Construction Today - December 2009 - (Page 78)
Commercial | BLUMENFELD DEVELOPMENT GROUP & FORREST CITY RATNER – EAST RIVER PLAZA Big-Box Bonanaza It took more than a decade for East River Plaza to become a reality. « EAST RIVER PLAZA SETS THE STANDARD FOR BIGBOX DEVELOPMENTS IN NYC. BY BRIAN SALGADO fter 15 years of extensive planning, approvals and, finally, construction, East River Plaza – the model for big-box retail developments in New York City – is ready for business. According to principal David Blumenfeld, whose Blumenfeld Development Group (BDG) owns the center, it is a testament to patience, planning and personal vision. “We are bringing big-box discount shopping to the best city in the world,” he says. “We couldn’t be more excited about the opening.” East River Plaza, a four-level, 485,500-square-foot retail center with an attached 1,250-space parking facility spans three city blocks in Manhattan, concluded construction in November 2009. The center is primarily located on the six-acre brownfield site of the demolished Washburn Wire factory and is adjacent to and accessible from the FDR Drive. According to BDG, Costco and Target will serve as anchors for the development, and they will be joined by other national tenants such as Best Buy, Marshalls, Old Navy, PetSmart, Bob’s Furniture, Verizon, GameStop and Kidstown. Once all the hurdles had been cleared, RCDolner Construction served as construction manager for the twoyear effort, with Greenberg Farrow as the architect of record. Clearing the Way Like any development that redefines the New York City skyline, there were considerable obstacles that slowed the process for East River Plaza. According to Blumenfeld, the development took nearly 15 years to complete primarily due to the approval process, but that certainly wasn’t the only hurdle. “Ten years ago, it took a lot of convincing to get our retail tenants that big box could work in Manhattan,” Blumenfeld says. “Getting the building architecture correct, getting the column layouts and all the loading correct also took time on a property that is unique and challenging.” While bringing in big box retailers was initially a challenge, Blumenfeld says national chains came around to the idea after intensive studies about the potential of East River Plaza. “We’re a retail developer and we intuitively understood the potential, but we also knew a set of metrics would ultimately confirm what we innately believed,” Blumenfeld says. “As national stores began to open in the outer boroughs, the sales figures were a real driving force. “Once they saw those numbers, which blew away all national averages and quickly became the top stores in the chains, they all wanted to get something in Manhattan.” Many of these retailers had to get accustomed to operating their business in New York, where space of any kind comes at a major premium. For instance, in order to fit as many retailers as possible in the development, Blumenfeld says tenants have to deal with “mega columns” within their stores. Also, many of these retailers have not had their customers pay for Big-box retailers had to be convinced their concept would work in New York. « »Davida Blumenfeld’s development was model for others even before ground broke. CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM DECEMBER 2009
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Construction Today - December 2009
Construction Today - December 2009
2010 Construction Forecast
Product Showcase: Hand Tools
F&R Construction Group Inc.
Suffolk Construction: Met 2
Weitz Co.: Solaris at Crossroads
Chance Construction Co.
Allied Building Products Corp.
Bird Construction Co. Inc.: Condado Vanderbilt Hotel
Broccolini Construction Inc.: EDC Headquarters
CJ Pink Ltd.
Cobra Corporate Management Inc.
DDRM: The St. Regis Deer Crest Resort
T.N. Ward Co.
EllisDon: North Park Quad Pad Arena
Blumenfeld Development Group & Forrest City Ratner – East River Plaza
Clark Construction: Michigan International Speedway
Morton Buildings Inc.
Triangle Associates Inc.: The Gallery on Fulton
Vogel Bros. Building Co.
Walsh Construction: Mercy Corps.
Wasatch Advantage Group: San Tropez
John W. Danforth Co.
Shore Environmental LLC
American Civil Constructors Inc.
Archer Western: I-75/I-475 Reconstruction
Cleland Site Prep Inc.
Delaware DOT: Indian River Inlet Bridge
Goodfellow Bros. Inc.
International Construction Equipment Inc.
Kiewit Pacific Co.: SR 519 – Seattle Intermodal Access Project
Plaza Construction Corp.
B. Gottardo Construction Ltd.
Bergmann Associates: Walkway Over The Hudson
Craig Olden Inc.
G.M. Sipes Construction Inc.
Idaho Sand & Gravel Co.: Ten- Mile Interchange
Malcom Drilling Co. Inc.
Mid Eastern Buildings Inc.: Southampton Wastewater Treatment Plant
Minnesota Department of Transportation: I35W Crosstown/ Urban Partnership
Nicholson Construction Co.
Papich Construction Co. Inc.: Route 46 Expansion Project
Tilcon New York Inc.: Interstate
Tyam Excavation and Shoring Ltd.
W.C. English Inc.: U.S. 321
West Electric Corp.
Turner Construction Co.: Eastern High School
Gafcon Inc.: Carlsbad High School Modernization Project
DASNY: Gouverneur Healthcare Services
Stuart Olson: University of Lethbridge Markin Hall
University of Houston Student Housing
HDR Architecture Inc.
Marshall-Lee Construction Corp.
RA-LIN & Associates
Suffolk Construction: Boston Renaissance Charter School
Suffolk Construction: FIU School of International and Public Affairs
Tower Construction: Huntington Memorial Hospital expansion
Absher Construction Co.: Chief Sealth High School and Denny International Middle School
Casey Middle School
Cedar Ridge High School
Clark: Lowell Reception Center
Gilbane/Banks Joint Venture: Coppin State University
Hensel Phelps Construction Co.: FORSCOM/USARC New Headquarters
Shaw Construction: Mesa State College Student Center
Shiel Sexton: Butler University
SpawGlass Contractors Inc.: Austin Community College Rio Grande Campus Parking Garage
Stuart Olson: New Edmonton Remand Centre
The Christman Co.
Turner Construction Co
Weddle Construction Ltd.
Kite Realty Group Trust: Eddy Street Commons at NotreDame
Last Look: DANSY
Construction Today - December 2009