Developers rush to bid on Seward Park project
Nearly 50 years after demolishing a stretch of Lower East Side tenements, the city has finally issued a request for proposals to develop the six-acre Seward Park Urban Renewal Area, eliciting an enthusiastic response from developers, the New York Times reported. With some 1.65 million feet of development space along Delancey and Essex streets, the site is the largest section of undeveloped land in Manhattan south of 96th Street. Proposals are due next month, and bidding information has been downloaded from the city’s website 750 times, according to the Times. The Gotham Organization confirmed that it is bidding on the project, and more than 200 people attended an information session in February, including representatives from the Related Companies, Forest City Ratner, Edward Minskoff Equities and AvalonBay Communities.
Midtown up-zoning begins public review
A proposal to rezone Midtown East will begin a six-month public review this month, Crain’s reported. At a presentation last month, the Department of City Planning revealed details of the rezoning, which would allow some Midtown properties to double or triple their current size. The city also hopes to sell air rights for $250 per square foot within the rezoned area, which lies between East 39th and East 57th streets. The city has also identified 32 buildings — including the Philip Morris building, Citicorp Center and the MetLife Building at 200 Park Avenue — as potential landmarks that would be protected from the up-zoning. The plan could create roughly five million new square feet of office space by 2033, a 5.5 percent increase.
Fannie and Freddie to form joint company
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be combined to form a new joint company, in a move to shrink the two government-backed mortgage giants and reduce risks to taxpayers. Fannie and Freddie currently back about two-thirds of new home loans in the U.S., but have received nearly $190 billion from the U.S. Treasury since the 2008 financial crisis. By creating a new securitization company, the Federal Housing Finance Agency said it aims to shrink the government-sponsored enterprises’ role in the housing system. Edward DeMarco, acting director of the FHFA, said the goal is to build a single infrastructure to support the mortgage credit business and “create something of value that could either be sold or used by policymakers as a foundational element of the mortgage market of the future.”
NYC pension funds aid Sandy rebuilding efforts
Four of the five New York City pension funds have announced they’ll invest in a pair of funds — run by the Related Companies and Hudson Companies — that will help finance the rebuilding of properties damaged by Hurricane Sandy, Crain’s reported. The funds will be combined with an additional $1 billion in loans to create or restore 3,000 units of housing and up to 200,000 square feet of commercial space over the next three years. Related, which will receive $300 million from the pensions and invest $10 million of its own money, will rebuild properties along the coast and in Lower Manhattan. Hudson is to get $200 million, 80 percent of which it will spend on properties located in city flood zones, with the goal of protecting them against future storms.