Manhattan
A Park Takes Shape
In Hudson Yards District

The first half of a new park and boulevard running through the Hudson Yards District will open at the end of the year.

The 4-acre swath of green, which will stretch from West 33rd Street to West 39th Street between 10th and 11th avenues, is in the middle of a new neighborhood where The Moinian Group, Related Cos. and Brookfield Office Properties plan to build commercial and residential towers. The first three blocks, from West 33rd Street to West 36th Street, are slated to debut by year's end.

The Moinian Group's 66-story building—3 Hudson Boulevard—will anchor the park. The strip of greenery, which is 230 feet wide at some points, is bordered on either side by the boulevard's northbound and southbound streets.

The park will feature three fountains with lights, surrounded by benches and interspersed with garden beds, said Aron Kirsch, senior vice president of development at The Moinian Group. The park will have a cafe or concession stand as well as bleacher seating. Moinian's tower, which is awaiting an anchor tenant, will have a sky lobby with a sculpture terrace offering views of the park and boulevard, he said.

Entrances to the extension of the No. 7 subway line will emerge in the park, with glass canopies above the stairs and escalators descending into the station.

—Keiko Morris

Manhattan
A Grand Air-Rights Battle

Mayor Bill de Blasio is looking to carve a smooth path with his proposal to promote development on Manhattan's Vanderbilt Avenue, avoiding the controversies that plagued his predecessor.

But you can't please everyone.

Argent Ventures, a real-estate company that owns 1.3 million square feet of air rights above Grand Central Terminal, says if the rezoning proposal passes it could render those air rights worthless.

The city's proposal would allow developers to build taller buildings on Vanderbilt Avenue in exchange for making transit improvements. Argent officials said the strategy amounts to a better deal than buying their air rights, making those rights difficult to sell.

They said the proposal undercuts the city's landmarks policy, which allows historic buildings such as churches and universities to sell their air rights to generate revenue. "If they can do it to the Terminal they can do it anyone," said Paul Selver, an attorney representing Argent Ventures.

Argent's attorneys spoke at a hearing on Wednesday that included testimony from a number of groups who support the proposal, including the Municipal Art Society and the Real Estate Board of New York.

Argent has little leverage to stop the rezoning, but it could sue if it passes and try to stall developments in the area, including SL Green Realty Corp.'s proposed 65-story tower on the block bounded by Vanderbilt and Madison and by East 42nd and East 43rd streets.

Senior city officials said Argent is threatening to undercut needed transit improvements to hold on to its advantage. They said Argent, which is helmed by Andrew Penson, will be able to sell even more air rights to potential development sites than it can now.

"Obviously, Mr. Penson would rather that money go into his pocket instead of towards these desperately needed improvements," said Jonathan Rosen, a representative for SL Green.

—Laura Kusisto

Queens
New York Foundling Finds Home in Long Island City

The New York Foundling, a not-for-profit foster and child-care agency, has moved to Long Island City, taking about 35,000 square feet and creating a new open-office format for its workers.

The New York Foundling moved into The Center Building at 33-00 Northern Boulevard. A joint venture of Madison Marquette and affiliates of Perella Weinberg Partners purchased the building in December 2012. The building is 95% occupied.

"This is an example of another important tenant who is seeing good relative value in moving from Manhattan to Long Island City," said Ryan Colbert, Madison Marquette's investment director.

The New York Foundling has been shedding its Manhattan real estate, though it always will maintain some presence in that borough, said Bethany Lampland, chief operating officer of the organization. The charity's strategy is to invest savings and revenue from its real estate into its service programs. In the spring, the organization put its Greenwich Village building at 27 Christopher St. up for sale with an asking price of $47.5 million.

The move to Long Island City allowed the charity to build improved offices and locate its services closer to the outer boroughs where many of its clients live and work, she said.

—Keiko Morris