January 29, 2024
New York YIMBY

Foundations Underway For COOKFOX’s 335 Eighth Avenue In Chelsea, Manhattan

Foundations are underway at 335 Eighth Avenue, the site of a seven-story mixed-use building in Chelsea, Manhattan. Designed by COOKFOX Architects and developed by MAG Partners and Penn South aka Mutual Redevelopment Houses, Inc., with financing provided by global holding company Safanad, the structure will span around 200,000 square feet and yield 188 rental units in studio to two-bedroom layouts, as well as a 23,000-square-foot Lidl supermarket and additional ground-floor retail space. Thirty percent of the homes will be reserved for affordable housing. Urban Atelier Group is the general contractor for the property, which is located at the corner of Eighth Avenue and West 26th Street within the Penn South affordable housing cooperative, officially known as Mutual Redevelopment Houses.

Demolition had just finished at the time of our last update in early October, when the plot sat cleared and awaiting the start of excavation. Since then, crews have already created various sections of the new reinforced concrete foundations around the eastern corner while excavators continue to unearth the remainder of the rectangular parcel. The superstructure could likely start to rise above street level in late spring to early summer.

Photo by Michael Young
Photo by Michael Young
Photo by Michael Young
Photo by Michael Young
Photo by Michael Young
Photo by Michael Young
Photo by Michael Young
Photo by Michael Young
Photo by Michael Young

A new rendering has also been released showing the eastern elevation. The building is depicted with a red brick envelope, a grid of recessed rectangular windows, and tall floor-to-ceiling windows for the retail frontage. The residential entrance sits beneath a canopy topped with shrubbery along Eighth Avenue, and dark metal railings line the expansive rooftop terrace.

Photo by Michael Young

The Lidl supermarket will feature a bakery, fresh produce, a floral shop, meat and seafood, and other typical everyday essentials. The store will be the German company’s second outpost in Manhattan following a Harlem location at 2187 Frederick Douglass Boulevard that opened in February 2022. YIMBY last reported that Lidl is expected to work with Hire NYC to offer employment to local residents and provide comprehensive benefits such as healthcare for all full- and part-time employees, regardless of hours worked per week.

Ninety percent of the units will be studios and one-bedrooms, and the remaining 10 percent will be two-bedroom apartments. Residential amenities at 335 Eighth Avenue will include a fitness center, library, media lounge, coworking lounge with private workspaces, a dining area with a catering kitchen, and rooftop gardens with dining areas and a grilling terrace.

In recent news, JLL Capital Markets arranged a $151.4 million capitalization for the project with financing secured from Bank OZK and MetLife Investment Management. The property is a short walk from the local C and E trains at the 23rd Street station to the south.

335 Eighth Avenue’s anticipated completion date is slated for the third quarter of 2025.

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January 16, 2024
Baltimore Sun

A moment for Baltimore | GUEST COMMENTARY

Sunrise lights up the city skyline on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Photo by Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun.

Baltimore is having a moment. The positive headlines have been everywhere the past few months, brimming with superlatives. Just last week, The New York Times placed Baltimore among its top 15 places to visit in 2024 and said the city is having an “enormous year.” Baltimore has one of the fastest-growing economies in the country. We just saw the largest drop in homicides ever. The region has been designated a federal tech hub, and the area is increasingly becoming a destination for visitors from far and wide — with CFG Bank Arena ranking as one of the highest-grossing venues globally last year.

As a result — or maybe it’s the cause — companies and institutions, private and public, are investing here again. The Ravens and the Orioles both made big commitments over the past few months (and won a lot of games), and CFG Bank Arena’s investments have helped attract the best acts in the country. Planning for the new Red Line is underway, Bloomberg Philanthropies is helping to tackle our vacant homes challenge with Mayor Scott, and our port has millions of dollars coming from the Department of Transportation down the road in D.C.

But as a newcomer to Charm City, I’ve also noticed that we’ve been conditioned to always expect the other shoe to drop. The good news about the city’s economic growth was immediately followed by a headline (in another publication) about how the growth is probably not sustainable. Give us at least a day to be inspired and optimistic about where things are headed.

When a foolish comedian took cheap shots at Baltimore last year, it was beautiful to see so many people rally together to stand up for the city, but the truth is that we’re too used to just grinning and bearing it, too tired of pushing back. As someone who spends much of her time pitching companies around the country on Baltimore as a potential home, I get it. But I also know that there’s too much good happening here to let negativity prevail. It’s time that we stand together to tell our story and finally change the narrative about the city we love.

Where do we start? Last year, the city’s economy grew to more than $50 billion. With nearly 6% growth, Baltimore beat out nearly every other similarly sized major city nationwide. Citywide, we’re seeing robust, rapid economic growth and a low unemployment rate of just 4.3%. Coupled with inspiring progress on the tragic homicide crisis, Baltimore is signaling that it’s on the brink of real change.

This was far from inevitable. Just look down I-95 to D.C., where hybrid work hollowed out the downtown and sent crime spiraling. Our sports teams are investing; theirs are planning to leave.

Leaders who care about Baltimore in Annapolis and Washington have helped a lot, too, and that is an important part of our story moving forward. In addition to DOT’s massive commitment to the Port of Baltimore, the new federal designation as a “tech hub” has made Baltimore a finalist for billions of dollars in economic development funding, while Johns Hopkins aims to make the city an epicenter for AI research. Our new governor has made Baltimore a top priority, and our mayor has partnered with faith and business leaders to announce a $3 billion plan to invest in 35,700 vacant homes. This monumental effort will bring funding to under-resourced communities that have suffered from disinvestment for far too long.

