The Whitby

The Whitby
1924 pre-war Emory Roth building

Monday, March 24, 2008

Verizon rolls out FIOS to Stuy Town, Cooper

Verizon is installing fiber here. Maybe they are setting up for the future FIOS roll-out?

Crain's New York Business
Verizon rolls out FIOS to Stuy Town, Cooper
Amanda Fung
Published: March 24, 2008 - 3:29 pm

Verizon Communications Inc. has been quietly rolling out its fiber-optic Internet service to residents of apartment buildings throughout the city. The company’s announcement Monday that it will bring service to Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village apartment complex, may be Verizon’s largest coup in a major metropolitan area, but it is not its first.

The company refused to disclose how many buildings in the city are connected for competitive reasons, but identified a half a dozen other buildings in New York where FIOS Internet is available. Those properties include Place 57 at 57th Street between Third and Second avenues; The Crest Lofts at 67 Wall St., two Trump properties in Manhattan; Arverne By the Sea in the Rockaways, Queens and Octagon Park on Roosevelt Island.

Penetrating the multiple dwelling units with fiber across the nation is crucial to the success of Verizon’s $23 billion project to upgrade its copper wire system to offer higher speed Internet service and cable television. These types of buildings represent 25% of the households that the telecom giant currently serves nationwide, said Eric Cevis, head of the FIOS unit that markets and sells the service to apartment buildings.

The company is currently negotiating a cable franchise with the city since 2006 so it can offer television service in New York. Earlier this month, Verizon said it was optimistic that the city will issue a solicitation for new cable providers by the end of this month so that it can apply for the franchise.

Place 57, a new 63-unit luxury condo on the East Side of Manhattan, was the first building in the city to offer FIOS Internet, Verizon said. It has been selling the service since December 2005.

Last year, residents of the newly renovated rental units at The Crest Lofts on Wall Street could sign up for Verizon FIOS Internet. The Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village complex, with 11,232 units, is by far the largest property in the city to get fiber. Verizon says it is offering FIOS in buildings across the five boroughs.

Critics have questioned whether Verizon could surpass technical hurdles and efficiently bring fiber into large multiple dwelling units. Some noted it is also more cost prohibitive to install fiber, as much as $100 a foot to wire buildings versus $8 a foot to wire single-family homes, in these types of buildings. However, Verizon said new technology has brought down the costs and these are no longer concerns. Its major challenge in the city has been getting permission from property owners, Verizon said.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Times Square retail sets new records

The Real Deal
by Catherine Curan
February, 05, 2008

A row of denim-clad derrieres greets pedestrians thronging the corner of Broadway and West 44th Street. Advertising the new Levi's store under construction at 1501 Broadway, these cheeky pictures reference Times Square's seedy porn-shop past while heralding the area's big-brand future.

Levi's is only the latest mega-brand to debut on Broadway between 42nd Street and 46th Street, the heart of the district's increasingly upscale and expensive retail hub. The Levi's store sits two blocks south of 1551 Broadway, the former Howard Johnson's site snapped up by teen apparel chain American Eagle Outfitters last year in a blockbuster deal.

American Eagle is reportedly paying $20 million a year for 26,500 square feet of space and a 250-foot-high sign tower in development. That transaction helped pump up the area's average retail rent in a recent Real Estate Board of New York report: Broadway in the Times Square area logged a 107 percent gain to an average of $797 per square foot last year—the biggest retail rent increase in Manhattan.

"Times Square is hot," said Robin Abrams, executive vice president at Lansco. "This [American Eagle deal] is a new record for a unique property on a high-profile corner with potential for extreme visibility in the epicenter of everything."

Retailers have been paying up for a presence in Times Square because of a tectonic shift in the district's population. Thanks to more than 6 million square feet of office space constructed from 1996 to 2003, thousands of white-collar workers at firms such as Lehman Brothers are now weekday regulars at area shops and restaurants (see chart). Another 209,445 people will work in the area each year by 2010, according to Times Square Alliance forecasts.

Meanwhile, a slew of sleek boutique hotels, including Hotel Mela at 44th Street and Broadway, has sprung up, attracting well-heeled tourists and their shopping dollars.

A whopping 80 percent of foreign tourists who visit New York include a visit to Times Square, the Times Square Alliance estimated. Lastly, residential projects including the 464-unit Biltmore at 271 West 47th Street, where a two-bedroom rental is priced at $6,995 a month, have added thousands of upper-income residents.

