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  #21  
Old Posted Jan 13, 2014, 11:39 PM
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http://therealdeal.com/issues_articl...vy-strategist/


Witkoff: the savvy strategist
A king of strategic partnership, the developer prides himself on being able to change his real estate plans on a dime



January 01, 2014
By Adam Piore

Quote:
Witkoff learned the value of having that flexibility early on, when he purchased 10 Hanover Square from the Helmsley family in 1996 for $15 million, intending to convert it to residential, but famously changing course and leasing the entire building to Goldman Sachs. In 2005, Witkoff ultimately did convert the 23-story building into residential and then, in 2011, sold it for $260.8 million.

“We like to be able to execute on a deal in many different ways. That is the way to buy real estate,” Witkoff said.

At the moment, he’s keeping his options open at one of his splashiest deals: the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel at 36 Central Park South.
A Witkoff-led partnership — other investors include Lorber, Macklowe Properties, Highgate Holdings, and Jynwel Capital — closed on the $660 million deal in late November after securing $525 million in acquisition financing from Wells Fargo Bank and Criterion Real Estate Capital. And while rumors abound about how the investors might convert the property into luxury condos, Witkoff has said that for now, the property will remain a hotel. (Highgate specializes in luxury hospitality.)

“Right now, the whole business plan is centered around running it as a hotel,” Witkoff said. “We have the option of keeping it as a hotel and fixing up the rooms. We have the option of converting a portion … to condominiums. We have the option of buying some air rights and filling in around the hotel.”

.....it’s the project on Central Park South that has industry insiders buzzing most.

Witkoff said he expects the property as a hotel to generate an unlevered cash flow of around 4 percent of the purchase price.

Sources unconnected to the company say the Witkoff partnership has been poking around, attempting to acquire adjacent land.

“The layout is a little bit awkward for condos,” said the source. “But if they can get one or two more sites adjacent to it, it could be one of the best development sites on Earth.”


Witkoff insisted the partnership has not yet decided how to proceed.

“We just like the optionality, and it’s very, very rare, and that’s a big word for us,” Witkoff said. “It doesn’t have a long-term management contract, so there are many different ways we can go.”
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  #22  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2014, 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by NYguy View Post
http://therealdeal.com/issues_articl...vy-strategist/

“The layout is a little bit awkward for condos,” said the source. “But if they can get one or two more sites adjacent to it, it could be one of the best development sites on Earth.”
With that state of mind, he's surely going to raze the hotel! Go big or go home, I guess. Do you know if the adjacent sites are developable? Looking at the site quickly, it's good that the hotel spans all the way back to the 58th street wall-- lots to do in my eyes.
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  #23  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2014, 3:33 AM
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Originally Posted by tubeworm View Post
Looking at the site quickly, it's good that the hotel spans all the way back to the 58th street wall-- lots to do in my eyes.
The 58th Street side has the larger footprint, similar to the 220 CPS development.


Quote:
“Right now, the whole business plan is centered around running it as a hotel,” Witkoff said. “We have the option of keeping it as a hotel and fixing up the rooms. We have the option of converting a portion … to condominiums. We have the option of buying some air rights and filling in around the hotel.”

Sources unconnected to the company say the Witkoff partnership has been poking around, attempting to acquire adjacent land.
He's keeping all options on the table, but they're not stupid. Everyone can see what's happening in the area, and this is as prime as it gets. The hotel will do until they have a development plan, so it doesn't make sense to announce anything other than that.
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  #24  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2014, 8:40 PM
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Originally Posted by NYguy View Post
The 58th Street side has the larger footprint, similar to the 220 CPS development.




He's keeping all options on the table, but they're not stupid. Everyone can see what's happening in the area, and this is as prime as it gets. The hotel will do until they have a development plan, so it doesn't make sense to announce anything other than that.
Prime is the word......
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  #25  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2014, 9:23 PM
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It'd be great if 41w58 and 42 CPS could be incorporated into the project. Those are both underwhelming white brick buildings.

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  #26  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2014, 9:59 PM
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I will say that they know what they are doing here. It's too early to say that they will demolish the building, there are complicating factors, and they intend to keep the hotel running in the short term. But expect super-luxury here. That means high ceilings, and everything that comes with it.

What I DO NOT want is a glass building here.
Something the likes of 99 Church St. would be nice. Although, theres probally a good chance it will be glass. Seems glass is the norm in the 21st century.
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  #27  
Old Posted Jan 14, 2014, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by chris08876 View Post
Seems glass is the norm in the 21st century.
Not necessarily, and not here. Robert Stern is busy at working designing tall towers on either side of this one (both on and around the park).

