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Thread: 15 Central Park West - Upper West Side - Condo - by Robert A. M. Stern

  1. #1

    Default 15 Central Park West - Upper West Side - Condo - by Robert A. M. Stern

    May 27, 2004

    Mayflower and Its Vacant Lot to Be Sold

    By CHARLES V. BAGLI

    Every spring, rumors pop like buds on the trees among developers, real estate investors and residents of the Upper West Side that the much coveted Mayflower Hotel site near Lincoln Center is about to be sold for a major new project.

    After more than two decades, the rumors have finally come true about the property, considered by many developers one of the most valuable sites in Manhattan.

    The mysterious Greek family that owns the Mayflower has agreed to sell the 15-story hotel and the long-vacant lot behind it to a development group for a record-setting $401 million, more than twice the going rate for land in Manhattan on a per-square-foot basis.

    The group - a joint venture of William Lie Zeckendorf and Arthur Zeckendorf, the Whitehall real estate fund of Goldman Sachs and an investment company controlled by Eyal Ofer - said it had no immediate plans to develop the site.

    But that kind of statement only adds to the speculation about the property. Rival bidders, real estate experts and local residents say there are plans for the kind of luxurious residential tower that could easily take its place among Central Park West's premier apartment houses, the Century, the San Remo and the Dakota.

    Geto & de Milly, a public relations firm speaking for both the buyer and the seller, confirmed yesterday that a contract had been signed transferring ownership of the land, but gave few details about the deal. Rival bidders, however, said the Zeckendorf brothers had offered $401 million. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

    It is easy to see why the property has drawn so much cash and attention. It sits on an entire city block bounded by Central Park West and Broadway, between 61st and 62nd Streets. Lincoln Center is two short blocks to the west. To the south, there is the Trump International Hotel and Tower and the twin towers of the Time Warner Center, where apartments sell for millions.

    "It is probably the best residential site left in New York," said Adam R. Rose, president of Rose Associates, which manages 30,000 apartments in New York.

    The deal was yet another sign of New York's robust residential market, which hardly paused for breath during the recession in recent years.

    The $401 million bid from the Zeckendorfs and their partners was far higher than those from a half-dozen other prospective buyers, including Stephen M. Ross of the Related Companies, Steve Roth of Vornado Realty Trust and Edward J. Minskoff, according to executives involved in the sale.

    William H. Kinn Jr., president of Kinn Real Estate Counselors, said the price "would reflect a new record at, or close to, double any recent land sale."

    The Zeckendorfs are paying roughly $690 per buildable square foot. That compares with $276 a foot in a recent high-priced sale at 1563 York Avenue, Mr. Kinn said.

    The acquisition costs are even higher, other bidders said, because there are hefty tax obligations connected to the property and four long-term tenants of the Mayflower have to be bought out.

    And to build a somewhat taller building under the current zoning, the buyers will have to build housing for low-income residents at a site at 210 West 102nd Street near Broadway. Under the terms of the deal, the buyers could get a zoning bonus by building the housing.

    Although they admired the property, many real estate executives said the price was risky. "If it's your money, this is a level of risk no one would take," one executive said. "If it's someone else's money, the spread between risk and reward is sufficient."

    The Mayflower is within the Lincoln Square Special Zoning District, which would limit the total height of a new tower on the site. The drab brown Mayflower would presumably be torn down. According to several bidders, models built for the owners by the architects Cesar Pelli & Associates showed two towers of about 34 stories sitting on a five-story base.

    Hope Cohen, chairwoman of Community Board 7, which covers the community that includes the Mayflower, said the board has long been concerned about the potential size of the project. "We've had one large-scale development after another, each one done piecemeal," she said.

    The owner of the Mayflower has long been described as a faceless entity, the Park Summit Realty Corporation, which was represented by John J. Avlon. As recently as April, Mr. Avlon denied that a sale was imminent. "We're being approached on a fairly consistent basis," he said. "I would have to tell you that the rumors that contracts are about to circulate would not be accurate."

    But according to rival bidders and real estate executives, the Mayflower property is owned by the Goulandris family, a wealthy Greek shipping family with a large art collection and an obsession with privacy. They placed all the bidders under a strict order forbidding them to name the owner.

    The Goulandris family and Mr. Avlon began assembling the property in 1973, buying parcel by parcel until they owned the entire block in 1978. They angered preservationists in 1982 when they stripped the 74-year-old Mayflower of almost all of its terra cotta ornamentation. The last building on the Broadway side of the property was demolished in 1987.

    Mr. Avlon has held a holiday party every year, drawing developers and real estate executives who longed to buy the property. But the real estate boom came in and went in the 1980's, as well as one in the late 1990's. Little happened except that the price kept going up.

    With the number hovering at $300 million or higher in 2001, Donald J. Trump, who has long wanted the Mayflower, said, "The Mayflower pricing is crazy, but it's certainly a great piece of property."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  2. #2
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Yes!

    Finally there is some activity on this lot! Not construction yet but someone has decided to buy it!

    This is going to be interesting especially since the Hotel is selling as well...This will be a great story to follow. Real prime spot.

  3. #3
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Damn, the Mayflower was my long ago chosen hotel if I ever finally made it to NYC for a visit. Why? It's in my favourite neighbourhood (UWS), it's conveniently located and I could have said I "lived" on CPW for a while.

