Construction Update: 30 West 46th Street

30 West 46th Street

A new 21-story and 196-room hotel is under construction at 30 West 46th Street; the project’s developer is Cambria Suites, which is turning the building into one of its namesake hotels. Kaufman is the architect of record; permits for the site note that SLCE was the previous architect.

30 West 46th Street

30 West 46th Street

An on-site rendering reveals the eventual design, which is typical for new hotel developments in Midtown Manhattan; the bulk of the tower is recessed from the street, breaking what little urban context the block had prior to construction. Exposed HVAC units are also noticeable in the image, and seem to dominate the facade, which is otherwise quite plain; indeed, the presence of HVAC units seems enhanced compared to previous images of the project, posted on Curbed.

Besides the obvious presence of mechanicals on the exterior, there will also be a nine-story protrusion from the building’s mid-sections, which further detracts from the project’s appearance. Even for budget hotels, the aesthetics of 30 West 46th Street look to be bottom of the barrel — and comparing the development to its dingy, low-rise neighbors, the project will be a net detraction.

Extell was originally supposed to develop the site, but sold its stake in the project to Cambria Suites for $30 million back in 2012.

Completion of 30 West 46th Street is expected in April of 2015.

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Posted in 30 West 46th Street | Architecture | Construction Update | Hotel | Midtown | New York

Supertall City: New York’s 2014 Boom

175 Greenwich Street

A number of towers that began work in 2013 will begin to make an impact on the skyline in 2014, including several supertalls. Activity is booming throughout the city, with major new developments rising in several core Manhattan neighborhoods, in addition to Downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City. Altogether, seven buildings of 1,000 feet or greater will start or continue construction in 2014; currently, New York only has six towers that pass that mark.

NYC 2020

Mock-up of the NYC skyline in 2020

In Midtown, 432 Park Avenue is the most obvious candidate to change the skyline this year, as work is already so far along; the building will likely reach its 1,398-foot pinnacle within the next twelve months. Construction is also in full swing at 217 West 57th Street, and about to commence at both 111 West 57th Street and the MoMA’s Torre Verre; while those developments will still be in the excavation phase at year’s end, blasting for the projects will likely be audible throughout the neighborhood, a constant reminder of the rapidly evolving cityscape.

111 West 57th Street

111 West 57th Street, Image from SHoP

Further South, 10 Hudson Yards will continue to advance, followed by 15, 30, and 35 Hudson Yards; the latter two buildings will become the first supertalls of the far West Side. With the platform for Manhattan West also under construction, the entire neighborhood is rapidly turning into a hive of activity, and its evolution this year will be quick.

Simultaneously, the fourth major tower of the new World Trade Center complex — 175 Greenwich Street — will resume its rise. The building will be the lone commercial giant of the structures rising on the Downtown skyline, and the others fall short of the 1,000 foot mark; in addition to 30 Park Place and 56 Leonard — both of which rose above ground last year — 22 Thames and 50 West Street will also be going vertical in 2014. All of the aforementioned will stand over 750 feet tall.

30 Park Place

30 Park Place

Soaring supertalls may be the most visible legacy of the current wave of construction, but high-rises will also make an impact on the city, especially in the Outer Boroughs. Several projects underway in Downtown Brooklyn will approach the 600-foot mark, and with excavation beginning on both the Avalon Willoughby and The Hub, the DoBro skyline will see significant infill this year. That will also be the theme in Long Island City, though projects in Queens are — on average — slightly shorter, and the CitiGroup Tower will remain unchallenged.

100 Willoughby Street

100 Willoughby Street

Perhaps the most overlooked neighborhood in terms of potential is Jersey City; it will have two three-towered complexes under construction, both of which will enhance the pedestrian sphere and the skyline. Urban Ready Living will add three buildings of approximately 70 floors to the waterfront, while ‘Journal Squared’ represents the first major push of new development into the Journal Square neighborhood, with the first 54-story skyscraper set to rise soon.

