Developers in New York City are working to create developments that offer more than just a place to live, work or shop; they are creating lifestyles.
Stephanie Mayhew

New York City is known for its ever-changing landscape and constant development, and 2006 is proving to be no exception. Northeast Real Estate Business spoke with various professionals who provided a glimpse into this continually shifting  market.


Located at the northern end of the Hub Commercial district in the South Bronx, the Hub Retail and Office Center is expected to attract anywhere from 500 to 1,000 people a day.

City officials and developers have been working hard to revitalize the South Bronx area of New York City. One of the first commercial developments in quite some time is the Hub Retail and Office Center. The development, which broke ground in March, has been a long-awaited project according to Dean Vanderwarker of The Related Companies, the developer of the project. “The community and the city have been working together to see something happen in this area,” says Vanderwarker. “Historically, the Hub neighborhood had been a very strong commercial district, and even though the South Bronx has had a difficult past, the Hub neighborhood still had a fair amount of commercial activity. However, the area has not seen a lot of commercial redevelopment for some time because of the overall economy in the Bronx.”

The larger parcel of the site was originally a vacant lot owned by the city and is the retail and office portion of the new facility. The retail space is leased to Staples (18,000 square feet), Rite Aid (16,000 square feet) and Forman Mills (40,000 square feet). The entire office space, 76,000 square feet, will be taken up by the Bronx Business Center/Department of Finance. The developer and city officials believe that the business center will bring anywhere from 500 to 1,000 people a day to the area.

The site also includes an adjacent 2-acre parcel that was formerly a vacant parking garage with retail space on the first floor. The Related Companies will be renovating it to use as parking for the facility and will lease out the remaining retail space on the first floor to tenants with 2,000- to -5,000 square feet. “The goal was to create a new northern anchor to the Third Avenue/Hub district. The southern end is very strong and the city wanted to put something substantial at the northern end,” says Vanderwarker.

The White Plains Courtyard development in the Bronx is remediating a brownfield site and brings affordable housing to the area.

Another development adding to the revitalization of the Bronx is White Plains Courtyard. The Arker Companies is developing a mixed-use multifamily and retail property at 2040 White Plains Road. The 136,000-square-foot facility includes 100 affordable housing units (10 percent of units will be set aside for homeless) and 16,000 square feet of retail space, which is leased to Staples.

“By combining resources from a variety of public and private sources, this project is remediating a brownfield site to deliver vitally needed, first-quality affordable housing in an economically distressed area,” says Alex Arker, principal with Woodmere, New York-based The Arker Companies. “White Plains Courtyard won approval from the State of New York for brownfield redevelopment in 3 months, one of the fastest approval periods in the program’s history.”

Construction began in November 2005 on the $27 million project and is expected to be complete in early 2007. Amenities include a landscaped rooftop terrace over the ground floor that will serve as common area for residents, with a community room, a laundry room and storage space. The building was designed by Hugo S. Subotovsky AIA Architects LLC, and the general contractor is Coastal Developers, a subsidiary of The Arker Companies. 


The Brooklyn borough in New York continues to thrive, as is evidenced by the residential construction in the area. As the demand for affordable and safe housing in and around the city of New York continues to grow, many developers are looking for unique sites that appeal to those who might be seeking an alternative to the fast pace of Manhattan. On 214 Bennett Avenue in the Washington Heights section, an enclave of Hudson Heights, in Brooklyn, 214 Bennett LLC has pre-planned a multifamily development that will appeal to those seeking a safe, close-knit community.

The demand for housing in the area has heightened, but because of the lack of available sites, there has been limited development in the Washington Heights area. 214 Bennett LLC acquired a 9,763-square-foot parcel of land that was originally a parking lot for the synagogue next door. The plan is to construct a 33,200-square-foot condominium. According to Spencer Garfield, managing director of Manhattan-based Hudson Realty Capital, which provided the funding for the acquisition, the most unique aspect of the project is the option of a suburban lifestyle, but in an area with good proximity to Manhattan. “So, really its an alternative to other nice neighborhoods in Queens and Long Island,” says Garfield.

Finding an area in such a great family-oriented neighborhood is very rare, according to Garfield. He likens the area to Park Slope in Brooklyn because of the privacy, the tree-lined streets and an environment in which you know your neighbors and would want to raise a family. The real draw at 214 Bennett Avenue is the community itself. “The area is for people who want trees, a larger home, family-type living and would drive into the city,” says Garfield.


The development at 254 East Second Street features rare loft-like apartments that range in size from 410 square feet to 950 square feet.

