Plutocrat with Passion for Historic Properties Buys American Stock Exchange Building
Above: The Trinity Place facade of the landmarked American Stock Exchange building. Below: A historical view of the structure’s legacy trading floor, which offers more than tens of thousands of square feet of space, uninterrupted by columns, with ceiling heights of more than 60 feet.
A Lower Manhattan landmark that nobody seems to know what to do with has been purchased by a billionaire known for buying properties that nobody knows what to do with.
Ron Burkle, who made his first fortune buying and consolidating chains of supermarkets in California during the 1980s, paid $155 million in October for the American Stock Exchange Building at 86 Trinity Place, which has been closed since 2008. Mr. Burkle owns several other quixotic trophy properties, such as the 2,700-acre Neverland Ranch in Santa Ynez, California—the onetime home of singer Michael Jackson.
The previous owner of the American Stock Exchange—a 1921 structure that was designated a City landmark in 2012—was Clarion Partners. That firm been planning for nearly a decade to create a boutique hotel in the complex’s 14-story office tower, and hoped to build a concert venue on the 27,000-square-foot former trading floor of what was once known as the New York Curb Exchange.
Above: A view of the Greenwich Street facade of the American Stock Exchange with its cavernous trading floor converted into “experiential retail,” as proposed by a previous owner. Below: An interior view of the “experiential retail” proposal from 2018, which also conveys some sense of what the trading floor would look like if converted into a concert venue able to host 3,000 people.
Both of these ambitions faced significant headwinds. The hotel sector in Lower Manhattan was widely regarded as overbuilt even before the onset of the COVID pandemic, and more than 1,000 new hotel rooms are still in the development pipeline. Such a competitive environment made it difficult to attract financing for yet another hostelry.
And the scheme to crate an event space large enough to host an audience of 3,000 people ran into opposition from local leaders, who have voiced reservations about similar (but much smaller) plans at other, nearby buildings, such as 23 Wall Street and 48 Wall Street—both legally protected landmark structures built when Downtown was the epicenter of the investing world, but which have struggled to find modern uses in the Financial District’s new life as a residential community.
Mr. Burkle has not announced what plans he has, if any, for the American Stock Exchange building. But his dabbling in other real estate may provide some insight. He has described his interest in Jackson’s estate as being driven by the opportunity to preserve the land surrounding it, and he once bought a house in Los Angeles, designed by legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright (which he had admired as a child), simply so that he could restore the property, before selling it.
Culprits Remain Consistent
Crime Data for Lower Manhattan Show Steady Levels for Most Offenses
Crime statistics for the NYPD’s First Precinct are now available for the full year of 2021. The command (which covers Lower Manhattan, south of the Brooklyn Bridge and City Hall, along with the area west of Broadway, up to Houston Street) logged two murders, along with 15 rapes, 135 robberies, and 121 felony assaults. These were in addition, 191 burglaries, 848 grand larcenies, and 68 grand larcenies of a motor vehicle.
These metrics represented mostly minor fluctuations from the prior year, when the First Precinct experienced one murder, 19 rapes, 151 robberies, and 81 felony assaults. During 2020, the First Precinct also cataloged 247 burglaries, 667 grand larcenies, and 31 grand larcenies of an automobile.
City Hall Finalizes Seaport Resiliency Plan Days Before Administrations Change
In one of its last acts in office, the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio released the finalized version of its Financial District and Seaport Climate Resilience Master Plan, which aims to protect the nearly mile-long stretch of East River waterfront between the Brooklyn Bridge and the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
Projected to cost between $5 and $7 billion, and to take a minimum of 15 years to construct, the plan focuses on “passive” flood defense, which translates into refashioning the landscape and elevating the riverbank, thus creating a physical barrier that will stop flood waters. The documents released by City Hall in December envision building a network of decks, berms, and breakwaters that will extend into the East River between 90 and 200 feet. The outermost edge of this complex would rise to an elevation between three and five feet above the waterline, while its landward side would reach as high as 15 feet.
