Saturday, 30 April 2016

Pulaski Bridge Bike Lane Is Now Open

It Turns Out There’s Room in Downtown Brooklyn

Welcome to It Happened One Weekend, our weekly roundup of The New York Times real estate section...

The Hunt: Every "The Hunt" column begins with the Hunters describing the apartment they want, and ends with them rationalizing whatever they came away with. This is The Hunt: Dreams vs. Reality

The Hunters: A family of four looking to find the proper amount of space.


Dream: $1.2 million

Reality: $789,000


Dream: Gramercy

Reality: Downtown Brooklyn


Dream: Combining apartments

Reality: Two-bedroom


Ava was renting a fifth floor walk-up in Manhattan, but got tired of it and bought a one-bedroom co-op near Gramercy Park. She eventually met and married Alex, who moved in, temporarily renting his place until selling it. They had two kids and gave them their bedroom, making a bedroom for themselves in the living room. It was too small. They wanted to combine their unit with their neighbors’, but they never budged. They wanted to stay nearby, but available units were too low (too noisy) and with their budget, the Upper East and Upper West sides were out of the question, especially with a dog. A house in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn would have been too much to keep cool, even with a rental apartment in it. They looked in Flatbush, but there was no supermarket. They ended up in a two-bedroom at Concord Village in Downtown Brooklyn. They’ve done $45,000 in renovations, but it’s not as noisy as they feared and it’s less formal than their Gramercy pad. The doorman held their toddler’s hands to help him down the stairs. [The Hunt/When an Expansion Dream Fizzles, Brooklyn Calls]


Jehovah’s Witnesses Selling Even More Brooklyn Property

The dormitory building at 107 Columbia Heights is now on the market

It was only a couple of weeks ago that the Jehovah’s Witnesses sold their iconic headquarters building, known as the Watchtower, and another property to developers Jared Kushner, Aby Rosen, and LIVWRK. It turns out that they also put another property on the market that same week. 107 Columbia Heights, a former dormitory for JW volunteers in Brooklyn Heights, is up for grabs, Brownstoner reported. The 154,000-square-foot structure dates to 1959 and exceeds current zoning, which means it’s unlikely to be torn down by who ever scoops it up. It is connected to other Jehovah’s Witnesses properties via underground tunnels.

The sale of the Watchtower at 25-30 Columbia Heights and the property at 85 Jay Street was reported at $700 million. 107 Columbia Heights is valued at $1,201 per square foot, according to PropertyShark data analyzed by Brownstoner, meaning it could go for as much as $185 million. As for the Jehovah’s Witnesses, they are making an exodus from Brooklyn to establish a new headquarters in Warwick, N.Y. That’s in Orange County.

Jehovah’s Witnesses Put Yet Another Building on the Market in Brooklyn Heights [Brownstoner]

Big-Name Developers Behind $700M Deal for Jehovah’s Witnesses Brooklyn HQ [Curbed]

Development Team To Buy Jehovah’s Witnesses’ 11-Story Headquarters At 25-30 Columbia Heights, Vacant Site At 85 Jay Street [YIMBY]


Friday, 29 April 2016

Great Value in New Development Condo on UES Gold Coast

Sun-drenched triple mint 4 BR, 3.5 BA between Madison and Park*
High-end finishes, Lower maintenance, Superb concierge services*
Custom storage, Built-in desks, Second entrance with mud room
[30 E. 65th St - Corcoran, 212.323.3214]*


Unusual Chelsea Loft Comes With Custom Built-Ins For $939,000

NYC's Largest Residential Passive House Will Rise in Mott Haven

Will bring 241 fully affordable apartments to the neighborhood

A former public school in Mott Haven will soon be transformed into the city's largest residential passive house — and what's more, it will be fully affordable. The former P.S. 31 building at 425 Grand Concourse is set to be transformed into a 24-story building with 241 apartments for low and moderate-income families.

"We welcome this proposal as a wonderful addition to our growing affordable housing portfolio – and a model for all housing development in New York’s future," Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press release.

The project is being developed by Trinity Financial and MBD Community Housing Corporation who won a competitive Request For Proposals (RFP) set forth by the city. The project is part of de Blasio's Housing New York plan that seeks to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing in the next 10 years.

The project is not just restricted to housing. Plans also call for the creation of an 11,000 square foot supermarket on the ground floor, which will be located next to a cultural space and a social services facility. The floor above that will have a 44,480 square foot charter school.

In order to build such a large-scale project in the neighborhood, the developers will need to seek a zoning change, which in turn will activate the newly created Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) law. That means that 25 percent of the units in the building will be permanently affordable.

As part of the construction, the city will also rehabilitate and reopen the nearby Garrison Playground, which has fallen into disrepair over the years.

Future residents of the building will have access to amenities like laundry on each floor, a community room, and a landscaped roof terrace.

What makes the building environmentally conscious is the fact that it will have solar-shading devices, water saving features, and individual energy controls and energy efficient appliances in the apartments. When complete, the building will use 70 percent less energy than conventional buildings.


Fort Greene's 32-Story BAM South Tower Nears Completion

WTC Transportation Hub Could Get an Opening Ceremony in May

Port Authority may finally christen the $4 billion transit center

The World Trade Center Transportation Hub officially opened back in March (well, at least part of it did), but due to a variety of factors—timing, the Port Authority's problems with the whole boondoggle, the generally meh reviews of Santiago Calatrava's creation—no grand ringing-in was held for the space at the time. (Well, and because executive director Pat Foye raised his concerns with the $4 billion project, calling it a "symbol of excess.")

But the agency eventually promised that a ceremony would be held eventually, and Politico reports that it could happen in the next few weeks. Chairman John Degnan told Politico that PA is "hoping for a ceremony of some sort in May in connection with the board meeting," which takes place on May 26.

In other WTC Hub news, a historian has proposed naming the transit center after Alexander Hamilton, because Hamilton fever has apparently infiltrated every single part of New Yorkers' daily lives. (And hey, he's buried nearby—it's not like it's that weird of an idea.)


Plans For Manhattan's Highbridge Park Skating Rink Put on Ice

The plan generated no interested two years after RFPs were first issued

Two years after plans were announced to bring an ice skating rink to Highbridge Park in Washington Heights, the city's Parks Department has decided to abandon the project altogether, DNAinfo reports.

