Category Archives: Real Estate

The Anne Frank Center USA Relocates to Lower Manhattan

100 Church Street, future home of the Anne Frank Center USA (Photo Winick Realty,

According to an official press release, The Anne Frank Center USA, a partner organization of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, has signed a lease for a 2,500 square foot ground floor space at 100 Church Street with SL Green Realty Corp.

The not-for-profit Anne Frank Center was founded in 1977 by Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father, and promotes the universal message of tolerance by developing and disseminating an array of educational programs including exhibitions, workshops, and special events. Lower Manhattan is a convergence of diverse cultures, so it makes complete and total sense that the Anne Frank Center USA would take up residence in the region!

The Anne Frank Center will reopen in September 2011 and the new space will allow the Center to display its existing Anne Frank exhibit that includes a representation of the Dutch teenager’s bedroom, host student groups and the general public for lectures by Holocaust survivors and other public programs that will serve to educate.

The new location is also part of the growing cultural hub in Lower Manhattan, and only a short walk from the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which will be the recipient of a tree sapling grown in Anne Frank’s backyard in Amsterdam. Both museums share a common mission—to educate the public about the continuing danger of intolerance and hate while underscoring the need for remembrance. How lovely that a sapling from Frank’s own backyard will be received by the September 11th memorial.

“The Anne Frank Center USA’s new home presents an unparalleled opportunity to showcase our mission and offer innovative educational programs in Lower Manhattan, thus adding another destination in an area with significant tourism,” said Yvonne Simons, Executive Director of the Anne Frank Center USA, in a statement. “The move to an area rich with like-minded cultural and educational institutions will better enable the Anne Frank Center to promote its message of tolerance and inclusion to a larger and more diverse audience.”

Will you visit the Anne Frank Center USA when it opens in its new location downtown?

Tyra Banks Bangs It Up in Construction

Model Tyra Banks Angers Neighbors With Construction

Tyra Banks Bangs It Up in Construction
Tyra Banks Bangs It Up in Construction

Her neighbors don’t hate model and talk show/reality show Tyra Banks because she’s beautiful. They hate her because she is being an inconsiderate neighbor. Banks recently angered her neighbors-to-be thanks to construction work being done on her new abode at the luxurious Riverhouse in Battery Park City. According to The New York Post’s Page Six, Banks is merging four apartments into one huge duplex unit and the construction project has lasted six months beyond the intended schedule and neighbors have been calling the police over the matter.

Apparently, paint fumes are annoying other residents and the incessant drilling is making for some serious noise pollution indoors.

A rep for the Riverhouse said that Banks’ unit is “near completion.” Nothing like pissing off the locals before you move in.

How should Tyra Banks appease her angry neighbors for her overdue, noisy construction?

Developers Scrap Plans For New “Windows on the World” atop 1 WTC

The view from the old Windows on the World (Photo: Flickr @seeareelem)

The New York Post reports that plans to include a Windows on the World-type restaurant in the new 1 World Trade Center building have been scrapped by the developers. The restaurant has been a part of the building’s blueprint since it was dubbed “The Freedom Tower.” The original WTC buildings boasted a top floor restaurant before they were destroyed in the 9/11 attacks. The initial plan called for a two-story eating establishment, but that was eventually downgraded to a single floor due to cost prohibitiveness.

The restaurant is being shelved entirely due to cost concerns. There is little efficiency in running such an operation and developers feared they would not be able to locate a restaurateur willing to handle the project, which looked likely to be a money-losing, in-the-red operation.

Port Authority executive director Chris Ward said, “These things are always money-losers. We think we can achieve a far better financial return given the [quality of the] space and avoid all the complexities.” Ward went on to remind us that the city is teeming with plenty of restaurants. However, plenty of New Yorkers would like the new World Trade Center buildings to be as similar to the originals as possible.

Do you think that the new World Trade Center should have a Windows on the World type restaurant just like the old Twin Towers had?

Restauranteur Peter Poulakkos Up for Lease on Pier A

Pier A
What will become of Pier A?

The New York Times reports that restaurateur Peter Poulakakos, owner/operator of Harry’s Café and Steak and other Wall Street-area eateries, is the leading candidate to be granted a lease at the 125-year-old Pier A at the edge of Battery Park. The Battery Park City Authority are scheduled to vote on the matter today, amid what is perceived as a veil of secrecy by some locals.

Poulakakos said, “I would do several good things for Lower Manhattan.” He would not, however, elaborate on what his plans entail. The BPCA hopes that Poulakakos could help inject commercial activity into the area. The BPCA controls the pier, which had fallen into a state of decay and disrepair over the years.

Some locals feel that the pier should include a cultural institution to help attract the millions of tourists expected to visit the World Trade Center memorial once it opens. Another lease bidder, Joseph J. Grano, Jr., has proposed the development of an Italian-American museum at the location, but he has not been given any sort of go-ahead.

