Posts tagged with "Richard Rogers":

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Three World Trade Tower Could be Lopped Off

Richard Rogers' planned 80-story Three World Trade Center could come in a little short—okay, 73-stories short—if office tenants aren't found for the under-construction tower by the end of the year. Crain’s reports that developer Larry Silverstein plans to cap the tower at seven floors and fill the podium with retail uses. If an anchor tenant is later found—as late as 2020—the building's cap can be removed and construction resumed to reach its original height. Experts said the economy is to blame as large-scale office tenants are reluctant to spend millions on new space. "The willingness of large-scale tenants to commit in this environment is limited because companies don't want to go out and spend a lot of money," Peter Hennessy, president of Cassidy Turley's New York Tristate Region, told Crain's. "It's not the building; it's the market." News of the potential capping comes as no surprise, as a 2010 agreement between Silverstein and the Port Authority dictated that the developer prelease 400,000 square feet and line up $300 million for Three World Trade before the agency would back the project's debt. Silverstein's adjacent 72-story Four World Trade Center by Fumihiko Maki pre-leased about 600,000 square feet of space and will be complete next year.
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Port Authority Tower Felled at Last

After the New York Times’s Charles Bagli broke the story on Tuesday that Vornado was no longer moving forward with plans to build the Richard Rogers-designed tower atop the Port Authority Bus Terminal, reporters descended on the Port's board meeting on Wednesday. A transcript of the Q&A provided by the Port Authority reveals that while Vornado may be out of the picture, the Port hasn't entirely dropped tower development from its list of possibilities, it's just been put onto their gargantuan real-estate to-do list. Newly installed Patrick J. Foye hinted that the board was none-too-pleased with the snail like pace of development—it had been in the works for a decade. The deal fell through when Vornado's Chinese backers pulled out casting an eye beyond the West Side to the East, Park Avenue that is. "The transaction has been going on for a long period of time" Foye said in response to a question from Bloomberg's David Levitt. "Concerns have been expressed among members of the board of commissioners in prior meetings about the approach that the Authority is taking. I think those issues need to be aired and discussed in full and the Port Authority’s real estate options with respect to that asset and others need to be explored in depth and we are committed to doing that." This prompted vice-chair Scott Recheir to interject that the bus terminal is just one part of  "reviewing every capital project and prioritizing the ones that best meet the mission of the Port and how we are going to finance it." Perhaps the most interesting tidbit in the Bagli piece was the shifting of $600 million from the Bus Terminal project to Vornado's Park Avenue Plaza by SOHO China, prominent Beijing developer couple Pan Shiyi and Zhang Xin. With all eyes on the West Side, from Hudson Yards to Manhattan West, Park Avenue is getting a bit of a dowdy rep.  At least that's what New York Real Estate Board chair Mary Ann Tighe warned of at Tuesday's Zoning the City conference. "In the fullness of time we might find these areas of orphans," she said. With SOHO in the hood, that doesn't seem likely. A new book by Jianying ZhaTide Players: The Movers and Shakers of a Rising China, firmly places the couple at the center of China's new elite.  A review from The New York Review of Books notes that Zhang is not risk averse in more ways than one. She hired artist Ai Weiwei after one of his many releases from prison to oversee installations at one of the company's huge projects.  Zha writes that WeiWei's "reputation as an inveterate troublemaker may have scared off most developers, but Zhang gave him a budget and promised him total freedom." It would seem the Port Authority's loss may end up being Park Avenue's gain.
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Michelle, Meet Maggie

Since the Obamas moved to Washington, we've been waiting for the administration to make good on its promises for new government policy on architecture and planning. There may be hope yet: While the president spends his days in Europe with politicians, Michelle has been making the rounds of innovative social centers. Building Design caught the first lady with Ivan Harbour and Richard Rogers at their Maggie’s Centre in Hammersmith, London. Let's hope she was as impressed with the architecture of the centre—promoted by its co-founder Charles Jencks—as with its innovative programming for women with cancer.