Parks has twice issued a request for proposals [RFP] for the project but hasn't managed to interest any potential developers so far. The City Councilman from the neighborhood, Ydanis Rodriguez, had contributed $1.3 million from his budget towards the project, but that didn't help it move forward either.

Plans had called for the rink to built on top of the wading pool at West 173rd Street and Amsterdam Avenue. The Parks Department's proposal request also included a warming tent, and three mobile food units. The rink would have been operational from October to March every year.

While the ice skating rink may have failed, the Parks Department has been carrying out extensive renovation work at Highbridge Park including a recent $61 million effort to restore and reopen High Bridge.


'Indulgent' Condos in Dual East Village Buildings Hit the Market From $2.35M

How Much Has Your NYC Rent Gone Up Since You Moved In?

As average rents in Manhattan reach new highs, we want to know how much your rent has increased

Welcome to Friday Open Threads, wherein we'll pass the mic to readers to speak up about topics of interest, distress, horror, etc. Have something you want discussed? Let us know.

This week, a Forbes report confirmed what we already knew: Manhattan is the worst place for renters in the United States. In the last quarter of 2015, Manhattan renters paid an average of $4,374 a month for their apartments. When we last asked what commenters were dishing out to live in New York, the average rent for an apartment in Manhattan was more than $300 cheaper at $4,054—and that was just one year ago.

At the time, commenters' answers ran the gamut: "$675 for my bedroom in a 4-bedroom apt in East Harlem. Rent-stabilized unicorn!" said Kay Pay, but acugirl wasn't as lucky, "$3772 for 850 sq. ft. 1 bedroom in "Luxury" building in FiDi. They only allow 14 mos. lease. My last increase was $72. My next increase jumped to $255 for no particular reason other than the future plans of the holding company."

As rents continue to go up, up, and up throughout the city, landlords are adjusting just how much they want for that apartment someone calls home. In this thread, we want to know: Where do you live, and how much has your rent gone up since you moved into your apartment? (Those of you who are lucky enough to own, feel free to chime in if you've got a particularly interesting rental story.) For added effect, be sure to note how much you were paying when you first moved in. What, when it comes to rent increases, would be your final straw? Leave your thoughts below.


Atterbury Mansion Buyer Nabs Next Door Unit For 14,000-Square-Foot Mega-Home

'Million Dollar Listing New York' S5E2: A Matter of Integrity

This week's episode of Million Dollar Listing sees tempers flare, and deals lost

It's Season 5 of Million Dollar Listing New York, where three brokers, Fredrik Eklund, Luis Ortiz, and Ryan Serhant, show the world what it takes to sell high-priced New York City apartments. Check in each week for recaps by Angela Bunt. Episode air date: 4/28/2016.

We're only one episode deep on this season of Million Dollar Listing New York, but we're already smack dab in the middle of a juicy argument between Ryan and Luis. The two are working on a co-listing at the Metropolitan Tower on 57th Street, and they're already reverting back to their old, frenemy ways. Their shared client, Soly, has recruited Ryan for a separate listing in Soho, and Luis is upset that Ryan didn't call him to tell him (even though it only happened like, a day ago). He questions Ryan's integrity—several times—and says, "Maybe I'm just expecting to be much more than you could ever be." Ryan's nostrils flare in anger, and he storms out before he can get psychoanalyzed by Luis any further.

Next up is Fredrik, who's headed to Noho, where apparently "all the cool people" want to be. (Sure?) He's meeting with seller/developer Armen to discuss sales on the final two units of his newly refinished building, a building that Freddy has almost sold out completely. Its penthouse and mansion are finally ready to enter the market, and just need are a couple of billionaires to snatch them up. While the penthouse looks marvelous (did you see that vine-filled courtyard?), the nearly-billion-dollar mansion is a complete construction zone. Literally—a construction team has set up an office there. Oh, and it smells. Fredrik tells Armen that he won't be able to show it in its current condition, and Armen says the construction site can't move out until the place is sold. Fredrik will just have to—to borrow a phrase from another reality show—make it work.

A penthouse at the Schumacher

Ryan meets his puffer munkin Emilia for dinner, and says their relationship is better than ever. These days Emilia is working in real estate law, so the two get to hang out all the time! Ryan tells Emilia about his day, specifically his day with Luis, and how affected he was by his comments. So Ryan has feelings now, but what to do with them? Bottle 'em deep, baby. Bottle 'em deep. Meanwhile, Fredrik and Derek, who are still as romantic as ever, head out to the Rainbow Room for their fifth anniversary. Over dinner they discuss their options for children—they're still upset about the loss of their child, but Derek wants to try again. This time around, they'll both use the last of their female embryos and let fate control the rest. Freddy decides that even if he's not the father genetically, he'll always be Mila's dad.

Moving on! It's time for the open house at the Metropolitan Tower penthouse, and Ryan and Luis need to get over their beef and sell the listing. There's good foot traffic and lots of potential buyers—thanks to Ryan (at least that's what Ryan says)—but probably the most exciting attendee is Emilia, who has come to talk to Luis. Uh oh. Through a "I'm going to slit your throat" smile, Emilia tells him she's disappointed that he insulted Ryan's integrity and ambushed him. "I don't want to hear those things again," she says. Awkward encounters aside, buyers are certainly interested in the fancy digs, but they all agree the price is much too high. Most are offering in the $9.5 to $11 million range—pocket change, really. With both Emilia and Soly nipping at Luis's heels, he wonders if he should just let Ryan go.

Back to Fredrik, who meets up with Jordan (yay, Jordan!) at the open house in NoHo. For some crazy reason Jordan hasn't purchased any alcohol, and Fredrik wonders how people will write checks for millions of dollars while drinking sparkling water. Good point. Brokers flood in and Fredrik shows them around the beautiful penthouse, conveniently saving the construction zone mansion for last. Unfortunately, no amount of verbal diarrhea can impress billionaire buyers to make an offer on an unfinished property.

Unfortunately, no amount of verbal diarrhea can impress billionaire buyers to make an offer on an unfinished property.

Luis calls an impromptu meeting with Ryan to discuss their current relationship. They bark at each other for the first few minutes, but Luis softens (probably after thinking about Emilia coming to kill him) and he and Ryan actually have a heart to heart. Ryan apologizes for not telling him about the side deal with Soly, and Luis apologizes for verbally assaulting Ryan (sort of), and it seems like they've worked everything out. In an effort to get more eyes on the overpriced pad, Luis and Ryan appear on CNBC's Secret Lives of the Super Rich to promote it. (But if it's a secret, how will anybody see it?) Eager to build up his IMDB credits, Ryan starts hogging the spotlight and of course Luis gets upset, because being on a Bravo reality show apparently isn't enough exposure for him.

