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Meatpacking goes prime

Meatpacking goes prime

New York Post 11/2/2011

By STEVE CUOZZO

A vacant, former meat-processing plant will soon blossom into a six-story office/retail jewel with a dramatic glass-and-steel crown across the street from the Standard Hotel.

Taconic Investment Partners (which sold 111 Eighth Ave. to Google for nearly $2 billion) and partner Square Mile Capital Management are poised to start work on the striking project at 837 Washington St. between Little West 12th and West 13th Streets.

The half-block-long site is currently occupied by an empty two-story structure where railings for meat hooks still hang. A vestige of the scary Meatpacking District depicted in the serial-killer thriller “Cruising,” it sports obsolete signs for frozen oxtails, tripe and beef livers.

But Taconic plans to start next spring on a 54,000 square-foot transformation that will top the existing structure with a twisting, 4-story “exoskeleton” designed by Morris Adjmi, who was also the architect for nearby projects, including the High Line Building at 450 W. 14th St.

Taconic’s project will have 27,000 square feet of retail on the first three floors and 27,000 feet of offices above it. It likely won’t have to struggle for tenants in the white-hot district astride the High Line Park, bursting with hip hotels, fashion boutiques, restaurants and clubs.

Taconic co-CEO Paul Pariser said, “We’re hoping for [one] fabulous user” to lease the whole building, perhaps from the worlds of fashion or entertainment. He estimated the development cost at $400 “and up” per square foot. The job should be finished by the end of 2013.

Pariser said he’ll probably seek a rent “approaching $600” on the 8,000 square-foot ground floor. He declined to put a number on the value of a blended rent for the whole building.

The project has received the blessing of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. It will have 10-foot high ceilings, terraces and a roof deck offering expansive views.

There’s almost too much energy in the MPD to keep track of. Romanoff Equities plans a new, 10-story building a block north of Taconic’s site. CB Richard Ellis retail specialist Susan Kurland, who isn’t involved at either property, says, “The area isn’t only about restaurants and night life. Both luxury store tenants and national chains are kicking the tires.”

Like Pariser, Kurland cited the new Whitney Museum on Gansevoort Street, set to open in 2014, as a powerful engine of transformation: “It will change everything,” she said.

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Cesare Casella’s Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto is expanding to the fanciest part of the Upper East Side. The insanely popular Italian restaurant and gourmet shop, which opened on Amsterdam Avenue a few years ago, will soon launch an outpost at 903 Madison Ave. between East 72-73rd Streets.

Both Casella and landlord Friedland Properties have been quiet about it. But a notice posted in the window for a Community Board 8 hearing for a wine-and-beer license application let the salumi out of the bag.

Casella acknowledged having a lease but declined to discuss plans. A flier for Friedland says the ground-floor space has a total 1,377 square feet.

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In upper Madison Avenue’s never-settled retail whirlwind, two new stores — eyewear designer Robert Marc and swimwear stylist Malia Mills — are coming to 1225 Madison between East 88th-89th Streets.

The rents are $300 per square foot for Robert Marc’s 1,076 square feet and $326 a square foot for Malia Mills’ tiny 395 square feet. Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Faith Hope Consolo and Joseph A. Aquino brokered the deals for the landlord and for Robert Marc; Judson Realty repped Malia Mills.

The stores are the third and fourth new tenants in the recently reconfigured six-store blockfront.