Thom Filicia’s Eco-Friendly Style

Thom Filicia, j Christopher daly, riverhouse, sheldrakeThe best example of eco-friendly design that I’ve seen is the 2500 square foot, three-bedroom model apartment designed last year by Thom Filicia for the Riverhouse condominium building in New York City. The LEED certified Riverhouse is a luxury high-rise overlooking Battery Park and probably one of New York City’s “greenest” buildings. It has attracted high-profile buyers including Leonardo DiCaprio and Tyra Banks and in a clever marketing effort, the developers tapped Filicia to create a stylish model apartment that embodied the idea of luxury, eco-friendly living.

thom fiicia, j christopher daly, riverhouseThe entire apartment was designed using environmentally friendly, sustainable materials such as natural fiber fabrics, FSC-certified woods, low-voc paints and wall paper glues, recycled objects and of course, antiques.

j christopher daly, thom filicia, riverhouseFilicia conceptualized the space with a fictitious couple in mind…a pair of empty-nesters re-locating downtown from the Upper East Side. “You know these people: they’re well-traveled, sophisticated, and curious, and they love to entertain family and friends,” Filicia says in his book, Thom Filicia Style. In the living room above, the rug is made from vintage kilm runners and cut up felt. The green

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glass lamp is made from recycled wine bottles and the telescope in the corner is vintage.

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Riverhouse by Thom Filicia

This eclectic cozy home situated in New York was designed by local interior designer Thom Filicia.

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Developers find real estate opportunities during challenging times at PWC forum

professional women in construction, sheldrake, j christopher daly, j. christopher daly

New York, NY The speakers at the latest developers forum presented by Professional Women in Construction (PWC) National at The Yale Club in New York City were unanimous: real estate opportunities continue to abound despite the challenging economy – especially if developers are willing to venture off the well-trodden paths. As Lois Weiss, reporter for the New York Post and PWC’s ongoing moderator for the series, said, “If you look deeply enough, there is work to be had in the nooks and crannies of the boroughs.”

Vincent Riso, principal of the Briarwood Organization and one of the morning’s speakers, said, “We are looking to a very bright future.”

Simon Shamilzadeh, vice president, marketing & sales, Manor Properties Group, also sounded an upbeat note, saying: “New York has a way of bouncing back. It will be stronger than ever before.”

He said that Manor Group prides itself on its high level of tenant satisfaction. He spoke of two of the firm’s latest Harlem projects — The Dover at West 123rd Street, condominiums in a brownstone building that are over 50% sold, and Casa Loma on 116th St. that are 95% sold – and a new development on the Upper West Side, at 208 West 96th St.

“One of the key elements of Manor Group’s success is its emphasis on the community. We maintain a high degree of integrity in development and only use the most highly qualified, expert contractors,” said Shamilzadeh.

Michael McNaughton, vice president northeast region, General Growth Properties (GGP), spoke of his firm’s mandate: to restore the South Street Seaport’s lost grandeur.

“The Seaport was seen as an appendage. It needed to be re-integrated physically and emotionally with the City,” he said. After researching comparable areas around the world, GGP concluded that incorporating a large, iconic open space on the water would restore the vital connection with the neighborhood. “We will bring the Seaport back as a marketplace, broaden the opportunities for programming, and emphasize the views to the bridges and Governors Island,” said McNaughton. The Seaport will also incorporate additional uses including hotel, residential and retail space.

Riso spoke of Briarwood’s focus on affordable housing. One of Briarwood’s projects, The Centra, 108 condominiums located at 100 West 89th St., is the first market-rate development under New York City’s West Side Urban Redevelopment Plan. Other projects include Waters Edge at Arverne, 130 units of affordable cooperatives in two-story townhomes in the Rockaways, and the Solara, 162 affordable cooperative units on Grant Ave. in the Bronx.

“The economy has not been as affected in the affordable market as in market-rate housing,” said Riso.

J Christopher Daly, president and founder of the Sheldrake Organization, which is currently working on eight green developments throughout New York, discussed the firm’s latest development, Riverhouse – One Rockefeller Park. A 32-story, 264-unit LEED rated luxury condominium situated on the last waterfront site in Battery Park City,  Riverhouse utilizes environmentally responsible materials, green roofs, solar generation, progressive filtration and recycling technologies.