Back to Fredrik and Jordan, who are sitting around the office discussing what the word "twink" means. They get a call that there's an offer for the penthouse, and while it's not the mansion, it's a start. Freddy knows the best negotiations happen in person, so he meets with Armen to discuss. The offer comes in a $9 million—at first Armen scoffs, until he hears it's an all-cash buyer. Armen relents and Fredrick does a happy dance in the middle of Times Square. A few weeks later, Fredrik now has a buyer from Singapore coming to view the mansion. The space was allegedly cleaned up by Armen and his crew, but upon arrival Fredrick finds it as messy as ever. Having lived in Singapore for eight months, he knows it's one of the cleanest places in the world, and there's no way he can show the dirty penthouse to his potential buyer. He's forced to cancel the showing and start from scratch. Womp womp.

Ryan is on the phone with Soly, who's been stalking him and Luis about the co-listing for weeks. He threatens to pull the property off the market in 30 days if there's no action, but with such an overpriced space it seems nearly impossible to make a sale. The three meet for dinner several days later and Luis and Ryan present him with an $11 million offer. Soly is unimpressed, but Ryan and Luis convince him to counter and he comes back at $15 million. When the client counters at just $12 millon, he finally loses his cool: "Something is bothering me. I don't think you guys understand the real value of this apartment." Soly tells them he has other partners in the deal and has to go with different brokers. "We're just sitting, holding our dicks in our hands waiting for the brokers to come up with the right number," he says so eloquently. It's over. Ryan and Luis try to convince him otherwise, but his mind is made up. Oh, and that Soho deal he had with Ryan? That's over, too. Ryan tells him he's making a mistake, and Soly says only time will tell.

Man, I can't wait for him to come crawling back later this season. Luis and Ryan part ways angry at each other, but something tells me this isn't the last time we'll see them working together. Stay tuned for next week!


Eco-Friendly Harlem Condo Launches Sales From $505K

Features 115 condos made up of studios, one, two, and three-bedroom units

Name/Address: The Aurum, 2231 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard

Developer: BRP Companies

Size: 115 condos

Prices: From $504,500

Sales & Marketing: Halstead Property Development Marketing (Krantz + Krantz Team)

It's the first new condo building north of 125th Street in five years, according to the developers, and sales are now underway on The Aurum's 115 condos. The building's studio, one, two, and three-bedroom apartments range in price from $504,500 to upwards of $1.1 million. Of the currently listed units, a two-bedroom penthouse is the priciest at $1.195 million, and it's already in contract — as are 20 percent of the units in the building.

The developers are also touting several environmentally-conscious features like a green roof, an "Interior Live Green Wall," and the fact the building is seeking LEED gold certification.

Amenities in this BRP Companies-developed building include two levels of furnished outdoor space, a penthouse level media center, an interior landscaped courtyard, and a 24-hour attended lobby.

"The property features world-class amenities at a price point that is attainable for first time home buyers," Meredith Marshall, the co-founder of BRP Companies, said in a press release.

Located on Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard between West 132nd and West 131st Streets, the building is close the Apollo Theater, Red Rooster, and the soon to open Whole Foods.


Brooklyn Bridge Park's 102-Slip Marina Will Open May 1

It's just in time for summer

In the grand scheme of ongoing activity at Brooklyn Bridge Park, the development of the 102-slip marina next to Pier 5 has flown largely under the radar. But after several years of development, including an RFP issued in September 2013 and a slight trim on slips from 140 to 102, the marina is finally opening to the public on May 1, according to a press release. ONE°15 is the city's first new marina in 20 years, and the largest recreational marina to be developed in New York Harbor in 50 years.

Built by Edgewater Resources, the marina employs "state-of-the-art materials and engineering, using sustainable technologies and environmentally-friendly design" including "the unique Seaflex anchoring system for its docks and floating concrete breakwater by Marinetek, creating the calmest marina environment on New York Harbor."

The slips range from 16-feet (canoes?) to 250-feet (yachts!). Along with the marina comes the ONE°15 Brooklyn Sail Club & School which will offer activities for the public as well as Sail Club members.

To celebrate its opening, the marina will welcome the finishers of The 2016 Transat bakerly transatlantic sailing race from Plymouth, England. Slips will be rentable from May 1 through October 31. The marina's community dock will open to the public seven days a week from 9 a.m. through 9:30 p.m.


Winter Storm Jonas Was New York City's Biggest Blizzard of All Time

Jonas dumped more snow on NYC than any other storm in history

It turns out that winter storm Jonas really was the "blizzard for the ages" some meteorologists were predicting. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have found, while reviewing preliminary measurements, that snow accumulation in NYC actually exceeded previous measurements, and about a whole inch more fell than was previously reported. The reevaluation proves that Jonas has set an all-time snowfall record for New York City (h/t NYP).

"Snow measurements are extremely difficult to take because precipitation is inherently variable," the director of the National Weather Service said in a statement. "Still, it’s important that we scrutinize questionable measurements and reject those that scientists deem invalid to ensure the public’s continued confidence in the U.S. climate record."

NOAA found that readings taken in Central Park by service volunteers were inaccurate owing to a "communication error," and adjusted the snow accumulation from 26.8 inches to 27.5 inches.


Handy Map Shows The Median Rent Surrounding Your Subway Stop

Gorgeous $11M Prospect Park Townhouse Is Listed For the First Time in a Century

Full Service Pre-war Loft in TriBeCa • $13,500/mo

Spectacular sun-flooded 3BR/2BA with views of Brooklyn Bridge and City Hall Park*
Air Conditioning, Washer & Dryer, California Closets and Abundant Storage*
White-glove Service • Attended Lobby • Pet Friendly • Fitness Room*
[80 Chambers St, NY, NY 10007 - Stribling, 646.613.2653]*


Thursday, 28 April 2016

Stalled Central Park South Supertall May Move Forward With New Backer

The plan to transform the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel into a luxe condo may be moving forward

Developer Steven Witkoff's plan to transform the aging Helmsley Park Lane Hotel into a 1,200-foot ultra-luxury condo tower on Central Park South may be back on. Chinese developer Greenland Hong Kong has acquired a 41-percent stake in the project from Kuwait Strategic Investors in exchange for shares of Greenland, the Post reports (h/t REW). The funding infusion could mean the project may be revived sooner than expected.

