The Real Deal New York

Mapping the feverish investment on the Far West Side

A guide to the properties changing hands and new buildings going up — most spawned by the Hudson Yards and Manhattan West megaprojects

June 01, 2014
By C.J. Hughes

The redevelopment of the Hudson Yards site by the Related Companies into a massive hodgepodge of 17 million square feet of new commercial, residential, retail and open space is well underway. So is Manhattan West, a sweeping mixed-use complex from Brookfield Office Properties facing Ninth Avenue.

But those megaprojects have spawned a bevy of other investors and developers rushing into the area.

Over the last few years, developers have gobbled up land in the areas bound by West 28th to 41st streets, west of Ninth Avenue — which until now has been a mishmash of train yards, warehouses and parking lots.

While developments haven’t all followed immediately — many of those players are waiting for the new 7 train subway stations to open before starting construction — the preparation is feverish. Analysts say the activity is largely driven by investors looking to capitalize on a market with big potential, before prices get too high.

“If Hudson Yards and Manhattan West are already online and in full leasing mode, you are probably too late [to buy],” said Ben Thypin, director of market analysis at research firm Real Capital Analytics, which provided The Real Deal with much of the data for this story.

On the other hand, some current owners may look at the market there and say, ‘Wow, demand is so strong, I might as well sell this [rather] than develop it myself,’” he noted.

Below is a rundown of some of the activity at major sites from 2011 to spring 2014.

411 West 35th Street

411 West 35th Street

1. 411 West 35th Street

In November 2012, a joint venture of Maddd Equities and Joy Construction purchased this parking lot for $26 million. The team will spend another $89 million on a 12-story, 186-unit market-rate rental with studio to two-bedroom apartments. The project will break ground by fall, said Eli Weiss, Joy’s director of development. It will also include 12,000 square feet of stores for middle-class residents, he said. “As this neighborhood evolves, there needs to be retail that’s not just Hermes,” Weiss said.

2. 515 West 29th Street

In September, the Bauhouse Group paid $24 million for this site, owned by the Jangana family. Bauhouse also purchased air rights in three other transactions, including one from Related. The company — whose principals include Joseph Beninati, one of the founders of Antares, a troubled Connecticut development company — has teamed up with an unnamed overseas investor on the project. The northeastern corner of the site, which is next to Related’s Abington House, is right under the High Line, where it curves to the west. Bauhouse will spend another $75 million on a condo tower, with stores downstairs, according to a news release. The Corcoran Group will handle sales, which are expected to launch this fall.

3. 451 10th Avenue

A fence-ringed parking lot, this parcel was leased by Joy and Maddd in April for 99 years for $62 million. The site is zoned for mixed-use and can accommodate 400,000 square feet of construction, but Weiss said the partners have not yet determined whether to build a commercial or residential tower.

4. 532 West 30th Street

In September, Related bought this narrow lot, which is home to a seven-story brick 1920s office, for $9 million. Related, which also owns the adjacent parcel, is planning a 300,000-square-foot, 31-story rental with about 180 units, according to company officials, who said construction will start this fall. The firm is teaming up with Abington Properties — which it also partnered with at the nearby 300-plus-unit rental on the High Line known as the Abington House on West 30th Street.

5. 511-515 West 35th Street

Elliot Spitzer, the former New York governor and real estate scion, paid $88 million for this swath of parking lots in December. That was a significant markup from when the parcels traded for $22 million in April 2013. An office or hotel is reportedly planned for the site. A spokeswoman for Spitzer Enterprises declined comment.

6. 517 West 35th Street

In September, Related signed a contract to buy the $75 million dusty lot from HLM Realty of Pelham, N.Y. The deal has not yet closed, according to city records, and Related has not yet revealed its plans for the site, which sits near the Hudson Park and Boulevard, a planned four-acre mid-block open space. A Related spokeswoman declined comment.

470 11th Avenue

470 11th Avenue

7. 470 11th Avenue

In April, Black House Development, a Manhattan-based firm that’s been active in the area, teamed up with an unnamed Chinese private equity firm to buy this parking lot for $115 million. A 320,000-square-foot glassy, boxy tower will reportedly open by 2017 at the site, which faces the Javits Convention Center, according to news reports. It will reportedly house 51 apartments and a 410-room hotel. Ashwin Verma, a Black House principal, did not respond to a request for comment.

