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NYC developers poised — but hesitant — to break ground on slew of projects

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NYC developers poised — but  hesitant — to break ground on slew of projects

A whole new Manhattan skyline will emerge when a dozen-odd planned new projects that have yet to break ground hoist their final I-beams. The big question is: Which, if any, of them will actually start construction in 2022?

A glance at the wish-list gives no hint that the city’s real estate destiny, including the fate of tiny apartment buildings, might depend on beating a pandemic that shows no sign of abating.

But developers made their moves years ago. They bought land and air rights, cobbled together financing and signed architects. Some nailed down city zoning and other approvals. Some demolished old structures in the way of their ambitions.

But it’s a long way from those crucial steps to bringing in the backhoes and shovels. Here’s a look at where some of the future jumbos are right now:

The mega-tower planned for the Grand Hyatt Hotel site on East 42nd Street — known as 175 Park Avenue — got its governmental green light his month when the City Council approved a zoning change to allow construction of the $3 billion-plus mixed-use mammoth rising to 1,575 feet.

An image of 343 Madison with construction scaffolding
At 343 Madison Ave., the former MTA headquarters, Boston Properties plans a 1,050 foot-tall tower.
Google Maps

To exploit East Midtown size-bonus rules, developers RXR Realty and TF Cornerstone will pay for and build hundreds of millions of dollars in Grand Central-area transit/pedestrian improvements and also provide 25,000 square feet of free-to-the-public outdoor terraces programmed for arts and cultural uses.

But don’t look to the sky just yet. A spokesman told us, “Now that the entitlement process is complete, the developers will spend next year arranging construction financing and reaching out to potential tenants, with plans to start demolition in 2023.”

Nearby in the Grand Central area, demolition has begun at 343 Madison Avenue, the former MTA headquarters. Boston Properties plans a 1,050-foot-tall tower with more than 800,000 square feet of offices and significant retail. It will also feature numerous underground pedestrian connections to Grand Central Terminal – which Boston is providing in exchange for a size bonus under new East Midtown rezoning rules. The project received its City Council green light last month.

Illustrative rendering of the exterior of 415 Madison Avenue
Rudin Management is making way for 415 Madison Ave, seen here in an illustrative rendering.
SOM

However, there’s no word yet on when ground-up construction will begin.

West 57th Street between Fifth and Seventh avenues — aka Billionaires Row — is without question the most active location for major new projects. Awaiting their marching orders are the empty lots at 41-47 W. 57th and 12 W. 57th St., as demolition proceeds one block west at 125 W. 57th St.

The No. 125 site was home to the Calvary Baptist Church and the Salisbury Hotel. As we reported in June, the church will be restored and enlarged when a new, 26-story mixed-use tower developed by Alchemy-ABR Investment Partners, financial partner Cain International and the church itself is finished in 2024.

A Hyatt sign
The tower at 175 Park will mean a remade Grand Hyatt.
James Messerschmidt for NY Post

Ground-up construction is to begin soon on the $350 million project once demolition, now underway, is complete. The new tower will include 185,000 square feet of office space. It was delayed when a lender pulled out in March 2020, forcing Alechemy-ABR to find new financing, but all the hurdles have been cleared.

Between Fifth and Sixth avenues, the company founded by Sheldon Solow is demolishing old structures to make way for 12 W. 57th, a 670-foot-tall, white marble luxury condo tower with a retail base, designed by SOM architects. Two buildings are yet to be razed, including the original Henri Bendel address. Solow passed away in November 2020, but his son Stefan Soloviev, who reorganized the various Solow entities under the new umbrella of Soloviev Group, seems no less eager to build.

Meanwhile, excavation is expected to begin soon at another large site, 41-47 W. 57th, where developer Sedesco plans an 1,100-foot-tall mixed-use tower with 119 condo units, a 158-room hotel and a large restaurant. YIMBY reported last week that thanks to an agreement with the MTA, Sedesco is to receive an acre of extra floor space in exchange for building new, disabled-accessible elevators for the 57th Street F train station.

A vacant lot along 57th Street
A number of 57th Street projects are awaiting marching orders.

Meanwhile, Rudin Management is gearing up to demolish an old building at East 48th Street to make way for  415 Madison Ave., a planned 605-foot tower with 343,100 square feet of office space. Rudin first needs city approval for an air rights transfer and for a size bonus in exchange for transit/pedestrian amenities — not unlike Boston’s plan for 343 Madison. The project will include a retail pavilion and a public concourse. A Rudin rep said, “They’re working to complete ULURP early next year.”