15 Central Park West, which continues to be a top building in Manhattan isn't all glass either. I don't think you will see anything all glass directly on the park, and I don't think we should.
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  #28  
Old Posted Apr 16, 2014, 6:26 AM
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The View on Real Estate: Steve Witkoff on Helmsley Park Lane Hotel
Published on Apr 15, 2014

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  #29  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2014, 8:09 PM
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Demolition of 29 W 57th Street nearby is a disgrace, but the Park Lame will not be missed. It has always been a disappointing building, especially given its location. I agree with NYguy, though - I hope the new tower has a stone or masonry facade rather than sheer glass.
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  #30  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2014, 3:44 AM
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http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/30/ny...ects.html?_r=0

A Bid to Make the Park Lane Hotel a Landmark, but Not by the Usual Suspects





SEPT. 29, 2014
By MATT A. V CHABAN


Quote:
The masterpieces of Central Park South are myriad: The Plaza, the St. Moritz, the Gainsborough Studios and the Essex House all come to mind.

One property that barely registers is the Park Lane Hotel. Built in 1971 by Harry B. Helmsley, the hotel has stood since then as the tallest building on the three-block stretch — which is about its only distinguishing feature.

And yet a quiet campaign is in the works to secure landmark protection for the 46-story limestone and glass tower. It is not being led by the usual suspects, like preservationists, community groups or politicians. The charge, what little of it there is, is spearheaded by a TriBeCa architect who works mostly on downtown loft buildings; a real estate lawyer from Montclair, N.J.; and a former State Senate candidate from Queens who worked in the Giuliani administration.

Those following the effort are fairly certain that it has a particular purpose: halting plans to replace the hotel with yet another cloud-buster overlooking Central Park. But what remains a mystery is whether the three men are campaigning alone, or in concert with some as-yet-unknown party, perhaps a rival developer or wealthy condominium owner trying to protect his or her own valuable views of the park.

There are few words that will make a New York property owner cringe more than “landmark.” But this time, one might just be using it as a weapon against another.

“I’m astonished by this whole thing,” said Steven C. Witkoff, the developer who, with Harry B. Macklowe, bought the hotel last year for $660 million with plans to replace it eventually with an 850-foot tower. “I’m amazed anyone would think to stoop this low.”

The Park Lane was the flagship of the Helmsley hotel empire when it opened, a popular haunt for Led Zeppelin and Farrah Fawcett. But its architect, Richard Roth Jr., said in an interview that Mr. Helmsley was also after what everyone of a certain stripe now wants — a penthouse with stunning park views. He was hoping to impress his girlfriend, the future Leona Helmsley, then a broker at Douglas Elliman, who would go on to be known as the Queen of Mean.

Mr. Roth’s work, along with the chandeliers, marble and velvet installed by the decorator Tom Lee, are among the reasons outlined in a report arguing for the preservation of the property: “The Park Lane Hotel, a substantial building by a major midcentury architect working with a prominent developer in direct response to changes in zoning and architectural design, is clearly, substantially, qualitatively different than many of the typical contributing buildings.”

The report was prepared by a preservation consulting firm for John Furth Peachy, the TriBeCa architect, who submitted it to the Landmarks Preservation Commission on March 31. The commission rejected the request with a one-line response the next month: “After a careful evaluation, the Commission determined that 36 Central Park South does not rise to the level of an individual landmark, based on its lack of architectural significance.”

Even Mr. Roth, who was a third-generation partner of the noted firm Emery Roth & Sons, agreed it was not worth saving.

“I certainly would have picked other Emery Roth buildings first,” said Mr. Roth, 81. “It’s not even a particularly great building.”

After the landmarks commission setback, Juan Reyes, a former lawyer in the Giuliani administration who is now in private practice, began reaching out to various politicians and civic groups. Councilman Daniel R. Garodnick’s office said that until Community Board 5 supported the campaign, the councilman would withhold judgment.

Still, Mr. Reyes continued to reach out to Mr. Garodnick’s office, while also talking with the community board, Gale Brewer, the Manhattan borough president, and others. At times, he would suggest to one party that he had another’s support, only for the parties to find that that was not the case, according to numerous officials contacted by Mr. Reyes.

The community board was hesitant to give the preservation request a public hearing, since it had already approved Mr. Witkoff’s plans in February.


