Related's Jeff Blau says "Pay Your Rent!" (Or we might go broke)

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member

At Developer's Urging, NYPD Cracks Down On Hudson Yards Street Vendors​

Nearly a year after Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to remove the NYPD from street vendor enforcement, a group of pushcart owners say they're facing a new police crackdown — the latest escalation, they allege, in an ongoing eviction campaign waged by the Hudson Yards developer Related Companies.

On two days this week, police officers issued a total of four summonses to cart operators on 33rd Street between 10th and 11th Avenue in Manhattan. In one video shared with Gothamist, an NYPD officer can be seen talking to a Hudson Yards security guard, before telling the angry vendors: "This has nothing to do with us. They don’t want you on their property."

While the Related Companies' mega-development spans an unprecedented 18 million square feet, it does not include the public sidewalk on 33rd Street. The width of that sidewalk is 13 feet, spacious enough to accommodate a food cart under city's law, according to planning documents from the Manhattan Borough President's Office.

In the view of Mohamad Awad, an Egyptian immigrant who has sold hot dogs and other street food on the sidewalk since 2014, the summonses are part of a pattern of harassment aimed at chasing the carts from Hudson Yards altogether.

The police and security attention started when Hudson Yards opened in 2019, he said, and has accelerated throughout the pandemic. Earlier this year, the vendors discovered that Related had installed a large planter on the corner, and had enlarged two tree pits — an apparent effort to landscape out the food carts from their longtime spot. In response, Awad built a four-foot long cart that fits between the two pits.

The smaller cart used by Awad, who alleges that Related has added new elements to the sidewalk to force him out
The smaller cart built by Awad, who alleges that Related has added new elements to the sidewalk to force him out PROVIDED TO GOTHAMIST
“I have a very simple message for the Hudson Yards management: Please stop playing God,” he said. “Just because you don’t like us doesn’t mean we don’t have rights to be here.”

At a press conference on Friday, street vendors and their supporters likened the glimmering office and retail complex, which received over $5 billion in taxpayer money, to a playground for the wealthy, disconnected from the needs of most New Yorkers. They held signs calling for “more churros, less cops” while comparing founder Stephen Ross to a shark feasting on small businesses.

“You built this property and these fancy glass towers. Good for you. But you have to accept New York City. You can’t change the rules,” said Mohamed Attia, the executive director of the Street Vendor Project. "No matter how weak the mayor is, no matter how corrupt the NYPD is, that’s not going to happen."

In an email, NYPD spokesperson Sophia Mason defended the officers, saying the vendors had been given repeated warnings about the cart's taking up "congested city space." She did not respond to questions about why the NYPD was involved in vendor enforcement. Emails sent to the Mayor's Office were also not returned.

Speaking alongside the vendors, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said the tickets were wrong, and likely the result of a new group of Midtown officers unfamiliar with the rules around street vending. She vowed to set up a meeting with the local precinct and the cart owners, while calling on de Blasio to stick by his commitment to remove cops from vendor enforcement: “If you make a policy stick with it.”

A spokesperson for Related declined to answer questions about their involvement with the NYPD, and the purpose of the landscaping elements.

In an emailed statement, the spokesperson said: “Vendors must operate legally and safely and the city has clear regulations that they enforce to ensure everyone is following the law. Hudson Yards, the High Line and the surrounding area experience extraordinary visitation and as a result, public open space needs to be managed for pedestrian safety and FDNY access.”
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Related sues Joseph Tabak for skipping rent in Hudson Yards
Real estate dealmaker hasn’t paid up on his $10K/month pad since since January, Related alleges

 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Phase II of Hudson Yards where the majority of the public benefits were supposed to go, but has been postponed indefinitely, is apparently being proposed as a site for a casino.

Developers all-in on Manhattan casino push​

Hudson Yards, Times Square among sites being eyed​

Developers are putting their cards on the table in an effort to win the right to build a casino in New York City.

