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NYC2ATX Aug 1, 2008 9:34 AM

That's the most beautiful dirt I've ever seen.

kenratboy Aug 1, 2008 8:02 PM

I hope this project serves as an inspiration to cities around the nation and world. So much can be learned from this. So often are small and awkward spaces either leveled and paved for underutilized parking, or just sit and do nothing.

Lecom Aug 5, 2008 4:13 PM

I wonder if there is some old guy out there that still remembers the railroad being used for its original purpose. I'd love to hear his opinion on whether he could ever forsee such change to the railway in the future.

John F Sep 22, 2008 6:38 PM

earlier this month, grasses and perennials arrived for planting. The High Line Blog has photos

NYC4Life Oct 28, 2008 1:43 AM

Construction Watch: Free to Be, HL23

Monday, October 27, 2008, by Joey

One day, two Construction Watches? Folks, do not panic. Normally we would provide you with sufficient time and space between batches of photos of steel beams and cement, but in the case of HL23, the news just couldn't wait. Now that the legal wrangling over the Neil Denari-designed condo building at 517 West 23rd Street appears to be settled, the glassy mindtrip is free to rise over the High Line. And rise, it shall! Above, some tipster-submitted photos proving that all newborns look alike, even if they'll grow up to become some sort of bizarre alien being. According to StreetEasy, two of the 15-story building's 11 units are in contract. Is Kanye going to step up to the plate or what?

NYC4Life Nov 13, 2008 9:19 PM

NY Post




Last updated: 12:38 am
November 13, 2008
Posted: 12:37 am
November 13, 2008
This view of the High Line from the Caledonia development includes, from left to right, Frank Gehry's IAC building, the still-in-progress Jean Nouvel condo tower at 100 11th Ave. and Annabelle Selldorf's 520 West Chelsea.

In 1999, a nonprofit called Friends of the High Line was born. Its mission was simple: to preserve and beautify the High Line — a 1½-mile strip of elevated rail tracks that snakes along 10th and 11th avenues, from the Meatpacking District through Chelsea.

Earlier this year, the group started turning the tracks into a public park, a $170 million project (about $50 million of which is being raised through private donations) — but it would seem as if they’ve already gone way beyond their original mission.

This thin strip of greenery has sprouted something unprecedented along its edges in terms of architecture and design. Heavy hitters — including Jean Nouvel, Frank Gehry, Annabelle Selldorf and Shigeru Ban — have planted their flags near the High Line, designing residential and commercial buildings that are among the city’s most eye-catching.

Andre Balazs is unveiling a hotel called the Standard (which is set for a soft opening in December and which will have a restaurant helmed by former Lever House chef Dan Silverman). And the Whitney is planning a museum for 2012.

“In terms of the quality of construction here, it’s everything good about modernism,” says Ping Kwan, himself an architect, who, with wife Aimee Chang, stopped by an open house last weekend for 456 W. 19th St.

That new condo building is being designed by Cary Tamarkin and should be finished by the end of next year.
STANDARD BY ME: The Standard (left) will have a soft opening in December; HL23 (right) is designed by Neil Denari and has 11 full-floor units.

“All these buildings really represent new ideas for living,” Kwan says.
But there’s also something ephemeral here.

“We won’t see this [kind of] building able to be replicated for many years to come,” says Holly Parker, a broker with Prudential Douglas Elliman, which is selling the half-finished Jean Nouvel condo building at 100 11th Ave., first conceived back in 2005. “We’re not going to see these finishes — it’s the end of an era.”

Developers in the future “will choose whatever’s cheaper,” Parker adds.

With good reason. Even though a building like 100 11th Ave. is fetching an average of more than $2,000 per square foot, it’s also among the more complex designs around — with pieces of the exterior being shipped from China — and is reportedly roughly $50 million over budget.

“The good news is that a lot of the buildings that have been planned look like they’re going to get finished,” says Leonard Steinberg, also with Prudential Douglas Elliman, who is selling the Annabelle Selldorf-designed 200 11th Ave., where units are fetching more than $2,800 per square foot.

