|The New York Observer|
As we approach the twentieth anniversary of the reopening of Bryant Park, it’s a bit breathtaking to consider the transformation of the neighborhood surrounding the park. Real estate values have soared, office occupancy is up, and street-level businesses and restaurants are thriving. In the past decade, we’ve seen major architectural projects that have upgraded the park’s surroundings, including the recladding of 1095 Sixth Avenue (the MetLife Building) and the construction of the instantly-iconic Bank of America Tower at 1 Bryant Park. We’ve also learned of plans by Houston developer Hines to build an office tower on the SW corner of 40th Street and Sixth Avenue that will be named 7 Bryant Park. Moving into 2012, we’re poised for more improvements, a prestigious new tenant, and some exciting new dining choices.
According to Steve Cuozzo, real estate reporter for the NY Post, plans are afoot for a long-awaited upgrade of the southern side of 42nd Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. These include a re-fitting of the old Knickerbocker Hotel at Broadway, building a new 37-story hotel at 136 W. 42nd Street, and replacing the low-rise buildings just west of the MetLife Building with a retail glass box that will extend to 41st Street. These projects will make nearly complete the decade-long transformation of the stretch of 42nd Street between Bryant Park and Times Square from one of the most rundown blocks in the city to one befitting its revitalized bookends.
Meanwhile, City Biz Real Estate reports that fashion giant Oscar de la Renta will soon relocate its NYC offices from Seventh Avenue to 11 W. 42 Street, just across from Bryant Park. The company will occupy 37,000 sq. ft. on the 25th floor of the historic edifice, once known as the Salmon Building. The offices will include a 4,800 sq. ft. design showroom and full-scale runways for shows.
Foodies, read on. Two acclaimed restaurateurs are poised to occupy spaces just across 40th Street from the park. Last October, Grub Street noted that Laurent Tourondel, co-founder of BLT Steak, will open the first NYC-based LT Burger at 8 West 40th Street. The new spot will offer high-quality burgers, fries, and milkshakes. Moving west on 40th Street, the French-language website French Morning NY reports that Petite Abeille, a successful Belgian restaurant with four locations downtown, will take over three floors at 54 W, 40th Street. Besides a restaurant and bar serving up burgers and Belgian specialties such as moules frites, waffles and ales, there will also be a chocolate tasting room, an event space, and perhaps even a “Tintin Café.”
And our friends at DNA Info filed this report about Seamless, a website offering one-stop online food ordering for hungry New Yorkers. The company, which just opened a new office at 1065 Sixth Avenue – the same building in which our offices are located - features menus from over 3,000 restaurants offering takeout and delivery. Just place your order and Seamless does the rest. Mayor Bloomberg helped the company launch its new location by ordering popcorn and chicken soup.
All of this speaks volumes about the confidence that property owners, business owners and restaurateurs have in the future of our neighborhood.
This is an excerpt from Bryant Park's weekly newsletter, MidCity News, written by Terry Benoit. MidCity News keeps park enthusiasts informed about our events, milestones, operations, and all of the detailed maintenance work that goes into caring for the park. Weekly updates are sent with our sister organizations 34th Street Partnership and Chelsea Improvement Company.
You can view this week's edition of MidCity News online, or sign up to receive it in your inbox.