Accidents, Injuries, Fatalaties Up at NYC Construction Sites

Data from DOB, January through March 2015.

The number of construction-related accidents and injuries have increased this year as have fatalities, according to new data released for the first three months of the year by the city’s Department of Buildings. Accidents (which can include multiple injuries and/or fatalities) and injuries have each climbed to 72, from 46 and 54, respectively.

The number of fatalities has risen to three from one in the same quarter last year. Two of this year’s deaths were in Manhattan and one was in Brooklyn. In January, a construction worker died after falling down an elevator shaft during the renovation of a landmark townhouse on the Upper West Side. The next month, a construction worker was crushed to death at Greenland Forest City Partners Barclays Center. And in March, a woman was fatally hit by a piece of construction site fence in Greenwich Village. Read More


iStar Amps Up for Coney Island Landmark Conversion

A rendering of the new Coney Island amphitheater.

New York City’s Department of Buildings today issued a work permit for iStar Financial to begin construction on its Coney Island beachfront amphitheater and restaurant, together called the Seaside Park and Community Arts Center, city records indicate. The permit allows for renovation of an existing building—the historic, now-vacant Childs Building at 3052 West 21st Street—and construction of a new amphitheater and related roof structure on an adjacent site. The total cost of the boardwalk project is $53 million.

“Every major market in the country has a covered 5,000-square-foot amphitheater,” Karl Frey, the executive vice president of land and development at iStar, told Commercial Observer. “Those tours sometimes skip over New York because we don’t.” He added: “There’s a real hole in the market.” Read More


Fortuna Starts Demo on West 38th Street Aloft NYC Flagship

Rendering of Aloft hotel at 25 West 38th Street (Image: Nobutaka Ashihara Architect).

About a week ago, Morris Moinian‘s Fortuna Realty Group started demolition work on a ground-up Aloft New York hotel on West 38th Street, the developer told Commercial Observer.

The $100 million 75,000-square-foot hotel at 25 West 38th Street between Fifth Avenue and Avenue of the Americas will be the New York City flagship for Aloft, a Starwood Hotels brand, Mr. Moinian said. There are existing Aloft hotels in Harlem and Downtown Brooklyn. Read More


Construction Jobs Up, But Wages Flatline


Construction employment is inching closer to pre-recession levels, according to a report by the New York Building Congress released today, in a 4.5 percent increase from 2013 to 2014. But wages remain low as construction costs rise non-union labor becomes more prevalent in the current real estate boom.

“A booming market has many, many benefits for the city as a whole, for people that work in the industry, for employment opportunities,” said Richard T. Anderson, the president of the Building Congress, told Commercial Observer. “But it does lead to cost escalation, it does lead to labor shortages.” Read More


DOB Getting $120M Overhaul

Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler (Photo: Michael Nagle/for Commercial Observer).

Less than a month after announcing a new initiative to help stalled construction projects get back on track, the city’s Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler is doubling down with a plan to “fundamentally reform the agency to enhance public and worker safety, slash wait times and delays and modernize all aspects of the agency to meet the needs of a 21st century city,” according to highlights of a DOB report being released today.

The department will receive an infusion of $120 million over four years which will allow for 320 new positions. Read More


The Weather’s Finally Warming Up, but the Winter Was Frigid for Construction Jobs

Steven Hurwitz's veteran construction workers are working to stay on target at 5 Beekman Street.

For Steven Hurwitz, this winter was probably more chilling than it was for his fellow New Yorkers.

The executive vice president of GFI Development Company had to worry about how many days his veteran construction workers would lose on 5 Beekman Street—a Downtown hotel Mr. Hurwitz’s company is developing—because of foul conditions. Like any developer, GFI planned ahead to lose days every now and then to poor conditions in which cranes couldn’t lift concrete or the city’s Department of Buildings deemed the wind gusts unsafe to work on towers. Read More


As Sunnyside Yards Divides LIC, Real Estate Pros Propose Closing the Gap

The Sunnyside Yards.

Long Island City is divided, so to speak.

The bustling neighborhood in western Queens has seen a lot of development in the last decade, but portions of it remain split by the sprawling Sunnyside Yards—a holding area for Amtrak, Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New Jersey Transit trains. While talks are early and controversial on proposals to build affordable housing above the tracks, real estate professionals in LIC believe some sort of link between the commercial side and the mixed-use side  could help the neighborhood—both in the short term and in the long run. Read More


DOB to Streamline Construction App Process

Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick D. Chandler (Photo: Michael Nagle/for Commercial Observer).