Steinberg adds that the building is 80 percent sold and that “those buyers are very committed.”

The question still hanging in the air is if other buildings, which have already laid down their roots but aren’t close to 80 percent sold, will actually make money.

“These are going to be New York landmarks,” says Steinberg. “And sometimes when you make art, you don’t make a profit.”

Might it be a case of a neighborhood that flew too far too fast?
“Three years ago, the highest we could get in the area was somewhere around $900 [per square foot],” says Erin Boisson Aries, sales director at HL23, another of the swanky new condo buildings with full-floor apartments.

And “we’re approaching $3,000 a foot now,” Aries adds.
Developers, though, are sobering up.

“We’ve been tweaking the whole way through, as we get a sense of the market,” says Tamarkin. “We’re at the roughly $1,850 per square foot range, which is firmly where [the market] wants to be.”

And buyers in this market are taking their time. For example, HL23, has sold just two of its 11 units since it went on the market in the spring. And even though the $10.5 million penthouse at HL23 is $2,900 per square foot, the building’s average is closer to $1,800 per square foot.

But for buyers who have committed themselves to the High Line, things seems to be chugging along nicely.

The High Line “will increase property values — I think it was smart of the city,” says Julie Bauer, who recently bought a two-bedroom at Loft 25, once a printing plant that was turned into condos earlier this year.

Bauer, a former TriBeCa resident, thinks it has the same flavor her old neighborhood did before it became hot.

“It [became] too much like being on the Upper East Side,” Bauer says of TriBeCa. “There were baby carriages everywhere. It was losing some of its charm. I like being here. I like all the galleries — I like the fact that it’s still a New York neighborhood.”

Bauer might be somewhat disappointed, however, about what the future bodes for the High Line. Prams are making their way over here, too.

“We wanted to live near the High Line,” says Clay Erwin, who just moved into a two-bedroom, 1,500-square-foot condo in the Caledonia building on West 17th Street with his wife, Kristy, last weekend — they’re expecting a baby in January.

“Nationally, real estate is an ugly story — but this is one thing people are excited about.”

Indeed, the area has considerably improved in the short four-year spurt when the High Line really started taking off.

“For one thing, it’s a lot safer,” says Kevin Donaldson, a 13-year resident of Chelsea, who stopped by the open house at 456 W. 19th St. on Sunday. “When I moved here, it used to be hookers all along here.”

“It’s young and vibrant and very upscale,” says Gilbert Dychiao, who also swung by the open house.

And the sheer volume of residential real estate that has hit the market recently has been astounding.

In addition to those mentioned earlier, new buildings in the area include 540 W. 28th St. and Chelsea Enclave. There’s also Audrey Matlock’s Chelsea Modern, which is 75 percent sold, and which recently saw its first residents move in. And architect Jared Della Valle has two buildings — one at 459 W. 18th St., across from the Caledonia, and another at 245 10th Ave., at 24th Street, a silver building that looks like a design fantasy.

“I think it’s the nexus of a number of different things,” says David Wine, vice chairman and executive vice president of the Related Companies, which built the Caledonia (a half-rental, half-condo development).

“What you have is incredibly exciting retail in the Meatpacking District [and] unique architecture . . . that combines with the history of New York.”

Copyright 2008 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

NYguy Dec 1, 2008 11:18 PM

Taking a Stroll Along the High Line
The Caledonia apartments, left, and the High Line Building, a future office tower.

November 28, 2008

ON a bright, blustery afternoon in November, construction workers were packing up their gear on the High Line, the park being created atop the old elevated railway in the West Chelsea area of Manhattan, leaving it empty for a few intrepid visitors to tour. Even amid the bitter cold and building materials, it was easy to see why the project has inspired even some of the most jaded New Yorkers.