The last piece, and the one I’m most focused on, is attracting new businesses (and office leases) back to Baltimore. There too we are seeing very promising progress.  Along the Inner Harbor, the new Harborplace development proposal is a major investment in downtown. To its east, Harbor Point is seeing a slew of new tenants and businesses setting up shop. Across the city, we’re all working towards the same goal: a stronger Baltimore.

And at Baltimore Peninsula, we closed the year by announcing 15 new office and retail leases totaling over 65,000 square feet, building on CFG Bank’s historic flagship lease signed to support its expansion last year. They’ll be right across from the new Under Armour HQ, and when that campus opens later this year, it will be a milestone that all of Baltimore should celebrate.

It’s not just large corporations; all across the city, we’re seeing small businesses open in droves and trendy retailers from across the country set up shop. Hip chains like renowned restaurateur Pinky Cole’s Slutty Vegan, regional favorites like Clyde’s and large national retailers are no longer skipping Baltimore as they expand up the Northeast corridor. If you follow the money, it’s clear that Baltimore’s comeback is well underway.

We need to recognize the greatness of Baltimore and the success that we’re seeing each and every day. The city has so much going for it — incredible people, a thriving culture, a location that can’t be beat, and a relentless attitude of resilience and determination. With a robust and diverse economy, high-paying jobs and the support of state and local lawmakers, Baltimore is poised to enter a new era of innovation and growth now more than ever.

This is the next chapter in Baltimore’s story, and it’s time for everyone to celebrate our wins and continue building toward a brighter future. When we all uplift each other, we all succeed.

MaryAnne Gilmartin ([email protected]) is the founder and chief executive officer of MAG Partners, a woman-owned urban real estate company currently developing Baltimore Peninsula in partnership with Sagamore Ventures and Goldman Sachs’ Urban Investment Group. 

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January 9, 2024
New York Times

52 Places to Go in 2024 – Baltimore, Maryland

Explore urban waterways and an array of Native artwork

Arts, Revitalization

It’s an enormous year for Charm City. The 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act is bringing in a new Justice Thurgood Marshall Amenity Center; the Baltimore Museum of Art is increasing the presence of Native artists with solo shows, thematic exhibitions and changes to displays and labels across the museum; and Baltimore Peninsula, a place for visitors and locals to shop, dine and play, will breathe new life into a long-neglected port area. For outdoor enthusiasts, a network of waterways called the Baltimore Blueway — open to kayaks, canoes, paddle boards and rowboats — will connect visitors throughout the waterfront to cultural, historic and natural sites. And movie buffs take note: The director John Waters will be in his hometown shooting a film based on his first novel, “Liarmouth.” — Daniel Scheffler

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January 9, 2024
Commercial Obserever

MAG Partners’ Big Chelsea Multifamily Project Secures $151M in Financing

Bank OZK put up $73M in debt financing for the building, which will include a Lidl

Rendering of 335 Eighth Avenue, at the corner of Eighth Avenue and West 26th Street in Chelsea.

A joint venture between MAG Partners and Safanad has secured $151.4 million in financing to capitalize a seven-story, 181-unit mixed-use multifamily building in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, Commercial Observer has learned. 

Bank OZK (OZK) provided $73 million of debt financing, while MetLife Investment Management led the $78 million equity financing raise on behalf of both sponsors.  

Two different parts of JLL Capital Markets led the respective financing arrangements. JLL’s debt advisory financing team was led by Managing Director Geoff Goldstein and Senior Directors Jillian Mariutti and Stephen Van Leer. JLL’s equity advisory team was led by Senior Managing Directors Rob Hinckley and Jeffrey Julien, and Director Nicco Lupo

Hinckley in a statement described the current market as “dislocated” and said his team is “thrilled” to have completed the financing in such a challenging environment. 

“The project’s best-in-class sponsors have a proven track record delivering market-leading properties that offer outstanding investment characteristics,” said Hinckley. 

MAG Partners, led by founder MaryAnne Gilmartin, earned the right to develop the property with Safanad after winning a request for proposals from the owner of the building’s land, Penn South, an affordable housing cooperative. The project secured a 421a tax abatement prior to the law’s June 2022 expiration. Roughly 30 percent of the building’s 188 units will be reserved for low- to middle-income residents. MAG Partners plans to develop the project as an energy sustainable, LEED Gold-certified building. 

The property is at 335 Eighth Avenue, at the corner of Eighth Avenue and West 26th Street in Chelsea. Roughly 90 percent of the units in the mixed-use project will consist of studios and one-bedroom apartments, with remaining units two-bedrooms. The building will carry 30,000 square feet of amenities, including a fitness center, a media lounge, a coworking space, a ground-floor private garden, and a rooftop garden. There’s supposed to be a 25,461-square-feet Lidl Supermarket on the ground floor. 

“In a market with a 2.1 percent vacancy rate, 335 Eighth Avenue’s curated unit mix and high-level amenity package will meet demand from renters seeking to live in a desirable luxury multihousing development in the highly sought-after neighborhood of Chelsea,” said Mariutti in a statement.

The project is set to be completed in the third quarter of 2025. 

Brian Pascus can be reached at [email protected] 

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