In January, Witkoff told Bloomberg that he was pulling back on the conversion because of a slow-down in market "velocity" in the ultra-luxe category. With Greenland Hong Kong in place, sources of the Post say that pre-development financing is underway for the project.

Witkoff was berated by critics of the tower for abusing the EB-5 program, which secures green cards for investors in projects that create jobs. With the luxury sales market slowdown, Witkoff reeled in efforts to raise funds through EB-5.

The development, designed by Gary Handel, claims a $3.6 to $4.3 billion sellout according to documents gleaned by the Post. That means apartments in the building will be asking approximately $8,000 to $9,000 per square foot. By comparison, condos in 432 Park Avenue command $7,761 per square foot on average, according to StreetEasy.


St. Marks Townhouse Once Home to Trash & Vaudeville Sells For $10M

The building once belonged to Alexander Hamilton's son

A landmarked St. Marks Place home, that once belonged to Alexander Hamilton's son, has just sold for $10 million, the Commercial Observer reports. That house was also home to the punk-rock shop Trash & Vaudeville until it moved out of that space in February this year.

Hamilton-Holly House, as the building is known, was purchased by Castellan Real Estate Partners for $2 million under the original asking price. The property was first listed by Eastern Consolidated for $11.9 million, but by February this year that priced had dropped down to $10.5 million.

The townhouse is currently empty, but was previously configured to have retail on the ground and lower level, and four free-market apartments above that. A new owner could potentially reconfigure the entire space, an agent for Eastern Consolidated told the Commercial Observer.

Alexander Hamilton Jr. purchased the 10,000 square-foot house two years after it was built in 1831. The building was declared a New York City landmark in 2004.


After One Week, Late Flyers Owner Ed Snider's Gramercy Park Pad Sells

Johnson & Johnson Heiress Lists Historic Vanderbilt Mansion for $55M

Many moguls have called the 12,000-square-foot townhouse home

Another day, another ridiculously pricey New York City home hits the market—this time, it's the 12,000-square-foot Vanderbilt Mansion on East 69th Street, and it's asking $55 million. Johnson & Johnson heiress picked up the historic townhouse in 2011 for $48 million, and despite rumors that she was looking to sell, it's remained in her possession ever since (under the corporate alias Falconer LLC.). The new ask isn't that much of a jump from its 2011 selling price, but it is enough to vault it onto the list of New York City's most expensive homes for sale.

So what does $55 million amount to? This particular townhouse has seven bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, and the benefit of a recent revamp by the "leather daddy of luxury" himself, Peter Marino. It's not staged in the listings photos, which puts many of its features—an enormous custom closet, a pristine chef's kitchen, and a very grand staircase—on full display. There's also a roof deck and a backyard, a gym, a hair salon (?!), five wood-burning fireplaces, a wine cellar, and the list goes on and on.

As for the house's pedigree, it was built in 1881 and is probably best known for being home to some of the Vanderbilt clan for a brief period at the turn of the 20th century; it was later sold to a series of moguls, including real-estate developer Walter J. Salmon, founder Roger Barnett, and then Johnson. (Anyone know of any wealthy heirs looking for a home?)


Industry City's Newest Tenant is Clothing Giant The Gap

It will lease a 20,000 square foot space at Building 4

Close on the heels of the announcement that the Industry City developers are transforming one of their buildings for creative types, clothing giant, Gap Inc. has announced that it will lease a 20,000 square foot space at the complex, Women's Wear Daily reports.

Gap signed on to a 10-year lease at Building 4, which the clothing company will use as a photo and design studio.

Gap is now the latest company to jump on the Industry City bandwagon, which in recent months has seen tenants like Time Inc. sign on for space at the Sunset Park development.

That's good news for the 16-building complex, which was recently confronted with 3D printing company, MakerBot deciding to relinquish some of its space at the complex. The company has decided to outsource its manufacturing to China, but will continue to maintain its headquarters at Industry City.


Big Reveal: $750,000 For a Charming West Village One-Bedroom

The Whitney Will Offer Free Admission This Saturday, But There’s a Catch

Bed-Stuy Warehouse Will Transform Into a Nine-Story Residential Building

Queens’s City View Tower Would Be Borough’s First Supertall

Filings call for 774 units across 79 stories

Back in February, it was revealed that a 79-story mixed-use tower was planned at 23-15 44th Drive in Long Island City’s Court Square neighborhood. Well, it turns out it might taller than expected. A filing with the Federal Aviation Administration indicates it will be 984-feet-tall, YIMBY reported. That would make the structure, dubbed City View Tower, the first supertall in Queens. A building reaches supertall status when it reaches 300 meters of 984 feet. It would actually exceed that, with bulkhead and mechinal equipment rising to 1,000 feet.

As for the project, it is being developed by United Construction and Development and designed by Goldstein, Hill & West Architects. DOB filings indicate 774 apartments and 19,721 square feet of retail space, though the developer’s website had indicated only 660 residential units. The developer had hoped to break ground in 2017.

Office tower One Court Square, at 658 feet and 50 stories, is currently the tallest completed building in the borough.

City View Tower In Long Island City Set To Become Queens’s First Supertall [YIMBY]

964-Foot LIC Tower Could Become Queens's Tallest Building [Curbed]


18th-Century Horse Stable-Turned-Loft in Noho Seeks $3M

It's located on its own private alley

Great Jones Alley is currently in the midst of getting its very own luxury residential tower, but some quirky homes that are reminders of the neighborhood's past still remain in the area. To wit: This oddball live/work space at 3 Great Jones Street, which served as a horse stable in the 18th century, but has since been turned into a duplex loft "done in Le Corbusier style," per the listing. (Because of its spiral staircase? Or the generally modern feel of the place? We're not quite sure.)

It has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, which are split over the home's two levels; the lofted space also has an office overlooking the rest of the apartment. Other interesting details include original doors from its stable days, custom built-in shelving, and an entrance on a private alleyway. It was listed for $3.7 million in 2014, but has since gotten a slight chop—now, it could be yours for just $3 million.


