Atlantic Yards redevelopment in Brooklyn, submitting a proposal that — unlike competitor Forest City Ratner’s controversial, ultimately adopted plan — would not have required the usage of eminent domain, or have included a stadium for the NBA’s Nets. The Real Deal offers a pretty good rundown on the company here.

After the jump, we have a summary of some of Extell’s more notable projects and properties, with pretty illustrations to boot.

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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.

Weekly News Roundup, December 11-18

  • Related Companies announces a $1.4 Billion investment by firms including Goldman Sachs and MSD Capital. While the firm’s release remarks that this news does not impact any of their current plans, including their West Side Rail Yards redevelopment proposal, the timing of their announcement is certainly convenient. The Times reports on this here.
  • Gothamist also picked up on the Crain’s story from yesterday, emphasizing the irony that the two developments that seem to have gotten the most public support so far in the review process (Brookfield and Extell) appear to be on the early chopping block due to their lack of anchor tenants.
  • New York’s Daily Intelligencer created a rather nifty grid detailing the various projects that outgoing economic-development mayor Dan Doctoroff is leaving in the lurch, including the extension of the No. 7 line to 11th Avenue and 33rd Street (described by many as a project that “must happen” in order for West Side Rail Yards redevelopment to proceed). They deem the prognosis good.
  • Another nearby project that will help create the vaunted West Side of the future is the long-discussed, little-developed Moynihan Station project, which seems to be picking up some steam with the Empire State Development Corporation’s adoption of a Related/Vornado partnership to implement the plan. Chelsea Now reports on a recent scoping hearing on this project here.

Plans Aired to the Community at the Hudson Guild

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On Monday night, over 200 interested members of the community (as well as political figures such as New York State Senator Tom Duane) gathered at the Hudson Guild at an event sponsored by Community Board 4 and the Hudson Yards Community Advocacy Coalition that included presentations from the five developers who have submitted plans for the rail yards. After the presentations, attendees had the opportunity to break into small groups to discuss the plans and give their feedback in a formal way.

Photos of the event can be found here

CB4 prepared a handy info sheet (PDF) comparing each plan by the numbers. A summary from the community discussion will be available soon.

The developers’ presentations were short and business-like, as they labored mightily to conform to a time limit of ten minutes per proposal. That was still plenty of time for lots of shiny pictures (and in the case of the Durst/Vornado plan, a snappy video), as well as for some revealing rhetorical moments. A brief digest after the jump.

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Media Round Up, December 3-10

Video: Cooper Union Architect Presentations

On Monday, architects from the five development teams presented their designs to the public at Cooper Union. Videos of each presentation are now available. Please note these videos have been edited down for length, and the sound quality is not great.

Steven Holl for Extell

Robert AM Stern, Bernardo Fort Brescia, Eugene Kohn and Claire Weisz for Related

Dan Kaplan and Margie Ruddick for Durst/Vornado

James Corner and Gary Haney for Brookfield

Francisco Gonzalez Pulido for Tishman Speyer

Comparing the Five Plans

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A quick visual comparison of the five developer’s plans, alongside the MTA’s land use guidelines from the RFP. Note the different distribution of open space and building arrangement.

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