A handful of developers and gaming operators are mobilizing to bid for a license to operate in the city, the New York Post reported. The state’s gaming commission can award up to three licenses downstate and Mayor Eric Adams has expressed a desire for at least two to be in the city.

In Manhattan, Related Companies is eyeing a venue near its Hudson Yards megadevelopment on the Far West Side. Representatives from the company have already met with City Hall officials to discuss a proposal for the area.

Vornado and SL Green are also targeting Manhattan — specifically, Times Square. All three of those developers are looking to partner with casino companies, including Hard Rock, Sands and Wynn.

Interest in a casino stretches beyond the island. Hard Rock has been in discussions about partnering with New York Mets owner Steve Cohen for a Queens casino at Willets Point. Lobbying efforts for a casino next to Citi Field have previously been reported.

John Catsimatidis, whose developments include a Coney Island project, is also interested in opening a casino in the seaside neighborhood. He told the post a “casino would be a wonderful thing for Coney Island and Brooklyn.”

While the competition for a new casino is technically for three licenses, it may actually be a fight for only one. Resorts World/Genting at Aqueduct in Queens and the Empire City/MGM at Yonkers plan to apply for a full gaming license after operating for years as slots parlors; their history may give them an edge in the bidding.

Still, it could be an uphill battle to bring a casino to anywhere in the city. Significant political and community approvals would be needed, a possibility some politicians are already rallying against.

“I strongly oppose a Manhattan casino in concept,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman told the Post. “I don’t know one constituent who wants a casino.”

But the state does. New York could score at least $500 million for each license. The next big step in the process is the formation of a siting board by Oct. 4, which will then lead to a request for bids.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
And that's not the only proposal being floated to avoid building what was promised in return for billions of $ in subsidies.

Dolan rejected Stephen Ross pitch to move MSG​

Related floated Hudson Yards as home for Madison Square Garden​

Madison Square Garden this spring nixed a proposal by the Related Companies to move the Midtown arena a few avenues west.
The Hudson Yards developer pitched a design for a new arena, this time built above a casino in the fast-developing Midtown West neighborhood, but MSG directors disliked the idea, Crain’s reported Monday.

The news of Related’s rejected overture adds intrigue to the drama playing out in the Penn Station area.

Relocating the sports and entertainment arena would clear the way for a full renovation of the nation’s busiest transit hub. The relocation idea has been tossed around repeatedly over the years, including late last year, when it was dismissed by the Hochul administration as too complicated.

Gov. Kathy Hochul shut down any further talks between MSG and Hudson Yards this year in order to avoid additional complications to her Penn Station area development plan, according to Crain’s.
The governor’s megaproject, which would create 18 million square feet of commercial development and 1,800 residential units across eight sites around Penn Station, was approved by the Empire State Development board last week. The plan now goes to the Public Authorities Control Board for what is essentially a rubber stamp.
The state says it will use tax revenue from new development to help pay for Penn Station renovations. Vornado Realty Trust is slated to be the primary developer of the 10-tower project.

For now, MSG’s primary undertaking in the area is the redevelopment of its Vornado-owned headquarters at Two Penn Plaza, a block from the arena. MSG Entertainment signed a 20-year lease in November, amid Vornado’s renovations, to maintain its corporate headquarters.
Penn Station’s detractors have long called for relocation of the Garden to allow for light and air in the station, and perhaps fewer columns. Critics of that idea say it would cost several billion dollars to move the arena and the benefit would be little more than a giant skylight.
The Garden’s operating permit expires next year. The City Council had renewed it for 10 years in 2013 to give state officials time to negotiate a relocation, but MSG and the Cuomo administration showed no interest in the idea and neither has the Hochul administration.
 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
"Nearly 37 percent of all office space in the Hudson Yards neighborhood is available for lease, the highest rate in Midtown, according to the real estate firm Avison Young, a figure recently driven up by the opening of new commercial buildings and companies trying to find other tenants to take over their floors. More than half of all office construction in Manhattan, about seven million square feet, is under development there."


The rapid shift to remote work during the pandemic has battered the commercial real estate industry, a cornerstone of the New York City economy.