Journal Squared

Journal Squared – image via Handel Architects

Taking everything together — even without noting the Pyramid under construction on West 57th Street, or the 795-foot tower about to rise at 41 East 22nd Street — it is clear that development trends are pointing upwards in 2014, in every sense. New York is about to see an unprecedented vertical expansion, and its unique case of purely market-driven growth that is globally unrivaled will finally become visually apparent in the new year.

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Posted in 111 West 57th Street | 217 West 57th Street | 432 Park Avenue | Architecture | Construction Update | Downtown | Hotel | Midtown | New York | Office | Residential | Supertall | Torre Verre | Uncategorized

What the New York Skyline Gained in 2013

Lower Manhattan - One World Trade Center

2013 was a monumental year for New York City, and as the economy has continued to rebound — and prices have risen — the first non-government-backed effects are now visible across the skyline. Work is wrapping up on the Sandy-delayed One57, which is the city’s first residential skyscraper to pass the 1,000 foot mark. Besides Extell’s first supertall, the cranes for 432 Park Avenue are also poking above the Midtown plateau, upping the ante; for a brief moment in 2014, Vinoly’s vision in concrete and ten-by-ten foot panes will become the tallest residential building in the entire world.

432 Park Avenue

432 Park Avenue

Outside of Midtown — where work wrapped up on 500′+ buildings at 1717 Broadway, the Baccarat Tower, and 250 West 55th Street — Lincoln Square saw the addition of Glenwood’s 54-story 160 West 62nd Street, which will begin a marked transformation of a forlorn section of Amsterdam Avenue. Portzamparc’s other major tower, at 400 Park Avenue South, also topped-out, and the world’s tallest Holiday Inn — at 99 Washington Street — is also nearing its opening day.

400 Park Avenue South

400 Park Avenue South

The common trait the above projects share is a sense of anonymity, lost in New York’s gargantuan scale. Even the tallest of the bunch — 1717 Broadway, at 750 feet — is nearly invisible, enveloped within the Midtown jungle. Its only identifying trait is night-time blue lighting; to most, it is just another boxy glass tower. Though the taller buildings generally have better designs, even the stunning 400 Park Avenue South is relatively ‘lost’ outside of a narrow view corridor; the fact that Manhattan can absorb so many new buildings with barely any visual impact is a testament to the island’s existing density, while also begging the question: Why not build taller, if everything is huge anyways?

A vast range of mid-rises were also completed in 2013, defining the bulk of new construction in Midtown and Lower Manhattan. In addition to 99 Washington, Kaufman’s repertoire included 237 West 54th Street, 312 West 37th Street, and 125 West 28th Street — all to be occupied by mid-range chains like Marriott and Hilton. Besides One World Trade Center’s spire, the Lower Manhattan skyline remained relatively constant, outside of its depths — its height concealed new concepts like 6 Platt Street, a hotel that masquerades as a prison.

6 Platt Street

6 Platt Street

On the far West Side, the AVA High Line and Related’s 500 West 30th Street are nearly complete. Both projects are relatively prominent on the sparsely-populated West Chelsea skyline, and will add to the neighborhood’s street-level pedestrian vibrancy. Exterior work is also wrapping up at the Whitney Museum’s Meatpacking expansion, designed by Renzo Piano.

The Whitney Expansion

The Whitney Expansion

Outside of Manhattan, the outer borough boom is just kicking into gear. 388 Bridge Street topped-out early in the year, becoming Brooklyn’s tallest building — a title it will soon lose to the neighboring Avalon Willoughby. Long Island City’s waterfront also saw major progress; TF Cornerstone’s ‘East Coast’ development is wrapping up, and the first two Hunter’s Point South towers are underway. Both DoBro and the western edge of LIC are finally developing into cohesive and vibrant neighborhoods.

