Extell's Gary Barnett has always been a maverick of sorts in the development world. He was the only rival bidder to Bruce Ratner at Atlantic Yards (even though the cause was hopeless). He bought up most of the insular Diamond District to assemble air rights for a skyscraper to be built smack in the middle of it. He wore a baseball cap to the unveiling of the Hudson Yards bids. A maverick, indeed, but that might be the problem: times have been tough for mavericks of late. Barnett's Extell has three huge projects on the boards right when the ol' money chair got pulled out from under most developers: Riverside Center, the World Product Centre (classier spelling equals classier building?) and that aforementioned Diamond Tower (right). Will they all get built? With the commercial real estate market tanking, it would seem the Diamond Tower could be the odd man out, a topic Steve Cuozzo addressed in his Post column today.
The good news is that foundation work on the 40-story SOM-designed office tower continues, and Extell just purchased the development rights from 54 West 47th Street next door, completing the tangled web of rights it needs to build the 900,000-square-foot building. And now the bad news: no construction loan yet. Ruh-roh. The building was supposed to open, with an entrance on 47th Street for diamond tenants and another on 46th Street for less blingy operators, a year from February, and that's obviously not very likely anymore. The Cuozz writes:
Although Extell declined to comment, industry sources say it's possible Barnett might revise the original configuration, although the striking design by Skid more Owings & Merrill won't likely change. "They might even drop the 'Diamond Tower' name," one source said, "even though it's still called 'Extell Diamond Tower' on permits and city finance records."
"Extell Tower" certainly has less of a ring to it.
· Green Inks Viacom [NYP]