In 1936, the German-American Bund, a pro-Nazi group, was formed in the United States to advocate for policies beneficial to Germany. The Bund was very active throughout the latter half of the 1930s, organizing rallies and marches, including a rally at Madison Square Garden in 1939. One of the Bund’s most notable activities was running summer camps across the nation that were similar to Hitler Youth Camps. Camp Siegfried was located in Yaphank, New York and attracted numerous visitors. The camp even had its own train on the Long Island Railroad, the “Siegfried Special.” Join the Museum for a program exploring Camp Siegfried and Nazis in the United States. The program will feature a panel discussion between Bess Wohl, playwright of Camp Siegfried; Bradley W. Hart, author of Hitler’s American Friends: The Third Reich’s Supporters in the United States; and Arnie Bernstein, author of Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn & the Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund. The conversation will be moderated by Randi F. Marshall, Editorial Writer at Newsday. Free; suggested $10 donation.
Light up your best “après-ski” look and strut your stuff at our cold weather family-friendly silent dance party. Three live DJs from QuietEvents will illuminate the night as they pump beats through illuminated headphones to get you moving. Headphones are free, ID required, RSVP highly recommended. Free. Battery Park City Authority
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
Ethical and respectable gentleman, an IT Wizard, seeks a living/work space in BPC. Can be a Computer help to you and your business, or will guarantee $1,500 for rental. Reciprocal would be great! Please contact email@example.com
20+ years experience
Providing Companion and Home Health Aide Care to clients with dementia.Help with grooming, dressing and wheelchair assistance. Able to escort client to parks and engage in conversations of desired topics and interests of client. Reliable & Honest
78 year old refined intellectual gentleman having a passion for cruises and travel seeking a male or female caregiver/companion in exchange for all expense paid venture on the ocean. Only requirement is relationship comfort between us and ability to help with physical care regarding the limitations and restrictions of COPD.
What Never Went Up in the First Place, Still Comes Down…
Lower Manhattan Site Purchased for $390 Million Being Shopped for Half-Off
In a story first reported by the Real Deal, the financial distress plaguing property investment firm China Oceanwide Holdings (itself part of the wider contagion surrounding Shenzhen-based real estate firm, Evergrande) has led to a fire-sale price for a trophy Lower Manhattan parcel.
The company purchased 80 South Street (located between John Street and Maiden Lane) from the Howard Hughes Corporation in 2016 for $390 million. This transaction included a companion site, at 163 Front Street, that shares a mid-block border with 80 South Street. The combined parcel, plus air rights from nearby lots purchased and assembled by Howard Hughes, gave China Oceanwide the right to build a tower with a height of more than 1,400 feet, enclosing more than one million square feet of interior space. To read more…
Sending Love to Janet Lovell
Last summer, Janet Lovell—“Ms. Janet” to her many young charges—retired after 35 years at the Battery Park City Day Nursery. As she stood outside the nursery school on her last day, kids of all ages and their parents came by to reminisce and wish her well. As planned, Janet soon retired to her native Belize.
In October, her sister Denise visited Janet and her husband in Belize. On their way to a resort to celebrate, they were in a car accident. Denise was killed and Janet sustained a devastating spinal cord injury.
Ms. Janet is back in New York for medical attention. If you would like to send good wishes to this wonderful woman who has meant so much to many of our children, the nursery school will collect notes, cards, letters and artwork and forward them to her. Please mail (or drop off) your messages to Janet Lovell c/o the Battery Park City Day Nursery, 215 South End Ave, New York, NY 10280, and administrative director Judy Sklover will forward them to her. If you have any questions, please email the nursery at firstname.lastname@example.org and address your messages to Judy Sklover.
A fundraiser to help Janet pay mounting expenses has been set up by parents of her former charges.
Beside the Pointe
At 41 River Terrace, Affordability Provisions Extended for Low-Income Residents But Not for Middle-Income Renters
The Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) announced Tuesday that it had reached an agreement to preserve 70 affordable rental apartments in the Tribeca Pointe building through the year 2069. The deal will require that the building owner, Rockrose, continue to offer deeply discounted rents to residents of 70 apartments within the 340-unit structure. These households are set aside for residents earning below either 40 or 50 percent of the “area median income” (AMI). This income bracket currently ranges from $33,440 to $41,800 (for a household consisting of one person), and goes as high as $47,720 to $59,650 (for a household of four).
When Tribeca Pointe opened in 1999, these requirements translated into $343 or $429 per month in a studio (for those earning up to 40 or 50 percent of AMI, respectively), $368 or $459 for a one-bedroom apartment, and $441 or $451 for a two-bedroom unit. Today, the same formulas (which cap rent at 30 percent of the two income thresholds) restrict rent on a studio apartment, inhabited by one person, to $836 (for a tenant earning below 40 percent of AMI) or $1045 (for a renter earning below 50 percent of AMI).
