Vision: The Plaza at 1221 Avenue of the Americas

Gensler's Visions for 1221 Avenue of the Americas, image via MIR

New renderings have cropped up for an unrealized scheme at 1221 Avenue of The Americas, one of the ‘XYZ’ buildings in Midtown Manhattan. The plan would have revitalized the plaza fronting Avenue of the Americas, creating a defining and iconic public space; unfortunately the vision has never left the drawing board. The images come from MIR’s website — which has a host of other fantastic visuals — and apparently resulted from a partnership with Gensler.

The renovation to the plaza at 1221 Avenue of the Americas would add another layer to the pedestrian sphere, as the Rockefeller Center concourse underneath the site would finally become fully integrated with the sidewalks above.

Gensler's Visions for 1221 Avenue of the Americas

Gensler’s Visions for 1221 Avenue of the Americas, image via MIR

Besides opening the underground mall to the street, the scheme would have also resulted in a more vibrant and dynamic plaza, given the ample seating created by the plan’s stepped nature. The swooping canopy is iconic in its own right, but what’s underneath would have been extremely beneficial to the Sixth Avenue corridor, as the plaza’s current format is not conducive to pedestrian congregation.

Opening up the street — creating several engaging urban layers — would also benefit the surrounds during the busy times of year, when Sixth Avenue becomes incredibly crowded. As-is, the site is generally underutilized, with December typically defined by crowded pedestrian masses across the street, next to Radio City Music Hall. Transforming what currently resembles a livestock crush into something attractive, open, and connecting would benefit both New Yorkers and tourists alike.

Gensler's Visions for 1221 Avenue of the Americas

Gensler’s Visions for 1221 Avenue of the Americas, image via MIR

While the renovations would have also included minor alterations to the lobby of 1221 Avenue of the Americas as well, the primary changes are definitely centered on the plaza. Gensler’s renderings may remain a vision, but if anything resembling the plan ever comes to fruition, it would truly give the XYZ Buildings their own equivalent of the Christmas Tree — except it would last all year long.

1221 Avenue of the Americas was recently in the news when White & Case signed a 440,000 square foot lease for the building.

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Posted in 1221 Avenue of the Americas | Architecture | Gensler | Midtown | Midtown West | MIR | New York | Office | Renderings | Vision

Construction Update: 218 West 35th Street

218 West 35th Street

Construction continues to make rapid progress at 218 West 35th Street, which is one of the more significant hotels to rise in Midtown Manhattan so far this decade; the project’s developer is Cayre Investments, and SRA Architecture designed the building.

Besides the tower’s topping-out, work has also continued on cladding; a rendering has finally surfaced on-site as well, giving a better look at what will be the finished product.

218 West 35th Street

218 West 35th Street

While the design is not terrible, 218 West 35th Street certainly falls on the bland side of the aesthetic spectrum. The building is set back from 35th Street, though that is hardly surprising given the predominant appearance of new hotel developments in the neighborhood. Given what could have happened, the result is inoffensive.

218 West 35th Street

218 West 35th Street

Renderings depict cladding on the upper-most floors that will actually add to the building’s character, however minimally, and it appears that there may be vague inspirations from the Art Deco period in the tower’s upper-most ‘fins,’ though whether the computer-generated images translate into reality is questionable.

 

218 West 35th Street

218 West 35th Street

Even at 40 stories and 432 feet in height, 218 West 35th Street is completely invisible on the overall skyline; completion of the 342-room development is expected in January of next year.

218 West 35th Street

218 West 35th Street

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Posted in 218 West 35th Street | Architecture | Cayre Investments | Construction Update | Hotel | Midtown | Midtown West | New York | SRA Architecture

Permits Filed: 12 West 55th Street

12-18 West 55th Street today, via Google Maps

The first permits are up for a new development at 12 West 55th Street, though if recent news is any indication, the DOB filings do not tell the whole story. Curbed recently reported on rejected permits filed last year, and The New York Post covered the site back in 2009, when JD Carlisle acquired the site from Lincoln Properties. Perkins Eastman is now the architect of record, with Cornerstone Advisers representing ’12-18 West 55th Street Pre-Development,’ which is likely an alias for JD Carlisle.