At 254 East Second Street in New York City, 254 Development LLC is giving residents in Manhattan another living option. The new multifamily development is seven stories and features 47 loft-like studio, one- and two-bedroom homes that range in size from 410 square feet to 950 square feet. The building also features a lobby and common areas with distinct elegant and minimalist design aspects.

“Loft-like apartments in this neighborhood are very rare. People who are looking for loft-like living only have one choice in this area,” says David Gergely with CORE Group Marketing. “The huge outdoor spaces give a great view over downtown New York, since it is one of the higher buildings.” Gergely also notes that the location and design of the building allows most of the units to be filled with light because of northern and southern exposure. Construction on the project began in December 2003 and is scheduled to be complete this month. Architecture & Design Group (ADG) designed the building and the CORE Group Marketing is the marketing and sales agent for the project.


Development remains strong and prolific throughout the boroughs of New York City. The Silvercup West development in the Long Island City area of Queens is a 2 million-square-foot development that demonstrates all that is occurring across the city’s real estate landscape.

The Suna brothers, owners of Silvercup Studios in Queens, are currently working on a new mixed-use development, Silvercup West, in the Long Island City area of Queens. The more than 2 million-square-foot development will comprise 1,000 residential units, 665,000 square feet of  office and retail space, a 40,000-square-foot catering facility, a health club, a 100,000-square-foot space for a cultural institution, eight soundstages, and production and studio support space. Plus, for the first time in several years, 2 acres of the Queens waterfront will be restored and opened to the public as a waterfront esplanade and plazas.

Stuart Suna, president of Silvercup Studios said they wanted to bring New York City’s 24/7 lifestyle across the river. “Our vision was to bring a very diverse work/leisure environment to Long Island City’s waterfront,” says Suna. “And the views of Manhattan from Long Island City are spectacular.” Besides offering a dynamic lifestyle, great views and an opportunity to open up the waterfront on the East River, Suna says he sees the development as a way to provide jobs and recreation for the community. He noted that they have worked very hard with officials from city planning, city parks and the department of transportation to integrate the waterfront space and the space under the bridge to expand the public’s experience at their site and beyond.

“We are also very proud of the fact that we are really breaking down a lot of social, economic and urban barriers between two different communities,” says Suna, referring to the community just north of the site, Queensbridge Houses, the largest affordable housing project in the country. “We have been working with a lot of community leaders to create job training programs there, we have been hiring people and we really want it to be a well integrated community development.” Suna believes that Silvercup West will be a gateway between Manhattan and Queens and will also show that you can develop a diverse community, build an environmentally sensitive building and bring jobs and many other benefits to a surrounding community. The $1 billion project, designed by Lord Richard Rogers of Richard Rogers Partnership, a U.K.-based architecture firm, is currently undergoing the city’s public Uniform Land Use Review Process. The groundbreaking is scheduled for 2007 and it will be a 36-month project with completion scheduled for 2010. The new project will bring more than 2,000 construction jobs and 4,000 permanent jobs.

Court Square Place is the tallest building in Long Island City since 1989.

Another development in the Long Island City area of Queens is Court Square Place. The former manufacturing building, located at 24-07 44th Road, is to become the new headquarters for the United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU). According to Greg Smith of JRT Realty, the leasing agent for the facility, the location of the building was a very big draw for the UNFCU. “Long Island City is directly across from the UN and is the first subway stop off of Manhattan,” says Smith. Plus, the “views are unbelievable, there is nothing in front of the site except for the East River and all of the Midtown skyline.”

At 16 stories, Court Square Place is the tallest building constructed in the area since 1989, and was specifically designed by architects, HLW, to take advantage of the spectacular views. The 274,433-square-foot office tower sits on a corner plot, facing west to the city skyline and south. The adjacent lot is also a developable piece of land that could potentially be office or residential. According to Smith, “Every site in the Court Square area has development potential.” The development is expected to be ready for tenants this month and will officially be opened in the fall of this year. Amenities include a 175-seat cafeteria, coffee bar, security measures one would expect of a Park Avenue tower, floor-to-ceiling glass to enhance views, a great location to Midtown, plus the area is always growing with new restaurants or condos popping up everywhere. “This development is at the forefront of a wave of activity in the area,” says Smith.

©2006 France Publications, Inc. Duplication or reproduction of this article not permitted without authorization from France Publications, Inc. For information on reprints of this article contact Barbara Sherer at (630) 554-6054.

Search Property Listings

Requirements for
News Sections

Market Highlights and Snapshots

Editorial Calendar

Today's Real Estate News