Annual Food Fest Puts Lavish Meals within Reach of Thrifty Epicures
New York’s annual food celebration, Restaurant Week continues for five weeks, until Saturday (February 13).
For those disinclined to venture above Canal Street, the goods news is that of all the 481 establishments participating throughout the City this year, more than five percent are located in Lower Manhattan.
The Bowling Green Greenmarket brings fresh offerings from local farms to Lower Manhattan’s historic Bowling Green plaza. Twice a week year-round stop by to load up on the season’s freshest fruit, crisp vegetables, beautiful plants, and freshly baked loaves of bread, quiches, and pot pies.
Fulton Street cobblestones between South and Front Sts. across from McNally Jackson Bookstore.
Locally grown produce from Rogowski Farm, Breezy Hill Orchard, and other farmers and small-batch specialty food products, sold directly by their producers. Producers vary from week to week.
SNAP/EBT/P-EBT, Debit/Credit, and Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks accepted at all farmers markets.
TODAY IN HISTORY
George Burns, American actor, comedian, and producer (1896 – 1996)
649 – King Chindasuinth, at the urging of bishop Braulio of Zaragoza, crowns his son Recceswinth as co-ruler of the Visigothic Kingdom.
1265 – The first English parliament to include not only Lords but also representatives of the major towns holds its first meeting in the Palace of Westminster, now commonly known as the “Houses of Parliament”.
1783 – The Kingdom of Great Britain signed preliminary articles of peace with France, setting the stage to the official end of hostilities in the American Revolutionary War later that year.
1841 – Hong Kong Island is occupied by the British.
1887 – The United States Senate allows the Navy to lease Pearl Harbor as a naval base.
1921 – The British K-class submarine HMS K5 sinks in the English Channel; all 56 on board die.
1929 – The first full-length talking motion picture filmed outdoors, In Old Arizona, is released.
1936 – King George V of the United Kingdom dies. His eldest son succeeds to the throne, becoming Edward VIII. The title Prince of Wales is not used for another 22 years.
1937 – Franklin D. Roosevelt and John Nance Garner are sworn in for their second terms as U.S. President and U.S. Vice President; it is the first time a Presidential Inauguration takes place on January 20 since the 20th Amendment changed the dates of presidential terms.
1942 – World War II: At the Wannsee Conference held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee, senior Nazi German officials discuss the implementation of the “Final Solution to the Jewish question”.
1949 – Point Four Program, a program for economic aid to poor countries announced by President Harry S. Truman in his inaugural address for a full term as President.
1961 – John F. Kennedy is inaugurated the 35th President, becoming the second youngest man to take the office, and the first Catholic.
1981 – Twenty minutes after Ronald Reagan is inaugurated as the 40th President, Iran releases 52 American hostages.
2009 – Barack Obama is inaugurated as the 44th President, becoming the first African-American President of the United States.
2017 – Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th President, at the time he was the oldest person to assume the office.
1436 – Ashikaga Yoshimasa, Japanese shōgun (d. 1490)
1573 – Simon Marius, German astronomer and academic (d. 1624)
1775 – André-Marie Ampère, French physicist and mathematician (d. 1836)
1856 – Harriot Stanton Blatch, U.S. suffragist and organizer (d. 1940)
1888 – Lead Belly, American folk/blues musician and songwriter (d. 1949)
1896 – George Burns, American actor, comedian, and producer (d. 1996)
1906 – Aristotle Onassis, Greek shipping magnate (d. 1975)
1920 – Federico Fellini, Italian director and screenwriter (d. 1993)
1930 – Buzz Aldrin, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut
1946 – David Lynch, American director, producer, and screenwriter
1948 – Natan Sharansky, Ukrainian-Israeli physicist and politician, Deputy Prime Minister of Israel
1841 – Minh Mạng, Vietnamese emperor (b. 1791)
1936 – George V of the United Kingdom (b. 1865)
1984 – Johnny Weissmuller, American swimmer and actor (b. 1904)
1993 – Audrey Hepburn, British actress and humanitarian activist (b. 1929)
2003 – Al Hirschfeld, American painter and illustrator (b. 1903)
Credit: Wikipedia and other internet and non-internet sources