In June 2012 Capalino’s long-term client, Taconic Investment Partners, closed on its purchase of 71 Laight Street. Taconic paid $65 million for the Manhattan site, a stalled project begun five years ago. Capalino worked with Taconic to ensure that construction could begin promptly after the sale.
The seller, Alvaro Arranz, put together a forward-thinking plan for development at 71 Laight Street. After purchasing the property in 2007 he hired Architect Morris Adjmi to design an expanded residential complex. Adjmi, inspired by the architecture of one half of the block-wide complex, came up with the idea to recreate the old structure in a mirror image and to build it in place of a single story garage of little aesthetic value. Instead of cladding this mirror-image in brick like the original, Adjmi’s design uses aluminum plates, which exactly reproduce the imperfections of brick but create a unique visual experience for pedestrians.
Adjmi’s design met with widespread architectural praise, was embraced by the community, and with uncharacteristic ease, was granted all of the necessary building permits, variances, and City permissions.
Then the bubble burst, the economy sank, and like so many other projects in New York at the time, 71 Laight Street was put on hold. Arranz began looking for a new developer to realize his plans.
Taconic decided to purchase the property but realized that by the time the sale was finalized the Zoning Text Amendment- which would have temporarily allowed construction by changing zoning requirements – issued by the Board of Standards and Appeals would have expired. It eventually did expired on January 12, 2012, just a few months shy of signing. Well before this however, Capalino was hard at work to mitigate the inevitable repercussions.
By early spring, Capalino secured extensions on all of the necessary permits. Had this not been accomplished, the entire process that had been begun in 2007 would have had to be restarted in 2012. This would have cost Taconic and the City dearly in fees associated with the approval process. In addition, the opportunity cost to Taconic, of having to wait to begin construction until well after the paperwork had been signed, would have been unacceptable, perhaps preventing the deal from taking place at all. The City would have suffered from the delay in new construction jobs and tax revenue.
Capalino’s experience working with all of the everyone involved, both on the developer’s side as well as on the governmental side, meant that it could readily coordinate the actions of these cooperative parties. It was clear that this was a project that deserved a second chance and that a failure to find a way to work past the permit deadlines would be felt by the community and the City as a whole.
New York is booming. Construction sites that have sat dormant for years are moving again. Predictably, with such a tremendous reboot, come unexpected hurdles. In the case of 71 Laight Street Capalino was there to work through these challenges, guiding the parties involved to a solution that benefited both the client and the taxpayers.