Dasha Zhukova’s New Real Estate Venture
Ray, makes It ‘night at the museum’ every night.
Ray, makes It ‘night at the museum’ every night.
The future of museum-going and cultural forays could be down in your own lobby, according to Dasha Zhukova, the arts patron and philanthropist who is launching a new residential real estate development firm in New York.
Ray, the name of Zhukova’s new brand, sets out to remedy a blind spot she sees in the residential world: the lack of arts and culture experiences in urban developments. Where other buildings and “co-living” spaces offer perks like golf simulators and dog grooming services, Ray’s buildings will offer cultural programming like master classes, events and workshops drawn from local institutions and artists to encourage creative synergy, says Zhukova, 39, with rents pegged at or below market rate.
One of the venture’s projects is reimagining Harlem’s three-story National Black Theatre, founded in 1968 by the late Barbara Ann Teer on the corner of 125th Street and Fifth Avenue, and is set to break ground by the end of May. A 21-storey building will take its place, with the new theatre space, retail and an event space spread across the first four floors, which Ray is developing with L+M Development Partners. The final structure will include 222 apartments, as well as artist studios, co-working spaces, communal kitchens, a library and a wellness space, and is slated to be completed in 2024.
Teer’s daughter, Sade Lythcott, now leads the theatre. “This project and partnership has felt [like] kismet from the time Dasha and I first met in 2019, not around aesthetics or Ray’s business model, but around our mothers. What it has meant to be women, raised by fearless matriarchs,” Lythcott wrote by email. “There is an incredible amount of equity created when you first start from a place that recognizes our shared humanity, honours what came before, in service of creating the built spaces of the future.”
Zhukova was inspired to launch Ray after seeing how visitors were drawn to the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, the Moscow museum she co-founded in 2008. Its current home was designed by acclaimed architect Rem Koolhaas. “Even if [visitors] had seen all the shows that we had on, they would just stay and hang out in our lobby,” she says. “They would hang out in our cafe for hours on end—just come back day after day because they wanted to be in that environment.”
While hotels such as New York’s Gramercy Park Hotel have showcased art collections including names like Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and developers have often staged high-end homes with trendy art to help sweeten the blue-chip price tags, one of Ray’s rental buildings will boast a permanent installation by Rashid Johnson, whose work just fetched a record US$1.95 million at Christie’s on May 11. Johnson will be creating a plant-filled installation for the lobby of a 110-unit building in Philadelphia’s rising Fishtown neighbourhood, which also will have six street-level artist studios, as well as maker spaces, and will be completed in 2022.
“Access to art shouldn’t be for a privileged few,” Johnson wrote by email. “These art and living spaces are aiming to bridge some of this gap, for me that’s exciting.”
The first two Ray ventures in Philadelphia and Harlem are largely financed by Zhukova. Ray recently inked a third deal, in Miami, where the site will expand beyond the 250-plus unit rental building that will anchor it, says Zhukova, with future plans for retail, offices, landscaped walkways and single- and multi-family homes.) With each project, Ray will emphasize new buildings rather than retrofitting existing space: “To truly rethink the space and how we occupy it…you really need to rebuild,” says Zhukova, who is looking to make inventive use of materials and space in part to make up for areas where Ray is spending more freely. “The focus [is] on how our habits have changed, the technological innovation and the cultural change.”
Her team at Ray currently eschews traditional titles—Zhukova calls her colleagues “thought partners”—and includes Will Kluczkowski, a real estate veteran from DDG; Becca Goldstein, a Stanford MBA whose CV includes a stint at a Brooklyn-based whisky distillery; and the design gallerist Suzanne Demisch.
“We are looking for creative solutions,” says Demisch, who says she enjoys the challenge posed by a limited budget. “We are asking why. There’s not a package for all the touchpoints of the experience—it’s about the aesthetic and the culture of each location.” Months were spent developing and perfecting the hand-split bricks for the facade of the Philadelphia project with manufacturers Glen-Gery and architecture firm Leong Leong—and finding the perfect Pantone swatch for the pinkish hue of the Harlem building facade, which is a nod to the historic Nigerian site the Osun-Osogbo Sacred Grove.