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3 Nonprofit Groups Get a Manhattan Deal: $1 a Year

j christopher daly, j. christopher daly

Poets House, a comprehensive poetry library, with 50,000 books in its collection, has been squeezed into a tiny second-floor loft in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan for 16 years. It has been able to renew its lease at 72 Spring Street only in five-year intervals. So Lee Briccetti, the executive director of the group, has had to renegotiate the lease every few years.

“We’re poets, so this was an amazingly stressful situation for us,” said Ms. Briccetti, who is a published poet herself. She decided that securing the organization’s future “meant somehow getting off of the real estate treadmill.”


And that is exactly what Poets House will do next year, when it moves into a new space at the southern tip of Manhattan that will have sweeping views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The little nonprofit has signed a lease until 2069 for more than 12,000 square feet of raw space at Battery Park City. Poets House will pay $1 a year in rent.


This deal is all the more eye-popping because it is occurring as rents for street-level retail space in Manhattan are skyrocketing. That is somewhat less true in Battery Park City, which is not a major shopping district, said Alan Napack, a senior director in the retail services group at Cushman & Wakefield. Still, he estimated that street level space near the library’s future home might fetch $60 to $100 annually per square foot.


But Poets House was selected by the Battery Park City Authority as one of a handful of nonprofit groups to benefit from the authority’s public amenity program. All of them have been given leases with the same favorable terms — $1 a year rent until 2069.


“This is publicly owned land, and we think the public ought to continue to get some use of it,” said James E. Cavanaugh, president and chief executive of the Battery Park City Authority.


The 92 acres of land beneath Battery Park City, a surprisingly leafy residential neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, were created some 40 years ago out of landfill from the excavation for construction of the World Trade Center.


The Battery Park City Authority, a public agency with both city and state involvement, was created to manage the development of the reclaimed land. Today, developers own the buildings they put up there, but must lease the land beneath their buildings from the authority. These leases also run until 2069, exactly 100 years after the founding of the authority.


Whenever the Battery Park City Authority puts an undeveloped parcel of land up for bid, itrequires developers to include public amenity space in their proposals. Developers must agree to donate this space to the authority to compete for the right to build.


For example, over the last few years, the authority required the developers of three luxury rental apartment buildings — the Solaire, the Verdesian and Tribeca Green — to build public restrooms, public meeting rooms and a workshop for the authority’s Parks Conservancy. But at Riverhouse, a residential development under construction in Battery Park City, the authority has leased all of the public amenity space in the building to outside cultural institutions.


Three nonprofit groups will occupy most of the first and second floors of Riverhouse, a huge horseshoe-shaped 32-story, 264-unit luxury condominium that should be ready for occupancy later this year.


Besides Poets House, the New York Public Library will open its first branch in Lower Manhattan. And Mercy Corps, a relief agency based in Portland, Ore., with field offices in dozens of countries, including Iraq and Sudan, will have a small exhibition space highlighting global hunger.


The amenity program is not exactly free for the nonprofits. They have had to raise millions of dollars to build their spaces. Goldman Sachs, which is building its new headquarters one block away, donated $3.5 million for the public library. Poets House has already reached the $5.5 million needed to build its space, and is still raising money

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for an endowment and operating expenses. And Mercy Corps has raised $2 million of the $5.4 million that it will need for construction.


Mr. Cavanaugh said the libraries and exhibition space should contribute to a well-rounded experience for Lower Manhattan residents and tourists alike. He said Riverhouse would be two blocks from the memorial planned for Ground Zero. “We already see a lot of tourists who come down here to look at Ground Zero,” Mr. Cavanaugh said.


The Sheldrake Organization, the New York City developer that is building Riverhouse at Two River Terrace, just steps away from the World Financial Center, has carved out more than 27,000 square feet on the first and second floors for the three nonprofits.


The only street-level retail space is leased to City Bakery, an organic cafe with a restaurant on West 18th Street in Manhattan.


As part of its winning bid, Sheldrake paid $60 million to the authority before breaking ground, and has leased the land below the building for $1 million a year until 2069. J. Christopher Daly, the founder and president of Sheldrake, said the company would also spend tens of millions of dollars building the space that it would donate to the authority.

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