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4 Major Public-Private Projects In The Works In NYC

Public-private partnerships can kill two birds with one stone as sky-high land prices have pushed developers to look for public land to build on, and the money their projects bring in can help pay for needed public infrastructure. Here are four of the biggest in NYC's pipeline: 

1. Gowanus Green

4 Major Public-Private Projects In The Works In NYC

The Hudson Cos is partnering with Bluestone Organization, the Fifth Avenue Committee and Jonathan Rose Cos to bring a total of 774 rental and condo units to 5.8 acres of former brownfield land owned by the city on the banks of the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. The new housing will be mixed-income and add up to 790k SF. The project will have the makings of a self-contained community: brand-new streets, open green space, a waterfront promenade and a not-yet-announced amount of retail space. The area's blown up in recent years with Whole Foods' first Brooklyn location opening at the end of 2013, and big-time players like SL Green Kushner Cos developing projects within spitting distance. 

2. Brooklyn Bridge Park


4 Major Public-Private Projects In The Works In NYC

Back in 2002, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. George Pataki issued a memorandum of understanding saying state and city funding could be used to get Brooklyn Bridge Park off the ground. But there was a string attached—a big one: No public funds could be used for maintenance or upkeep of the park once built. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp, which oversees the park’s construction, maintenance and expansion, recently estimated the cost of keeping the park nice at around $300M over 50 years.

In 2004, the park's public sector founders put out a plan that included blueprints for a building at the park's northern end: Pierhouse, a 192-key hotel and 106-unit condo project that Toll Brothers is building in a JV with Starwood Capital. There's also a 339-unit affordable and market-rate rental complex that'll be developed by RAL Development Services and Oliver's Realty Group at Pier 6, toward the park’s southern end, with no definite timetable for completion.

The BBPC estimates the Pier 6 project will bring in $118M for park maintenance over the term of the 95-year ground lease the developers picked up from the city.

3. One Vanderbilt

4 Major Public-Private Projects In The Works In NYC
Rendering of the One Vanderbilt skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan.

SL Green’s 1,400-foot-tall, 1.6M SF One Vanderbilt office tower in Midtown East will be made possible through a rezoning with one condition: the developer helps finance public improvements in the area, including a big expansion and upgrade of the aging transit hub at nearby Grand Central Terminal

In 2014, when the plan was first spelled out publicly, SL Green pledged $200M toward infrastructure improvements, most notably a project to give the Long Island Railroad access to the terminal from the east. The developer has also committed to helping finance upgrades to the Times Square-Grand Central shuttle train and a public plaza. East Side Access is slated to be finished by 2023. TD Bank has already signed on as the project’s anchor tenant, taking 200k SF. The building’s scheduled to open by 2020.

4. Essex Crossing


4 Major Public-Private Projects In The Works In NYC
Renderings of the Essex Crossing megaproject on Manhattan's Lower East Side

Ground broke last year on the Essex Crossing mixed-use development on the Lower East Side. One of New York’s biggest urban renewal projects ever, it's a JV with Taconic Investment Partners, BFC Partners and L+M Development Partners. At a recent Bisnow event, Taconic co-CEO Charles Bendit called it the capstone of his career

Plans are ambitious to say the least. Here's some of what's coming: an Andy Warhol museum, an urban farm, a new park, a supermarket, a senior housing and community space, and a new public school. All 10 sites will include affordable and market-rate apartments as well as retail space. Regal Cinemas has signed on to anchor the retail with a 14-screen, 65k SF movie theater at the project's Site Two. Demolition of buildings on Site Two, which has been vacant since 1967, got started over the summer.