Upper East Side Rental Project Would Have Two Schools, Plus Retail

AvalonBay hopes for 1,100 units

A full block of the Upper East Side could see a lot more happening. AvalonBay Communities is looking to redevelop the full block between Second and First avenues, at 321 East 96th Street, into a massive rental building, plus two schools and retail space, The Real Deal reported. The site currently houses the School of Cooperative Technical Education and that school would be rebuilt as part of the development. The rental building would have 1,100 apartments and the retail space would measure 20,000 square feet.

Right now, it’s a two- to three-block-walk to the subway (depending on which end of the site you’re on), but by next year, the Second Avenue Subway’s 96th Street station will hopefully be up and running.

According to documents reviewed by TRD, Avalon expects to spend $550 million on the project, though the schools would be paid for by the Educational Construction Fund (ECF). CBRE has been hired to market the project. AvalonBay’s ground lease from the city would last 99 years. No completion date was published, though a lengthy approval process is expected.

AvalonBay, city partner on 1,100-unit mixed-use project on UES [TRD]

Second Avenue Subway coverage [Curbed]


Can Auction Transform a Storm-Damaged Corner of Staten Island?

Touring 3 World Trade Center, a Supertall On the Rise in Lower Manhattan

Alex Rodriguez Spotted House Hunting at 15 Central Park West (Again)

The Yankees infielder checked out a $35,000/month rental in the Limestone Jesus

Genomics firm 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki and her pal New York Yankees infielder Alex Rodriguez were spotted house hunting at 15 Central Park West, the Post has learned. The luxurious building seems to have forgotten the time it allegedly banned Rodriguez for, in NYP's words, "bringing in too many hookers." The former juicer and serial house hunter once rented a 35th floor apartment in the building owned by steel magnate Leroy Schecter for $30,000 a month.

The apartment Wojcicki and A-Rod eyed up is a 2,241-square-foot two-bedroom in the buildings tower portion with views onto Broadway. It's 15CPW's most expensive rental on the market at the moment, and falls just above the building's average rental ask of $30,231. It's looking for $35,000/month.


This 12-Story Tower May Replace Moscot's Former LES Headquarters

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Peek Inside the $7M Penthouse of Steiner's East Village Development

Peek Inside the $7M Penthouse of Steiner's East Village Development

Design-Forward Upper West Side Townhouse With a Zen Garden Asks $8M

The townhouse's design seamlessly blends the old with the new

A townhouse nestled between Riverside Drive West End Avenue on 101st Street is on the market for $7.995 million. The townhouse blends the historic and modern with its interior design by Weitzman Halpern; original pocket doors, mantles, and wainscoting accent the house's clean and updated interiors. The 20-foot-wide townhouse has four bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, and comes with a landscaped Zen garden (because of course it does.) Take a look.


Construction on Pier 55’s Floating Park Could Begin Any Day Now

The 2.7 acre park on the Hudson River has cleared the final hurdle

Construction on the futuristic Pier 55 project will likely get underway next week after the proposal received the final approval to move forward, Crain's reports, based on an announcement made by the Hudson River Park Trust.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave the 2.7-acre park, which is located on the Hudson River, close to Chelsea Market, the final go ahead it needed on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, the developers behind the project fought off a lawsuit filed by the City Club of New York to halt the project, and now the Hudson River Park Trust has announced that construction could begin as soon as May 1.

The park, which will also include space for events and a stage, is being largely funded by Barry Diller and Diane Von Furstenberg, who have contributed at least $113 million towards the park's construction. The project itself is being developed by a non-profit created by the couple, working in collaboration with the Trust.


JDS Unveils Plans For a Gigantic 77-Story Lower East Side Tower

New Report Confirms the Obvious: Manhattan Is the Worst Place to Rent in the U.S.

Well, duh

We didn't need another report to confirm that which is already known—renting in Manhattan is prohibitively expensive—but thanks to Forbes, we've got one anyway. The publication took a look at the biggest Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Metropolitan Divisions (which are delineated by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget) and ranked the ten best and worst based on a variety of criteria (including the vacancy rate, average monthly rent, and the year-over-year change for that number) to determine the ten best and worst cities for renters.

And, to no one's surprise, Manhattan is at the top of the worst list, with a perfect storm of terribleness causing that high ranking. At $4,374, the average monthly rent on the island is higher than any other city on the list (according to data provided by real estate firm Marcus & Millichap). The vacancy rate is also extremely low, and while rents haven't risen that much YOY—and in fact, have been dropping in the past few months—they're still damn high.

Unsurprisingly, cities in the Bay Area—Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose—also landed in the top five. Northern New Jersey (comprising Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, and Union counties) snagged the no. 8 spot, with an average monthly rent of nearly $2,000. For New Jersey.

So then what about the best places to rent? Well, prepare to move to away from the coasts: Topping the list is Indianapolis, where the average monthly rent is $786 (lolsob), with Louisville, KY following close behind—its average rent is $779, and that number has remained stable year over year. Other cities that made it include Las Vegas, Phoenix, Kansas City, and no fewer than three major Ohio cities (Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati).


With New Look for Building 19, Industry City Hopes to Attract More ‘Creative’ Tenants

The building's top floors house the Brooklyn Nets' training facility

Developers behind the Industry City megaproject in Sunset Park are looking to attract more creative and tech types to their complex with the upcoming renovation of a 500,000 square foot space, the Commercial Observer reports.

Belvedere Capital and Jamestown are set to the renovate the lower floors of Building 19, a 1.3 million square foot building, that currently houses a Brooklyn Nets playing facility on the eight floor and the rooftop.

The developers will make improvements to some of the building's infrastructure, add new windows and create a new lobby. Rents for building will range from $15 to $35 per square foot, a spokesperson for Industry City told the Commercial Observer.

The developers along with the Nets are spending $50 million on Building 19's renovation. The lower floors of that building are currently being used for storage, and the new space is expected to be ready sometime during the summer.


De Blasio’s Proposed Ferry and Streetcar Services May Compete For Riders

How Much for a Charming West Village One-Bedroom in a Pre-War Building?