What is your opinion of a restaurateur being granted a lease at Pier A? Do you frequent the area?

park 51 rendering

Park51 Offering Public Information Sessions

park 51 rendering
Architectural rendering of Park51's planned futuristic design

Manhattanites are divided over Park51, the planned community center funded by Muslims that will feature a Muslim prayer space referred to as “The Ground Zero Mosque,” being erected so close to former World Trade Center site. However, Park51 is offering a series of public information sessions over the next few months to educate both supporters and critics. According to Park51’s John Lichten, the weekly Q&A sessions will take place on Wednesdays, beginning this evening, and will run through December. Park51 developer Sharif El-Gamal will attend with the aim of describing the project and to answer probing, poignant questions.

Sessions will be limited to a dozen participants per week, so interested parties should email [email protected] in advance of their preferred attendance date. The sessions are not open to the media.

According to DNA Info, Lichten stated that “very early on, there were a number of misconceptions about what we were doing. We’ve been trying to clear them up [and] we want to get what we’re doing out there to the people who need to hear it the most.”

Do you think these sessions will truly help concerned New Yorkers understand Park51’s goals?

225 Rector Place

Rector Square Condos Auctioned Off

225 Rector Place
Yair Levy couldn't save his condo conversion at 225 Rector Place.

Rector Square, a failed Battery Park City condo conversion located at 225 Rector Place and spearheaded by real estate developer Yair Levy, was auctioned off in a bulk sale at a discounted price on Wednesday at the New York Supreme Court.

Anglo Irish, the project’s largest financial backer, foreclosed on the 304-unit property earlier this year and bought it back for $82.7 million; the bank was owed approximately $135 million. There were no other offers.

The bank may or may not hold onto the property. If a new owner comes in, they can continue to convert it into condos or maintain it as a rental space.

232 of the building’s 304 units were unsold; a 114-space parking garage and commercial office space also occupy the space. 45 of the building’s tenants are suing Levy for $100 million.

Do you think this building is better served as a rental space for residents?

Future renditions of the World Trade Center

Companies Seeking High Tech, Green Office Space Downtown

Future renditions of the World Trade Center
The Future World Trade Center Site (Courtesy: Silverstein Properties)

As companies are looking for newer office that can accomdate their high-tech needs and growing environmental efforts, Larry A. Silverstein, chief executive officer of Silverstein Properties Inc., sees two of his new office buildings at Ground Zero the logical choice.

According to Bloomberg Business Week, “some 235 tenants have moved from midtown to downtown” since 2005. As newer buildings are constructed with high-tech and green accomdations in mind, it seems many more tenants might be moving into the neighborhood.

Conde Nast is one of those potential tenants, looking to lease a sizable amount of office space at 1 World Trade.

park 51 rendering

Park51 Looks to Improve “Image”

Architectural rendering of Park51's planned futuristic design. (Image courtesy

Park 51 developers have unveiled a few renderings of what they have planned for their controversial community center. The designs, by consultants SOMA Architects, aim to be hip, futuristic and architecturally forward-thinking while incorporating some traditional motifs common in Arabic architecture.

While it certainly doesn’t hurt to have plans for an impressive looking structure, do these drawings do anything to lessen the ire of the mosque’s detractors?

What do you think? Do you feel any better about Park51 in our area having seen what it could look like?

Plans to Overhaul World Financial Released Tomorrow

World Financial Center
The Winter Garden and World Financial Center could look a lot different in 2013.

Brookfield Properties are set to release their plans for updating the World Financial Center tomorrow, according to the Wall Street Journal.

We’d heard rumblings of these changes, including the planned removal of the Winter Garden Stairs. In a poll, an overwhelming 90% of you were in favor of saving the stairs, a sentiment shared by 32BJ SEIU, a local union whose members work at the World Financial Center. City Planning Commission chairwoman Amanda Burden and Battery Park City community board members also question the removal of the stairs, an unintended icon of our post-9/11 reality.

Brookfield maintains that the stairs need to be removed to allow for an expansive street level entrance that will connect with new PATH and subway stations at the World Trade Center.

Stairs or no, expect to see more retail offerings in the World Financial Center. Citing the population increase in Battery Park City, Brookfield would like to offer more to residents who frequent the property on nights and weekends.

Construction could begin as soon as the end of this year, with completion scheduled for 2013.

Imam Feisal Abdul Raif is leading the Ground Zero mosque building efforts

Park51 to Allow US Government Sign Off On Donations

Imam Feisal Abdul Raif is leading the Ground Zero mosque building efforts
Imam Feisal Abdul Raif is leading the Ground Zero mosque building efforts

The Imam behind the Park51 development hopes that opening his books will open hearts for his Islamic community center.

In an effort to bolster fundraising and ease any suspicion towards the $100 million dollar price tag for the Park51 Islamic community center, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has allowed the US Government to sign off on all donations made to the development.

Also, according to a report in today’s New York Post, Rauf stated that “the mosque and Islamic cultural center will have a board of directors that will include Muslims, Christians and Jews.” This may be seen as yet another olive branch towards easing dissent towards building a mosque and islamic center near Ground Zero.

The inclusion of an inter-faith board of directors might have been in response to Julie Menin, Chairwoman of Community Board 1’s open column in the Daily News calling for a revised interfaith plan for the Park51 development. In that column Menin states, “I believe it is still possible to bridge the gap without compromising the core principles of what this project is about — not by moving the mosque further away from the site of the attacks, but by bringing other faiths in.”

How do you feel about the US Government being allowed to sign off on all donations made to the Park51 development?