Posts Tagged ‘condos’
blogTO’s Derek Flack notes that the site of the former World’s Biggest Bookstore will now house condos.
When last we wrote about the future of the World’s Biggest Bookstore site, the widely publicized plan was to erect a restaurant row at 20 Edward St. As it happens, this was a short-lived scheme. Back in late January, a zoning amendment application (PDF) was submitted to the city, one which called for a 35 storey mixed-use development.
There will still be retail at grade, but the scale of the units suggests that restaurants won’t be the plan (think big name corporate retail). If food is part of the mix at 20 Edward St., it will likely be at the underground level. The development also calls for 242 parking spaces and 610 spots for bikes.
Rising like a slim, silvery Lego tower, 432 Park Avenue will be the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere upon completion. Right next to it, until very recently, was a brownstone that was just 24 feet wide and five stories tall. The vacant, locked building, hidden behind scaffolding and stripped of ornamentation, with forlorn white curtains visible in the top-floor windows, was a vestige of an older New York. Now it’s gone. It was torn down last spring by the owners of 432 Park Avenue for purposes that have not been made clear.
This is an obituary for 36 East 57th Street, although it’s an incomplete one because most of the people who knew the building in its prime are gone now. In its day, the humble brownstone housed the New York outlet of couturier Christian Lacroix and may have been co-owned by a Hollywood kingpin. New York City records list 1930 as the year that 36 East 57th Street was built, but the records are probably wrong. By that year nobody was building short, narrow brownstones on the high-toned block between Park Avenue and Madison Avenue.
It’s more likely that the building was erected in the 19th century, during the building boom that blanketed acres of Manhattan with the narrow, sandstone row houses known as brownstones. The 1879 edition of Bromley’s Atlas of the City of New York was the first to show a townhouse with a stone facade at 36 East 57th Street, according to researchers at the New York Public Library Map Division. That’s consistent with what Christopher Gray, a historian of New York City architecture, wrote in 1988 in the New York Times: “In 1877, a speculative developer, Duggin & Crossman, put up a row of brownstones at 32-50 East 57th Street.” Gray wrote that the poet Emma Lazarus—”Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses …”—lived for a time at 32 East 57th Street. She died at age 38 in 1887.
The building pops up in the Commercial Record of 1919-20, listing among its occupants a Miss Rose Gruening, a Bradish J. Carroll, and one Frank B. Taggart, whose occupation is listed as vice-president at 60 Broadway in Lower Manhattan. By then, the block had begun its transition from residential to commercial. Wrote Gray:
“Gradually, the row became sandwiched between the giant Fuller Building (1929) at Madison Avenue and 460 Park Avenue (1954). As the last vestiges of the residential character of the 50’s just east of Fifth Avenue began to disappear in the 1950’s, the 57th Street row came to represent a sort of symbolic demilitarized zone between the midtown skyscrapers and the Upper East Side residential district.”
Bloomberg’s Jason Scott notes severe real estate pressures in urban Australia.
The populations of Sydney and Melbourne are set to almost double by 2060, Australia’s new Cities Minister Jamie Briggs said, sounding a warning that ailing infrastructure and surging house prices must be tackled to ensure they remain livable.
“For a country that brags about the fact we’re a big, wide land we live in very small urban spaces,” Briggs, who was appointed last month by new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, said in an interview in Canberra Wednesday. “That trend is only going to continue.”
The nation’s major cities are coming under increasing pressure as public transport and roads fail to keep up with population growth. The inclusion of a cities minister in Cabinet indicates Turnbull’s commitment to urban planning and its importance to unlocking productivity and economic expansion.
Turnbull, a self-made millionaire who ousted Tony Abbott last month in a ballot of governing party lawmakers, is renowned for using public transport in his home city of Sydney and last week was pictured riding a tram in Melbourne.