Robert Durst's Plea Deal For Illegal Firearm Possession Approved

The fallen New York real estate scion will serve seven years and one month in prison

Estranged real estate scion Robert Durst's downward spiral started long before the damning finale of HBO mini-series The Jinx, but a lifetime of bad choices is finally catching up with the 72 year old. This morning a federal judge in New Orleans approved a plea agreement for Durst to serve seven years and one month in prison on a weapons charge, the AP reports (h/t TRD). The septuagenarian was found carrying a .38-caliber revolver in March 2015 after being charged with the murder of his friend, Susan Berman.

The plea deal allows Durst to face arraignment for the murder in Los Angeles. "I have been waiting to get to California about a year so I can state my not guilty plea," Durst told U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt, who sentenced Durst on the weapons charge, "I truly, truly want to express my statement that I am not guilty in the death of Susan Berman."

The time Durst has already spent behind bars will count towards his sentence. Following his release, Durst will be under three years of supervised release. He will also have to fork over a minuscule amount of his fortune—just $5,000. The maximum fine for illegally carrying a firearm after being convicted of a felony is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The federal judge who tried Durst in Louisiana recommends that he serve his sentence in at FCI Terminal Island in California, which is just 30 minutes from downtown Los Angeles where he will be tried for killing Berman.

Durst has been in the hot seat for years, but suspicions surrounding his actions escalated following the culmination of The Jinx when Durst is heard muttering into a hot mic that he "Killed them all, of course." In addition to Berman, Durst has been eyed for the murder of his wife Kathleen McCormack, and neighbor Morris Black.


Lavish Sutton Place Townhouse Now Wants Less Than Half of Original Ask

The 19th-century townhouse first hit the market nearly two years ago with an astronomical asking price

The townhouse at 13 Sutton Place has been having a difficult go of it since selling to a group of investors back in June 2014. That group put it back on the market a month later for a whopping $19.95 million, but unsurprisingly, it's since gotten a series of price cuts: It was chopped to $10.9 million last September, and now, the home is back (with a new broker—Elliman instead of Leslie Garfield) for only $9.7 million. At that price, which is less than half of what it was originally asking, we're looking at Pricechopper Hall of Fame status here.

And it's not as if the house doesn't have its charms: It's located on secluded Sutton Place, and was once owned by Elisabeth Marbury, a literary figurehead who worked with such icons as George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde. Its interiors were designed by Marbury's partner Elsie de Wolfe, an interior designer who wrote the pioneering decorating tome The House in Good Taste.

While the five-story home has been updated since then, it's still a rather opulent (if a bit stuffy) abode, with original crown moldings and wainscoting, several fireplaces, a rooftop terrace (with views of the East River), and bright, airy bedrooms. But then again, prospective buyers could do well to wait this one out—who knows if it might get chopped again?


Sales Spike In The Bronx and Staten Island As NYers Seek Affordability

Based on REBNY's report for the first quarter of 2016

Home sales on Staten Island, and the Bronx experienced significant gains compared to the rest of the city, the New York Post reports, based on recent findings released by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). Sales in the Bronx and Staten Island increased by 35 percent in the first quarter of 2016.

"With growing interest and activity, particularly in the Bronx and Staten Island, home buyers are finding and being attracted to more options at various price levels throughout all five boroughs," sJohn Banks, III, the president of REBNY, said in a press release. "The demand for housing continues to resonate throughout New York City and the strong residential sales activity throughout the city is driving healthy overall price increases."

A total of 11,827 homes — this includes co-ops, condos, and one-to-three family dwellings — were sold across the city in the first quarter. This is a five percent increase from the same time frame last year.

In the Bronx and Staten Island, sales were driven particularly by one-to-three family homes with a 24 percent increase for the former and a 31 percent increase for the latter.

Manhattan and Brooklyn continued to have the highest average homes sales prices, but the volume of sales declined slightly by two percent and four percent respectively.

The overall average sales price of a home in the city increase by one percent to $911,000 from the previous $898,000.

The trend in the Bronx and on Staten Island can be attributed to more people being priced out of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and others still who are cashing out from these boroughs and getting more affordable pads in the Bronx and Staten Island, according to the Post.


City’s $82.2B Budget Earmarks Funds for Crucial Water Tunnel

New Upper East Side Condos at Citizen360

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De Blasio Proposes Building Affordable Housing on Hospital Land

Part of his $82.2 billion executive budget for the city

Creating affordable housing on underutilized hospital land was one of major initiatives introduced by Mayor Bill de Blasio as part of his $82.2 billion executive budget unveiled on Tuesday, the Observer reports.

The proposal will look to address the $1.8 billion budget gap the city's Health and Hospitals Corporation will face by 2020. HHC runs 11 hospitals and five, long-term care facilities throughout the city, but the de Blasio Administration has yet to identify the hospitals where such housing will be built.

What is known however is that the administration is looking at "vacant and under-utilized parcels," which means parking lots and non-medical facilities. These spaces will be considered for low-income housing and supportive housing for the disabled and mentally ill. De Blasio hasn't ruled out market rate housing at these locations either, according to the Observer.

But the focus of this proposal is to generate revenue for HHC and to reduce the budget gap. The supportive housing will likely reduce medical bills, and land sales and ground leases will likely generate revenue for HHC.

De Blasio's overall budget focused on several infrastructural improvements including funds for the city's third water tunnel and improvements to roads.


Hedge Funder Snags Manhattan Country School Townhouse for $20M

The historic townhouse, which was landmarked in 1967, was originally listed for $23 million

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The historic former home of the Manhattan Country Day School has officially sold, after hitting the market three times in the past few years. And, perhaps unsurprisingly considering its history, the French-inspired limestone manse sold under its asking price. The buyer, hedge funder Edmond Safra (the nephew of late Brazilian financier Edmond J. Safra), picked up the 17,000-square-foot home for $20 million, according to The Real Deal.

The house itself was designated as one of New York's earliest landmarks, thanks to its architect, Ogden Codman (who designed homes for the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts, among other powerful New Yorkers), and its design, which the Landmarks Preservation Commission singled out for its "Parisian charm" and "frivolous vitality." Its features include a porte-cochere, parquet de Versailles flooring, and Juliet balconies; here's hoping the landmark status keeps the Safras from changing the place too much.


