The Pieces are Coming Together for a New Broadway Mega-Development

Extell Development has assembled another parcel in its quest to develop a new building at the corner of 96th Street and Broadway, according to The Real Deal. The Gristede’s market at that location closed earlier this year and this sale had been anticipated. The new project is now getting closer to development.

The assemblage Extell is gathering at the southwest corner of West 96th Street and Broadway would span well over 200,000 buildable square feet and result in a total of more than $100 million in purchases, sources said. Extell has been negotiating to buy air rights from nearby co-op buildings along 95th Street, including one set that is in contract for north of $300 per square foot, sources said. The developer entered contract in the spring, as The Real Deal first reported in May.

Now that the deal has closed, Barnett, who could not be reached for comment, is planning to demolish the corner building and develop a mixed-use condo property. Chase Manhattan, which still occupies the corner building, has a termination lease agreement.

The Gristede’s property alone offers more than 151,000 buildable square feet, according to The Real Deal.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 96 comments | permalink
    1. Paul RL says:

      Hooray! This block is long overdue for a major improvement. While I’m generally not a fan of Extell’s aesthetics (Ariel = bleccch!), I’m hopeful that they will break out a nice plan and nail down something great and interesting here. This is a marquis parcel and will redefine the area.

      On a side note, it’s unfortunate that the beautiful beaux-art IRT powerhouse next to it will continue to rot away, and the two smaller buildings just to the west of that will keep things on the shabby side for now.

    2. 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

      Bring it on. We need a lot more supply to bring down housing costs in this area (not politicians meddling in the housing market with programs such as 421a and rent stabilization).

      • dannyboy says:

        Building expensive condos causes neighborhood rents to increase.

        That has been the case now for decades.

        • Jay says:

          “Building expensive condos causes neighborhood rents to increase.”

          You have a citation for that?

          • dannyboy says:

            Jay, you must know that this is not a Dissertation Discussion Site. Rather it is the ordinary experience of our neighbors that despite the addition of many expensive condos, prices for rents on the Upper West Side have risen.

            Unless your experience is different?

            • Jay says:

              Sorry… I forgot who I was talking to. I thought that making a definitive statement like you did, meant that you had facts.

              Tell me something, Dan. Is it your opinion that if no more apartments had been built on the UWS in the past 20 years that the prices will be the same as they are now?

            • Carlos says:

              I agree with your skepticism about new luxury units bringing down prices. However, I do not think you can blame these buildings for increasing prices. That is largely caused by the overall economy – housing prices are increasing almost everywhere, regardless of development – a $200,000 house in Wichita also costs more than it did 20 years ago. The new building might accelerate increases slightly by gentrifying the neighborhood, but that impact is trivial compared to the overall market impact.

            • dannyboy says:

              Jay, if no apartments had been built on the UWS in the past 20 years, rents would be LOWER than they are now.

              Do you really believe that investors put money into developments that REDUCE the increase in rents?

            • Jay says:

              That’s an interesting theory, Dan. I guess we always knew that your beliefs were contrary to any economic reality, so I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.

            • dannyboy says:

              Jay, you have insulted me in twice now on this thread. You do live a different reality than I.

            • Jay says:

              I live in the real world, so yes, we live in a different reality.

            • dannyboy says:

              Jay, you are among the small majority that don’t accept that building luxury condos makes rents higher (the reason, again, is that that adding luxury condos makes the neighborhood more luxurious which commands higher rents).

              I am glad that your rent continues to be reduced with the addition of these more expensive apartments. You have that nice reality to live in.

          • B.B. says:

            In a perverse and insane way that could only come about thanks to NYS/NYC real property tax laws the opposite is more true.

            High end or whatever rental properties push up the taxes for co-op and condo buildings.

            This is thanks to a quirk in New York property tax laws that cause co-ops and condos to pay taxes not as single family homes, but based upon comparable rental housing in area.

            http://www1.nyc.gov/site/finance/taxes/property-cooperative-and-condominium-comparables.page

            Say you are a co-op or condo building surrounded by low or whatever rental buildings; even better rent controlled or rent stabilized tenants make up a bulk of residents. Then the taxes for your co-op or condo do not reflect the fact you own the place (or shares in case of co-op), but rather value as a rental building.