Designed by an architectural team from Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the High Line offers a retreat from street life, a bucolic space floating 30 feet in the air with Hudson River views. Yet it retains many elements of its gritty past: graffiti is prevalent on the buildings it wends through, and some of the rails have been restored in the park. That the park — which grew from an idea hatched 10 years ago into a $170 million project —is being built at all is a marvel.

“When we first started people thought it was crazy,” said Robert Hammond, a co-founder of Friends of the High Line, the community group that pushed for the park.

No longer. The first section of the park will open to the public this spring, but it has already transformed the area near its 22-block stretch near the river, prompting some of the most ambitious development in the city in years.

Condominiums, hotels and office buildings — designed by architectural talent like Jean Nouvel, Annabelle Selldorf, Renzo Piano, and the Della Valle Bernheimer firm — are sprouting along the park’s span, which runs from Gansevoort Street to 34th Street. About 1.5 million square feet of construction is already under way, with an additional 2.5 million square feet in planning stages, according to Robert C. Lieber, the deputy mayor for economic development. All told, that translates into roughly $4 billion in private investment, he said.

A stroll down the High Line, starting at the north end of the first phase, at 20th Street and 10th Avenue, and heading south toward Gansevoort, provides a glimpse of what is to come.

-Near the Frank Gehry building for IAC/InterActiveCorp on 11th Avenue, between 17th and 18th Streets, a 21-story residential tower designed by Mr. Nouvel is rising. Marketing literature promises “the most highly engineered and technologically advanced curtain wall ever constructed in New York City,” with a “Mondrian-like window pattern” of nearly 1,700 panes of glass.

-East of the park is 520 West Chelsea, a residential building by Ms. Selldorf, combining a glass facade with blue-glazed terra cotta. Keep strolling and you come across the Caledonia, a $350 million residential development by the Related Companies and Taconic Investment Partners that looms over the High Line at West 17th Street. The building contains a mix of 190 condos and 288 rental units, including 56 designated for low-income renters.

-Then it’s on to the High Line Building, the 10-story glass office tower by the developer Charles Blaichman and designed by Morris Adjmi that is rising atop the High Line and a former meatpacking plant.

-Above Washington Street, André Balazs’s highly anticipated Standard Hotel is nearing completion. The 18-story hotel, designed by Polshek Partnership Architects, literally straddles the High Line. It is expected to have a soft opening in December with about a third of the 330 rooms open. A restaurant and rooftop pool and lounge won’t open until next February or March.

-At the south end of the park, a new branch of the Whitney Museum designed by Renzo Piano will provide a cultural bookend. The new museum is expected to open in late 2012.

-And on that bitterly cold November afternoon, a nattily dressed man and his entourage appeared, heading for the Standard Hotel. It was Mr. Balazs, the developer. He confirmed a December soft opening — “very soft,” he says. When asked how much the hotel’s rooms would cost, he said: “I don’t know. The market is changing so fast.”

That sentiment hints at the discomfort some developers are feeling as their grand plans run up against a deteriorating economy and credit squeeze. Even the High Line district, as it is being called, cannot escape the tightening economic vise.

The developers of the Nouvel tower have run into cost increases and delays; its opening has been pushed back from December to next summer.

And there are no signs of construction yet on a couple of lots near the 18th Street entrance to the High Line, where Edison Properties plans to build two towers designed by the architect Robert A. M. Stern. Edison did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

Still, many condominium buildings have presold their units. Residents have started moving into condos in the Caledonia. Its condos sold out in eight months starting in 2006, at prices from $600,000 to $4 million. And the rental units began being offered in May.

More than 80 percent of the Nouvel building’s condo units have sold, at prices from $2 million to $22 million, said Craig Wood, the developer, including two sales in late September. Despite the difficult environment, his firm, Cape Advisors Inc., refinanced its construction loans in September, he said.

Charles R. Bendit, a co-chief executive of Taconic Investment Partners, said: “We all imagine the High Line will be a phenomenal amenity for the area.”

John H. Alschuler Jr., chairman of HR&A Advisors, a real estate appraisal firm, estimated that proximity to the High Line has added 10 to 15 percent to the value of properties. And New York City officials have predicted that the High Line park will bring the city $900 million in revenue over 30 years.

Even as the first phase is readied for a spring opening, a second phase, from 20th to 30th Street, is expected to be completed in 2010. Mr. Hammond, whose organization will oversee the park in a new role as a conservancy, is taking the long view.

“We’re in this for the long term,” he said, and in an otherwise dismal economy, the High Line “is a real bright spot.”

He added: “It shows that New York can still think big and do big things.”

NYC4Life Dec 2, 2008 11:04 PM

The Highline development surely has to be credited with the current boom in the City.

NYguy Jan 15, 2009 2:01 PM


NYguy Feb 3, 2009 2:28 PM

Another nice shot of the Standard...



KVNBKLYN Feb 3, 2009 6:35 PM

Is it just me or does the walking path look too narrow for the number of people I imagine will be walking up and down once this thing is open? It seems to me they're going to get similar numbers of people as the West Village section of the Hudson River Park, and that pathway is much wider. This path looks like it's only wide enough for two people walking abreast.


Originally Posted by NYguy (Post 4026640)

NYguy Feb 5, 2009 1:26 PM


Originally Posted by KVNBKLYN (Post 4065058)
Is it just me or does the walking path look too narrow for the number of people I imagine will be walking up and down once this thing is open? It seems to me they're going to get similar numbers of people as the West Village section of the Hudson River Park, and that pathway is much wider. This path looks like it's only wide enough for two people walking abreast.

It changes depending on the section of the High Line, but it will be wide enough for people walking, there will be no "bottleknecks" of people waiting to get through.

NYguy Feb 5, 2009 1:35 PM

An idea from this rendering
Lis Charman

Looking up at the High Line...


Some older shots...


NYguy Feb 19, 2009 5:50 AM

Variance by High Line is meaty issue for board
A rendering of the Romanoff family’s planned building for 437-451 W. 13th St., with the Standard Hotel in the left foreground.

By Lincoln Anderson
February 13 - 26, 2009

Dealing a blow to a family development team’s vision of a signature, glass-sheathed office tower with large-scale retail in the Meat Market, Community Board 2 recently shot down their request for extra height to allow a 12-story building.

C.B. 2 voted at its Jan. 22 full board meeting to deny the developer’s request for a variance for 55 percent extra F.A.R. — or, simply put, for a 55 percent larger building.
The vote — done by a show of hands — was roughly about 60 percent yes to 40 percent no.

(F.A.R., or floor area ratio, is a multiple of the property’s ground-floor square footage, and determines how much floor area can be built.)

With its vote, the board overturned its Zoning Committee, whose resolution had approved a variance for 27 percent additional F.A.R.

The community board’s votes are advisory only, and the Romanoffs’ next step would be to make the case for their variances to the Board of Standards and Appeals.

The community board wasn’t swayed by the fact that the building’s designer is the renowned architect James Carpenter. Among his other projects, Carpenter did the glass sheathing on the new 7 World Trade Center and designed the long-delayed Moynihan Station (the new Penn Station) and the Israel Museum.

Neither was the board influenced by support for the building expressed by fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg, whose store is adjacent to the location. Due to a setback design in its facade, the new building would not block views along Washington St. of von Furstenberg’s unique, jewel-inspired skylight.

Before the board voted, David Gruber, who said he was “the driving force” behind the committee’s resolution, admitted he had misunderstood the situation facing the developers, wrongly thinking that they were being deprived of 27 percent of their F.A.R. In fact, the developers — the Romanoff family — are unable to build on 27 percent of their property because it lies beneath the High Line, which is being transformed into a new city park. However, their design transfers these air rights — in the form of F.A.R. — to the rest of the site, so that, in actuality, they don’t lose any F.A.R. at all.

