Volume 22, Number 36 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | January 15 - 21, 2010
By Patrick Hedlund
100 Church auctioned
The citys largest office landlord, SL Green Realty Corp., won control of the property at 100 Church St. that includes more than a half-million square feet of vacant office space.
The real estate investment company beat out the current owner, Sapir Organization, which had defaulted on loans associated with the high-rise, at auction with a bid of $10,000, according to reports. An SL Green affiliate held at least $30 million in mezzanine debt attached with the building that any competing bidder would have had to offer at minimum for the office tower.
The 1.13-million-square-foot, 21-story building, between Park Pl. and Barclay St., had been undergoing extensive renovations as part of a $30 million capital improvement program. However, it has had trouble attracting new tenants since 9/11.
SL Green reportedly purchased its interest in the mezzanine debt from Wachovia Corp. in 2007, and the bank still holds a $145 million first mortgage on the property. Sapir handed over control of leasing and management at the property to SL Green in August after failing to make loan payments of at least $85 million to SL Green and another lender, according to reports.
Hard-hat deaths down
The number of construction-related fatalities in the city dropped significantly last year, going from 19 in 2008 to just three in 2009, according to the Department of Buildings.
The city counted 12 construction-related deaths in 2007 and 18 in 2006, making last year one of the safest in recent memory.
The real estate bust undoubtedly contributed to the decrease, with initial permits issued for major construction projects down 33 percent last year.
While the tough economic times have slowed down construction, more contractors, developers and licensed professionals are integrating safety into their practices, and this city is a safer place for it, said D.O.B. Commissioner Robert LiMandri in a statement.
LiMandri took over for former D.O.B. Commissioner Patricia Lancaster when she resigned from the post following a deadly crane collapse on the East Side in 2008. After she left, an investigation by District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, revealed that inexperienced inspectors serving under Lancaster did not identify basic safety problems that led to the deaths of two firefighters in the former Deutsche Bank building in 2007.
D.O.B. noted that two of the 2009 deaths came as a result of workers not properly using a required safety harness.
The total number of reported construction accidents rose from 151 in 2008 to 224 in 2009, the department noted, and the total number of reported injuries rose from 178 in 2008 to 246 in 2009. According to D.O.B., the increase in accident reporting exemplifies that more industry members understand the importance of construction safety and the need for change within the industrys culture.
Hudson Sq. news
A new cafe/newsstand inked a deal for nearly 1,500 square feet of ground-floor space on Varick St.
Hudson Square Mart signed a 12-year lease for the space at 225 Varick St., between Carmine and Downing Sts., joining retailers HSBC, Lucy Brownes and New York Sports Club at the address.
Asking rent for the space in the block-long, 12-story office building was in the mid-$50s per square foot, according to property landlord Trinity Real Estate.
The new tenants operate a similar shop, Baja News Cafe, in Midtown.
Stacey Kelz of Mogull Realty represented Hudson Square Mart, and Tom Lynch represented Trinity Real Estate in the deal.
Bleecker St. battle
South Village preservationists scored a victory when the city recently ruled that a plan to construct an eight-story building on an otherwise low-rise stretch of Bleecker St. does not conform to the character of the neighborhood.
According to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, whose members rallied in front of the now-demolished, five-story row house at 178 Bleecker St. last October, the Department of Buildings intends to revoke the permits it previously granted the developer to erect a roughly 80-foot-tall building on the narrow lot.
The former 1861 row house sat on a lot that is only 22 feet wide, and the citys sliver law dictates that buildings narrower than 45 feet cannot be constructed taller than the width of the streets they face. Bleecker St. is registered as 60 feet wide, making the proposed eight stories or about 80 feet in violation of the law.
The property also backs up to the MacDougal-Sullivan Gardens Historic District, bounded by Bleecker, MacDougal, Sullivan and Houston Sts., an area G.V.S.H.P. claims would be negatively affected by a new structure nearly twice the size of its surrounding buildings.
The preservation group had fought unsuccessfully to landmark 178 Bleecker St. before its demolition as part of a larger push to designate 800 buildings over 38 blocks as the South Village Historic District. As of now, however, the city Landmarks Preservation Commission has only surveyed the blocks west of Sixth Ave. for possible designation.
The developer of 178 Bleecker St. now has 15 days to reply to the citys ruling before a final decision is made.
Support our print edition advertisers!
Downtown Express is published by Community Media LLC. | 145 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10013 |
Phone: (212) 229-1890 | Fax: (212) 229-2790 | Advertising: 646-452-2465
© 2009 Community Media, LLC
Written permission of the publisher must be obtained before
any of the contents of this newspaper, in whole or in part,
can be reproduced.