"Most of what was on the radar five or 10 years ago was just domestic tourists," said Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance. "[Now] there is a sense there is this untapped local market [with] increased foreign tourists, who are less price-sensitive than domestic tourists."

Growth in the area—and the eye-popping American Eagle deal—has some landlords seeking up to $1,000 a square foot for space in the high-traffic "bow tie," where Broadway and Seventh Avenue crisscross between 42nd and 47th streets. Roughly 88,000 people were counted on the sidewalk at Broadway and West 44th Street one day last August, according to one study.

As a result, landlords are aiming high, even for tiny spaces.

The recent asking rent for a 750-square-foot store in the Marriott Marquis, at the corner of West 45th Street, was $1,000 a square foot. Italian eyewear conglomerate Luxottica Group inked a deal for the space last fall and will open a Sunglass Hut store there this spring. Eric Gelber, senior vice president of CBRE, represented the chain, which already operates in the similar corridor of 34th Street. He said the chain was attracted to Times Square by a recent influx of big-name apparel stores including Ann Taylor Loft, which did a deal for a 19,000-square-foot store at West 42nd Street and Broadway in 2006.

Gelber wouldn't confirm whether Luxottica is paying the eye-popping $1,000-per-square foot asking rent, saying only, "[The rent] is high, but it's a small space."

Another bow-tie spot, 1540 Broadway, is also on the market with top-notch asking rent, according to sources. That address formerly housed gaming emporium Bar Code and is still home to a Virgin Megastore. The Virgin store is available with an asking rent of $800 per square foot for the 10,000-square-foot ground-floor portion, sources said. Vornado Realty Trust, which lists 1540 Broadway on its Web site under "available retail space," did not return a call for comment.

"If you need to be in the bow tie, it's very expensive," said Joshua Strauss, a managing director at Robert K. Futterman & Associates.

Such numbers may soon look a little too rich. Prancing models on billboards seem at odds with the news ticker at One Times Square—a site recently rented by Walgreens—which recently proclaimed, "Investors shy away from risk amid Citi loss, retail data; Dow down 201 points."

For now, tenant brokers and developers insist the district's triple-threat population surge will blunt the impact of an economic slowdown.

Fred Rosenberg, senior vice president of operations at Sherwood Equities, said interest is high for retail space in 2 Times Square at 47th Street, with an asking rent of $650 a foot.

"With the dollar so low against the euro … there are no signs of a slowdown," Rosenberg said.

1551 Broadway, the former Howard Johnson’s site, was snapped up by American Eagle Outfitters last year in a blockbuster deal.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Tonier Image Is Sought for Eighth Avenue in Midtown

The New York Times
February 7, 2008

Eighth Avenue is no longer Manhattan’s answer to the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. But now that almost all of its peep shows and pornographic video stores have been eradicated, the open question is, what will this once-seedy part of Midtown become in its next life?

Officials of the Times Square Alliance have begun a campaign to attract distinctive stores and restaurants that they hope will create an atmosphere on the stretch of Eighth between 40th and 53rd Streets that fits comfortably between tourist-thronged Times Square and the gentrifying Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood to the west.

New street-level retail spaces are expanding as new glass high-rises, like the Hearst Tower, The New York Times Building and 11 Times Square, which is under construction at 42nd Street, redefine Eighth Avenue. The new towers have inspired the alliance to coin an immodest nickname: the Avenue of Architecture.

But rather than wait for those new spaces to fill up with bank branches and national chain stores, the alliance, which represents property owners and businesses in the area, is hoping to attract locally owned and less-ubiquitous stores that might appeal to neighborhood residents as well as to office workers.

“If you live at 44th and Ninth, there’s not a clothing store anywhere around, not a bookstore,” said Tim Tompkins, the president of the alliance.

The area already has plenty of foot traffic; several blocks of Eighth Avenue above 42nd Street draw more than 30,000 pedestrians a day each, according to a report compiled by the alliance. But office workers in the neighborhood tend to leave at lunchtime and after work. A recent study conducted by the alliance found that more than $250 million of potential spending was being lost annually to other parts of the city.