This month, Mr. Reyes did meet with a few board members, according to two people who were present. They said he brought along Mr. Peachy and William I. Kaplan, another real estate lawyer, who showed photos of his historic home in Montclair as proof of his passion for preservation.

According to the two people who were present, Mr. Kaplan said his love of the hotel came from time spent in Manhattan caring for his sick father, when he often walked in the park and gazed at the hotel.

“None of it made sense,” said one board member, who insisted on anonymity because the meeting was supposed to be private. “We assumed they were working for someone, but it was all so clumsy.”

Mr. Reyes has also reached out to numerous civic groups for support, but has won over none. Tara Kelly, director of Friends of the Upper East Side, did send a letter to the landmarks commission requesting a public hearing, but she said it was mostly just a courtesy to Mr. Reyes. “I don’t know if the Park Lane is on anybody’s to-do list,” she said.

Neither Mr. Reyes, who was in the news in 2012 when a flier from his campaign for the State Senate accused his Republican primary opponent of being “gay-friendly” (Mr. Reyes, who apologized for the mailing, lost), nor Mr. Kaplan responded to several phone calls and emails seeking comment.

Mr. Peachy, the architect, is starting what he calls a “grass-roots campaign” called Save the Park Lane. He said in an interview in his TriBeCa studio that the hotel was not only a historic building, but one of the few left for the average New Yorker on the park.

“You can get a room or a meal for a fair price, and the views from the restaurant there on the second floor are some of the best,” he said.

But he had never set foot in the hotel, he acknowledged, until this year, when he started working on the campaign, for which he is being paid his standard fee by Mr. Kaplan.

And yet their efforts might just succeed, if not in stopping the project, then in drawing opposition to it. The community board has acceded to Mr. Reyes’s request and agreed to hold a public hearing on the matter Oct. 6.

When it comes to landmarks, “the personal or selfish interests, those always play a role,” Mr. Peachy said. “But that doesn’t mean our goals can’t align.”


Community board's resolution to support the redevelopment:

http://www.cb5.org/cb5/resolutions/f...pplication_for


Quote:
BSA # 116-68-BZ, application for modification to an existing special permit at 40 Central Park South.

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday, February 11, 2014, the following resolution was unanimously passed:

WHEREAS, The applicant, 40 CPS Associates LLC, is requesting approval for the transfer of excess development rights from 40 Central Park South (CPS) to 36 CPS, permitting a merger into a single zoning lot; and

WHEREAS, The site is located on a block (Block 1274) bounded by West 58th Street to the south, Central Park South to the north, Fifth Avenue to the east, and Sixth Avenue to the west; and

WHEREAS, This application seeks a modification of an existing variance which was granted to permit an eating and drinking establishment in a residential district; and

WHEREAS, The requested actions are sought in connection with the potential construction of a new building at 36 CPS with a height of approximately 850 feet; and

WHEREAS, The action would allow for the transfer of approximately 52,000 square feet of unused developments rights from 40 CPS to 36 CPS; and

WHEREAS, Much of the additional floor area being transferred is generated through the inclusionary housing bonus; and

WHEREAS, The new building which the applicant is considering building will otherwise comply with existing zoning; and

WHEREAS, BSA approval is only needed for this zoning lot merger because an underlying variance is in place for the restaurant use. If no restaurant existed on the 40 CPS site then no BSA approval would be needed for the construction of a new building at 36 CPS with 40 CPS air rights; and

WHEREAS, The Board continues to be very concerned about the proliferation of towers along the southern edge of Central Park and other open spaces and the balance of public and private benefit associated with these buildings; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five is developing a more detailed policy statement which reflects our concerns about a more appropriate balance of public and private benefits in the context of new development and will examine a range of issues including: the impacts on open space of new development, an urban design framework which protects parks, the utility of the R-10 inclusionary housing bonus, the tax structure for these new hyper luxury apartment buildings, among other issues; and

WHEREAS, The applicant team has demonstrated a willingness to engage with the Community Board in many of these larger and more challenging questions and has been open and transparent with information about their proposed building; and

WHEREAS, The applicant has agreed to the conditions outlined below; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of this application with the following conditions:

1) The applicant's inclusionary housing development partner will appear in front of the Education, Housing and Human Services Committee of Community Board Five as soon as detailed information is available about the off-site use of the inclusionary housing bonus.

2) If the applicants were to merge with additional zoning lots that the applicant commits to return to the Community Board and Board of Standards and Appeals for a subsequent modification of their special permit. This modification only permits the use of 40 Central Park South air rights.

The applicant agrees to continue a discussion with Community Board Five about the design of the building as the design process unfolds.


