Connect with us

Business

Apartment tower near South Street Seaport awaits ruling

Published

on

[ad_1]

It’s make-or-break time for Howard Hughes Corp.’s hot-button apartment-tower proposal at 250 Water St., near the South Street Seaport.

On Monday, HHC will show a scaled-down design to the Landmarks Preservation Commission that’s about 27 percent smaller than the original plan the panel rejected in January.

“We heard their feedback,” HHC New York Tristate Region President Saul Scherl said. “We addressed a lot of their concerns regarding height and mass, and we moved away from the tower design.”

If the new plan by SOM architects — shown here for the first time — gets the green light, it will bring the neighborhood what Scherl called “deeply affordable” rental apartments. It will also provide a long-term commitment by Hughes to keep the fiscally strapped South Street Seaport Museum afloat.

But if LPC gives another thumbs-down, HHC says it will develop the site “as of right” with a much smaller building — with no affordable units and generating insufficient revenue to aid the struggling museum.

HHC bought the land from the Milstein family for $180 million in 2018. The LPC is involved because the 1-acre location, which is bounded by Water, Beekman and Pearl streets and Peck Slip, lies just barely inside the South Street Seaport Historic District.

Why’s an empty lot part of a district that was designed to protect historic old buildings?
As The New York Times revealed in 1989, the former parking lot was squeezed into the district in the 1970s due to political pressure to preserve views of residents of the Southbridge Towers complex across the street.

Today, some Southbridge residents are so fiercely opposed to HHC’s plan that they’ve actually urged the city to use 250 Water for a tow pound that’s to be relocated from the West Side. After all, not even the largest SUV would block views.

Large, original design featured two tall towers on a podium base.
Large, original design featured two tall towers on a podium base.
SOM

If the plan wins LPC approval, it must next undergo the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure because it requires a special permit for its size and to transfer air rights that HHC controls with the city from nearby properties.

HHC has a strong chance to prevail in ULURP because Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who represents the area, supports the plan, as does Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

It’s also backed by prominent executives including CBRE tri-state CEO Mary Ann Tighe, who said, “Every aspect of the design pays homage to the Seaport . . . Most dramatically, it rationalizes the eye’s transit from the towers of Water and Wall streets to the East River’s edge, forming a glide path so that both skyscrapers and Seaport are seen to best advantage.”

The original scheme called for 757,000 square feet in two 470-foot-tall towers atop a podium base. The new design is for a flat-topped building just over 300 feet tall with 550,000 square feet. It will have 70 affordable rental units, down from 100 in the old design, available to families earning roughly $45,000 a year.

Scherl called the $750 million-$800 million plan a “the finishing touch” on the Seaport, where HHC previously invested over $900 million to develop a new Pier 17, turn the Tin Building into a gourmet food hall and revitalize the Fulton Market Building and retail spaces.

LPC approval by April would allow the plan to begin ULURP proceedings in May. Excavation could begin early in 2022, Scherl said.

There’s more at stake for the public than merely replacing a decades-long eyesore. The Seaport Museum — which was launched in the 1960s and provided the first impetus for creating the historic district in 1972 — has long limped along with inadequate funding.
Without help, the future might be dim for the great sailing ship Wavertree, Ambrose light ship and the museum’s many other attractions.

Museum President Jonathan Boulware called the current situation “an existential moment.” He said, “Our walls are full of accolades over 54 years, but where we have struggled is financially. We need several million dollars in annually recurring money” — which could happen under an arrangement with HHC.

Scherl said, “The exact package depends on negotiations with Jonathan and the city.”
He noted that a maritime museum like the Seaport “has much higher costs than other museums. We love the ships, but the ships cost money. It isn’t like hanging a painting on a wall.”

Chef Samuelsson’s new restaurant

Celebrated Red Rooster chef Marcus Samuelsson is bringing his talents to the Starrett-Lehigh Building. His Marcus Samuelsson Group has signed a lease for a more than 5,000-square-foot restaurant on the ground floor of the massive Art Deco structure between 11th and 12th avenues on the far West Side.

Marcus Samuelsson
Marcus Samuelsson
Red Rooster Overtown

The eatery will be at the corner of 11th Avenue and West 26th Street with outdoor entrances as well as interior access for workers in the building. The asking rent was $150 per square foot.

The culinary concept is yet to be announced. Samuelsson’s operating partner will be his longtime adviser Howard Greenstone and his Red Pebbles Hospitality company.

Samuelsson, the Ethiopian-Swedish author of the acclaimed recent book “The Rise” about the influence of black cooks on American cuisine, said, “This is an important time to be committed to New York and be part of hopefully more black-owned business. For me personally, it’s an exciting opportunity to also explore my ‘Swediopian’ roots in a fresh way and to celebrate the amazing creativity and diversity of our great city.”

[ad_2]

Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Glasses retailer Warby Parker eyeing IPO as soon as this year

Published

on

By

[ad_1]

Hipster glasses retailer Warby Parker is eyeing an initial public offering.

The 11-year-old business, which started out as an e-tailer before rolling out some 130 stores across the US, is considering an IPO as early as this year, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

The New York-based company has amassed a huge customer following by offering less expensive prescription glasses. Warby Parker raised $120 million in its most recent funding round giving it a $3 billion valuation, according to the report.

