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  #1  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2011, 11:58 AM
RobertWalpole RobertWalpole is offline
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Smile NEW YORK | 516 5th Ave | FT | FLOORS

Sadly, some nice old structures at Fifth Ave. and 43rd Street will be razed.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...TSecondStories

Fifth Avenue's New Anchor
Thor Equities Plans Megaproject That Will Include Retail and Residential

By CRAIG KARMIN

Thor Equities is planning to build a new retail, hotel and residential complex in midtown, giving fresh momentum to a stretch of Fifth Avenue already making strides toward becoming a fashionable new shopping destination.


Thor Equities

A rendering of the retail component of the Thor Equities project
.The development and management company, already a major investor in Manhattan retail property, has agreed to acquire three connected buildings at 516 to 520 Fifth Avenue and 43rd street from developer RFR for an undisclosed price.

Thor plans to raze the properties and erect a glass box structure that will be the retail base for a 350,000 square foot building. Joseph Sitt, chief executive officer, said the firm is already in discussions with hotel companies and residential developers to team up with Thor or buy pieces of the project.Hurdles still remain, including Mr. Sitt's need to raise financing for the development which could cost around $250 million, according to industry estimates. Construction loans have been hard to come by in today's weak economy.

But Mr. Sitt, a Brooklyn-born developer, has been on a roll lately, buying the Palmer House Hilton Hotel in Chicago and top retail properties in London, Mexico City and New York. He's also a major player in the outer boroughs with investments in Coney Island and a proposed big-box retail project near Gravesend Bay.

Separately, Mr. Sitt said he also has signed a contract to acquire a building at 445 Fifth Ave., near 39th Street. Thor already is talking to retailers to move in when the existing lease expires in two years, Mr. Sitt said.

Thor is making a big bet that the world's big-name stores and high-priced rents will continue to drift south on Fifth Avenue. For years, the hottest addresses have been between 49th and 59th streets, the home of stores such as Tiffany and Saks Fifth Avenue. Average asking rents along this strip have soared about 50% since 2008 to around peak levels of about $2,100 a square foot, putting it among the world's most expensive shopping districts.

But until recently, shopping south of 49th Street on Fifth Avenue was more downscale. The street was dotted with discount stores, souvenir shops and electronics kiosks, as well as a number of locations that stayed vacant for years.

That began to change about three years ago as bigger landlords such as Vornado Realty Trust and RFR acquired buildings and leased their retail spaces to national and foreign brand names, like Zara.

This year five retailers, including Guess, Joe Fresh and Tommy Bahama, opened stores on the strip of Fifth below 49th street. British clothier Ted Baker plans to open a store next year, moving into a spot that was a Sprint outlet.

Mr. Sitt hopes the trend will continue and even extend south of 42nd Street, which gets much less foot traffic. He believes he can attract traditional Fifth Avenue shoppers as well as the crowds that frequent the area around the Empire State Building at 34th street.

"We're seeing a dramatic shift on Fifth Avenue down to 42nd street," Mr. Sitt says. "And we expect it will expand further, stretching like a rubber band down Fifth to the mid 30s."

One attraction: lower rents. They run around $600 to $800 a foot on Fifth Avenue in the 40s, but $350 to $400 a foot below 40th Street, says Faith Hope Consolo, head of Prudential Douglas Elliman's retail group.

"This will appeal to retailers that want a Fifth Avenue address but don't want to pay upper Fifth prices," Ms. Consolo says.

Other investors also are being drawn to Fifth Avenue south of 49th St. Hotels such as Cassa, Setai Fifth Avenue and Andaz opened recently in the area.

In October, Jamestown Properties and Rockwood Capital joined Murray Hill Properties and Crown Acquisitions in agreeing to buy 530 Fifth Avenue, at 45th Street, for $200 million in equity and assuming $220 million in debt.

Where upper Fifth is marked by upscale retailers with elegant displays, "it's more of a youth market on this stretch of Fifth," says Ms. Consolo, referring to the strip south of 49th Street. "It's closer to a mall type of tenant."

For Thor Equities, the recent deals further solidify its status as a major player on the avenue. Mr. Sitt owns or has agreed to acquire eight addresses on Fifth, which he says is more than any other operator. He added that he is negotiations to acquire another Fifth Avenue property.

All but one of these properties are below 49th street. Last year Thor acquired the trophy Takashimaya building between 54th and 55th streets on Fifth after submitting a winning $142 million bid. Forever 21, the Los Angeles-based apparel retailer, signed a short-term lease for the space last fall.

Mr. Sitt said the Forever 21 lease ends in the spring and that he is talks with another possible tenant for the space. While he has spoken with several candidates, brokers say the building's confined ground floor and other eccentricities may have discouraged some potential tenants.

