June 23, 2021
New York YIMBY

Excavation And Foundations Progressing At 241 West 28th Street In Chelsea, Manhattan

Below-grade work is progressing at 241 West 28th Street, a 22-story, 479-unit residential project in Chelsea. Designed by COOKFOX for MAG Partners, Atalaya, Safanad, and Qualitas, the two-tower development recently acquired $173 million in construction financing arranged by Maverick Commercial Properties. MAG Partners acquired the Midtown, Manhattan property in December 2018 and established a 99-year ground lease with Edison Properties. 241 West 28th Street is located between Seventh and Eighth Avenues and will have 30 percent of residential units reserved for low- and middle-income households. Urban Atelier Group is the general contractor.

Recent photos show numerous heavy machinery onsite and steel rebar protruding along the perimeter of the foundations awaiting work on the first level of the superstructure. We also spotted the first segment of the construction crane tower around the center of the rectangular lot.

241 West 28th Street. Photo by Michael Young

241 West 28th Street. Photo by Michael Young

241 West 28th Street. Photo by Michael Young

241 West 28th Street. Photo by Michael Young

YIMBY also spotted another COOKFOX rendering of 241 West 28th Street. The illustration is looking east above the streets toward the two buildings that are separated by what could likely be a central courtyard, and gives us a much better idea of the final appearance and tight grid of windows. The rendering also highlights the upper setbacks that make way for numerous private landscaped terraces. The inner walls appear to be completely flat with gray panels running down the center, highlighting the core and mechanical extensions of each tower.

241 West 28th Street. Rendering by COOKFOX

The rendering below is from ground level across the street, and highlights the metal canopy topped with shrubbery above the main entrance along West 28th Street. Dark stone panels will line the walls at the ground-floor retail frontage, above which the main fenestration begins with its warm-colored brick masonry surface arranged in varying horizontal and vertical running bond patterns, metal railings, and dark gray spandrels.

241 West 28th Street. Rendering by COOKFOX

Permits filed with the Department of Buildings in September 2019 listed 241 West 28th Street to yield just over 248,000 square feet divided into nearly 214,000 square feet of residential space and about 10,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space. Amenities include residential lounges, a fitness center, a children’s playroom, and an outdoor lounge with a swimming pool and adjoining terrace.

A completion date of July 2023 is stated on the construction board.

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June 3, 2021
The Real Deal

MAG Partners to redevelop Chelsea corner

MaryAnne Gilmartin’s development firm struck a deal to redevelop a corner site on Eighth Avenue in Chelsea. 

MAG Partners signed a long-term lease with a sprawling, multi-block affordable housing complex for a dilapidated retail building at 335 Eighth Avenue, The Real Deal has learned. The firm plans to redevelop the site into a mixed-income apartment building with a grocery store and community space. Construction is expected to start in 2022.

The seven-story project will qualify for the Affordable New York program, with 30 percent of the approximately 200 set aside as affordable.

The Penn South complex in Chelsea was facing a conundrum as its 60-year-old retail building on the northwest corner of West 26th Street and Eighth Avenue needed significant repairs that the low equity co-op could not afford.

At the same time, leases with current tenants — Gristedes, McDonald’s, a tennis center and other services — were set to expire, meaning the co-op was facing a substantial drop in income. As a result, its 2,820 apartments would be due for a $500 monthly increase in maintenance fees.

The board had hired Paul Travis of Washington Square Partners as its real estate advisor in 2008 and he provided several options. Earlier this year, the co-op’s 5,000 residents voted to create a 99-year lease on the property so the rent payments would replace the lost income.

“The top priority for the Board of Directors is to preserve the affordability of Penn South for current residents and future generations,” Ambur Nicosia, the board’s president, said in a statement. “We needed a solution that does not require our shareholders to pay major increases in monthly maintenance fees. The stores are supposed to subsidize the apartments, not the other way around.”

After interviewing and getting bids from seven developers who specialize in such projects, the board agreed to lease the site to the woman-owned MAG Partners.

“They want to build affordable housing and do the right thing,” Gilmartin, CEO of the firm, said of the co-op board. “They were concerned about the views [of current residents] and space around the new building.”

Her company is currently constructing a similar but larger project at 241 West 28th Street, on land owned by Edison Parking. “The [board was] watching from afar and saw how we designed the building,” Gilmartin said.

The architect of the West 28th Street building, Rick Cook of COOKFOX Architects, will also design the Penn South project with an eye on the red brick of the 10-co-op buildings and the historical character of Chelsea.

“Obviously, it’s an incredible perch,” said Gilmartin of the site and the possibility of a roof deck for the occupants. “It’s something we will study and also the placement of the building, and then go back to show it.”

During her tenure at Forest City Ratner, Gilmartin oversaw the development of the New York Times Building on West 41st Street, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the Frank Gehry-designed 8 Spruce Street residential tower in downtown Manhattan. She also recently helmed the real estate investment trust Mack-Cali through a transition period.

Gilmartin announced the launch of her firm in December 2019. In addition to the 28th Street project, MAG is the development partner on a 6-acre development in Long Island City.

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June 3, 2021
Commercial Observer

MAG Partners Selected to Develop Residential Co-op in Chelsea

MaryAnne Gilmartin’s MAG Partners has been tapped to redevelop 335 Eighth Avenue into a mixed-income apartment building with ground-floor retail space, the developer announced Thursday.

Penn South, an affordable housing cooperative based in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, selected MAG Partners for the 200-unit development that will be built under New York state’s affordable housing program, with 30 percent of its units reserved for low- and middle-income residents.  

MAG Partners will develop and operate the seven-story building under a long-term ground lease with Penn South. A grocery store and other retail stores are planned on the ground floor, with construction slated to commence in 2022.

The Real Deal first reported the selection of MAG Partners. 

“It is an honor to partner with Penn South and join their long legacy of community-building in Chelsea,” Gilmartin said in a statement. “We are committed to building in a way that enhances this beautiful neighborhood and provides value to the co-op’s long-term sustainability.”

Paul Travis of Washington Square Partners provided real estate advisory services to the co-op. Susi Yu, principal and head of development, led the deal for the MAG Partners team. 

MAG Partners chose Rick Cook and COOKFOX Architects to design the building with plans to bridge the historical character of Chelsea. The developer is also currently working with COOKFOX on the nearby 241 West 28th Street, a 480-unit apartment building slated to finish construction in late 2022.  

Ambur Nicosia, president of the Penn South co-op board, said in a statement that the deal will replace a commercial building that required huge repairs and provide revenue “to preserve the affordability of Penn South. We needed a solution that does not require our shareholders to pay major increases in monthly maintenance fees. The stores are supposed to subsidize the apartments, not the other way around.”

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