Vision: 118 Fulton Street, 63-Story Financial District Residential Tower
The assemblage at 112-120 Fulton Street has undergone several changes over the past few years: first, the site was reduced to 112-118 Fulton after a 421-a snafu, and then, Lightstone Group sold the parcels to Carmel Partners for $171 million two months ago.
Vague renderings had been released for initial concepts, but now, YIMBY has a look at what we believe were Lightstone’s most recent plans for the site, before selling to Carmel Partners. Gerner Kronick + Valcarcal designed the 60-odd story tower, which has a simple form, distinguished by a wave-like pattern running along the facade. We’re not sure if Carmel Partners intends to follow through with this design, and no new building permits have been filed.
Fulton Street is still relatively under-built, and with the Financial District’s booming popularity for residential development, its true potential is only just becoming apparent. Anything approaching starchitecture would – at least for now – be unwarranted for the street, and something attractive but simple, like the GK+V plan, is to be expected.
Given the corridor’s heavy pedestrian traffic, a strong retail presence is appropriate. Lightstone’s plans for 118 Fulton meet the street in an attractive format, engaging with the built fabric to enhance the block’s street-wall with a relatively hefty base, before massing shrinks and the tower continues its ascent.
Lightstone’s sale of 118 Fulton may represent the high-water mark in terms of Fulton Street’s nascent boom, as the firm originally paid only $63 million for the assemblage.
With the completion of the Fulton Street Transit Center, several residential towers have entered the development pipeline. Nearby, GK+V is also designing 5 Beekman, which will rise to a similar height. Both 5 Beekman and 118 Fulton will stand short of historic and contemporary icons like 8 Spruce and 70 Pine, but at approximately 700 feet in height, they will still be notable additions in their own right — along with Lexin Capital’s planned 800-foot tower spanning 75-83 Nassau Street.
The price paid for 118 Fulton’s assemblage could indicate that Carmel intends to build something even higher-end. While this is not a bad thing in and of itself, it does show how pressure is beginning to push prices in the Financial District through the roof. That is especially evident at 125 Greenwich Street, which Michael Shvo and a group of investors purchased for $240 million.
Fulton Street in particular could greatly benefit from repealing the state limit on residential FAR, given the corridor’s excellent access to both the new Transit Center and the World Trade Center Hub. But even as-is, the potential for 118 Fulton is significant, and the rise of another residential skyscraper will help transform another formerly grimy corner of Lower Manhattan.