Real Estate Weekly
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New York evolution making everything bigger and better

By John Banks

Throughout our five borough series, we covered Brooklyn’s recent real estate boom, the ongoing projects and development taking place in the Bronx, the diverse array of real estate activity taking place in Queens, and the rich cultural significance of Staten Island.

The last stop on our tour is Manhattan — the cultural and financial capital of the world.

There is no shortage of exciting development taking place all over Manhattan, both residentially and commercially, and this constant activity has greatly spurred Manhattan’s growth over the past few years.

One area which will soon be seeing a dramatic change in scenery is East Harlem, where The Continuum Company will be developing a new 32-story tower at 1800 Park Avenue.

Rendering of 1800 Park Avenue
Rendering of 1800 Park Avenue

At 352 feet, this mixed-use building will easily become the new tallest building in Harlem, and bring with it 673 apartments (20 percent of which will be affordable), public terraces, indoor amenities such as a business lounge and library, and a refreshing new way to experience Harlem residential living.

Ian Bruce Eichner, chair of the Continuum Company, has also enlisted ODA Architecture to provide the design for 1800 Park Avenue, and the fruits of their labors will result in an impressive piece of real estate that will redefine the Harlem area.

More ambitious residential development is taking place downtown as well.

Nine sites that have remained virtually vacant for several decades in the Lower East Side are finally being reintegrated into its surroundings as part of the exciting Essex Crossing project.

Essex Crossing rendering
Essex Crossing rendering

This is made possible through collaboration between the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Housing Department, and the local communities, and will ultimately transform 1.65 million square feet of unused space into a thriving mixed-use and diverse area offering an extensive assortment of residential, commercial, and retail space.

This includes 1,000 new rental apartments and condos, (500 units of which will be permanently affordable to low-middle income households), 250,000 square feet of office space, 15,000 s/f of open space, a rooftop urban space, a site preserved for a new public school, and more.

The first five housing locations are expected to be completed by Summer 2018, and the final two buildings will be completed by 2024.

With the approvals of the Vanderbilt Corridor rezoning and the special permit for 1 Vanderbilt being developed by SL Green, the focus turns to the rezoning of the larger East Midtown area.

In June, REBNY, the Grand Central Partnership (GCP) and the East Midtown Partnership (EMP) hosted a meeting with the consultants for the East Midtown Steering Committee and presented preliminary recommendations to the assembled members of the three organizations.

Walkway at One Vanderbilt (rendering)
Walkway at One Vanderbilt (rendering)

The East Midtown Steering Committee, co-chaired by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Manhattan City Council Member Dan Garodnick, was established by the administration to create a set of principles for the rezoning of the East Midtown area.

In addition to the Board and the BIDs, the committee was comprised of representatives from Community Boards 5 and 6; the East Midtown Multi-Board Task Force, the Municipal Arts Society, the Landmarks Conservancy, the Regional Plan Association and Build Up.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority was an Ex Officio member of the committee.  At the mid-June meeting, the members of REBNY, GCP and EMP discussed a range of land use and public realm issues such as: density, the transfer of development rights from landmarks, overbuilt buildings, sustainability, preserving historic resources, plazas, privately-owned public spaces (POPS) and transit improvements.

The consultants are now finalizing the report based on comments from all the groups represented on the committee and their members, and the final report is expected to be released in September.

On the far West Side, Hudson Yards is continuing its rise to the skies, and garnering attention from the city’s biggest developers and real estate players.

In late July, Robert Knakal, chair of New York Investment Sales at Cushman & Wakefield, proposed a bonus program which would allow developers to not only build commercial, but also residential property on the site.

Currently, developers may only dedicate one-quarter of their available square footage as residential, but according to Knakal, this new plan could create more affordability.

Early rendering of the Hudson Yards.
Early rendering of the Hudson Yards.

Even the areas around Hudson Yards are seeing increased activity, such as Vornado Realty Trust’s purchase of the historic Otis Elevator Building just south of the site.

Hudson Yards is due to be completed in 2018, and will bring with it a network of parks, a No. 7 subway stop, hotels, commercial and residential complexes, and holds seemingly endless potentially in the years following its completion.

These are only a handful of the dozens of developments, projects, renovations, restorations, and improvements being made to Manhattan every day. As our five-borough series has shown, every corner of New York City is teeming with potential and activity, whether it means a new skyscraper or a new park.

New York is a constantly growing and evolving city, and as we’ve seen, it shows no signs of slowing down.

In other REBNY News:
August 18 is REBNY’s next Residential Breakfast Club Seminar. From 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., join your fellow REBNY members at this free seminar in our Mendik Education Room, where our top industry leaders will be imparting hints and tips to improve your business. For more information, contact Yesenia Dhanraj at, or check the Events section of

REBNY’s next Residential Rental Clinic Seminar in September 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m in the Mendik Education Center. Presented by Daniel Marrello of Town Fifth Avenue LLC and Douglas Wagner of Bond NY Properties LLC, join fellow REBNY members in this exciting seminar that will teach you more about how to expand and improve your residential real estate business. For more information, contact Yesenia Dhanraj at

The City has developed a new e-cycleNYC program to assist residential buildings in complying with a new law which makes it illegal for New Yorkers to discard electronics in the trash. Residential buildings wishing to participate in this free program will be required to sign a Site Sponsor Agreement, and REBNY’s Residential Management Council and its legal team have reviewed the Terms of Agreement with the Department of Sanitation and ERI, who have agreed to REBNY’s recommended changes. Special thanks to Ben Kirschenbaum, Eva Talel, and Michael Wolfe for dedicating their time and expertise on behalf of the industry.

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