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

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Sports world reacts to John Madden’s death

Legendary NFL coach and broadcaster John Madden died Tuesday morning at 85, the NFL announced. News of the football icon’s passing hit Twitter on Tuesday evening, and athletes, coaches and broadcasters from across the sports world reacted.

Fellow broadcasting legend Dick Vitale, who is currently battling cancer, called Madden “the greatest analyst of all time of any sport” in his Twitter tribute.

Former Yankees pitcher and notable Raiders fan CC Sabathia said “your legacy will live forever.” Madden coached the then-Oakland Raiders from 1969-78, a couple of years before Sabathia, a Vallejo, California native, was born. Lakers star LeBron James had similar words about Madden’s lasting legacy, adding an infinity emoji.

Former tennis star and social justice activist Billie Jean King recalled meeting Madden as a “privilege.”

Radio voice of the Rangers Kenny Albert, a five-sport broadcaster who’s been with FOX Sports since its inception in 1994, shared a photo circa 26 years ago to remember Madden.

ESPN’s Bomani Jones took a bit of a shot at current color commentators, noting that Madden “set an unreachable standard.”

Frank Caliendo, who’s made a career out of impersonations, including one for Madden, said he was surprised how emotional he felt.

Several football players, and others, including Saints running back Mark Ingram II and former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, credited Madden with being part of the reason why they love football.

Rams wide receiver and NFL MVP contender Cooper Kupp quote the late coach in his tribute: “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer.”

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

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Miles McBride’s Knicks role will lessen with Kemba Walker’s resurgence

MINNEAPOLIS — The Knicks got back another body in rookie point guard Miles McBride, who was cleared from protocols Tuesday and rejoined the team in Minnesota.

But there is no longer any hype for the rookie’s return. Kemba Walker is back as the starting point guard and coming off winning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honors with four standout games, including his Christmas Day spectacular. The Knicks have gone 2-2 since Walker regained the starting job.

“It’s great,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He had a great week. He’s playing great basketball. The team winning helps him get recognized and he was a big part of driving that winning. It’s great for the team.’’

McBride was also spectacular in his last outing before getting COVID-19, when he played the entire second half Dec. 16 in Houston and seemingly earned a spot in the rotation. In fact, McBride had strung together two decent outings before he was ruled out. But things have changed since his emergence and McBride is likely back to being a bit player.

Without a practice, McBride wasn’t even expected to see time when the Knicks faced the Timberwolves to kick off a four-game road trip.

Miles McBride
NBAE via Getty Images

Of course, with Walker’s arthritic knee, anything is possible. The Knicks play Detroit on Wednesday in a back-to-back, so it’s uncertain whether Walker will complete both contests. In addition, Immanuel Quickley is out of COVID-19 protocols but Thibodeau wasn’t sure he was ready for meaningful minutes.

That left Walker against the depleted Timberwolves, who were missing their three top players (Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell), all because of COVID-19 .

Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker
USA TODAY Sports

When McBride got sidelined by the virus and Derrick Rose needed ankle surgery, Walker was resurrected by Thibodeau and it’s been a stunning comeback story.

Though Thibodeau has clear reservations about Walker based on his nine-game banishment due to his defensive malaise as an undersized point guard, he admitted after the Christmas Day triple-double against Atlanta that Walker is playing “much more aggressive.”

Walker’s triple-double that featured 10 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds was a lot different than his prior outing, when he scored 44 points against Washington.

“I thought his passing was terrific,’’ Thibodeau said before the Knicks resumed their schedule.

“Kemba had control of the game. The game tells you what to do. That’s what I loved about the way he played. I don’t think he forced anything. They puts size on him and were aggressive in their pick-and-roll coverage. He didn’t fight it. He attacked pressure the way you like to attack pressure. You don’t fight pressure with pressure. Don’t try to split it. Get rid of it, go to the backside. Let the game tell you what to do.’’

The Knicks coach is finally seeing all the elements of what Walker can do. Before his demotion, Walker was nothing more than a no-defense, 3-point shooter whose plus-minus was an abysmal minus-122.

Thibodeau was also concerned about his durability in sitting out two of the three back-to-back sets. The last load management game in Atlanta in late November triggered Thibodeau’s decision.

But now it’s only superlatives from Thibodeau in judging the last four games.

“Sometimes it’s going to be his shooting, sometimes it’s his penetration and getting in the paint to force a collapse and sometimes they’re being aggressive with their traps get rid of the ball quickly,’’ Thibodeau said. “The overall play, his rebounding. When your guards rebound, those are key to fast breaks. The more guard rebounding we get the better we can be. ‘’

The Knicks still have three players in protocols — centers Nerlens Noel and Jericho Sims and the newly infected Wayne Selden. Quickley and Kevin Knox were cleared on Christmas but were held out for conditioning.