Yesterday’s filings indicate that 12 West 55th Street will soon stand six stories tall, with an interior spanning 27,204 square feet. The entirety of the project will be residential, with four residences in total; simple math gives an average unit size of nearly 7,000 square feet, which would be enormous.

As Curbed and the Post previously reported, Carlisle has amassed a relatively large assemblage, with air rights totaling over 100,000 square feet; the previous plan for the site indicated a 55-unit and 22-story building would rise in place of the current townhomes.

It would seem that the most recent DOB documents are missing a large portion of the site’s available FAR rights. Given the assemblage spans from 12-18 West 55th Street, additional filings at another address appear to be likely. Regardless of semantics, Perkins Eastman’s involvement is a positive sign for the future building’s appearance, and if the current filings do come to fruition, units averaging nearly 7,000 square feet will command a top-notch design.

No completion date for the project has been announced.

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Posted in 12 West 55th Street | Architecture | JD Carlisle | Midtown | New York | Residential

Approved: 461 West 34th Street

461 West 34th Street today, via Google Maps

Permits have been approved for a new hotel on the corner of 34th Street and Tenth Avenue, and the filings have been accompanied by zoning diagrams, giving a preliminary look at the project’s form. The architect of record is DSM Design Group and a partnership between Atria and Marx Development is building the tower; Manhattan Regional Center’s website has additional information on the future Marriott.

The diagrams depict an average, box-like hotel, though a step-back will exist after the fourteenth floor. 461 West 34th Street will stand 312 feet in total, and its scope will span 197,253 square feet; while permits list the number of rooms at 399, the number given on MRC’s website is 385, and the development’s cost is $181.1 million. At the very least, the tower’s lower levels will be flush with both 34th Street and Tenth Avenue.

461 West 34th Street

461 West 34th Street’s zoning diagram

Regardless of the discrepancy, the building will certainly be on the larger side for new hotels in the city, though its neighbors across Tenth Avenue will certainly be far larger. The site will soon sit in the shadow of Related’s Hudson Yards development, and is also located directly across the street from the Hudson Spire site.

A report from PricewaterhouseCoopers on recent hospitality-related transactions gives a 2016 completion date for the project, which will house a Courtyard by Marriott. If 461 West 34th Street’s cousin at 307 West 37th Street is any indication of the brand’s preferred Midtown West flavor, the building’s ultimate design may end up less than stellar — but given the imminently-attractive location, plans will hopefully be geared toward an appropriate facade.

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Posted in 461 West 34th Street | Architecture | DSM Design Group | Hotel | Marriott | Marx Development | New York

In Contract: The Hudson Spire Site

Hudson Spire + The Hudson Yards -- image originally from Related

Following The New York Post’s report that Tishman Speyer expressed interest in the site of the conceptual Hudson Spire, Massey Knakal’s page on the listing has just been updated; the lot is now in-contract, indicating a buyer has been found.

Per the Post’s scoop, it would seem likely that Tishman Speyer has indeed acquired the Hudson Spire site; what’s most interesting about Tishman’s involvement is their apparent desire to acquire Sherwood’s adjacent parcel, as well. Combined, the assemblage could support a tower of approximately 2.5 million square feet, making it one of the largest buildings in New York City.

Tishman Speyer’s involvement with the Hudson Spire is particularly intriguing given the firm’s recent history with the Hudson Yards; Speyer actually won the original bidding process for the railyards, before the deal collapsed and Related was awarded the project. The old concept renderings for Tishman’s railyards vision come from Montroy Andersen DeMarco.

Tishman Speyer's Hudson Yards

Tishman Speyer’s Hudson Yards vision, image from Montroy Andersen DeMarco

Given the failed Tishman proposal for the Hudson Yards, the firm’s acquisition of Hudson Spire makes sense, and could result in an ultimate one-upping of Related, as the air rights available are enormous. With egos at play, anything is possible — and when it comes to profitability, which is the ultimate motivator for any developer, building tall in today’s market provides the most lucrative results.