“We’ve always explored various financing opportunities in both the debt and equity markets,” the company said in a statement. “To date, we have successfully and deliberately raised money within the private market on favorable terms and have plenty of cash on our balance sheet. We’ll continue to make strategic decisions in line with our commitment to sustainable growth.”

Founded by college buddies Dave Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal, who met at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Warby Parker has attracted some large investors including the mutual fund company, T. Rowe Price.

It turned it first profit in 2018, Gilboa told The New York Times at the time.

Warby Parker co-founder Neil Blumenthal
Warby Parker co-founder Neil Blumenthal
Brian Ach/Getty Images

Customers can get prescriptions through their apps on their smartphones and use cameras to pick out frames. The company also has an optical lab in Sloatsburg, NY where it produces lenses.

While Warby Parker is not the least expensive option, it beats Costco in a recent comparison with Costco charging as little a $126 for a pair of prescription glasses compared with Warby Parker’s least expensive pair at $95.

“As consumer walk into a LensCrafters or Sunglass Hut, they see 50 different brands of glasses but don’t realize that all those brands are owned by the same company that owns the store that they’re standing in, that probably owns the vision insurance plan they’r using to pay for those glasses,” Gilboa said in a recent CNBC interview.

“And so, it’s no surprise that a lot of those glasses are marked up 10 to 20 times what they cost to manufacture,” he said.

[ad_2]

Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Dogecoin hits new high boosted by DogeDay hashtags

Published

on

By

[ad_1]

Dogecoin prices hit an all-time high on Tuesday, with a market capitalization above $50 billion, after social media fans used hashtags to fuel a rally in the meme-based cryptocurrency.

An 8,000 percent price surge this year has seen Dogecoin, which was launched as a satirical critique of 2013′s cryptocurrency frenzy, overtake more widely-used cryptocurrencies like Tether to become the fifth-largest coin.

While Dogecoin, whose logo features a Shiba Inu dog at the center of the meme, a represents only a fraction of bitcoin’s $1 trillion value, it can be traded on crypto exchanges and more popular mainstream trading apps.

“The Doge rally represents an interesting convergence,” said Diana Biggs, CEO of crypto start-up Valour, after Dogecoin’s price soared by more than five-fold in the last week to a record 42 cents, according to CoinMarketCap.

“A meme coin created as a joke for early crypto adopters whose community found that kind of thing to be fun, with now a new generation of retail investors for whom memes are a native language,” Biggs added.

Dogecoin fans used the hashtags #DogeDay and #DogeDay420 to post memes, messages and videos on Twitter, Reddit and TikTok, referring to the informal April 20 holiday to celebrate cannabis which is marked by smoke-ins and street parties.

“GIMME THAT DOGECOIN LAMBO!!! #DogeDay” one tweeted, referring to the Lamborghini car popular in crypto culture.

Dogecoin’s rise has come amid a surge in online trading of stocks and crypto by retail investors, stuck at home with extra cash because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has not coincided with a growth in usage of the coin for payments or in commerce.

The same trend has spurred a boom in usage of online trading apps like Robinhood, and also fueled the social-media driven rally in GameStop stock that pitted retail investors against hedge funds earlier this year.

“It’s an extension of the same phenomenon that has led Tesla stock to be valued well beyond fundamentals and more recently to the GME (GameStop) short squeeze,” said Ajit Tripathi, head of institutional business at decentralised finance startup Aave.

Like other cryptocurrencies, Dogecoin’s price is heavily influenced by social media users including Tesla chief Elon Musk, whose tweets on the cryptocurrency in February sent its price soaring over 60 percent.

“If this goes as planned and everybody including Mr. Musk go ahead and just pour money into Doge on April 20th all at once Doge will reach prices that originally were not even conceptual,” a TikTok user said in a video promoting the coin.



[ad_2]

Source link

Continue Reading

Business

Amazon is opening a beauty salon in London

Published

on

By

[ad_1]

Amazon is opening a hair salon in London — its latest odd lurch into new businesses as the pandemic continues to fuel the e-commerce giant’s torrid growth.

The Amazon Salon, unveiled in a Tuesday blog post, will occupy a two-story, 1,500-square-foot space in Spitalfields, a trendy neighborhood in East London that is also home to Amazon’s UK headquarters, which houses about 5,000 employees.

Indeed, the new salon, which will be open seven days a week, initially will only cater to Amazon workers. Members of the public will be able to make bookings in “the coming weeks” by calling, emailing or visiting the salon, the company says.

“This will be an experiential venue where we showcase new products and technology,” Amazon said in a blog post on Tuesday, adding that there are no plans to open other salons.

That will include making Amazon’s Fire tablets available at each station, allowing customers to use augmented reality technology to see what they look like as a platinum blonde, brunette or with highlights, the company said.

The salon is located at Amazon’s UK headquarters, which houses about 5,000 employees.
The salon is located at Amazon’s UK headquarters, which houses about 5,000 employees.
Amazon

The salon will also test new “point-and-learn” technology, where customers can point at a product they are interested in on a display shelf and the relevant information, including brand videos and educational content, will appear on a display screen.

[ad_2]

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending