The City Council approved the rezoning for Sheldon Solow's $4 billion development on the East River, making the way for seven towers to rise on nine acres of First Avenue from East 35th Street to East 41st Street. The project will create about 3,000 apartments, 1 million square feet of commercial and 69,000 square feet of retail. The development will include affordable housing, a public school and five acres of public space.
Gov. David Paterson and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have hailed Tishman Speyer's plan for developing the MTA's 26-acre Hudson Yards. Tishman Speyer owns Rockefeller Center, a fact that was probably not lost on the MTA as it considered which of the five developers could pull off one of the city's biggest projects. Tishman has cut its planned office from 10 million to 8 million square feet. The project will create 12 million square feet of office, residential, retail and community space.
The Department of Buildings, said new building permits issued in January and February were 40 percent down compared to the same period last year. The department granted 451 permits in the first two months of this year, compared to 764 last year and 859 in 2006.
Manhattan's real estate market has managed to ward off the turmoil caused by the credit crunch, a series of condos and office expected to hit the market in 2010 may cause a surplus that could aggravate any economic downturn. Several large-scale real estate deals have already slowed, including Harry Macklowe's inability to sell the GM Building after several months and delays at Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards project. However, despite the danger of flooding the market, several big projects are still in the works, which include Sheldon Solow's development on First Avenue and Larry Silverstein's World Trade Center.
Subway riders will be upset that the MTA must delay $30 million in planned improvements because real estate tax revenues were lower than expected, but the larger implications are the troubling signs for the city's real estate market. The MTA's revenue from mortgage and transfer taxes this year is $306 million, $21 million below its prediction. Revenues from February