“Everyone else has built successfully with 5 [F.A.R.],” Gruber said of other developers in the Meat Market, referring to Andre Balazs’s Standard Hotel and the new High Line Building, another office building, currently rising on W. 14th St. The Romanoffs, however, not satisfied with the area’s existing 5 F.A.R., want 7.73 F.A.R.

Before the full board voted, Stuart Romanoff, part of the development team, squared off in the hallway outside the meeting room in a lively point-counterpoint over the building’s design with first Renee Kaufman, a C.B. 2 member, and then Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.

“It looks like a Meier building, which have not been a big hit,” Kaufman said, referring to the Richard Meier glass towers at West and Perry and Charles Sts. “This building, in my opinion, could have been in Abu Dhabi or Uptown or Midtown. I don’t have a problem with the height,” added Kaufman, a landscape architect.

The building’s Washington St. facade up to the third floor would feature materials like zinc and bluestone to be more contextual with the historic Meat Market.

The developers are also seeking a variance to permit a retail store of up to 30,000 square feet in the building’s lower floors. The Meat Market’s manufacturing zoning, however, allows retail stores of only up to 10,000 square feet. The Romanoffs had hoped to lure Barney’s, but the deal fell through.

“It’s not going to be like Times Square,” Romanoff assured. “We’re going to have high-end retailers that are going to complement the neighborhood. We will not have a big box — it will not exist.”

Romanoff said, for example, they would never want a “Target or Chuck E. Cheese’s,” only a retailer along the lines of a Barney’s or one having something to do with fashion or the arts.

The office space on the upper floors, similarly, would be leased to a business in fashion, the arts or another creative field, he said. The Meat Market’s zoning doesn’t allow residential use, so developers’ main options are hotels or office buildings.

Asked if the economy could change their plans, Darryl Romanoff, Stuart’s brother, standing nearby, said they are confident they can do the building.

“We’re going to build it when we find a tenant,” he said.

At the heart of the Romanoffs’ variance application is their argument that they face a financial hardship because the High Line runs over about a quarter of their property. However, unlike Balazs’s Standard Hotel, they point out, because of their property’s configuration, they can’t span the High Line. In short, they don’t own the property on the west side of the High Line; the Gottlieb estate does, and, as usual, they are not selling. As a result, the Romanoffs must build a more narrow building right next to the High Line. In turn, because their building would be narrower, they say they would have to locate its “core” — essentially, the elevator banks — not in the center but on the building’s north side to allow for large-enough floor plates to attract commercial tenants. All of this translates into a costlier project, they say.

“The design creates a loft-type building,” as opposed to one with a “Midtown-style core,” Stuart Romanoff.

“I fundamentally disagree that you have a hardship here,” Berman said. The preservationist added he really dislikes the design of the building’s north wall, which is windowless and covered with a field of terra-cotta panels shaped like vertical slats.

“We’re not telling you where to put the core,” Berman explained. “We’re just concerned about a 215-foot-tall blank wall.”

Berman later told Chelsea Now that he’s also concerned that the Romanoffs would rent out the building’s north wall for large billboard advertising. The Gansevoort Historic District doesn’t allow such billboards, but the Romanoffs’ site is just outside the historic district.

The Romanoff family has owned the property, at W. 13th and Washington Sts., since the 1940s, when their grandfather purchased it. The lease of Interstate, one of the two meat companies that occupied the existing property, expired at the end of last year, and the other lease, for Atlas Meats, will be expiring soon, Stuart Romanoff said.

The Meat Market’s few remaining meat businesses are now almost exclusively concentrated in the city-owned Gansevoort Market co-op building, on the block between Gansevoort, Little West 12th, Washington and West Sts.

Before the board’s vote, Brad Hoylman, C.B. 2 chairperson, asked, “Is this the first time the High Line has been used as a hardship?”

Indeed, most view the High Line as a great boon for developers, especially in Chelsea, where new high-rises have been springing up all around the old elevated railway.