With additional development rights, the project would rise beyond 850 ft.
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Last edited by NYguy; Sep 30, 2014 at 3:58 AM.
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  #31  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2014, 3:49 AM
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The park lane is a turd...a blemish on the city.
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  #32  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2014, 3:53 AM
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There was rumors of another condo behind this building iirc...
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  #33  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2014, 8:50 AM
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If the applicants were to merge with additional zoning lots that the applicant commits to return to the Community Board and Board of Standards and Appeals for a subsequent modification of their special permit. This modification only permits the use of 40 Central Park South air rights.

This site directly borders Central Park, so 850 ft is a pretty big deal. I don't think they need to go much higher, but if they do acquire additional rights, I can see this joining the supertall club.

Using those cityrealty renders, this is how an 850 ft tower would blend in, main shaft facing the park...







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  #34  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2014, 2:02 PM
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[QUOTE=NYguy;6748883]This site directly borders Central Park, so 850 ft is a pretty big deal. I don't think they need to go much higher, but if they do acquire additional rights, I can see this joining the supertall club.

Using those cityrealty renders, this is how an 850 ft tower would blend in, main shaft facing the park...




This may be a taboo statement, but that is way too tall for its location. It should stay low rise with its immediate neighbors and maintain the charm of the block. Oh well, lets just hope it's not square and glass...
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  #35  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2014, 2:05 PM
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Those are all high rises though (12 floors or greater by most definitions). I think the area has lost the ability to become a shrine to the past. With all of the supertalls and skyscrapers rising within the vicinity, this tower won't really have such a profound impact. The focus will be on the other towers along 57th street. Either way, the idea of preservation is a losing battle, especially in an area of such demand.
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  #36  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2014, 2:43 PM
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So we know 36 CPS will be 850 ft.

The real story here is what will be built behind 36 CPS. Obviously the site has no chance whatsoever to be landmarked, and even the NIMBYs aren't involved in this one, so we know competing developers are funding the campaign.

Which means something very tall is planned for the sites directly behind 36 CPS, where Solow has an assemblage, and the Hadassah site has been sold.
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  #37  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2014, 6:08 PM
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Originally Posted by mistermetAJ View Post
This may be a taboo statement, but that is way too tall for its location. It should stay low rise with its immediate neighbors and maintain the charm of the block. Oh well, lets just hope it's not square and glass...
It would be nice if they can do what 220CPS is doing, where there is a shorter tower fronting the park, and the main tower behind it.
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  #38  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2014, 7:25 PM
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^I'm hoping for that as well. I think it's likely that is how it will turn out.
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  #39  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2014, 8:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
The real story here is what will be built behind 36 CPS. Obviously the site has no chance whatsoever to be landmarked, and even the NIMBYs aren't involved in this one, so we know competing developers are funding the campaign.

Which means something very tall is planned for the sites directly behind 36 CPS, where Solow has an assemblage, and the Hadassah site has been sold.
There is the site directly behind (south) of this site, the Vornado controlled 31 W. 57th development wich will be an extremely high end hotel, and the site south of that, but offset a little to the west, 16 W. 57th, which would need to stretch up just to get over the Solow building.

But this just goes to show how much the landmarking process has become a tool of those who want to stop development. There's no chance in hell this thing will get landmarked, yet it's a last ditch attempt to halt the new tower.

Quote:
“I’m astonished by this whole thing,” said Steven C. Witkoff, the developer who, with Harry B. Macklowe, bought the hotel last year for $660 million with plans to replace it eventually with an 850-foot tower. “I’m amazed anyone would think to stoop this low.”
It's a rough world, and it's war in the NYC real estate game. Vornado had a similar feud with Extell that worked out for both in the end.

Still, the CB has a hearing on the request for potential landmarking on October 6th...
http://www.cb5.org/cb5/calendar/october2014/




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Originally Posted by scalziand View Post
It would be nice if they can do what 220CPS is doing, where there is a shorter tower fronting the park, and the main tower behind it.
That can happen as well, especially since the 58th street side has a wider frontage. The main shaft can rise on that side, while the 59th street side can keep in scale with the remaining towers. The air rights for the ugly building next door are being used up, so it'll be with us forever. Maybe they will acquire air rights from the building directly to the east, or potentially the Plaza itself. No more height really needed for park views, but there's also the other side of the coin, the fantastic Midtown views that the other towers will have. We'll see.
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  #40  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2014, 9:44 PM
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A more down to earth view of the Park Lane, and future neighbors...


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