In the context of the Hudson Yards’ recent past, the Tishman takeover of the Spire site is not surprising; while Related’s 30 Hudson Yards may become the railyards’ most notable structure, Speyer now has the option to overshadow competing developments with the neighborhood’s defining icon, especially if the resultant tower is mixed-use. 

With the demand for supertall and super-luxury residences continuing to soar, it certainly seems possible that that sour grapes could ultimately ferment into Manhattan’s tallest building. While uncertainties regarding the assemblage remain, the waiting game will soon be over.

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Posted in Architecture | Hudson Spire | Hudson Yards | Massey Knakal | Midtown | Midtown West | New York | Supertall | Tishman Speyer

Permits Filed: 350 West 40th Street

The existing 350 West 40th Street, image via Google Maps

The first permits are up for a substantial hotel that will soon rise at 350 West 40th Street; Kaufman’s latest creation is being developed by Sam Chang, of McSam Hotels. The pair have collaborated on numerous projects in the vicinity.

Per the DOB filings, 350 West 40th Street will stand 35 stories tall, but ceiling heights will be incredibly low, as the tower will only rise 315 feet to its pinnacle. That does make sense given its scale and the size of rooms, which will be tiny; the 177,729 square foot development will be divided between 594 ‘dwelling units,’ aka cabins.

The average room will measure well under 300 square feet, and each floor will have 18 units. The ground level will have bicycle parking, the lobby, and an ‘eating and drinking establishment,’ while there will also be a rooftop lounge.

No date for completion has been announced, but permits for the demolition of the existing parking garage were approved on January 14th, indicating construction is imminent; the block is already largely dominated by budget hotels, so at least the new 350 West 40th Street won’t be out of character for the location.

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Posted in 350 West 40th Street | Architecture | Hotel | Kaufman | Midtown | Midtown West | New York | Sam Chang

Revealed: 408 West 58th Street

408 West 58th Street

Renderings have been posted for a small redevelopment at 408 West 58th Street, where the conversion and expansion of the existing structure just began in January, following the approval of DOB permits; the documents reveal that Faulding Architecture is behind the design, while Perry Chopra of Claremont Hotels is the developer.

408 West 58th Street

408 West 58th Street, image by Faulding Architecture

While the on-site images are obscured by scaffolding, additional renderings of the project are online, at Faulding’s website; there were several potential designs conceived for the site, though it appears that the most ‘standard’ version — which comes with a zig-zagging, map-like facade — will ultimately be built. The expansion will add over 4,000 square feet to 408 West 58th Street, increasing its size to 8,165 square feet; the lot was listed for just shy of $3 million on Streeteasy two years ago.

408 West 58th Street

408 West 58th Street

The exact make-up is slightly odd, especially for a centrally-located lot in Midtown; the lower three levels will be home to a ‘non-commercial’ art gallery, while a single-family home will share the third story with the gallery, and extend upwards through the sixth floor. The Schedule A has additional details, but it appears that the gallery and home will be part of a larger, singular residence, spanning the entire site.

408 West 58th Street

408 West 58th Street

In an extremely odd twist, the renderings also indicate that 408 West 58th Street will have no entrance adjacent to the sidewalk, and the images depict a private driveway leading to a garage in the building’s basement level. The driveway’s curb-cut is already there — so it won’t detract from the urban experience anymore than it already does — but developments of this type are exceedingly rare in Manhattan, where even the most expensive townhouses have doors that front onto the sidewalk.

408 West 58th Street

Old scheme for 408 West 58th Street — via Faulding Architecture

408 West 58th Street

Old scheme for 408 West 58th Street — via Faulding Architecture

The additional schemes on Faulding’s website look significantly more innovative and transformative than what will ultimately be built, but given the limited scope of 408 West 58th Street, its impact will be minimal regardless of the building’s anti-urban design. Completion is expected in the spring of 2015.

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Posted in 408 West 58th Street | Architecture | Construction Update | Faulding Architecture | Midtown | Midtown West | New York | Perry Chopra | Renderings | Residential

Interview: Market Trends with Douglas Elliman’s Clifford Finn

Go East! Long Island City and Brooklyn are booming.