8. 509 West 34th Street/435 10th Avenue

In a blockbuster deal, these adjacent sites, which contain a parking garage and parking lot, were purchased in April for the lump sum of $438 million by Tishman Speyer from Sherwood Equities and the Rosenthal family. If Tishman obtains extra air rights, it can build a massive 2.6-million-square-foot tower. Zoning allows for multiple uses, but Tishman Speyer is expected to construct an office building. “[We] found this to be the perfect time, development site and opportunity to participate in establishing Hudson Yards as the world’s next great commercial district and neighborhood,” said Tishman Speyer co-CEOs Jerry Speyer and Rob Speyer in a statement.

9. 358 10th Avenue

In August, Frank McCourt, the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, bought this parcel across from the Hudson Yards for $167 million from Sherwood Equities and Long Wharf Real Estate Partners. McCourt is planning a 730,000-square-foot mixed-use tower at the site, which runs the full block between Dyer Avenue and West 31st Street, as TRD has reported. Matthew Rose, a spokesman at McCourt Global, did not return a call for comment. McCourt sold the Dodgers in 2012 for more than $2 billion and recently opened a New York office.

10. 452 11th Avenue

In August, investor David Marx bought this 10,000-square-foot site across from the Javits Center from Lehman Brothers for $35 million. It marked something of a turnaround, as Marx had lost the same property to Lehman in 2011. Marx initially bought the property in 2007 for $45 million with plans for a 210,000-square-foot hotel, which he is expected to try again now, according to news reports. An attempt to track down Marx was unsuccessful.

445 West 35th Street

445 West 35th Street

11. 445 West 35th Street

Joy and Maddd also closed on a 99-year lease for the parking lot at 445 West 35th Street in December 2012 for an undisclosed price. They plan another rental there — this one 12 stories and with 115 studio to two-bedroom units. The project will cost $50 million, the company said. The site, by an entrance ramp to the Lincoln Tunnel, will have 5,000 square feet of retail, either a store or a gym, Joy’s Weiss said. Construction should begin by fall.

12. 541-545 West 37th Street

In December 2012, the Chetrit Group, led by Joe Chetrit and others, paid $27 million for these parcels, which sit next to the planned Hudson Park and Boulevard and near the Javits Center. According to news reports, the site, which houses an auto body shop, will soon see a new hotel. Chetrit could not be reached for comment.

13. 558-572 West 34th Street

In July 2013, Related acquired this site from Extell for $168 million. As part of the deal, it also picked up a $45 million site Extell co-owned with Boston Properties at Eighth Avenue and West 45th Street. The 34th Street site, once home to an incarnation of the famed Copacabana nightclub, sits atop the new 7 train station. Before Related stepped in, Extell was planning to build a 57-story, 1.7-million-square-foot mixed-use tower there called One Hudson Yards, which would have competed with the office towers Related is building on the main rail yards site.

14. 526 West 28th Street

In July 2013, Centaur Properties bought this site for $45 million from RN Realty. The site, which was once home to the Mansion dance club, could support a 144,000-square-foot office or apartment building, according to news reports. Centaur, which could not be reached for comment, previously built 305 West 16th Street, a cond-op at Eighth Avenue.

15. 528-534 West 39th Street

In August 2012, developer Rockrose bought this site for $30 million, the last piece in an adjacent assemblage owned by the firm, said Justin Elghanayan, the firm’s president. In total, Rockrose now has a 75,000-square-foot site, which could support 1 million square feet of commercial space and 400,000 square feet of residential. Elghanayan called it “one of the largest floor plates in the Hudson Yards.” He added that so far, Rockrose is planning to build 530 apartments there, plus retail, though no timeline has been established. An office or hotel could also be built at a later date.

444 10th Avenue

444 10th Avenue

16. 444 10th Avenue

This summer, Joy and Maddd will break ground on an 18-story, 151-room hotel on this 10th Avenue site, which contained a parking lot and has been leased since 2012. All told, the project will cost $38 million, Joy’s Weiss said. Four Points Hotel by Sheraton is tapped to operate the hotel, which is slated to open in spring 2016.

One Response to “Feverish investment for Far West Side”

  1. June 24, 2014 at 12:08 am, ganymede1 said:

    Me thinks there is a bit too much development going on here…

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