Penn Station Plan Makes a High-Stakes Bet on the Future of Office Work​

Despite near record-high office vacancies, Gov. Kathy Hochul has backed a real estate project at the New York transit hub that would be one of the largest in American history.

In a bid to reshape Midtown Manhattan, Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York State officials are pushing ahead with one of the largest real estate development projects in American history: 10 towers of mostly offices around Penn Station, the busiest transit center in the country.
The buildings would help pay for the renovation of the dreary underground station, the reason officials have said they are seeking the additions to the skyline. But the plan is moving forward amid severe uncertainty gripping the office market: Many companies are trying to reduce their real estate footprint as workers continue to clock in from home.

A clue to whether the project succeeds may lie two blocks to the west, in the Hudson Yards neighborhood. Development there has not met expectations three years after a slate of new construction — including office towers, retail and residences — opened with grand ambitions. Major office tenants there are downsizing amid the stubborn popularity of remote work, and a quarter of the ultraluxury condos remain unsold.

The borough of Manhattan alone has 463.8 million square feet of office inventory.
The New York City economy has changed drastically since government officials and developers first touted plans for the Hudson Yards area over a decade ago, and it has been transformed even more during the pandemic. Major corporations that moved to the neighborhood, including WarnerMedia, JPMorgan Chase and IHS Markit, are now trying to unload floors of unused office space.

Still, with the Penn Station project, Ms. Hochul is doubling down on a legacy-defining bet that white-collar workers will eventually return to Midtown, and that firms will be hungry as ever for office space.
Ms. Hochul has argued for the state’s powerful role in the project, in which it has overstepped New York City’s zoning rules to allow the developers of the sites — most of which are owned by one company, Vornado Realty Trust — to build taller and larger than they otherwise could have. Mayor Eric Adams announced his support for the project after the state clarified that the city would not lose property tax revenue on it. It won’t gain much, either.
Boosters of the Penn Station plan often frame the fixes at the station, which are estimated to cost $7 billion and be completed by 2027, as the project’s centerpiece. The plan would add taller ceilings and new entrances to the station but no additional tracks or platforms. But the plan’s most significant impact would be the new buildings, which are expected to take two decades to complete and require the demolition of numerous properties on several blocks, including a 150-year-old Roman Catholic church.

Part of Hudson Yards was built over rail yards on Manhattan’s West Side. The second half of the project, closer to the Hudson River, has not broken ground yet.

For its supporters, the Penn Station project is an emphatic endorsement of New York City’s future and an overdue jolt to a drab area of Manhattan. They say that the universally disliked station desperately needs to be revamped and that it makes sense to build towers around it.
“We need a Penn Station that has more capacity, that’s more unified and that is safer and able to serve the region like Grand Central,” said Brian Fritsch, the communications director at Regional Plan Association, a research and advocacy group.
But critics warn that the development could become another Hudson Yards, a luxury neighborhood aided by tax breaks that largely benefited a single developer and unwisely depended on offices full of workers and an endless supply of wealthy buyers for high-rise condos. New York may never be the same city it was before the pandemic, those critics caution.
Nearly 37 percent of all office space in the Hudson Yards neighborhood is available for lease, the highest rate in Midtown, according to the real estate firm Avison Young, a figure recently driven up by the opening of new commercial buildings and companies trying to find other tenants to take over their floors. More than half of all office construction in Manhattan, about seven million square feet, is under development there.

The Shops and Restaurants at Hudson Yards, a seven-story mall, opened in 2019 as a centerpiece of the development and featured many high-end retailers.
“Tenants move from building to building, and if there is insufficient growth due to the remote-work phenomenon, which is here to stay, there will be landlords who are left with empty offices,” said Ruth Colp-Haber, a commercial real estate broker.

By 2044, when the last of the Penn Station redevelopment towers are slated to be finished, the project and Hudson Yards will very nearly form a contiguous corridor of gleaming glass and steel towers. Between 30th and 34th Streets, clusters of some of the tallest buildings in North America will stretch from Sixth Avenue near the Empire State Building to the eastern edge of the undeveloped train yards that border the West Side Highway. Together the two areas would represent over 30 million square feet of buildings, with the vast majority designed for office tenants.