YIMBY sat down with Clifford Finn, Executive Vice President of Douglas Elliman’s new development marketing team, to discuss his thoughts regarding what’s up and coming in New York City, the latest happenings in NoMAD, and the continued ramifications of Hurricane Sandy. YIMBY in bold.

Have you heard anything about Journal Square, and do you see it becoming more like Downtown Jersey City or Long Island City? How quickly is it going to develop?

It’s interesting. You know, in the past, Jersey City was more of a suburban mentality; that goes for the people building there, and the audience that was going there. Although many Manhattanites found their way there, a wide audience was filling those buildings; it was a little bit different than crossing the other rivers. But that’s changing, because now everybody is looking there due to the increase in land costs. Brooklyn is not a huge discount to Manhattan anymore, and Long Island City is not far behind it; everybody is looking for the next great, convenient, commutable destination, and they are setting their sights back on Jersey City and the surrounding area.

Journal Squared

Journal Squared – image via Handel Architects

Moving back to Manhattan, YIMBY attended 1182 Broadway’s opening, which is a converted building in NoMAD; what are some features that make conversions in NoMAD stand apart from new developments in the neighborhood, and what’s special about The Centurian?

In the past, conversions of this type were typically larger buildings that go condo — like 10 Madison Square West. But for rent, you either had the Sixth Avenue high-rises and the few hot buildings off that corridor, or much older conversion stock that doesn’t have the luxury standard of today’s market. And I think what sets The Centurian apart from the rest is that it’s rental, but was built with a condominium sensibility and comparable finishes.

The Centurian

The Centurian — image from the Museum of the City of New York

It seems geared towards wealthy bachelors in technology.

Well, some units were; on the typical floor-plates before you get to the upper, larger apartments, we have two loft-style layouts that don’t have a formal bedroom. And then we have two [layouts] that have formal bedrooms, and they’re all similar in size. So I think it’s not just about singles; definitely couples too, and more established people. In that neighborhood, we’re seeing a cross-section of different types of people; it really speaks to a lot of audiences.

And do you think the broad appeal of NoMAD heralds its emergence as one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city?

I think that it’s one of them, because there’s a lot of similarities between NoMAD and neighborhoods like SoHo and Tribeca — but you have a park, and you’re more centrally located. It’s convenient to Midtown, Uptown, and Downtown, and it’s a great spot if you have to get out of the city quickly because it’s so close to the bridges and tunnels. You’re a little bit more centrally located, but you still have the flavor and feel that you’re not in Midtown.

1165 Broadway

A new building set for 1165 Broadway — image from Spector Group

Where would you say the neighborhood’s boundaries are? Because it’s still emerging.

Madison Square Park ends at 26th Street, so up to about 30th. I think once you cross 30th it gets much more Midtown-like. And then down to 23rd Street; below 23rd people consider it to be Flatiron. And it extends between Broadway and Park Avenue.

Sandy devastated sections of the city; do you see prices being affected in areas like the West Village and the Seaport, if measures to mitigate future events are not taken? If there is another event, do you think the double-whammy could result in a sustained drop in prices?

Not in the immediate future, I mean I myself live in a Zone 1 neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, and it didn’t affect the market for those neighborhoods at all.

But if there was another one?

I think it depends on if they get worse. I think that everybody feels like what happened was very inconvenient, but there was nothing truly devastating. I think the Seaport was much more affected, and that neighborhood is a little more sensitive to future impacts than the West Side. We have a lot of projects that are in flood zones, and plans have remained the same, it’s just that some components have been elevated. And that’s the way things need to be moving forward; you have to build for the tide to go through the property, and not disrupt the tower. We have to build to accommodate; I don’t think people are scared as long as they know that the issues are being addressed.

What about insurance companies?

It’s hard; again, I’m in a Zone 1 building, and our insurance premiums doubled. And that’s unfortunate, but if you have a house on the ocean, it’s a risk you take to be on the ocean. And it’s the same with living in these prime neighborhoods.