The first trick will be to entice the throngs passing through the area to slow down and take a look around, said Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president. Mr. Stringer’s office has pledged $108,000 toward the installation of sidewalk lights and signs to help people navigate the neighborhood, he said.

“The key here is to get people out walking and going into a neighborhood where they didn’t think they could walk, to start to create a different kind of robust economy,” Mr. Stringer said.

Mr. Tompkins is planning to draw more attention to the area after dark by holding a lighting festival in which lighting designers would be invited to illuminate the facades of buildings like the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

The alliance also hopes to persuade the city’s Department of Transportation to make the area friendlier to pedestrians by installing new newsstands and bicycle racks — and by removing the metal fence (installed during the Giuliani administration to protect pedestrians) that runs along the western curb of the avenue between 42nd and 43rd streets, Mr. Tompkins said.

“We hate that fence. It just looks terrible,” he said, adding that many pedestrians choose to walk in the street rather than between it and the adjacent shops.

Changing the perception of Eighth Avenue, which “had a lot of porn and a lot of 99-cents shops,” will take some time, said Faith H. Consolo, chairman of the retail leasing and sales division of Prudential Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

“I think it could be a great street to have your office on, to live and go shopping on,” Ms. Consolo said. “But that’s a year to 18 months away. It’s not happening overnight.” Ideal shops, she said, could include higher-end women’s clothing stores like Searle and stationers and gift boutiques like Montblanc.

Still, storefront rents could run as high as $200 to $250 a square foot, she said, prices that are daunting to many small merchants and restaurateurs.

But, illustrating how difficult it could be to redefine the area, Mr. Tompkins cited a very different group of potential tenants. He said he would prefer to see the avenue attract “homegrown New York merchants” like Two Boots pizzeria and Brooklyn Industries, a casual clothing merchant.

Lexy Funk, the president of Brooklyn Industries, a nine-store company that started in Williamsburg, said she has considered opening a store in Hell’s Kitchen and might be interested in space along Eighth Avenue.

“We’ve always taken risks in our real estate,” Ms. Funk said. “The issue right now with Manhattan real estate is it’s become too expensive for small merchants. We’re competing against banks and international chains.”

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Building amenities

Pre-war, 1924 architecturally-significant Emory Roth building with 11 floors plus basement, containing 215 units

  • 24 hour Concierge with Wake-up Calls and UPS/FedEx Package Storage
  • Live-in Superintendent
  • Night & Weekened Security Guard
  • Full-time Building Manager
  • Other staff includes Porters and Handyman
  • Modern Elevators: two passenger, one freight/service
  • Laundry Room with 27 machines (card activated, not coin)
  • Pet Friendly
  • Subletting allowed
  • Laundry & Dry Cleaning Delivery
  • Fresh Direct friendly
  • Community Room
  • House Telephone
  • Future roof deck?
  • Friendly and famous residents including several Broadway stars
  • Annual holiday party
  • Luggage cart
  • Storage Rooms with Lockers

  • Bicycle Room

Location, location, location

One of the best locations in all of Manhattan.

  • Close to all Broadway theaters (even across the street from one!)
  • One block to the largest subway station in NYC (42nd St, Times Square) - A, C, E, 1, 2, 3, 7, S, N, Q, R, W
  • Half block to Ninth Avenue Hell's Kitchen restaurants
  • One block to the famous Restaurant Row
  • Three blocks to Port Authority bus terminal
  • Twelve blocks to Penn Station and Madison Square Garden
  • Walking distance to Grand Central Terminal, Central Park, Bryant Park, Lincoln Center, Hudson River Park
  • Fourteen blocks to Time Warner Center, including Whole Foods
  • One and a half blocks to Times Square
  • Close walk to Midown office business district

Come be a part of this exciting and changing neighborhood! It will be even better in just a few short years, so get in now before the prices skyrocket!

  • American Apparel is soon coming 1 block away
  • Red Mango is soon coming 1/2 block away
  • New condo, "Platinum," at northeast corner of 46th and Eighth
  • New condo coming to northwest corner of 46th and Eighth
  • New condo coming to the east side of Eighth Avenue between 45th and 46th Streets
  • New condo coming to southwest corner of 44th and Eighth
  • Hudson Yards redevelopment
  • Several new 42nd Street condo buildings

1980s Prospectus / Offering Memorandum

(click below to zoom-in and read)

1924 New York Times Article