            Many “middle class” or whatever you want to call them co-ops or condos (not so much as their numbers have been historically small in NYC),are seeing their taxes increase year after year.

            Much of this has nothing to do with city or state raising property taxes, but the fact assessed values keep rising.

            People rarely will say so publicly, but for certain co-ops and condos the arrival of luxury rental housing is not in their best interests.

            It doesn’t have to be new development either.

            For years co-ops and condos on the UWS and elsewhere benefitted from all those RS/RC buildings with tenants paying below market rates. Now that rents in those buildings are rising so is the assessed value of not just the rental property, but affects co-ops and condos as previously mentioned.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        you just love spreading myths about the housing market. this will be luxury housing and will not impact overall housing prices at all, other than slightly at the ultra -high end.

        meanwhile, rent stabilization, which you seem to hate, keeps tens of thousands of West Siders in their homes.

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          by the “you” who spreads myths, i was referring to 9d8b’s comment above — well above, now.

      • jd says:

        9d8, what fantasy island are you living on. If that were the case, most housing in Manhattan would be affordable. It’s not.

    3. dannyboy says:

      “Extell has been negotiating to buy air rights from nearby co-op buildings along 95th Street, including one set that is in contract for north of $300 per square foot, sources said.”

      So…our neighbors on 95 Street are selling rights to air, sun, breezes, light, etc. I guess they care more for the $300 per square foot than they do about their neighbors.

      • Theo says:

        Why should they give up all that lucre just to subsidize your humanity?

      • Juan says:

        You sound jealous. Wish it was your building that was cashing in?

        • dannyboy says:

          I am glad you asked about my motives. I DO NOT WANT TO CASH IN on the loss of air, views, etc of my neighbors.

          Perhaps you find that surprising?

      • B.B. says:

        Those air rights are like “money for nothing” to a co-op if you will.

        It is highly unlikely any of the buildings approached by Extell are either going to use those air rights, and or property sold and redeveloped to include them as a taller building.

        Meanwhile the sale brings in a nice big fat check that often is most welcomed.

        Those funds can be used to pay down any debt, reduce individual share/maintenance costs, go towards building wide capital improvements (such as a new boiler), and so forth. The other option is the windfall can and often in part goes to shoring up the reserve fund.

        • dannyboy says:

          In your “money for nothing” commentary, you eliminate the people affected, in this case the neighbors who will have their living experience affected. That IS a large price being paid.

    4. Jean says:

      It’s only a matter of time before the whole upper West side is in darkness.
      “Where’s the sun”?, you ask?

    5. sam says:

      What is this monstrocity going to look like?

    6. Sherry Katz Cohen says:

      My grandfather, Jack Lanzman, owned a haberdashery called Jack’s Menswear’on the corner of 96 and Broadway where the Chase Bank is. My uncle, Freddy Bartfeld, took it over. My father opened a hippy clothing store in the late 60’s to early seventies right next door where I worked off and on. The neighborhood was very interesting, which made for very interesting clientele.

      • GG says:

        That is so cool!! I can only imagine the stories you must have.

        The West Side Rag should do something like a “Memories of the UWS” series and do interviews with some of our older neighbors that have seen the neighborhood over the decades. I would love that. Anyway, God bless you, Sherry! People like you and your family are the heart and soul of the UWS.

    7. J1 says:

      Can someone translate what 200K buildable square feet transalates into in terms of floors on a lot that size?

      • UWSder says:

        The answer is not so straightforward. The lot size is 102X125 and can be built to 200k feet if the article is right as to the air-rights purchased. Because the lot is so big, one could build a large, flat building of about 8 stories but that is not what people want. I suspect it will be large and out of scale of the neighborhood. (although the one on the NW corner is also hulking. )

    8. Josh says:

      The empty former Rite Aid and tanning salon — this whole corner and much of the block — have been a travesty for many years. The giant new development is not what I’d wish for (I live nearby and worry about additional crowding on street and subway), but at this point, something is better than nothing — and (separate issue) perhaps the increasingly aggressive vagrants (sorry — choose your own term if that offends) will find another locale to set up camp.

    9. Ellen says:

      How far down 96th Street, will the old power plant be gone as well?