Write to Craig Karmin at craig.karmin@wsj.com
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  #2  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2011, 1:27 PM
yankeesfan1000 yankeesfan1000 is offline
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That's too bad. Don't know much about this developer, but the location certainly merits a nice design. Hopefully it's not just a giant glass box like were getting on 5th and 26th or whatever.
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  #3  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2011, 2:13 PM
RobertWalpole RobertWalpole is offline
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RFR planned to build a 700 foot tal glass box designed by Pelli before the economy crashed. As I recall, it was not approved.
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  #4  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2011, 3:06 PM
Crawford Crawford is offline
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This tower will likely be quite tall. At least 700 ft.

Though we better get a good design. This is a very prominent location. It demands a world-class tower design.
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  #5  
Old Posted Dec 5, 2011, 6:31 PM
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Dylan Leblanc Dylan Leblanc is offline
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Here's a view of the site. Nice old building - http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=516+5th...D6LByw7n4MCsOg
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  #6  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2011, 12:56 AM
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A bit closer view of the old buildings' base and detail: http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=516+5th...rluRz_KGw&z=17
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  #7  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2011, 1:45 AM
RobertWalpole RobertWalpole is offline
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This was Rosen's proposed tower. It was not approved by the LPC. Hopefully, it will be canned and not just modified.


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  #8  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2011, 3:31 AM
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reencharles reencharles is offline
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But what is the problem with this sucker. This idiot wants to ruin the city with this trash box.
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  #9  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2011, 3:37 AM
RobertWalpole RobertWalpole is offline
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Hopefully, something nicer will be designed. The LPC rejected that project because they wanted more stone, as I recall.
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  #10  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2011, 4:33 AM
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Those old buildings won't be a big lost, but in their place should be a more deserving elegant tower than what was and is currently proposed.
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  #11  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2011, 5:32 AM
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So this site falls under the jurisdiction of the LPC? Is there any chance the LPC will just shoot down Sitt and make him leave this corner alone?
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  #12  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2011, 11:53 AM
RobertWalpole RobertWalpole is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamilton View Post
So this site falls under the jurisdiction of the LPC? Is there any chance the LPC will just shoot down Sitt and make him leave this corner alone?
None.
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  #13  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2011, 1:20 PM
Crawford Crawford is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hamilton View Post
So this site falls under the jurisdiction of the LPC? Is there any chance the LPC will just shoot down Sitt and make him leave this corner alone?
The site isn't landmarked, but Landmarks has some limited role in the design, because it also involves an air rights transfer from a nearby landmarked site.
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  #14  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2011, 3:19 PM
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This is just a boring filler tower. I wouldn't expect much creativity on this one, most likely its intended to showcase whatever retail brand will enter the space. If we're lucky we will get some limestone at the base.
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  #15  
Old Posted Dec 6, 2011, 3:41 PM
Danielson27 Danielson27 is offline
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Can someone explain to me how that 5 story box at 510 madison( across the street) got landmarked? How can that get landmarked while these beautiful old buildings sit unprotected?
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  #16  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2011, 11:33 AM
RobertWalpole RobertWalpole is offline
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  #17  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2011, 5:27 PM
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Quote:
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Can someone explain to me how that 5 story box at 510 madison( across the street) got landmarked? How can that get landmarked while these beautiful old buildings sit unprotected?
Agreed. I personally think 5th Avenue should be landmarked. This proposal is a disgusting disgrace IMO. Tearing down vintage New York City streetscapes is to build a glass retail boxes is not what this town should be about.
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  #18  
Old Posted Apr 17, 2012, 3:50 AM
RobertWalpole RobertWalpole is offline
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http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2012/0...l_terminal.php

Fun With Urban Planning
Bloomberg Pushing for Rezoning Near Grand Central Terminal
Monday, April 16, 2012, by Sara Polsky
Share on email0As Mayor Bloomberg's third term draws to a close, the administration is pushing for a rezoning of the Grand Central neighborhood while it still has the chance. The rezoning would encompass the area between Fifth and Third avenues and East 39th and East 59th streets. It "would be a linchpin of [Bloomberg's] legacy," one unnamed business official tells the Daily News, and it would also have significant implications for Grand Central-area development. Such as?

If the rezoning went through as Bloomberg imagines, it would allow area developers to build up to the height of the Chrysler Building, which one city zoning expert says would make buildings around Grand Central an average of 20 percent to 30 percent larger. A city planning spokesperson says only that the administration is considering the plan now and that it will take a few months to finalize. In the meantime, fantasy renderings of a taller Midtown welcomed to the Curbed inbox.

Last edited by RobertWalpole; Apr 17, 2012 at 4:14 AM.
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  #19  
Old Posted Apr 26, 2012, 10:01 PM
RobertWalpole RobertWalpole is offline
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News about this was posted on the 25 April 2012 editions of The Real Deal and Curbed.
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  #20  
Old Posted Dec 20, 2012, 9:33 PM
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Barbarossa Barbarossa is offline
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I walked by today, and saw all three of the corner buildings covered in black tarp, with the sounds of demolition workers tooling around at the top. They'll be coming down soon.
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