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


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


Pace Dorm at 33 Beekman Reaches 65 Percent Built [Updated]

Rendering of the Pace dorm and public space at 33 Beekman Street. (Credit: Naftali Groups website)

Construction of the 178,500-square-foot Pace University dormitory at 33 Beekman Street in the Financial District has reached 22 stories, leaving 12 more to go, Commercial Observer has learned.

The dorm, being developed between William and Nassau Streets by a joint venture of Naftali Group, SL Green Realty and Harel Insurance and Finance, will have 378 housing rooms with 725 beds, said Miki Naftali, chairman and CEO of Naftali Group. Read More


‘The Launcher’ is Alive at Brookfield’s Manhattan West

Manhattan West Platform JOB #124158

Ladies and gentlemen, meet “The Launcher,” a giant yellow machine that is currently hard at work constructing a prefabricated platform upon which Brookfield Development’s Manhattan West project will rise.

The pictures contained herein, sent exclusively to Commercial Observer, show the custom-designed mechanical marvel that so far has completed one of 16 precast concrete bridge panels Read More

Development, legislation, Construction

EB-5 Legislation Clears Senate, Now Congress Awaits

Battery Maritime Building, an EB-5 recipient

Legislation related to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, a financing pipeline that has been used to fund several major development projects in the city, has cleared one hurdle towards renewal.

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would restore an important component of the program set to expire at the end of September. According to people familiar with EB-5 and the legislative process to preserve it, a similar bill must now pass through Congress in the next few weeks before the program sunsets on September 30, a deadline that could possibly cut off millions of dollars of financing for a number of construction projects. Read More


NYBC: Construction Among Institutions, Especially Schools, Slows


New York City’s higher learning institutions as well as its public schools have recently seen a sharp decline in new construction projects, according to a report released Thursday by the New York Building Congress.

The report, based on NYBC’s analysis of McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge data, charts a 41 percent decline in projects undertaken by public and private institutions in the city—down to $704 million in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period a year earlier. Read More


After Missing Tappan Zee Project, Dragados Looks To Regroup

Chris Ward

It wasn’t the splash Chris Ward was hoping Dragados would make in New York, a state where the Madrid-based construction company had aimed its recently-hatched aspirations at dramatically growing in the U.S.

In recent weeks, the firm had to withdraw late in the months-long bidding process to build one of the biggest infrastructure projects in the country, a $5 billion dollar replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge in Westchester – a project that has triggered outcry for the $14 round trip toll state officials say the new bridge would have to charge, a dramatic increase over the current $5 fee. Read More

Construction, The Lobby

Chris Ward Named To Building Congress Board

Chris Ward

Chris Ward was named a member of the New York Building Congress’s board of directors, the powerful industry group announced this morning.

Mr. Ward served as the Port Authority’s top New York executive for three years before leaving the large transit and infrastructure agency last year to become an executive in the Manhattan office of Dragados, a large Madrid-based construction firm. Read More