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Sheldon Solow’s empty east side site will gain 3 more condos, biotech office space

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The redevelopment of the so-called First Avenue Mud Pit chugs forward

A stagnant site sandwiched between First Avenue and the East River just south of the United Nations has begun its long-awaited transformation, but for as long as the redevelopment of Sheldon Solow’s slice of east side property’s been talked about, we don’t know all that much about it.

In a rare interview with the New York Times, the 89-year-old Solow and his 42-year-old son Stefan Soloviev sat down to talk about their plans for the future, and while the conversation mainly revolved around Solow’s transfer of power to his son, the duo also shared details about the site surrounding their project at 685 First Avenue (which Curbed used to affectionately refer to as the First Avenue Mud Pit.)

Richard Meier & Partners won a bid to create a master plan for the site in 2008, but it’s unclear how or if those plans will change in light of the revelations of sexual misconduct by Meier. (The marketing for 685 First Avenue, whose condos quietly hit the market in late March, has scrubbed itself of its lead architect’s name.)

Richard Meier & Partners’ website still includes a scheme of how 685 First Avenue fits into the firm’s master plan for the site.
Richard Meier & Partners

The Times interview makes clear that Solow and Soloviev are still looking ahead to the redevelopment of the vacant site across from 685 First. The site is poised to give rise to three residential buildings, originally conceived as rentals. Those buildings will now be condos, a move that will help the developer recoup its expenditures more quickly. The paper of record also notes that the site’s master plan still calls for a fourth structure, an office building, that the developer plans to lease to biotech companies.

Solow sold the southernmost portion of the site to JDS Development Company for $127 million in 2013. JDS would go on to bring the American Copper Buildings to the site. “I hate the price we got,” Soloviev said of the American Copper site. “But those were some trying times.”

American Copper Buildings

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