Manhattan had 463.8 million square feet of office inventory as of the middle of last year, accounting for nearly 11 percent of all office space in the nation, according to the New York State comptroller.
The first part of the Hudson Yards project, led by the billionaire Stephen Ross at Related Companies, one of the largest real estate firms in the world, opened in spring 2019 to huge fanfare. Many companies had vied for the development rights, but Related came out on top, agreeing to pay $1 billion to the owner of the yards, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The Hudson Yards development opened with a seven-floor mall filled with high-end retailers like Fendi and Dior; four office towers, including the fourth-tallest office building in North America; and two residential buildings, whose condominiums sell for about $5 million apiece.

The economic turmoil stirred by the pandemic has dashed Hudson Yards’ plans. Three years later, the marquee retailer at the mall, Neiman Marcus, has left its three-story store. The parent company of Facebook, which before the pandemic signed an office lease for 1.5 million square feet in Hudson Yards, recently said it would pause its expansion there. Subway ridership at the local station was down roughly 40 percent during the first two weeks of this month compared with the same period in 2019, reflecting the commuters and consumers who have yet to return.

 

David Goldsmith

All Powerful Moderator
Staff member
Phase II of Hudson Yards where the majority of the public benefits were supposed to go, but has been postponed indefinitely, is apparently being proposed as a site for a casino.

Developers all-in on Manhattan casino push​

Hudson Yards, Times Square among sites being eyed​

Developers are putting their cards on the table in an effort to win the right to build a casino in New York City.

A handful of developers and gaming operators are mobilizing to bid for a license to operate in the city, the New York Post reported. The state’s gaming commission can award up to three licenses downstate and Mayor Eric Adams has expressed a desire for at least two to be in the city.

In Manhattan, Related Companies is eyeing a venue near its Hudson Yards megadevelopment on the Far West Side. Representatives from the company have already met with City Hall officials to discuss a proposal for the area.

Vornado and SL Green are also targeting Manhattan — specifically, Times Square. All three of those developers are looking to partner with casino companies, including Hard Rock, Sands and Wynn.

Interest in a casino stretches beyond the island. Hard Rock has been in discussions about partnering with New York Mets owner Steve Cohen for a Queens casino at Willets Point. Lobbying efforts for a casino next to Citi Field have previously been reported.

John Catsimatidis, whose developments include a Coney Island project, is also interested in opening a casino in the seaside neighborhood. He told the post a “casino would be a wonderful thing for Coney Island and Brooklyn.”

While the competition for a new casino is technically for three licenses, it may actually be a fight for only one. Resorts World/Genting at Aqueduct in Queens and the Empire City/MGM at Yonkers plan to apply for a full gaming license after operating for years as slots parlors; their history may give them an edge in the bidding.

Still, it could be an uphill battle to bring a casino to anywhere in the city. Significant political and community approvals would be needed, a possibility some politicians are already rallying against.

“I strongly oppose a Manhattan casino in concept,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman told the Post. “I don’t know one constituent who wants a casino.”

But the state does. New York could score at least $500 million for each license. The next big step in the process is the formation of a siting board by Oct. 4, which will then lead to a request for bids.
I guess they didn't get any casino? So now Related gets a new mega project in Willets Point, Queens even after the abject failure where billions of taxpayer dollars went into providing infrastructure (like 7 train extension) and bond guarantees in return for promises (like a park and school) which were supposed to be delivered in Phase II of Hudson Yards. The promise was this would be completed/delivered in 2024 but due to "market forces" has been postponed indefinitely.

Why is it the market forces prevent them from fulfilling their obligations to build what they promised when they got billions in taxpayer subsidies, but don't prevent them from trying to build casinos instead of getting more largess of being anointed to develop a stadium, hotel and 2,500 units on publicly owned land?


