Volume 18 • Issue 10 | July 29 - August 4, 2005

Under Cover

Drilling Downtown
Home Improvement buffs may soon have a new oasis of drill bits and sheetrock Downtown. Home Depot, the famous orange box retailer has its eye on a third Manhattan location: 26 Broadway, a 100,000 sq. ft. space at Morris St., a hop, skip and a jump from Daffy’s discount clothing mega-store. “It’s coming together,” said retail guru Faith Hope Consolo, chairperson of retail sales and leasing for Prudential Douglas Elliman. Consolo expects the home improvement giant to choose between the Broadway location and an undisclosed Upper West Side locale by next week.

The Devil in Soho
The devil may soon be holed up in a Soho loft. UnderCover hears that scenes from “The Devil Wears Prada” will be filmed in a soon-to-be-determined loft. The film is an adaptation of Lauren Weisberger’s 2003 bland novel loosely based on her year as a beleaguered assistant for Vogue’s venomous editor Anna Wintour. We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for sightings of Meryl Streep (who will be playing the role of Miranda Priestly a.k.a. Ice Queen) and Anne Hathaway frolicking about the neighborhood between shoots.

Tribeca triangle
Douglaston Development just got a green light to transform a Tribeca street corner into a luxury condo development. The triangle where Canal, Greenwich and Watts Sts. meet will soon transform into a 21-unit residence with 2,000 sq. ft. of retail space on the ground floor. Designed by Greenberg Farrow Architects, ground is expected to break on the 40,000 sq. ft. free standing building in the late fall. Dubbed 475 Greenwich St., a spokesperson for the developer said the project is expected to take 18 months to complete now that the Board of Standards and Appeals has given the go ahead to plant a residential development in a manufacturing district.

Douglaston, steered by Jeffrey Levine, is not the first developer to lay his eyes on the neglected triangle. Fabian Friedland paraded plans for an 8-story, 19-unit residential conversion, designed by architect Shael Shapiro, to B.S.A. in 2003, but the project never came to pass.

Forget the Freedom Tower
Having doubts about David Childs’ Freedom Tower? You’re not alone. An Arizona architect has plans for a freedom tower of his own and he’s been peddling it around local New York City news outlets and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

The design – two white spiraling towers surrounded by shorter, tiara-like towers – is the brainchild of Phoenix architect George James Ducas who did not have his architecture license in time for the World Trade Center design competition. “I really didn’t know who to send it to, to tell you the honest truth,” Ducas told UnderCover.

Ducas is not so keen on Childs’ revised tower, which many have likened to a fortress. “I’m much less excited about the new one they have going. There should be something that people will really like to see there,” he said.

If things don’t work out with the memorial Reflecting Absence, Ducas has a memorial of his own to go with his spiraling freedom towers, which are 1,776 feet and a staggering 2,001 feet tall. “I’m not saying that I have the best idea in the world.”

Ducas, a native of Dallas, is not entirely unfamiliar with the whims of New Yorkers. He worked in Yonkers designing a new school building for the city’s Board of Education “during whatever year 9/11 happened.”

“I worked in New York and I know how the people are, I think they’re very patriotic and down to earth,” he said.

He’s showed his design, which is “like the gateway to freedom,” to the L.M.D.C. The corporation wrote him back, he said. They aren’t accepting any new designs.

Don’t leave W.T.C. without it
Larry Silverstein has finally found someone to move into one half of a floor of his 52-story 7 World Trade Center. The developer is in the final stages of negotiations with American Express Financial Advisors for a 15-year lease for about 20,000 sq. ft. of the David Childs-designed tower.

Silverstein still has a long way to go before his 1.7 million sq. ft. property is full. But since the New York State Legislature passed an attractive incentive package to eliminate commercial rent-tax for World Trade Center tenants and created a state rent subsidy for 7 W.T.C. tenants – Silverstein must match the subsidy – his vacant glass and steel tower is looking more attractive by the hour.


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