Greenwich Village Loft Offers Serenity, Simplicity and Wonderful Light

Dramatic 3BR / 2 BA Condo • 2,100 SQFT • South-facing • $2.895M
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River & Warren - Move-in Ready

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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

This Petite Upper West Side Co-op Has an Ask as Small as Its Bedroom

$120M Co-op at 834 Fifth Avenue Is Now NYC's Most Expensive Listing

Moving MSG For Penn Station's Redevelopment Could Cost $5B

Massive 392-Unit Rental Tops Out in Hell's Kitchen

Versace's Former Upper East Side Mansion Is Now a $120,000/Month Rental

New York City Rent Comparison: What $5,100 Gets You

See what $5,100 rents in NYC neighborhoods like Park Slope, Williamsburg, and the Financial District

Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, a weekly column that explores what one can rent for a set dollar amount in various NYC neighborhoods. Is one man's studio another man's townhouse? Let's find out! Today, we're looking at apartments renting around $5,100.

↑ Overwhelming "HOME" sign aside, this Williamsburg two-bedroom has plenty of nice things going for it, including a view: it's located in 1N4th, one of the glassy towers on the waterfront. It comes with amenities like a built-in washer/dryer and a spiffy kitchen, along with access to the building's outdoor pool, fitness center, and more. The ask: $5,100 per month.

↑ On East 57th Street, at the border of the Upper East Side and Midtown East, there's this two-bedroom apartment with a large common area. The unit has plenty of storage space in both the kitchen and the common areas, and it's asking $5,100 per month.

↑ A converted Brooklyn Law School dorm in Brooklyn Heights now holds luxury apartments, including this two-bedroom asking $5,150 per month. The listing touts its "vintage feel, modern appeal," which translates into updated finishes in the units themselves, but a more traditional look for the building.

↑ This one-bedroom in the Financial District is a corner unit, which means it gets plenty of light and has a little breakfast nook. It also has a lot of storage—two walk-in closets, according to the listing—along with building amenities like outdoor space.

↑ And finally, in Park Slope, the first floor of a townhouse comes with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a backyard for $5,100 per month. There are charming features like a bay window and exposed brick, along with new kitchen appliances and a revamped bathroom.

<a href="" mce_href="">Which NYC apartment would you choose for $5,100?</a>


Pacific Park’s Modular Building Will Offer Affordable Apartments From $559/Month

Modern West Village Penthouse With Lovely Private Terraces Asks $5.2M

Just a short walk from the new Whitney Museum building

Located atop a seven-story, co-op building in the West Village, this duplex penthouse boasts views of the Empire State Building and the Hudson River. But the views aren't the best part — the apartment comes with 809 square feet of outdoor space spread out over two terraces on the western and eastern sides of the duplex.

The apartment is currently configured as a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, but is being marketed as a three-bedroom unit. Another dramatic feature is the 19-foot high ceiling in the Entry Hall — the apartment features high ceilings throughout, and some of its other standout features include a wood-burning fireplace, maple wood floors, and granite countertops in the kitchen.

Maintenance charges for the apartment work out to just under $5,000 per month, and the building it's in is located just a short walk from the new Whitney Museum.


Williamsburg's Zany William Vale Hotel Shows Off Its Guest Rooms

Plan For Floating Power Plant on the East River Raises Eyebrows

The six-story electrical plant would be located across from Domino

The Domino redevelopment site's newest neighbor might be a floating, six-story power plant, and local residents are not amused, Brownstoner reports. Developer SEF Industries is bringing back a plan to install a floating electrical plant in the Wallabout Federal Navigational Channel, which is also close to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Piet Boon's Oosten.

Local residents led by the community group, Stop The Barge, are opposing the plan citing pollution, and the fact that building would potentially disrupt views. These are the same concerns the group raised back in 2001 when SEF first presented the idea.

Two years later, the community group won a case to block the project on the grounds that the developer had not carried out a required environmental impact review.

The project was revived in 2013 when the New York Highway Taskforce issued a request for proposals for the site, and now the development firm says it has all the requisite permits to move forward. However local residents will get to chime in this time around, but they only have until the end of this month.

The proposed plant would be 100-feet wide and 230-feet long, according to Brownstoner, and the natural gas-powered plant could provide electricity to Brooklyn in case of emergency. Due to its location, the plant can also easily be refueled by boats, and it could create enough energy to power 79,000 homes, if required.


East Williamsburg Condos With Private Outdoor Space Debut From $735,000

Nomad Rental One Sixty Madison Debuts Penthouses From $7,200

The units will come in one- and two-bedroom configurations

After spending a decade in development purgatory, the main units at rental building 160 Madison Avenue, dubbed One Sixty Madison, hit the market in September. Now, the five penthouses at the 45-story building have made their debut. They come in one- and two-bedroom configurations and feature floor-to-ceiling windows, wheat oak-finished floors, and unique views due to the building’s shape. The one-bedrooms start at $7,200 a month and the two-bedrooms start at $14,900 a month.

In addition to the aforementioned features, their kitchens have Calacatta marble counters and backsplashes, an integrated Sub-Zero refrigerator, a Bosch dishwasher, a wine cooler, and a five-burner range. The master bathrooms feature floor-to-ceiling natural stone, a glass-enclosed rain shower, a soaking tub, and recessed lighting.

Check out renderings and views here:

One Sixty Madison is developed by J.D. Carlisle Group and designed by SLCE Architects. There are 319 residences and over 20,000 square feet of amenity space, including two rooftop terraces, a lounge with fireplace, a private park, a fitness center, bike storage, and concierge service.

Pricey Nomad Rentals Finally Premiere at Formerly Stalled Site [Curbed]

One Sixty Madison [Official]


A 47-Story Tower May Rise Next To Extell's Lower East Side Skyscraper

Developers will announce plans at a neighborhood meeting on Wednesday

Another skyscraper may rise adjacent to Extell's One Manhattan Square, on the Lower East Side, Bowery Boogie reports. A developer is trying to revive plans to building a tower at the former Pathmark Pharmacy site on Cherry Street.

The developer, who Bowery Boogie identifies as Roy Schoenberg was set to collaborate with the local Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and Settlement Housing Fund to construct a 47-story residential tower at the site. The latter offered to sell the land for $4 million, but then backed out, which prompted Schoenberg to sue the organization. A settlement on the case is expected to be reached soon, and some version of that project is likely to move forward, according to Bowery Boogie.

On Wednesday, the Council will host a meeting to give local residents a better idea of the tower proposal, according to DNAinfo. The site is located right across from the Two Bridges Senior Apartment building at 80 Rutgers Slip, and residents there have already raised concerns about the construction work at One Manhattan Square. Residents have expressed reservations about another skyscraper adding to that disturbance.

