By Sally Goldenberg and Khorri Atkinson | 04/19/2017 09:59 AM EDT
HAIL MARY — "Chapel That Survived Sept. 11 Attacks May Not Survive Rent Increase," by New York Times' Sharon Otterman: "In the stench and smolder that followed the Sept. 11 attacks, emergency workers ripped the pews out of the little Roman Catholic chapel opposite the World Trade Center site in Battery Park City in Manhattan and used the church as a command station. As the weeks passed, the pastor erected a tent outside to celebrate Mass. The interior was used by the workers at ground zero as a place for food, rest and counseling. When residents of Battery Park City began returning home three months later, they were determined to restore the chapel, St. Joseph's. So the parish held a national fund-raising drive. It commissioned sacred artworks for the space to amplify the theme of rebirth. The chapel was rebuilt as both a prayer space and a Catholic memorial to the horrors and heroism of Sept. 11, 2001.
"In 2005, Cardinal Edward M. Egan officiated at the rededication. In a spot that for so long had felt like a war zone, it was a sign that life again bloomed. Now the little chapel itself is on the verge of destruction. As a result of the neighborhood's recovery, which the chapel helped bring about, St. Joseph's rent more than tripled in 2014, to $264,000 a year. Since then, the parish has been borrowing money from the Archdiocese of New York to cover the cost, but the parish's new pastor and its Finance Council have decided that the debt is not sustainable. The archdiocese is in negotiations to reduce the rent with LeFrak, the family real estate behemoth, which along with the Fisher and Olnick families is the landlord of Gateway, the residential development where the chapel is. According to parishioners, there has been an offer to reduce the rent from $80 to $70 per square foot, or about $230,000 a year, but that, they say, is still too much for the parish." Read the story here.
666 MYSTIQUE — "The scandalous history behind Kushner's ritzy Midtown building," by New York Post's Steve Cuozzo: "One recent rainy evening, the Rev. Al Sharpton, in a slim-cut, pinstriped gray suit, knifed through a sea of 1-percenters 41 floors above Midtown. Through windows framed by blue velvet curtains, giant towers played peek-a-boo through the March mist. Around the mahogany-paneled rooms, rich guys mostly in jeans and a few long-legged women were lost in cigar smoke, which suffused the Grand Havana Room like an alien atmosphere. The private stogie club atop 666 Fifth Ave. has been one of Manhattan's most privileged aeries for 20 years. Its denizens are mostly Hollywood and Wall Street movers and shakers who pay $7,500 to join plus $325 more per month. It's a puzzle how often-broke Sharpton can afford a place described as 'an Olympian den for what Tom Wolfe called 'Masters of the Universe.'
"Odder still is that a rollicking refuge for 900-odd cigar lovers — boasting a screening room, private game rooms and 500 humidors — should exist at all on the penthouse floor of a Midtown office skyscraper. But smoke and a scandalous history have long shared satanically addressed, money-hemorrhaging 666 Fifth Ave." Read the story here.
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HOMEWRECKERS — "Schumer pledges to fight federal housing cuts that would put hole in city's budget," by POLITICO New York's Sally Goldenberg: U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer said he will fight cuts to the New York City Housing Authority during budget negotiations with Republicans in Washington, some of whom want the federal government to stop subsidizing housing altogether.
President Donald Trump proposed a $6 billion cut to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provides money to the city's housing authority as well as the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. ... The authority's operating budget, which funds routine maintenance, would lose up to $150 million if Congress approves the $6 billion cut, according to city officials and Schumer's office. Read the story here.
BIG DEAL — "Savanna Sells Flatiron District Retail Condo for $97.5M After Three Years," by Commercial Observer's Liam La Guerre: "TH Real Estate, an affiliate of TIAA Global Asset Management's investment arm Nuveen, has acquired a retail condominium on the ground floor of the 23-story 10 Madison Square West from Savanna, Commercial Observer has learned." Read the story here.
LAW AND ORDER — "New York City Tenants Sue Landlord for Alleged Rent Violations," by Wall Street Journal's Laura Kusisto: "A group of about 60 apartment tenants is suing one of New York City's largest landlords, alleging that Stellar Management illegally overcharged tenants for four years." Read the story here.
— "Strulowitz hit with $90M fraud suit over alleged Brooklyn Ponzi scheme," by The Real Deal's Chava Gourarie: "A group of investors who put up $20 million in a Brooklyn real estate deal are accusing landlord Cheskel Strulowitz of a Ponzi scheme that cost them $90 million in damages." Read the story here.
MARKET WATCH — "Absorption levels out as Manhattan's office market sees strong start to 2017," by The Real Deal's Rich Bockmann: "Manhattan's office market saw a strong first quarter to 2017 with more than 9 million square feet of leasing activity. And absorption leveled off in the first three months following a year in which new supply outstripped demand for the first time since 2009." Read the story here.
— "Office Market Swings in Tenants' Favor," by Wall Street Journal's Peter Grant: "The U.S. office market became more tenant-friendly in the first quarter in many big cities as a seven-year expansion slowed." Read the story here.
SHOPPING AROUND — "Sephora, Life Time Fitness in talks at One Wall Street: sources," by The Real Deal's Mark Maurer and Konrad Putzier: "Sephora and Life Time Fitness are in talks to take a combined 90,000 square feet of retail space at Macklowe Properties' office-to-residential condominium conversion One Wall Street, sources told The Real Deal." Read the story here.
SITE SAFETY — "Painters and laborers coalition rallies in support of Council construction safety bill," by POLITICO New York's Gloria Pazmino: A coalition of painters and laborers held a boisterous rally on the steps of City Hall Tuesday, sending a warning shot to City Council members who have yet to back a legislative proposal that would require work safety training and increase construction site regulation in response to a rise in construction related deaths in recent years." Read the story here.
TAKE A LOOK — "New York's $200M 'Eiffel Tower' Begins Its Ascent in Hudson Yards," by DNAinfo's Maya Rajamani: "A $200 million structure that's been touted as New York's version of the Eiffel Tower began its ascent in Hudson Yards Tuesday." Read the story here.
PIER PRESSURE — "Judge encouraging settlement in suit over Pier 6 development project, according to attorneys," by POLITICO New York's Khorri Atkinson: The judge overseeing a lawsuit by a community group seeking to halt the development of two residential towers at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park is encouraging neighbors and park officials to come to a settlement instead of her court issuing a ruling, according to attorneys from both sides of the case. Read the story here.
ON THE MENU — Is Midtown finally developing a restaurant scene?" by Crain's Daniel Geiger: "The long-planned rezoning of Midtown East aims to remake the district with modern office towers, better transit infrastructure and streetscape upgrades such as wider sidewalks and pedestrian plazas. But a recent influx of upscale and casual restaurants is introducing a more basic amenity the neighborhood has long lacked: a vibrant food scene." Read the story here.
— "Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Provide $1.3B Refi for Self-Storage Portfolio," by Commercial Observer's Cathy Cunningham
— "Former Brooklyn Hospital Site Has $8M Townhouses, But No Affordable Housing," by DNAinfo's Amy Zimmer
— "Stop complaining about noise: NYC's noisiest neighborhoods are actually healthiest, study says," by Metro's Erin Tiernan
— "16-Story Residential Towers Planned in Crown Heights Face Public Scrutiny," by DNAinfo's Rachel Holliday Smith
— "5 East Side Landmarks Awarded for Restoration Work," by DNAinfo's Shaye Weaver
— "Our Lady of Loreto Church in Brooklyn is poised for demolition, again," by Curbed's Zoe Rosenberg
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