      • robert says:

        The power plant will must likey stay. Back when Brewer was our city council person she worked a deal to have the city buy it from the MTA for $1.00. But the MTA insisted that the city take on an responsibility for claims against the site. The city bought it anyway. Fast forward a short time and Sackman (I believe that’s how its spelled) is developing what is now 732 WEA. They did the normal soil tests for foundation work and low and behold they cam back toxic. Further testing should an underground plume of toxic muck that extends even deep under PS75. It was traced back to years of dumped chemicals into the ground in the basement of the IRT powerhouse. The city(I.E. use taxpayers) are now on the hook for the million of $$$ it will take to c/u. That is why no one has moved forward with a plan to do anything with it. No one wants open that political can of worms on the UWS.
        Maybe someone should have asked more ???? when the MTA offered it a such a cheap price in one of the worlds hottest/most expensive real estate markets. Especially when they insisted in being absolved of an future responsibility for the building

      • B.B. says:

        We covered the old power plant when this news first broke several weeks ago. Long story short that structure is landmarked or otherwise protected so it won’t be going anywhere, at least not easily.

      • dannyboy says:

        The building will end where the Gristedes ends today, and therefore the plant remains.

    10. David Morris says:

      Of course, it was only a matter of time. Also of course, given Extell’s design sense, it will be an awful horrible addition to the neighborhood.

    11. robert says:

      BEFORE everybody starts with the “what are our elected’s” etc doing to stop this building from going up….. IT IS AN AS OF RIGHT BUILDING This means the permits they have already are a done deal. The building will gone up and all the marches, petitions and lawsuits etc will amount to NADA on this project. It doesn’t surprise me at all that the developer doesn’t want to comment. They know that they will just get more of a hassle from UWS. I’m sure our local self appointed community leaders will be out there riling up the crowd as it is an election year.

    12. Judy Kass says:

      Too big! How can we stop it?

      • Eric says:

        Buy the plot from Extell. Then it will be your land and you can decide.

        • dannyboy says:

          That is not a practical suggestion for someone who is not extraordinarily wealthy.

          Just one reason for a representative government.

        • Jay says:

          Sorry, Eric.

          As you can see there are a few people with a lot of time on their hands that like to tell people what they can do with their property.

          • Cato says:

            “…there are a few people with a lot of time on their hands that like to tell people what they can do with their property.”

            Wait — you mean I can’t drive my car as fast as I want to? But surely I can play my stereo at blasting levels at all hours of the night, right?

            Next thing I know you’re going to tell me that I can’t run my restaurant however I want.

            Sheesh. What’s this world coming to?

            • Paul RL says:

              Do you actually own a restaurant? Reservation for two, please. Also I think you should host a West Side Rag Commenter Conference there!

            • Jay says:

              You can drive your car as fast as you want to within the law and this developer can develop a building as they see fit, within the law.

              Even without any facts about size and shape, the usual NIMBYs are already opposed. So yes, they want to tell a property owner what they can do with no reason. But even when developments give details and follow the laws, these NIMBYs oppose. I’m sure these NIMBYs are free marketers to the death when they have something they want to sell.

    13. Chris says:

      There are a lot of liberal billionaires who need a place to live on the upper west side. We could use another super tall with Park views of course.

    14. Chrigid says:

      How many children will this bring in for which schools?

      How many more straphangers on that lunatic subway platform?

      How many more riders on buses than come less and less frequently?

      How many more people killed while trying to cross at that corner?

      • Chris says:

        1.0
        2.0
        3.0
        4. Lots those pesky suburban’s picking up the rich don’t like to wait for pedestrians.

        • Juan says:

          Not true. The people in the building will not be using the subways and buses but I am fairly sure the doormen, housekeepers, nannies, etc. will be. That being said, though there are plenty of reasons to oppose this building, I think fear of further crowding of public infrastructure is very far down the list.

          • Amy says:

            Everyone uses the subway SOMETIMES. If you don’t, then you’re not going to buy an apartment on 96th and Broadway.

      • SouthernGentleman says:

        7? No, no, no…..8?

    15. drg says:

      OH NO!!!!
      Where will I do my banking??!!
      What a sad day when the vintage mom and pop bank branches are forced to close.