As prices in Manhattan rise, Brooklyn and Queens are becoming go-to destinations for luxury real estate. What do you see in the future for Downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City; will the impending development boom keep prices steady, given the amount of supply that will soon be coming online?

No, prices are climbing, and I think they’ll continue to rise. Everything that we’ve been touching has been climbing, and I believe that the bulk of the rental marketplace out there is really what isn’t being built in Manhattan, so it’s not like it’s in addition to anything going up in Manhattan — so there isn’t an abundance of new product. Those price-points won’t exist in brand-new developments on the island, so people have to go to Queens and Brooklyn for these buildings, and I don’t see supply hitting demand — at least in any of the studies we’ve looked at. And the discount, even with future conservative growth, is respectable.

CityPoint phase I and 388 Bridge Street

CityPoint phase I and 388 Bridge Street

What about Harlem? It seems like people neglect it even though prices there are also increasing.

I think people focus on where the obvious discounts are, and when those go away, they set their sites on the next ones. It’s like Bushwick; is that the next one? No, now it’s Bensonhurst. It keeps moving farther out, and farther up; everything is cyclical. I think people were hot on Harlem a few years ago; people caught on, then the obvious discounts were gone, so the momentum shifted elsewhere. But now everything has elevated, and they are re-visiting Harlem, because what might have not seemed like a discount previously is now well-priced. I think we’re going to see a lot of movement in East Harlem in particular.

But what about all the public housing? Don’t you think that will prevent revitalization?

Yes and no. Anything that’s a destination — a building’s presence will overshadow that. I think people in New York City are accustomed to public housing being all around them. If you look at the West Side, you have the Amsterdam Houses by Lincoln Center; twenty or thirty years ago, you would never walk around back there. But now, it is completely surrounded on all four sides with extremely expensive luxury housing, and neighborhoods that didn’t exist back then. I think people are accepting, and if it’s a neighborhood on the verge, people are likely to take the discount. You don’t have to twist anybody’s arm to buy near the Amsterdam Houses today.

So, finally: If you could pick the top three neighborhoods to invest in today, which would they be?

I think one of the best — and I’m not just saying this because we have a building going up there — but I think Inwood is one of the very few sleeper neighborhoods still around, and I really like it. I still think, for different reasons, that FiDi is still comparatively undervalued. You’re starting to see the trickle-down effect from the Village and SoHo, as it heads Downtown. With North FiDi, especially; all those buildings on the border of Tribeca.

Like 56 Leonard?

Yes, 56 Leonard, 101 Leonard; they’re on Broadway, or Worth, or Leonard. They’re at the cross-roads of entering the Financial District, and we’re seeing those numbers shoot up. And as we see businesses populating the World Trade Center — plus the Fulton Center and the new malls — basically they’re going through the process of building an infrastructure that never existed Downtown, so that it can compete with other residential neighborhoods. It always catered to the business community, and I think the FiDi has been around for long enough as a residential destination that we’re just now seeing the makings of a true residential area in terms of amenities. So I like it for those reasons; it still has a lot of room to grow.

It would be difficult to pinpoint a neighborhood in Brooklyn, but I love Gowanus; I think it’s like a case-study.

56 Leonard

56 Leonard

Have you been there?

Yes, we’re working on projects there. The thing about Gowanus is that it’s the epicenter of many other neighborhoods. It’s between Carroll Gardens and Park Slope, which are two fabulous neighborhoods.

Isn’t it centered on a toxic canal?

For many years the canal was toxic and polluted, and not very attractive –

So it’s basically like Greenpoint-lite.

Yes, but that’s changing; it’s being cleaned-up and redeveloped. There is a population of young artists and creative types that have been living in that area, and it’s been one of those sleeper neighborhoods for a long time. And as pricing continues to escalate in adjacent established neighborhoods, Gowanus is on the verge of major change.

And why has it remained so undervalued; the pollution?

Well because it had a very old stigma attached to it because of the canal, so people stayed away. But at this point we’re out of land, and it’s there, and it is a very good location — and the pollution is being addressed, and re-mediation has been ongoing for years, though it has not been obvious to people. But it’s really on the way. And Whole Foods is opening a Gowanus location, and I think that says a lot.

