Nordstrom Anchoring Extell’s 225 West 57th Street, New York’s New Tallest?

Rejected design for 225 West 57th, from The Observer

New York has been dominated by a select few department stores for quite some time, and Nordstrom is finally jumping into the mix. The Seattle-based department store announced it will be anchoring Extell’s new tower at 225 West 57th Street, taking up 285,000 square feet of space at the building’s base. The future building and location are crucial to Nordstrom’s decision, which is important for several reasons.

The location is out of the way for the typical New York shopping spree, which would normally run from 58th (Bergdorf Goodman) to 50th (Saks), on Fifth Avenue. The stretch of Fifth Avenue along the upper 50s has the most prime retail real estate in the entire world, commanding huge premiums. The largest and most renowned luxury boutiques have their flagships along the 10-block stretch (as well as Abercrombie, where lines in front stretch as far as the cologne odor does), but finding a space as large as Nordstrom required was impossible.

Nordstrom’s chosen location, which is just off Broadway and 57th Street, is still up-and-coming when it comes to the luxury market. Retail is extremely upscale along the eastern portion of 57th Street (and the block west of Fifth Avenue), but there aren’t many clothing stores or even upscale options when you get to Broadway. Time Warner Center has boutique shopping (albeit in a mall), but that’s still two blocks away from Nordstrom’s chosen site. That makes the location somewhat of a gamble, but if it pays off the entire western stretch of 57th could become more upscale quite quickly, as the foot traffic into Nordstrom should be impressive. One57 is already set to add some glitz on the block between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.

What forced Nordstrom to locate to 225 West 57th is the lack of available suitable retail space for a flagship department store in the prime corridors. Nordstrom’s new space is going to be its biggest advantage over the other department store flagships. The store is sure to be state-of-the-art, and Nordstrom’s terms for leasing the space are contingent on 25-foot ceilings, at minimum. None of the other department stores will come close to offering a facility so spacious (the store’s 285,000 square feet will be spread over seven floors) that also features ceilings so high. The Nordstrom experience will certainly be quite different than one typical of the grand and classic New York department stores, but is sure to be a magnet for shopping tourists regardless.

Extell’s 225 West 57th on far right, concept massing from sbarn on skyscraperpage, original image mattron on flickr

The entirety of 225 West 57th will feature an additional building of one million square feet, as the air rights for the entire project total approximately 1.3 million square feet. Extell has already launched a competition for the building’s design, with a losing (yet still 1,300′ tall) design for the new skyscraper already released. Said to be a mix of hotel and residential, Reuters reports that the building will be the tallest residential in Manhattan. If true, that would put the roof height past 432 Park’s 1,400 feet. As quickly as One57 has taken the title of northern Midtown’s tallest it will lose it, as 225 West 57th is slated to break ground next year and be complete by 2018.

Posted in 225 W57th | Architecture | Extell | Midtown | New York | Nordstrom | Renderings | Residential | Retail