Daily News from New York, New York on July 1, 1982 · 164
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Daily News from New York, New York · 164

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Thursday, July 1, 1982
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V-. By MICHAEL NEILL raHERE IS A SMALL FIELD I I near the southern tip of our LJ island, where, in the shadow of the World Trade Center, you can stand waist-deep in green, growing wheat as tall and lush as any in Kansas. It may well be the first grain to be grown in lower Manhattan in three centuries. It will most likely be the last. The wheat was planted on landfill in Battery Park City by Agnes Denes, who describes herself as an environmental artist It survived drought and rain and disease and the depredations of the birds. Some of it has grown as high as three feet In a month-and-a-half, ripened by the summer sun, the wheat that Agnes Denes planted will be ready for harvesting. The 325-by-300-foot wheat field is an exercise, not in agriculture, but in public art. The seed grain, the topsoil and the fertilizer for the project called "Wheatfield" were all paid for by the Public Art Fund, which likes to expose New Yorkers to eyecatching, often controversial, works of art in the city's squares and plazas. The wheat in "Wheatfield" was grown from North Dakota seed, a breed called hard red spring wheat a Continued on page 4 i . - - JAuMiivitmmw 3 ' $tkm4m. i tf"! 'Strain . . .. $ ft 2 : ' ' -v -JCwftt ...... filff !, y tt Vss?1U.f & ' if. rr n2 s y 1 A 1 -L V" 1 - m I ill if- n? s r Vv K t: A rri: l : i - MM''M''''lii mi r I rn 11 - f HARRY HAMfiURO UMLV NEWS pDQGSldlQOOTZI EKloDQ By OWEN MORITZ Urban Affair Editor . tk TLANTA HOTEL promoter John Portman fl has come up with $15 million to buy the - Piccadilly Hotel in Times Square and will sign off on a financial package tomorrow, that finally gives him and his partner, the Marriott Corp., the right to begin construction on their I long-planned 50-story, hotel on Broadway. By reaching agreement on terms for $200 million i in construction financing with a syndicate headed - by Manufacturers Hanover Trust,. Portman and Marriott interests appear to have ended one of the longest cliffhangers on recordthe decade-long plan for a grand hotel in the Times Square area. The elaborate hotel now is slated to cost $320 i million. The 535-room Piccadilly at 227 W. 45th St, a Times Square institution for a half -century, and the Piccadilly Cafe, which sit on the Portman site, will shut today and the last of the hotel's guests will1 check out during the day, a hotel official says. v -., The llth-hour agreement on financing also spares the Koch administration and supporters of the Portman Hotel an embarrassment of skyscraper proportions. Back in March, scores of protesters, including some notable Broadway names, had to be removed bodily from the site at Broadway and 45th St as workmen moved to demolish the Morosco and Helen Hayes theaters to clear the site for the Portman-Marriott Hotel. But construction did not move beyond the clearing, leaving the specter of a vast empty site in the Times Square area because of Portman's rumored difficulties in reaching final agreement on the financing. Those close to the negotiations blamed the delay on a redesign of plans for the hotel's Broadway facade that required agreement of all the financial partners. The facade is being redone because of an apparent decision by the city not to go ahead with a sprawling pedestrian mall from 44th to 46th Sts. Without the mall, Portman had to redesign the Broadway entrance. Others close to the Portman suggest that Mar-Tiott, which has a number of nonunion operations elsewhere and will actually operate the Portman . hotel here, was holding off in a power struggle with ; the city's unions. '' '. - ''J " '' Still others suggested the financial partners were having second thoughts because of the recession and the softness in the hotel and tourist picture. Nonethless, with the escrow closing completed as of yesterday and the final closing set for tomorrow, Portman aides were trumpeting the deal as the largest financial deal ever concluded for a new private venture in the city. Construction is due to begin in several weeks and the Piccadilly will be razed. The new hotel is due to open in mid-1985, real estate sources said. With the completion of construction, a $320 million permanent financing deal with a syndicate led by Equitable Life Assurance is assured, sources say. Financing also includes a $22.5 million federal Urban Development Action Grant and a record first mortgage of $150 million. "In the final analysis, we got our act together," .said a Portman spokesman. ' The blockbuster hotel will have more than 2,000 .rooms and come complete with a 60-foot wraparound billboard that will tower over the theater 'district It will also include a 1,500-set theater and a huge tierediobby. - ' ' ' -' ' m

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