The city’s Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler today announced a new initiative to help stalled construction projects get back on track.

That includes setting up a streamlined system in each borough to work with builders on site problems, according to the DOB. The goal there is to remove the time-consuming task of multiple trips to different agencies throughout a project’s life cycle. Read More


Brookfield Inks Anchor Tenant for 1 Manhattan West

A rendering of 1 Manhattan West (Photo courtesy: Brookfield).

Brookfield Property Partners has signed an anchor tenant to its 2.1-million-square-foot office tower, 1 Manhattan West, the developer announced today.

Law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom has signed a 20-year lease for 550,000 square feet in the building, at the corner of West 33rd Street and Ninth Avenue, which is part of Brookfield’s Manhattan West development. Skadden will take up the 28th to 43rd floors of the 67-story tower, according to Brookfield. The firm’s current office is at 4 Times Square. Read More


Related, Ponte Equities Building 80/20 Rental in Tribeca

460 Washington Street (Photo: CoStar).

Related Companies and Ponte Equities are erecting an 80/20 rental building in Tribeca, Commercial Observer has learned.

The 10-story building at 460 Washington Street between Watts and Canal Streets will have 107 units, sources with knowledge of the building said, plus a gym, lounge/party space, rooftop garden, underground parking and a small day care facility on the ground floor. BKSK Architects was tapped to design the project and Ismael Leyva Architects is the architect of record, and designed the apartment interiors. In addition the building hallways will have windows that look out on a courtyard. Read More


Triangle Equities Wraps Up Mixed-Use Flushing Project

42-05 Parsons Boulevard (Photo: Triangle Equities).

Triangle Equities has wrapped up construction on a Flushing, Queens mixed-use building, Commercial Observer has learned.

The developer has finished the nine-story 42-05 Parsons Boulevard between Sanford and Franklin Avenues and has closed on half of the 14 condos in the 28,456-square-foot building, said Brett Goldman, the director of acquisitions at Triangle Equties. He expects the rest of the residences—selling from $550,000 to $1 million—to close within the next month. Read More


Greek Construction Execs Seek Real Estate Opportunities in NYC

Niolaos Bakatselos, Kyp Bazenikas, Louis Katsos, Simos Anastasopoulos and Dimitris Iliopoulos (Photo: Arman Dzidzovic).

A group of Greece-based construction supply companies have come stateside to expand their exports as their homeland contends with a tough economic recovery.

Executives from companies that make metal, windows and kitchen sinks have been meeting with New York construction leaders over the last couple of days to discuss possible relations that would put their products in buildings across the city. While forging those relations and exports are at the early stage, they and Greek-American business leaders are confident they’ll build up the Big Apple. Read More


Residential Construction Permits Climb in 2014


When a building goes up, just about everything else does, too.

The number of residential units approved per year has steadily risen over the last five years, carried by the outer boroughs where the demand is higher, according to a New York Building Congress report released today. While residential construction is only expected to climb in response to an affordable housing demand, the numbers are still well below pre-recession levels. Read More


Eight-Story Hotel Planned for Greenwich Street in Tribeca

Rendering of 456 Greenwich Street (credit: Stephen B. Jacobs).

Western Heritable Investment Company, Caspi Development and Barone Management are planning a 90- to 100-room hotel at 456 Greenwich Street in Tribeca, Commercial Observer has learned.

The eight-story, 93,900-square-foot hotel will have 90 to 100 guestrooms and suites, a restaurant with a bar, a 1,500-square-foot interior courtyard, a spa, a swimming pool, meeting space and a screening room, according to JLL, whose hotels and hospitality group was tapped to lead advisory efforts at the site. Plans may also include a private member club.  Read More


DOB Overwhelmed by Construction Demand

Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick D. Chandler (Photo: Michael Nagle/for Commercial Observer).

The Department of Buildings‘ review of new building plans has slowed to a crawl because the city agency is getting buried under an avalanche of permit applications.

According to the most recent agency performance report from the Mayor’s Office of Operations, when it comes to new buildings it is taking the city’s DOB nearly twice as long to complete the first plan review, which is the period from the complete submission of the application to the date the plan examiner is able to issue a decision upon the submitted plans. That process has risen to an average of 15.7 days in the fiscal year to date compared with 8.5 in the previous FYTD, the data indicate. Read More