      • robert says:

        Chase will be back in the new building, they are expected to relocate the branch on a temp basis to the old Chemical & Corn Exchange Bank location on 102 and B’way. Its not official but that is what the branch has been talking about, especially since it is already kitted out as a bank branch

    16. Juan says:

      I am not thrilled about this but the only way to change this going forward is to cut back on the height limits and the amount of air rights that can be sold, and good luck getting that through.

      I am optimistic that the new building will not be uglier than the hideous Columbia across the street. And I can only imagine what a mess the traffic will be at that already horrible intersection during construction.

    17. Mark Moore says:

      Can they do something to tidy it up right now? That block is one of the worst in the neighborhood. There are always people ranting and raving on that block.

      • Carlos says:

        For all those who are complaining about this development, at least it will replace the empty storefronts. I have found the doorways to empty stores are rapidly becoming de facto homeless shelters, so this will solve that issue.

      • ScooterStan says:

        Re: “There are always people ranting and raving on that block.”

        YIKES!!! Looks like the ranters-‘n’-ravers followed you, cause there they are in the postings above yours!

        Please DON’T FEED the ranters-‘n’-ravers, ’cause it only encourages them, especially the “Chicken-Little one who predicts the entire UWS will be thrown into total darkness by buildings over 10 floors.

        How naive! The rest of us all KNOW what periodically throws the UWS into total darkness………ConEd, of course !

    18. Kathleen says:

      What is the zoning height for this mega-building? It certainly is not ‘just what the
      neighborhood needs’!

    19. Sherman says:

      This is a great addition to the neighborhood. We need more housing. This will also help to revitalize this part of the UWS (which not too long ago was pretty sketchy).

    20. Jonas says:

      We need more expensive housing on the upper west side. Keep building and build them tall 🙂

    21. J says:

      There is not a foot of room left at the 96th Street subway station. Folks will be falling off the subway platform into the tracks.

      During construction, traffic gridlock on 96th and Broadway. And after construction, expect building related traffic ( service, delivery, Uber) to block eastbound on 96th st

    22. Kate says:

      My children’s biggest concern is whether the McDonald’s is included in the sale and demolition planning. It looks as if it is a separate building, but I can not imagine it would not be included.

      • Kindly Dr Dave says:

        Who cares ab out Mickey D? TWO BOOTS is a major resource! Hope their healthier (relatively) alternatives survive the transition!

    23. Michael says:

      Let’s see what the scare tactic is going to be here because there isn’t one

      Simplified zoning explanation

      This is a R10A or equivalent district. Both streets are wide streets. This means that the building MUST set back at 150′ and can NO higher than 210′. The first floor is going to use at least the first 20′ of that 210′ feet. If each floor is 10′, that is 19 stories max. It isn’t permitted to be higher and there isn’t anywhere to go for a bonus.

      PS – I normally get paid to do this

      • Barbara says:

        Helpful info. THanks!

      • Carlos says:

        Thanks. Very helpful. For comparison, how tall is the Columbia – I think it is higher than that, right?

        • tailfins says:

          I don’t know height in feet, but streeteasy states that the Columbia is 32 stories.

          It would be interesting to know where the 19 stories starts.

          I live in the Columbia and I know the elevator goes up to 35 (though, with no 13th floor, that’s 34). The Columbia start its counting on 96th street, though, not Broadway. At least 1 or 2 floors of the Columbia are probably below Broadway’s street level. I wonder if that’s the reason we see 35 in the elevator while StreetEasy shows 32 floors?

      • Michael says:

        a little refinement here –

        The Melar at 93 and Broadway is built under the same district regs although the setback on 96 st will not be as deep as the setback on 95 St, 10′ instead of 15. The Melar is 20 stories but I’ll lean towards 19 stories here as Excel builds for the sales market and would lean to a higher floor to floor as long as they can build all of the floor area. Either way, it is still 210′.

        • Jay says:

          Did the Melar use any air rights from neighbors?

          • michael says:

            1 – “Air rights do not generate any additional height.
            2- Floor area can not be transferred across district boundaries. The district line is 100′ from Broadway. Air rights do not cross streets.
            3-Without checking ACRIS, there doesn’t seem to get “air rights”.
            4- “Air Rights” is a misnomer. It is actually a zoning lot merger but it is too geeky to explain this other than to say it is too early in the morning for this
            5- The Melar looks like someone drew the zoning envelope and made it into a building.