Kicking and Screaming: Football Club Moving Across the Street From Mets​

NYCFC will be moving from The Bronx to Queens for a new soccer stadium that will be coupled with 2,500 so-called affordable housing units, local electeds and developers are expected to announce Wednesday.​

City officials will announce a new soccer stadium — paired with affordable housing — in Queens on Wednesday, multiple people familiar with the matter told THE CITY.
The Willets Point stadium will be home to New York City Football Club, the Major League Soccer team that since 2015 has hosted home games in The Bronx at Yankee Stadium.
Local electeds and developers are also expected to announce the creation of 2,500 “affordable” apartments for the area — 1,400 more than in the original deal announced back in 2013 — along with a 250-room hotel and a retail hub, according to the sources familiar with the plan.
Queens Development Group — a joint venture between Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’ Related Companies and Sterling Equities, the real estate company owned by former Mets owners the Wilpon Family and Saul Katz — is developing on the 23 city-owned acres of 61-acre Willets Point. The rest of the area is privately owned.
The neighborhood across from Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, has for decades been home to a plethora of auto body shops and junkyards.
In 2013, the city, led by the Economic Development Corporation, first brokered a deal to develop the area and promised to revitalize it with more housing, in addition to adding a much-needed public school to that part of Queens. That had followed years of City Hall efforts at community engagement that kicked off in 2008.

Brooke Wieczorek, the vice president of land use at the EDC, told THE CITY in September that the affordable apartments built at Willets Point would be in a range of 30% to 130% of the area median income.
In May 2021, the Queens borough board, a division of the borough president’s office, also approved the development plan under the condition that 50 percent of the new affordable housing units be allocated to residents of local Community Board 7.
But in a community board meeting this September, Department of Housing Preservation and Development Director of Queens and Staten Island Planning Kevin Parris said the ability to follow through on that commitment would depend on the outcome of ongoing federal civil rights litigation that challenges the legality of such a preference.
Residents of the area also raised concerns then about noise and light pollution spilling over into the new apartments from the nearby LaGuardia Airport, Citi Field, and 7 train tracks.
But John Clifford, founder and principal of S9 Architecture, the design firm behind the development, said that those concerns will be mitigated by insulated windows and additional recommendations from mechanical and environmental engineers.
A representative from the EDC said at September’s community board meeting that the developers anticipate breaking ground on phase one of the development — which includes the first 1,110 of the total 2,500 affordable housing units — in 2024.
One community board member at the same meeting was shocked at how long the project has been in the works.
“I can’t believe it’s been 16 years in the making,” said CB7’s Phil Konigsberg, a board member who lives in Bay Terrace.
Willets Point is full of mechanics and junkyards while the Mets play nearby. April 14, 2022.
Hiram Alejandro Durán/THE CITY
A spokesperson for the mayor’s office did not respond to an email seeking comment. Representatives for Queens Development Group also did not respond to a call and text message seeking comment.
An email to a media representative for NYCFC was also not returned.


Bronx Cheer​

The Queens announcement would appear to end the game of speculation about a potential soccer stadium in The Bronx, after Yankees’ president Randy Levine told Forbes SportsMoney in June 2021 that his franchise and New York City were set to reach their own soccer stadium deal within two months.
The stadium deal was tied up with a 99-year lease between the city’s Economic Development Corporation and multiple parking garages around Yankee Stadium — and the company that owns them defaulting on payments to bondholders after fewer cars used the expensive spots than projected.
Those parking woes caused interference with the plan for a soccer stadium.
Willets Point has long been subjected to various development plans and ideas – from parking for the 1964-1965 World’s fair to a domed football stadium for the New York Jets, the latter an idea floated by former President Donald Trump.
Members and sponsors make THE CITY possible.
Earlier this year, Mets owner Steve Cohen began meeting with city officials about his ideas for the 61-acre stretch of land across from his stadium — including a casino, as the state mulls expanding gaming licenses.
Cohen has met with Mayor Eric Adams, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and multiple state legislators and City Council members, according to city and state lobbying records.

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