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Posted in 1182 Broadway | Clifford Finn | DoBro | Douglas Elliman | Downtown | FiDi | Gowanus | Jersey City | Journal Square | Long Island City | Midtown | New York | Residential | The Centurian

Permits Filed: 520 West 30th Street

The site for 520 West 30th Street as of last summer

As work wraps up on Related‘s 500 West 30th Street, the company’s plans for another residential building on the same block have just been filed with the Department of Buildings; the latest permits indicate construction is about to begin at 520 West 30th Street. The new tower will be directly across The High Line from ‘Abington House,’ and the architect of record is Ismael Leyva.

The site of 520 West 30th Street already has another structure that was just recently completed, at 529 West 29th Street, and the lot spans the width of the entire block; the two buildings will be located across from one another, though 520 West 30th will be a marked departure from its all-affordable neighbor. Price-wise, it will likely be similar to 500 West 30th Street.

520 West 30th Street

The neighboring 529 West 29th Street

Permits for 520 West 30th Street indicate that the tower will stand 28 stories and 354 feet tall, which should translate into relatively generous ceiling heights. The building will measure 207,334 square feet, with 11,725 square feet to be set aside for commercial use; the remainder of the development’s square footage will be divided between 174 residences.

520 West 30th Street

Sneaky cameo of 520 West 30th Street, image via Related/Visualhouse

While no formal renderings of 520 West 30th Street have been unveiled, the project does make a cameo in Related’s most recent set of images for the Hudson Yards; the building is nestled between The Ohm and 500 West 30th Street in the above picture, and the glimpse of the skyscraper’s architecture reveals a standard Leyva design, which includes a small glassy crown above the bulk of the tower.

No completion date for 520 West 30th Street has been announced, but given the surge in activity across 30th Street — as work on the Hudson Yards begins to accelerate — construction is likely imminent.

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Posted in 500 West 30th | 520 West 30th Street | 529 West 29th Street | Architecture | Construction Update | Hudson Yards | Ismael Leyva | Midtown | New York | Related | Residential | The High Line

New Renderings: Manhattan West

Manhattan West -- image via Brookfield

Brookfield has posted a slew of new renderings to the Manhattan West website, and the images reveal additional details about the development’s ground-level components. The site’s architect is SOM.

The residential skyscraper will stand 60 stories, and will apparently have 800 units; that number is significant, and in terms of scope, the structure will approach the city’s largest apartment buildings on 42nd Street. The glimpse into the base reveals the lobby’s soaring ceilings, which are atypically enormous; the tower’s full design was unveiled in January.

Manhattan West

Manhattan West — the residential tower’s base, via Brookfield

A plaza will be located adjacent to the residential tower, and while mid-block open spaces are traditionally hallmarks of anti-urban design, the overall density of Manhattan West should ensure that the space is well-used; indeed, creating open pedestrian areas along the development’s ground-level will be key to activating the neighborhood, and ample retail will further enhance the site’s appeal.

Manhattan West

Manhattan West — image via Brookfield

Additional renderings depict the base of the office towers, as well as the rooftop of the site’s hotel component, which had previously gone unseen. While the actual hotel is still invisible, the glimpse of the outdoor space is promising, even though it looks to be a mid-rise building.

Manhattan West

Manhattan West — the hotel rooftop, image via Brookfield

While the site’s new buildings will be the most important aspect of the development, the transformation of 450 West 33rd Street will also be significant, as the building occupies a crucial intersection between Manhattan West and Related’s Hudson Yards. Demolishing the structure — or turning it into the base of a mega-tower — would probably be better options, but the planned re-clad will give the structure some element of pedestrian-friendliness, as the street-level will open up to retail.

Manhattan West

The renovated 450 West 33rd Street, image via Brookfield

Construction on the decking that will cover the open pit currently on-site is underway, though no completion date for the overall plan has been announced.

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Posted in Architecture | Brookfield | Manhattan West | Midtown | Midtown West | New York | Office | Renderings | Residential | SOM

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