            • Bruce Bernstein says:

              as i understand it, “air rights” can indeed generate additional height as of right in the lot / new building purchasing them. thus the height of 200 Amsterdam.

            • Michael says:

              200 Amsterdam is in a height factor district which has no height limits. Height factor districts can go to the moon if the footprint of the site, the sky exposure plane, the FAR and gravity do not interfere.

              Broadway and 96 is in contextual district which has absolute height limits. in this location, this is 210′. There are no exceptions.

    24. reality check says:

      any time a Gristedes closes is cause to celebrate

    25. HNagrom says:

      Great news!! That block is a dump and Extell will certainly clean it up. Hopefully new residents will creat demand for news businesses to populate the other empty storefronts on broadway that blight our neighborhood.

    26. James says:

      Next up for development will be the old Radio Shack and Europan stores at the 93rd Street entrance to the IRT. They have been empty for a while with little apparent effort to market them. I just hope the corner building with Han’s Korean market survives. It is the only decent neighborhood source of fresh produce.

      • Kate says:

        Yes, I live in the building next door and we are quite concerned about it (the bigger one, not the one with Hans). My understanding is that, absent the sale of the air rights next door, they can only go up nine stories, but still, I’m on a low floor and it will block out a lot of light.

      • Chris says:

        Han’s is the best! Crisp vegetables, milk that lasts, and nice, friendly clerks that care. I get a lot of my staples there.

    27. GrumpyOldMan says:

      Hooray! Hopefully the building will be of such a spectacular design that it will detract from the excrescence of the exponentially ugly subway station.

      • Rob G. says:

        Hey Grump, I disagree with your assessment on the subway station. However you, sir, get an “A+” for the Word Of The Day!

        ex·cres·cence
        /.ikˈskresəns/

        noun
        noun: excrescence; plural noun: excrescences
        a distinct outgrowth on a human or animal body or on a plant, especially one that is the result of disease or abnormality.

    28. Frances lester says:

      Will there be affordable housing for the middle class?

      • Christina says:

        @Frances… There is! If you look at some of these applications they have middle income, income limits! Check them out! There are some for people making $50,000.00, $60,000.00 and such.

      • B.B. says:

        So far with what limited information has been made available, the answer is no. There will not be any sort of “affordable” component.

        Since Extell can build as of right, it doesn’t need a zoning variance or anything else that would trigger the city’s “inclusionary” or affordable housing mandates.

        It is still early innings however; should Extell go for 421-a tax abatement, and or seek a “bonus density” (to build higher) that would trigger affordable housing component.

        However since the city is now forcing developers who take 421a tax abatements to include affordable housing onsite (instead of elsewhere), that may put a crimp in many developers plans going forward.
        https://therealdeal.com/issues_articles/government-briefs-133/

    29. WombatNYC says:

      The Super Taco Truck/ Store are loving this development . Lots of hungry workers for years

    30. B.B. says:

      Changes are a coming!

      http://n90s.org/?p=1181

      Just as with the Eastside, the area above 86th street north to 96th along Broadway is no longer what it once was; plain and simple fact is that after decades of decline people once again want to live in Manhattan.

      2503-2509 Broadway went up in 1900 and as with so many other properties along Broadway, Columbus and Amsterdam avenues with low rise buildings likely was a taxpayer.

      Just as with the old Hotel St. Andrew on West 72nd and Broadway which also was demolished, taxpayer property erected, then became the Alexandria condos.

      Unless restricted by historical zoning or landmark status much of Broadway above say 57th street is zoned for density/tall buildings. Mid-blocks are another story.

      Know certain persons will wail and moan about “loss of light and air” or whatever; but again the zoning was done to allow for taller buildings for a reason. Those low rise “taxpayer” buildings actually represent a large waste of space that could otherwise be put to good use; providing housing.

      As to the why and whatever that all this new housing is for “wealthy” (hint; it isn’t), there are just two words “rent control” laws.

      There are reasons why so many of these otherwise low rise buildings remained for decades if not a hundred years. One of them is that owners simply didn’t see development into rental or other housing bringing a price they wanted.

      • RG says:

        There is a new building replacing an empty SRO and a garage on 95th between Amsterdam and Broadway. Any news on how tall that one will be? I’ve heard between 10 and 18 stories! I’m hoping for 10. Less is more

        • Michael says:

          This is an R8 zone. It will probably be very similar to the synagogue on 93 St as they are both R8 mid-block zones.

