Topping Out Ceremony for First Buildings, Announcement of Next Phase Nearly 30 years after plans were first drawn for Roosevelt Island's Southtown, a celebration was held today to mark the "topping out" of the $500 million development's first two buildings. With the Manhattan skyline as the backdrop, a cement bucket adorned with an American flag -- a construction industry tradition -- was hoisted sixteen stories in the air to finish the structure of the buildings. Even as these buildings are nearing completion, the development team announced plans to begin construction of a third and fourth building. Southtown represents the largest single residential development to move forward in New York City in decades.
The nine-building complex will provide 2,000 residential units on the southern end of Roosevelt Island and will complete the development of the island, which began in the late 1960's. A joint development of The Hudson Companies, Inc. and The Related Companies LP, Southtown will offer spectacular views of Manhattan, a waterfront setting, and full-service buildings - just minutes from midtown Manhattan. Staffs of leading medical institutions in Manhattan will occupy the first three buildings. Construction of the fourth building - to be developed on a speculative basis - will begin later this year. The 16-story, full-service building will offer 240 market-rate residences.
"Southtown has all of the benefits of being on a beautiful island, while being situated in the heart of the greatest city in the world," said David Kramer, principal with The Hudson Companies.
"Southtown offers the York Avenue medical community an excellent opportunity to provide housing for their staffs. The fourth building, which will have outstanding amenities and some of the best views of the Manhattan skyline anywhere in New York, will offer New Yorkers the kind of residential opportunities that are found along East End Avenue."
"We are very excited about the type of residences we can offer at Southtown," notes Bruce Beal, senior vice president of The Related Companies. "Roosevelt Island offers a great deal of open space, including a soccer field, a softball field and a common square."
Judith Calogero, commissioner of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) and chair of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), said, "Southtown shows Governor George E. Pataki's commitment to visionary public-private partnerships such as the one we are seeing today. Congratulations to the developers, medical institutions, and the workers who are making this vision real."
"Today is another milestone in the leadership of Governor George E. Pataki and the entrepreneurial spirit of The Hudson Companies, The Related Companies, Key Bank and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Medical College of Cornell University," said Robert H. Ryan, president and chief operating officer of RIOC. "These institutions are leading the way in the 21st Century."
The first building is being developed for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which will use the 256 apartments for their employee housing: professionals, support staff and trainees. Sloan-Kettering will equip the building with a day-care center and health club. The second building is committed to the Weill Cornell Medical College, which will house its staff in 136 apartments. Cornell's building will include recreational facilities that will complement those of its neighbors and provide its residents with an array of amenities not often found in affordable properties in Manhattan. The third building, which will begin by the end of the year, will offer residences for a mix of institutions, including the Animal Medical Center. It will lease three floors for use as housing for staff residents and interns.
"We're very pleased at this opportunity to offer our faculty and post-doctoral fellows superb yet affordable housing, within 25 minutes of the campus, and with some of the best views of Manhattan," said Dr. Antonio Gotto, dean and provost, Weill Medical College of Cornell University. "Roosevelt Island offers the benefit of being a part of the Manhattan community while providing residents the amenities and open spaces for recreation and leisure activities generally found only at much greater distances from the city center."
Monadnock Construction is the construction manager, and Gruzen Samton Architects and Schuman Lichtenstein Claman Efron Architects designed the first three buildings. Key Bank provided the financing for phase one of the project. The three medical institutions leasing in Southtown are all located across the East River from Roosevelt Island with access by tram, subway (the F line), car, and possibly in the future, by ferry. Southtown will be one of New York City's newest and most dynamic residential communities. Surrounded by water and featuring dramatic views of the Manhattan skyline, Southtown will be bordered by the tram station, existing housing to the north, and East River promenades to the east and west.
Hudson and Related retained the architectural firms of Gruzen Samton to update the Master Plan of Southtown, which was originally completed in 1990. The architects have designed a village of nine new buildings, ranging in height from 16 to 28 stories, which are located along a new extension of Main Street, the spine of Roosevelt Island as well as its only street. At the heart of Southtown lies The Common, a public plaza directly behind Roosevelt Island's subway station, designed by the architectural landscape firm of Matthews Neilsen. Other amenities include new soccer and softball fields, which are now completed.