Such historic references were a priority of the architect of Ray’s Harlem project, Frida Escobedo, who is based in Mexico City. Art panels, inscriptions and a geometric, rhythmic facade that echo the motifs of the original National Black Theatre all refer to its previous incarnation, but “we’re also putting a great deal of focus on communal spaces, such as the artist studio and constellation of gathering areas,” says Escobedo, who is collaborating on the interiors with designer Little Wing Lee of Studio & Projects.
Zhukova, meanwhile, is partnering with Artspace, the Minneapolis-based nonprofit developer of art spaces, which will receive funding from the Ford Foundation in order to provide housing and studios at the Harlem building. She hopes to do the same in all Ray buildings. Her goal is to create accessible rents that will allow artists to remain in their home neighbourhoods rather than fleeing cities for more affordable live/work options. Zhukova next has her eye on rising cities including Austin, Nashville, Denver and Portland, Oregon, where she says they will focus on neighbourhoods that are a cultural fit for the brand.
“My personal dream is to build in Arizona,” says Zhukova. “I think in that climate and given the less restrictive building codes, you could build something absolutely incredible.”
Reprinted by permission of WSJ. Magazine. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: May 14, 2021
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’
How far can an electric car really go on a full charge? What can you do to make it go farther? We answer these and other questions that EV buyers might ask.
Many people considering an electric vehicle are turned off by their prices or the paucity of public charging stations. But the biggest roadblock often is “range anxiety”—the fear of getting stuck on a desolate road with a dead battery.
All EVs carry window stickers stating how far they should go on a full charge. Yet these range estimates—overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency and touted in carmakers’ ads—can be wrong in either direction: either overstating or understating the distance that can be driven, sometimes by 25% or more.
How can that be? Below are questions and answers about how driving ranges are calculated, what factors affect the range, and things EV owners can do to go farther on a charge.
The distance, according to EPA testing, ranges from 516 miles for the 2023 Lucid Air Grand Touring with 19-inch wheels to 100 miles for the 2023 Mazda MX-30.
Most EVs are in the 200-to-300-mile range. While that is less than the distance that many gasoline-engine cars can go on a full tank, it makes them suitable for most people’s daily driving and medium-size trips. Yet it can complicate longer journeys, especially since public chargers can be far apart, occupied or out of service. Plus, it takes many times longer to charge an EV than to fill a tank with gas.
Testing by Car and Driver magazine found that few vehicles go as far as the EPA stickers say. On average, the distance was 12.5% shorter, according to the peer-reviewed study distributed by SAE International, formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers.
In some cases, the estimates were further off: The driving range of Teslas fell below their EPA estimate by 26% on average, the greatest shortfall of any EV brand the magazine tested. Separately, federal prosecutors have sought information about the driving range of Teslas, The Wall Street Journal reported. Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The study also said Ford’s F-150 Lightning pickup truck went 230 miles compared with the EPA’s 300-mile estimate, while the Chevrolet Bolt EV went 220 miles versus the EPA’s 259.
A GM spokesman said that “actual range may vary based on several factors, including things like temperature, terrain/road type, battery age, loading, use and maintenance.” Ford said in a statement that “the EPA [figure] is a standard. Real-world range is affected by many factors, including driving style, weather, temperature and if the battery has been preconditioned.”
Meanwhile, testing by the car-shopping site Edmunds found that most vehicles beat their EPA estimates. It said the Ford Lightning went 332 miles on a charge, while the Chevy Bolt went 265 miles.
Driving range depends largely on the mixture of highway and city roads used for testing. Unlike gasoline-powered cars, EVs are more efficient in stop-and-go driving because slowing down recharges their batteries through a process called regenerative braking. Conversely, traveling at a high speed can eat up a battery’s power faster, while many gas-engine cars meet or exceed their EPA highway miles-per-gallon figure.
Car and Driver uses only highway driving to see how far an EV will go at a steady 75 mph before running out of juice. Edmunds uses a mix of 60% city driving and 40% highway. The EPA test, performed on a treadmill, simulates a mixture of 55% highway driving and 45% city streets.
Edmunds believes the high proportion of city driving it uses is more representative of typical EV owners, says Jonathan Elfalan, Edmunds’s director of vehicle testing. “Most of the driving [in an EV] isn’t going to be road-tripping but driving around town,” he says.
Car and Driver, conversely, says its all-highway testing is deliberately more taxing than the EPA method. High-speed interstate driving “really isn’t covered by the EPA’s methodology,” says Dave VanderWerp, the magazine’s testing director. “Even for people driving modest highway commutes, we think they’d want to know that their car could get 20%-30% less range than stated on the window sticker.”