No matter. The Knicks go as Kemba goes.

“He’s much more aggressive,’’ Thibodeau said. “That was the challenge. At the beginning of the year he and Evan were two new starters. Sometimes guys are trying to fit in. he’s being very aggressive which is the way we want him to play. Not deferring at all. When he and Julius [Randle] are aggressive like that our team is different.’’

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Bar raises dramatically for Zach Wilson in matchup with Tom Brady, Buccaneers

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Zach Wilson and Tom Brady

When Zach Wilson stares across the MetLife Stadium field at the opposite sideline this Sunday, it won’t be Trevor Lawrence he’ll be looking at as his game-day counterpart.

Lawrence, drafted by Jacksonville one spot before the Jets selected Wilson at No. 2 overall last April, is a contemporary.

This Sunday at MetLife, the Jets rookie quarterback won’t be staring at a contemporary on the other sideline. He’ll be staring at the GOAT.

Tom Brady.

The bar raises dramatically for Wilson and the Jets, who are coming off of their feel-good, get-well win over the woeful Jaguars and Lawrence this past Sunday.

Brady and Buccaneers, who are 11-4, NFC South division champions and seeking to repeat as Super Bowl champions, play the Jets, who are 4-11 and seeking more signs of development from their rookie quarterback.

To say this is a step up in competition for Wilson and the Jets going from Lawrence and the Jags to Brady and the Bucs is as obvious as pointing out that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has had a few off-the-field incidents during his otherwise stellar NFL career.

There hasn’t been a lot to keep the interest of the Jets fan this season — other than watching Wilson’s development. That took an unfortunate pause for the four games Wilson missed with a knee injury, but he’s been back for five games and has looked like a better quarterback, throwing only two interceptions in those games (none in the last three) since returning from his injury.

The problem, though, is that Wilson hasn’t been producing enough touchdowns, throwing for three of them and rushing for four others in the past five games.

Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
Zach Wilson and Tom Brady
N.Y. Post: Charles Wenzelberg; AP

Baby steps, though.

Wilson was the better quarterback this past Sunday when matched up with Lawrence, who threw for more yards than Wilson did, but Wilson ran for 91 yards, including his electric 52-yard scoring jaunt, and made key throws when he needed them.

Wilson will not win Sunday’s game against Brady and the Bucs throwing for the 102 yards he had against the Jaguars. He and the Jets will need more.

Consider this: Brady enters the game having thrown 37 TD passes and for 4,580 yards this season and averages a league-high 305.2 passing yards per game.

Then this: The Buccaneers average 29.5 points per game this season, second most in the NFL.

And this: Wilson doesn’t have a single 300-yard passing game, averages 183 passing yards per game and has thrown seven TD passes in 11 games.

Seven TD passes is a pedestrian two-game total for Brady.

Wilson and the Jets are playing with house money anyway in what always has been a developmental season, so Sunday against Brady should, at its very least, be a great measuring-stick learning experience for Wilson, who’s studied Brady on tape.

Wilson revealed this month that he watched film of Brady before the Jets played the Eagles on Dec. 5 in an effort to pick up tips on how Brady worked against the Eagles defense when he played them earlier in the season.

“I thought it was really cool to see kind of how he went through his whole process, how he navigated the pocket, different things like that,” Wilson said at the time.

On Sunday, Wilson gets to see that process up close as Brady tries to dissect a Jets defense that has yielded 29.9 points per game this season, the most in the NFL.

That puts an added onus on Wilson to produce on the other side of the ball, because he knows Brady is going to get his. Wilson will likely need to produce four TDs — any way he can — for the Jets to simply remain competitive with the Super Bowl champs.

That’s a lot to ask of a 22-year-old kid who’s produced just 11 TDs in his 11 starts, up against Brady, who’s thrown 618 TD passes and for 83,784 yards in his remarkable career.

It, too, is a lot to ask playing against an aggressive Tampa Bay defense that’s ranked No. 9 in the NFL in points allowed (20.8 per game) and is led by former Jets head coach Todd Bowles, who’d surely like to send a holiday message to his former employer.

If you don’t think Bowles will be blitzing the bejesus out of Wilson, then you probably think Antonio Brown is a living saint.

The good news for the Jets is that Wilson has shown incremental improvements, particularly when it comes to his decision-making and quicker releases on his throws.

“He’s coming along, he’s getting more comfortable, he’s calmer back there,’’ Jets coach Robert Saleh said Monday. “He’s in a great headspace and it’s going to be fun to watch him grow, continue to grow.’’

A big part of that growth will take place this Sunday as he watches the GOAT operate from the opposite sideline at MetLife.

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