          There isn’t much benefit to air rights on a narrow street if you do a height factor building with a 20′ setback and a 30′ rear yard and some other problems related to open space which leaves you with a very shallow building. If you go the contextual version, you are height limited.

          Either way, the guys on 93rd st have already done all of the zoning work already

        • B.B. says:

          *Sigh* Why do I bother?

          See link posted above.

          Former Camden Hotel and the Hertz parking garage will be a 10 to 18 story residential development. The latter number comes into play because the group purchased the Hertz garage after the hotel, thus giving them more FAR than the original plans.

          They’ve got 85,000 buildable square feet to play around with; but so far nothing has been approved by the city, so we don’t know the concrete plans IIRC.

          https://commercialobserver.com/2015/08/certes-united-buy-uws-structure-adjacent-to-their-planned-10-story-resi-building/

    31. UWSider says:

      While a luxury high-rise on that corner will solve none of the housing problems in this neighborhood, it WILL solve–well, at least change–one thing. That thing, as many have said, is that that strip (as with countless others) is a bedraggled, decrepit specimen of what soaring rents and soaring homelessness yield. One cannot walk down the sidewalk in this area anymore without being confronted–and I do mean confronted–by numerous panhandlers. Does this issue get solved by plunking a luxury building there? No, it only gets moved. For that reason, this building will only ‘benefit’ those living in buildings in the immediate area. No problems will be solved (& don’t tell me that a dearth of luxury housing stock is a problem).

    32. Alan Flacks says:

      I’ve enjoyed reading the many interesting and varied comments, some speculative; however, there are a few probable “givens”: more people, some more students, more vehicular traffic (and remember that W. 96th Str. is an access to the West Side Highway), more subway passengers. What stores will be in that building, and garage parking, too? P.s. love that reference to the old Chemical & Corn Exchange bank; that’s what Chase is: J.P.Morgan Chase Manhattan Chemical Corn Exchange Bank!

    33. robert says:

      When the plans become public pls don’t bother to post they are building more “floors” than allowed. There are a lot of exceptions in the DOB code as to what actually counts as a Floor. For example the Ariel building put all their mechanicals in the middle of the building. Those four + flours don’t count, so an apartment that in height is equal to being on the 18th floor is actually on the 14th, based on the floor numbering by the building. Also you can vary the height of each floor such as the ground floor retail etc

    34. B.B. says:

      For laughs and giggles read this New York Magazine article from 1969 about the predicted “future” of the UWS.

      http://nymag.com/news/features/47182/index4.html

      Many of the same points are still being argued today, this as the UWS in 2017 is vastly different than over fifty years ago.

      It is also worth noting for much of the UWS housing prices had or have no where to go but “up”.

      Think many forget just what the UWS looked like fifty, thirty or even twenty years ago. Unlike the UES which never had the stigma of being called “blighted” and having large scale urban renewal projects/districts, the UWS was and still is another story.

      http://urbanomnibus.net/2015/06/the-scythe-of-progress-must-move-northward-urban-renewal-on-the-upper-west-side/

      From roughly 81st to 96th streets along Central Park West and extending west to Columbus or Amsterdam avenues was declared and still is for all one knows an urban renewal district. You don’t see that on Fifth Avenue across the park.

      Rents and or other housing costs are rising because quite frankly after decades of fleeing UWS/NYC people are moving back/remaining. This “white flight” reversal if you will means increased competition for existing housing (in all forms), which according to long established economic laws, pushes up prices/costs.

      Much of what is driving the high cost of housing both existing and new construction is the explosion in land values over the past one or two decades.

      https://therealdeal.com/issues_articles/486631/

      High land costs mean developers will pass those sums onto buyers or renters in new housing. Existing housing be it rental or condo/co-op are being hit with increased taxes as the assessed value of property increases.

      In case many of you have not noticed the city is awash in cash atm. All this without having to raise property taxes; and that isn’t necessary (for now). The rising assessed values of property are bringing in money, lots of it.

      With nearly 60% of NYC rental housing falling under various state/city price controls (RC, RS, NYCHA, etc…) many do not feel the true effects of rising land costs. It is the market rate owners/residents who are the ones that must pay.