The agency declined to make a representative available to comment, but said in a statement: “Just like there are variations in EPA’s fuel-economy label [for gas-engine cars] and people’s actual experience on the road for a given make and model of cars/SUVs, BEV [battery electric vehicle] range can exceed or fall short of the label value.”
Pick the one based on the testing method that you think matches how you generally will drive, highway versus city. When shopping for a car, be sure to compare apples to apples—don’t, for instance, compare the EPA range estimate for one vehicle with the Edmunds one for another. And view all these figures with skepticism. The estimates are just that.
Batteries are heavy and are the most expensive component in an EV, making up some 30% of the overall vehicle cost. Adding more could cut into a vehicle’s profit margin while the added weight means yet more battery power would be used to move the car.
But battery costs have declined over the past 10 years and are expected to continue to fall, while new battery technologies likely will increase their storage capacity. Already, some of the newest EV models can store more power at similar sticker prices to older ones.
The easiest thing is to slow down. High speeds eat up battery life faster. Traveling at 80 miles an hour instead of 65 can cut the driving range by 17%, according to testing by Geotab, a Canadian transportation-data company. And though a primal appeal of EVs is their zippy takeoff, hard acceleration depletes a battery much quicker than gentle acceleration.
It does, and sometimes by a great amount. The batteries are used to heat the car’s interior—there is no engine creating heat as a byproduct as in a gasoline car. And many EVs also use electricity to heat the batteries themselves, since cold can deteriorate the chemical reaction that produces power.
Testing by Consumer Reports found that driving in 15- to-20-degrees Fahrenheit weather at 70 mph can reduce range by about 25% compared to similar-speed driving in 65 degrees.
A series of short cold-weather trips degraded the range even more. Consumer Reports drove two EVs 40 miles each in 20-degree air, then cooled them off before starting again on another 40-mile drive. The cold car interiors were warmed by the heater at the start of each of three such drives. The result: range dropped by about 50%.
Testing by Consumer Reports and others has found that using the AC has a much lower impact on battery range than cold weather, though that effect seems to increase in heat above 85 degrees.
“Precondition” your EV before driving off, says Alex Knizek, manager of automotive testing and insights at Consumer Reports. In other words, chill or heat it while it is still plugged in to a charger at home or work rather than using battery power on the road to do so. In the winter, turn on the seat heaters, which many EVs have, so you be comfortable even if you keep the cabin temperature lower. In the summer, try to park in the shade.
Going up hills takes more power, so yes, it drains the battery faster, though EVs have an advantage over gas vehicles in that braking on the downside of hills returns juice to the batteries with regenerative braking.
Tires play a role. Beefy all-terrain tires can eat up more electricity than standard ones, as can larger-diameter ones. And underinflated tires create more rolling resistance, and so help drain the batteries.
The meters are supposed to take into account your speed, outside temperature and other factors to keep you apprised in real time of how much farther you can travel. But EV owners and car-magazine testers complain that these “distance to empty” gauges can suddenly drop precipitously if you go from urban driving to a high-speed highway, or enter mountainous territory.
So be careful about overly relying on these gauges and take advantage of opportunities to top off your battery during a multihour trip. These stops could be as short as 10 or 15 minutes during a bathroom or coffee break, if you can find a high-powered DC charger.
Fully charge the car at home before departing. This sounds obvious but can be controversial, since many experts say that routinely charging past 80% of a battery’s capacity can shorten its life. But they also say that charging to 100% occasionally won’t do damage. Moreover, plan your charging stops in advance to ease the I-might-run-out panic.
Yes, an EV battery’s ability to fully charge will degrade with use and age, likely leading to shorter driving range. Living in a hot area also plays a role. The federal government requires an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on EV batteries for serious failure, while some EV makers go further and cover degradation of charging capacity. Replacing a bad battery costs many thousands of dollars.
Your EV likely provides software on the navigation screen as well as a phone app that show charging stations. Google and Apple maps provide a similar service, as do apps and websites of charging-station networks.
But always have a backup stop in mind—you might arrive at a charging station and find that cars are lined up waiting or that some of the chargers are broken. Damaged or dysfunctional chargers have been a continuing issue for the industry.
Be sure to carry a portable charger with you—as a last resort you could plug it into any 120-volt outlet to get a dribble of juice.
Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’