Very little is known about the project so far, but SHoP Architects are the rumored architecture firm behind the project, according to Bowery Boogie. Extell's project replaced the Pathmark, whereas this building is planned to replace the former Pharmacy/Rent-a-Center building.


53W53's Sculptural Exoskeleton Is Starting to Take Shape

New Boutique Condo building opening in East Williamsburg.

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Monday, 25 April 2016

Vanessa Carlton's Furnished Soho Loft Is Back For $17,500/Month

The singer-songwriter is seeking renters once again for her eclectic Soho apartment

Songstress Vanessa Carlton may be best known for her early-aughts hit "A Thousand Miles," but she's kept pretty busy since then: She's released a bunch of albums and got married by Stevie Nicks, because why not. During that time, she's also held onto the Soho apartment that she first purchased in 2004, though it's recently appeared as a high-end rental. It's back on the market as of today, according to the New York Observer, with an asking price of $17,500 per month—the same amount it was asking the last time it was up for grabs last February. Little else has changed about the place: it still comes fully furnished, with Carlton's eclectic mix of styles on display (antlers, exposed brick, dead-tree-patterned wallpaper, etc.), and with two of her pianos ready for playing.


Construction on Harlem's First Whole Foods Is Nearly Complete

In an Abandoned Subway Tunnel, an Art Installation Condemning Gun Violence

What Are Your Space-Saving Hacks, New Yorkers? We Want to See!

We want to showcase your tiny living skills

Let's face it: the one scarce commodity in New York City is space. In our ever-tinier apartments with ever-increasing roommates, New Yorkers have learned how to be space maximizers out of necessity. Next week, Curbed is running its first-ever Renovation Week, and in the spirit of transforming the places we inhabit, we want to see your space hacks and apartment renovations.

Post your space-saving hacks or renovation before-and-after photos on Instagram with #Curbed, share them with your stories in the comments below, or send an email to

What were the challenges you faced? How did you fit a dining room in your open kitchen? When you first moved in, did you think you had all the space in the world, but all those dreams crumbled down when you started moving in your furniture? How did you turn that bedroom that is the size of closet into your humble abode? If you could reorganize everything right now, what would you change?

During Renovation Week, we'll round up the best contributions and post them right here on Curbed.


$500,000 Micro-Sized Bungalow Ushers Tiny House Craze Into Brooklyn

Sony Building's Condo Conversion Allegedly Scrapped With Building Sale

Chetrit Group, which was behind the conversion, is apparently selling the building

As recently as last month, the planned condo conversion of the Sony Building at 550 Madison Avenue was moving forward: sales were expected to launch sometime in the spring, and a sales office for the apartments, to be designed by Robert A.M. Stern, was in the works. But now, it looks like that plan is officially DOA: The Real Deal reports that Chetrit Group, which purchased the building back in 2013, has officially canceled the condo plan and is now in the process of selling the building to Olayan America for somewhere in the ballpark of $1.3 to $1.4 billion dollars.

According to TRD, the deal could close as soon as early May, suggesting that it's been in the works for some time now. The building was due to be home to 113 condos, as well as a luxury hotel called New York Masterpiece that would have been operated by Oetker Collection. Construction on the project had also apparently already begun, according to TRD.

The postmodern building is one of Philip Johnson's most iconic New York structures; no word yet on what will happen to the structure now that the condo plan has been scrapped.

A rep for the project had no comment at this time; we'll update with any further information that comes through.


Four Seasons Restaurateurs Seek an Architect For New Park Avenue Space

The team behind the iconic restaurant is prepping for the move to its new Midtown digs

The team behind the iconic Four Seasons Restaurant hasn't completely vacated that midcentury masterpiece, but they're already on the hunt for an architect to build out their new digs. According to the New York Post, owners Julian Niccolini and Alex von Bidder will bring a new restaurant to 280 Park Avenue, which was designed by Henry Dreyfuss in the 1960s, and have narrowed the list of architects they'd like to partner with down to four.

Paul Goldberger, the architecture critic for Vanity Fair, has apparently been consulting with the duo on the forthcoming restaurant, and told the Post that "[Niccolini and Von Bidder] they want to do something that will be as important to the 21st century as the original was to the 20th century." They may make their decision as soon as next month.

The Four Seasons in its original incarnation will close on July 16; after that, Major Food Group (the team behind Parm and Carbone, among others) will move in. Niccolini and Von Bidder recently came under fire for their plans to auction off the restaurant's interiors, including pieces designed by Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, who created the modernist masterpiece in the 1950s. The pair was pushed out by owner Aby Rosen, amid other changes he wanted to make to the restaurant (including removing the massive Picasso mural that once hung in the space).


Lawsuit Dismissed Over ‘Uninhabitable’ Village Penthouse Once Owned by Yoko Ono

Tattered' Park Avenue Townhouse Wins Approval For Modern Overhaul

The Brooklyn-Queens Streetcar May Actually Be Happening

A new city-commissioned study says the project is feasible

Starting next month, the de Blasio administration will hold "visioning sessions" for the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX), the streetcar proposal that seeks to significantly reduce travel times between the two boroughs, Politico reports.

The city commissioned a study on the streetcar proposal put forth by real estate firm, Two Trees Management. The administration found that many of the suggestions in the proposal were actually feasible, and that the project could in fact move forward in the not too distant future.

The findings of the report suggest that the bridges along the streetcar's 17-mile route connecting Astoria to Sunset Park would be able to accommodate the BQX with "substantial modifications," — a slightly different take from when it was earlier reported that the project may require the construction of two new bridges. In addition, the study also found that the idea to pay for the project through real estate tax revenues was "reasonable."

The BQX would reduce travel time between Williamsburg and Astoria to 34 minutes from the existing 61 minutes, but Politico puts it 25-45 minutes based on Google Maps estimations.

City officials told Politico that those numbers were based on a "transit desert" along the route.

The advocacy director for the non-profit group, the TransitCenter, and a former Bloomberg-era transit official told Politico that the report did not address concerns about the $2.5 billion cost of the project and the low demand.

The administration on its part says that between 45,000-50,000 people would use the service everyday. For now, construction is expected to start in 2019, with an anticipated completion sometime in 2024.

The first of the visioning meetings will be held at the Variety Boys and Girls Club at 21-12 30th Rd in Long Island City on May 9.