Volume 22, Number 23 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | October 16 - 22, 2009
Trump almost there
The controversial Trump Soho condo-hotel at Spring and Varick Sts. is expected to open in February, nearly four years after developers first announced the ambitious high-rise project.
The glass-paneled, 42-story building — which has weathered protests from neighborhood preservationists over its size and operation, lawsuits from local civic organizations and the death of a construction worker at the site in early 2007 — is slated to debut on Feb. 1, said Julius Schwarz, executive vice president of Bayrock Group, the project’s co-developer along with the Trump and Sapir organizations.
“We’re moving full speed,” he said of hitting the target opening date. “Everyone’s very excited.”
The building’s in-house restaurant, Quattro, and bar spaces will also be up and running by the opening, but other portions of the building — like the spa center — might have to wait a bit longer, Schwarz added.
“We’re by far and away being booked at a higher percentage than any other hotel,” he said, citing figures he’s gathered from online hotel booking agencies. “That should bode well for the future.”
Trump Soho also recently launched a new Web site, trumpsohohotelcountdown.com, featuring Trump scion Ivanka offering a come-hither stare and encouraging would-be guests to enter a contest for the chance to win a free two-night stay at the skyscraper.
As for the number of units sold in the building — which residents can only stay in 120 days per year, and no more than 29 days straight — Schwarz referred to recent statements by the developer putting the high-rise at about 55 percent sold.
“We still have some contracts that are coming in, but the velocity has certainly slowed,” he acknowledged of sales at the building, which has boasted prices as high as $3,000 per square foot. “I do expect after opening the velocity is going to pick up again. I think it’s going to create quite an impression on people.”
A Wall St. company will move 1,600 employees to new offices across the Hudson in New Jersey, dealing another blow to Lower Manhattan’s struggling financial industry.
The Depository Trust and Clearing Corp. will reportedly move the employees from its headquarters at 55 Water St. to Jersey City by 2013, thanks to an incentive package valued at more than $90 million. The firm will take over 415,000 square feet of space formerly leased by JPMorgan Chase in Jersey City, but will still retain 700 jobs at its Water St. headquarters.
The city and state had made overtures to the Trust to try to get them to stay, but a final, $14.6 million grant offered by New Jersey through economic stimulus funds reportedly sealed the deal.
What would Jane say?
The former West Village home of revolutionary preservationist Jane Jacobs has reportedly sold for more than $3 million.
The nondescript Hudson St. property — a three-story townhouse featuring retail space on the ground floor and a two-story duplex above — acted as Jacobs’s workshop while she penned the classic “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” and fought Robert Moses on his grand plans for Lower Manhattan.
According to the real estate blog Curbed, the building, between W. 11th and Perry Sts. — where the street corner was recently co-named Jane Jacobs Way — sold for $3.325 million after the asking price dropped from an initial $3.5 million. The townhouse sits in the Greenwich Village Historic District, keeping it safe from demolition or major alterations, but does include nearly 1,500 buildable square feet.
Longtime preservationist Doris Diether, the city’s longest-serving community board member, worked closely with Jacobs during their battles against major development initiatives. She reminded the buyer that any plan to build at the site would first have to pass through Community Board 2’s Zoning Committee, which she co-chairs.
“Quite often people run into me on the committee and aren’t that happy,” Diether joked of her preservation predilections. “I think they should preserve the front of the building the way it is and probably part of the inside, too,” she added. “That has significance for [Jacobs].”
But when told of the price tag, Diether gasped, echoing Jacobs’s likely reaction to the sale price. “She’d probably be startled, too,” Diether said.
Trinity Wall Street has named a new chief financial officer and executive vice president to oversee the company’s real estate finances, it announced last week.
Stacy R. Brandom, a former CFO for Citi Smith Barney and JPMorgan Chase, will also supervise Trinity’s offices of corporate controller, treasury and investments, human resources and technology information, among others.
“As C.F.O. and executive vice president, she will provide the highest quality financial and business counsel to the entire Trinity organization including the Vestry, the senior executive team, and myself ensuring that the financial resources of the parish are optimally employed in support of our mission objectives,” said the Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, rector of Trinity Wall Street.
Brandom, 52, most recently worked as the managing advisor for Brandom Advisors, L.L.C., providing financial advice to individuals, families and small businesses. She earned an M.B.A. in finance and marketing from Northwestern University and an undergraduate business degree from the University of North Texas.
Brandom succeeds Steven Duggan, who recently retired after six years with Trinity Wall Street.