David Reck, the board’s Zoning Committee chairperson, noted that the special High Line zoning in Chelsea doesn’t extend south of 14th St. The only other developable site in C.B. 2 adjacent to the High Line is the block with the Meat Market co-op, on the southern part of which the Downtown Whitney Museum branch will be built.

Annie Washburn, a C.B. 2 member and executive director of the Meatpacking District Initiative — a group advocating for the area’s business owners — spoke in favor of the Romanoffs’ plan.

“I think this is an incredible opportunity to get a really beautiful building in our neighborhood,” she said. Of the property’s current state, Washburn said, “It’s kind of the black hole of the neighborhood. It’s disgusting and gross — it needs to be revitalized.”

Jo Hamilton said she liked how the new building’s design was angled to complement the High Line’s orientation.

However, most board members were critical of the hardship argument.

“They are getting the benefit of the High Line,” stated Doris Diether. “They get the F.A.R. from the part under the High Line.”

For the area underneath the High Line, the Romanoffs’ plan includes a restaurant.

Ed Gold recalled how the late C.B. 2 member Verna Small “worked for years against big buildings blocking views to the water. If Verna Small saw his, she’d be turning in her grave,” Gold declared of the Romanoffs’ 12-story design.

Reck resented Gold’s remark, interjecting, “That’s nonsense. He just insulted the work of the committee. I’m offended by that.”

“I think the community board should draw a line here: No more big buildings in the Meat Market,” Gold stated forcefully.

But Reck criticized what he called the board’s “just-say-no attitude,” saying it’s what got C.B. 2 “locked out” of the negotiations on projects like Superior Ink and the Perry St. Hotel.

“The Meat Market is a happening neighborhood,” Reck stressed to his fellow board members.

In the end, in addition to denying any extra F.A.R. for the project, the board voted to allow retail use on only the basement level and first and second floors, with no one retail establishment being larger than 10,000 square feet.

The Romanoffs declined to comment after the vote. Their public-relations spokesperson, Jim Capalino, said, “We’re confident we have a credible hardship application. It’s disappointing that the board did not acknowledge that at all.”

The Romanoffs next step is to make their case for variances to the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals.

Zack Winestine, of the Greenwich Village Community Task Force, said afterward, “This is just round one. The community board is only advisory — and who knows what the B.S.A. is going to do? … Asking for a 50 percent F.A.R. variance was grossly exorbitant.”
A rendering showing the Washington St. side of the Romanoffs’ planned building, which would have a setback at the third floor to align with Diane von Furstenberg’s red-brick building, to the right.
A rendering showing how the High Line — represented by the green diagonal line — passes over the western edge of the Romanoffs’ property at 437-451 W. 13th St. — represented by the dotted, red line.

Busy Bee Feb 19, 2009 3:19 PM

This is a good building that wasn't designed by an hack architect. Of course they'll deny it.

NYguy Feb 19, 2009 3:47 PM


Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 4097683)
This is a good building that wasn't designed by an hack architect. Of course they'll deny it.

It's not over yet...


The Romanoffs next step is to make their case for variances to the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals.

Zack Winestine, of the Greenwich Village Community Task Force, said afterward, “This is just round one. The community board is only advisory — and who knows what the B.S.A. is going to do? … Asking for a 50 percent F.A.R. variance was grossly exorbitant.”
Meanwhile, the High Line Park itself is set to open in June.

NYguy Mar 13, 2009 1:21 AM

High Line bloom...



philvia Mar 15, 2009 7:29 PM

i love the high line!

photoLith Mar 17, 2009 6:10 AM

Im so glad they are not tearing this down. Its such a cool use of something totally unique. I could just imagine how awesome it would be to ride my bike up and down it once completed.

koval95 Mar 18, 2009 4:36 AM


Originally Posted by NYguy (Post 3945639)

Taking a Stroll Along the High Line
The Caledonia apartments, left, and the High Line Building, a future office tower.

wowwww that first pic looks like a huge solar panel

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