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Two years ago, Extell Development Co. won public approvals to build a five-tower apartment development on the far West Side of Manhattan partly by touting its use of the highly regarded French architect Christian de Portzamparc, a winner of the profession's top honor, the Pritzker Prize.
Now, a new developer—the Dermot Co.—is taking over the first 616-unit tower on the eight-acre site known as Riverside Center, and it is replacing Mr. de Portzamparc with SLCE Architects, a local firm not known for iconic designs.
Top-quality architects are often used to sell projects, particularly given a push by the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg to improve design. But developers can shift course once approvals are in hand to keep costs down or because their tastes change
Gary Barnett, Extell's president, said Dermot was well within its rights to use a different architect.
Mr. Barnett said the venture hasn't yet decided whether Extell or another developer will build the other parcels. But if Extell builds them, Mr. Barnett said he would likely use Mr. Portzamparc.
"We certainly would try to have his involvement," he said.
"I am extremely disappointed to learn that the developer of Riverside Center has chosen not to retain Christian de Portzamparc as architect for this project," said Amanda Burden, director of the Department of City Planning, in an emailed statement Friday.
probs too busy on their goliath CPS structure
When it came time to start building, Carlyle, which controls a majority stake in the site, decided to hold a competitive bidding process, to which Extell was invited but not guaranteed the chance to build the first tower. Instead, the prize went to Dermot. When it comes time to build the remaining four parcels, Carlyle expects to go through the same private bidding process.
Mr. Barnett said that given the large amount of affordable housing and the school in the first building, he was less interested in winning the project. He still hopes to take the lead on some, if not all, of the other development sites, though he acknowledged there was no guarantee any of the towers would be his to build.
Are you surprised?
Not at all , the goal of any developer is to maximize profit. Extell probably has it's hands full, and given the city's demands figured it's better to sell off the building, and the buyer knows what its legall obligated to do and not do. I agree this is more a flaw in the approval process than deception, but clearly it would have been bad strategy for Extell to admit this earlier.