  4. #4

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    I wonder if they can build the 39-story building as of right (assuming the buildout of the low-income housing). If they do, I bet they are going to get moving pretty quickly. With interest rates rising, there is a double whammy for waiting - interest costs pile up and buyers stop being able to afford the outrageous mortgages.

  5. #5
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    ...and I bet is going to be 'very' luxury condos there. Trump wont like a 39 story. He will probably prefer a 20 story. But he didnt get the land! :roll:

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eugenius
    I wonder if they can build the 39-story building as of right (assuming the buildout of the low-income housing). If they do, I bet they are going to get moving pretty quickly. With interest rates rising, there is a double whammy for waiting - interest costs pile up and buyers stop being able to afford the outrageous mortgages.
    Plus, it's the right time to jump on the TWC condo bandwagon.

  7. #7
    The Dude Abides
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    Anything new on this project? I was walking by the site a few days ago during my day-trip to Manhattan, and there were a lot of bulldozers and land boarded up. The site is huge. Are there any renderings or any details on the type of development?

  8. #8

  9. #9

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    NYPost

    A MAYFLOWER PLAN FLOATED

    By STEVE CUOZZO

    March 22, 2005 -- THE former Mayflower Hotel site will bloom with at least 250 luxury apartments and four levels of stores by 2007, sources said, bringing life to the barren block and ridding the Upper West Side of a long-standing scar on the urban fabric.

    Local residents have wondered for years what might one day fill the empty lot between Trump International Hotel and Tower and the Century and 30 Lincoln Plaza apartment towers.

    Since they bought the trapezoidal-shaped block bounded by Central Park West, Broadway and West 61st and 62nd streets last summer for $401 million, the new owners — managing partners Arthur and Lie Zeckendorf, Goldman Sachs' Whitehall Fund and a company controlled by Eyal Ofer — have gone to work with a vengeance, razing the Mayflower and excavating the vacant western side of the lot.

    Although construction plans won't be announced for a few months, sources say to expect between 250-280 apartments — probably condos — and 88,000 square feet of stores on four levels along the entire Broadway blockfront, all for occupancy in late 2007.

    The stores — with nearly as much combined space as the Home Depot in Vornado's Bloomberg tower — will fill the first and second floors plus two floors below grade along Broadway.

    The completed project will bring continuity to the east side of Broadway north of Columbus Circle. The retail component means the development will offer a pedestrian-friendly face, like those of other large apartment buildings to the north.

    Sources said apartments will likely average roughly 2,100 square feet. Two towers of different heights will rise above a much lower base — one tower near to Broadway, the other closer to Central Park West. The project is being designed by Cesar Pelli and Associates.

    Sources said architects Schuman Lichtenstein Claman & Efron have been tapped to design the interior, a claim that could not be confirmed.

    Arthur Zeckendorf was out of the country and could not be reached. A spokesperson for the developers, Michele de Milly would not confirm any specifics other than to say that plans "are far from final."

    The Mayflower block has been an eyesore for decades. While the run-down hotel anchored the park side, the Broadway side was kept as an empty lot by its secretive Greek owners, the Goulandris family.

    When completion of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle swelled nearby land values to astronomical levels, the Greeks finally sold out last summer.

    No zoning changes are required for the project. Although Crain's recently estimated a total size of about 612,000 square feet, it might be larger based on how much extra space the developers get in exchange for construction of off-site, moderate-income housing — a bonus permitted under rules for the Special Lincoln Square District.

    Zoning in the district very specifically establishes how a new building's bulk must be distributed. The Broadway street wall must rise 85 feet before any setback can occur and 125 feet high on Central Park West.

    The only neighbors likely to be unhappy are some residents of adjacent apartment buildings and of Trump International Hotel and Tower, whose views will be blocked.

  10. #10
    The Dude Abides
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    This is great news. I've been waiting for this project to become active for a while. It really shows just how much the AOL Time Warner has stimulated the development of the entire area around Columbus Circle and Lincoln Center. I hope Cesar Pelli comes up with a good design for this one. This, coupled with the recladding of 2 Columbus Circle and beautification of the circle itself will make the area one of the nicest in New York. Now if only they could do something about those run-down buildings on that side of Central Park South.

  11. #11

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    The demolition of Mayflower Hotel, with Park Laurel. 16 April 2005.





    Mayflower site. 10 March 2005. The view from One Central Park.


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    Has anybody seen any renderings for this project?

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmg
    Has anybody seen any renderings for this project?
    Not yet.

    The site isn't very large and there are a number of immediate buildings that would block views so instead of building two 35 storey buildings it would be better to build a 5 storey base and 70 storey tower (ofcourse I say that with most projects). I don't believe there are any height limits here as there were with TWC.

  14. #14

    Default marketing?

    does anyone have idea who will be marketing this lux condo?
    Sunshine? Marketing Directors? Cantor??
    Cesar Pelli is a decent choice for the architect but what
    the heck is SLCE doing the interiors for? IT would make more
    sense for them to be the architect of record, i would think...
    I am sure they will hire some trendy conservative interiors firm to do it....
    if anyone comes across the marketing firm, i would appreciate feedback.
    thanks!

  15. #15
    The Dude Abides
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    I walked by the site two days ago and it was very busy, with a lot of construction equipment present. It looked as if they were finishing excavation and beginning some foundation work. I couldn't find a good spot for pictures though. Our best bet for photos would be from anyone who has access to the upper floors of TWC or Trump International Tower.

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