Ratner will press ahead with tower.[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
Forest City Ratner Companies announced that, after completing a major cost review of its Beekman tower under construction in lower Manhattan, it will move forward and finish building the Frank Gehry-designed mixed-use development as planned.
The decision to build Beekman to its full 76-story height--an inspired design originally conceived and bid in a very different economic climate--is a win for everyone, said Bruce Ratner, chairman & CEO of FCRC. "Lower Manhattan gets a great new public school, additional health care facilities and an extraordinary skyscraper that will have a transformative effect on the downtown area," he added.
At 867 ft., Beekman Tower will be the tallest residential tower in the city. It will also contain the first public school ever built on private land and a new ambulatory care center for New York Downtown Hospital.
Construction on Beekman, which is Gehry's first residential tower in New York City, has been completed up to the 38th floor. Work continued throughout the review period with construction going forward on the new school and the hospital's medical offices. FCRC's decision to build the full skyscraper was due to a combination of factors, including a reduction in the cost of construction materials and interior build-out and finishes.
In addition, FCRC said in a press release that a successful collaboration with the Building and Construction Trades Council and the Building Employers Trade Association resulted in a "beneficial" Beekman Project Labor Agreement. Completing the Beekman tower will keep hundreds of workers employed at a time when construction in New York has slowed dramatically.
"As experienced developers who build for the long term through both up and down cycles, Forest City is always prepared to adapt" Ratner said.
"We're committed to the future of lower Manhattan and to building great buildings that contribute to the vitality and the skyline of this wonderful city."
Pritzker Prize winning Gehry said, "I am thrilled by Forest City's decision to finish Beekman to its original design. My vision was to create an elegant residential tower, one that speaks to the surrounding towers but also establishes its own architectural identity.
"From the beginning, I have been focused on meeting the developer's economic requirements. It has been an extraordinary partnership with Bruce Ratner and our teams have worked closely to create a building that we are all very proud of. This tower could only be built in New York."
Beekman is sheathed in a stainless steel skin like the Chrysler Building and its unusual exterior walls feature soft, curvaceous folds reminiscent of the folds in a piece of gently draped fabric. The residential tower will include 903 apartments, with occupancy scheduled to begin in summer, 2010.
The Beekman site is adjacent to New York Downtown Hospital, bounded by Spruce Street to the north and Beekman Street to the south.
The 100,000 s/f pre-K through 8th grade public school, which was also designed by Gehry, will occupy floors one through four of the Beckman tower with space for approximately 630 students.
Championed by Speaker Sheldon Silver, the school is within Region 9/School District 2 and it will go a long way toward relieving overcrowding at public schools in the area. Construction bids for building out and finishing the interior of the school were completed and issued in mid-April.
The Beckman will also house a 21,000 s/f ambulatory care center for New York Downtown Hospital that will be used for doctors' offices; 1,300 s/f of neighborhood-oriented ground floor retail space; and 26,000 s/f of below-grade parking for 175 cars for hospital use.
The building will feature two landscaped public plazas totaling 15,000 s/f, designed by landscape architects Field Operations.
Forest City Ratner closed on $680 million in construction financing for the Beekman tower in March, 2008. The $680 million in bonds, of which $204 million comes from the New York Liberty Bond Program, were issued by the New York City Housing Development Corporation.
The institutions participating in the financing are Eurohypo AG; NORD/LB; ING Real Estate Finance, Fifth Third Bank, RBS Citizens, N.A. and Munich Re AG. The National Electrical Benefit Fund provided a Mezzanine Loan and is also Forest City Ratner's equity partner in the project.