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.
Riverside South. In 2005, Extell purchased a 77 acre site bounded by the Hudson River, West End Avenue, 59th and 72nd Streets from Donald Trump and his partners for $1.8 Billion. (Trump later sued his partners, financiers from Hong Kong, claiming that the price paid for the land was too low). Extell plans for this development to ultimately include more than 10,000 new homes, retail plazas, restaurants, additional parking and roads as well as 27.5 rezoned acres dedicated to Riverside Park South. The master plan includes a 21 acre park (Riverside Park South) that will connect Riverside Park to the Hudson River Park. Riverside Drive will also be extended south as Riverside Boulevard, connecting with 12th Avenue. The developer must also build a tunnel below the Boulevard that could ultimately serve as a replacement for the current, elevated West Side Highway viaduct (hearkening back to the ultimately scuttled Westway project). The project is mandated to include 12% affordable housing.
The site – the former, long-abandoned Penn Yards – has a long history punctuated by decades of inaction and a variety of typically Trump stunts (like his threat to build the world’s tallest building there). When Extell bought the site, they also bought the three buildings that had already been constructed on it. Since then, they’ve finished two more, Avery Condominiums and The Rushmore (pictured above). Part of the site – the so-called superblock between 59th and 61st Streets – still needs to go through ULURP, which could impact the developers’ usage mix, currently said to possibly include residences, parkland, and a hotel.
Ariel East and West. The tallest buildings on the Upper West Side by quite a margin, they attracted quite a bit of community outrage and activism in 2005 but were nevertheless completed last year. The fracas ultimately resulted in a down-zoning of a pretty healthy swath of the UWS.
The Lucida. The Upper East Side’s first LEED-certified residential building.
The Orion. This 60 story tower on West 42nd Street is one of the tallest residential buildings in the city. Trivia note: the amenities are all located in the middle of the building, on floors 28-30, which is pretty unorthodox.
The W Hotel, Times Square. Intriguingly, Extell’s website does not list very many notable commercial/office developments. The company is probably pretty thrilled that the downturn in residential real estate has not yet impacted New York as it has the rest of the country.