Hunter's Point South

Hunter’s Point South

While 2013′s changes on the New York skyline were great, the impact of new construction in 2014 will be even larger — and detailed in a post tomorrow.

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Posted in Architecture | Construction Update | Downtown | Hotel | Midtown | New York | Office | Residential | Supertall

Construction Update: 220 West 41st Street

220 West 41st Street

Down the block from the new 25-story hotel rising at 120 West 41st Street, fresh permits are in place for a new hotel at 220 West 41st Street, which will stand 30 floors. Crain’s reports the developer will be OTO Development, of South Carolina, which permits corroborate; the owner is listed as ‘Palmetto Hospitality of Manhattan,’ and the architect is Helpern.

The lot’s entirety spans between 220 and 246 West 41st Street, so the new structure will have a relatively significant presence on the block. With 300 rooms, the building will stand 298 feet tall; since it will not puncture the skyline, the relevant aesthetics will be how the project interacts with the pedestrian sphere. It will sit between 7th and 8th Avenues, in one of the densest neighborhoods of New York City, and anything short of a stand-out design will be unnoticeable.

220 West 41st Street

220 West 41st Street

Helpern’s recent work is impressive, especially considering that 220 West 41st Street’s general ‘category’ is dominated by architecture that tends towards banal. If the firm’s portfolio is any indication, OTO’s latest development will be a notch above the typical Midtown hotel.

With permits ready and the lot cleared for construction, work on the project should be completed by 2016.

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Posted in 220 West 41st Street | Architecture | Construction Update | Helpern Architects | Hotel | Midtown | New York | OTO Development | Times Square

Revealed: 120 West 41st Street

120 West 41st Street

Work is beginning on a new hotel at 120 West 41st Street, one of several new developments rising on 41st Street. Permits indicate the structure will stand 26 floors and 257 feet, and contain a total of 130 rooms.

120 West 41st Street

120 West 41st Street

The posted design is very plain; the new building will be a transparent glass box that also breaks the street wall. Though the cladding won’t be gaudy, the form will detract from the typical density of blocks in Times Square, and the quality of the project does not appear to be in line with the general surroundings, which includes icons like the Bank of America Tower, and the also-under-construction 7 Bryant Park.

Per The Real Deal, the lot was bought back in 2011 for $19.5 million.

120 West 41st Street

120 West 41st Street, surrounding pre-war buildings

120 West 41st Street’s architect is Peter Poon, and the developer is Stanford Hotels. Completion is expected in the fall of 2015, and while a stop-work order currently exists on the site, a round of permits were recently approved, signaling that work is imminent.

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Posted in 120 West 41st Street | Stanford Hotels

Construction Update: CitizenM Hotel Times Square

CitizenM Hotel, Image from YIMBY reader Dave Allen

YIMBY reader Dave sent in the latest elevated update on progress at New York’s first CitizenM Hotel, where both the interior and exterior are nearly complete – though there are still no signs of the enormous boxy ‘I <3 CM’ billboard atop the tower’s roof, which was present in renderings. Still, the neon ‘CitizenM’ signage on the building’s facade is now alight, and the structure has started to glow both inside and out.

Once open, the CitizenM will offer a total of 230 rooms. A second outpost for the affordable-luxury chain will soon open on the Lower East Side, as well. While aesthetic expectations for the brand’s Times Square outpost were low, the final product is not terrible, and – at the very least – the sides are covered in laminate, which distinguishes the befitting neon.

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Posted in 218 West 50th | Architecture | CitizenM | Construction Update | Hotel | Midtown | New York | Times Square

Revealed: 400 West 42nd Street

400 West 42nd Street - image via the New York Immigration Fund

Demolition is complete at 400 West 42nd Street, and renderings of the new development are now online, via the New York Immigration Fund. Designed by Handel Architects, the tower will be an unfortunate addition to the neighborhood, though it won’t be tall enough to completely violate the skyline.

No DOB permits for the tower have been filed, but the skyscraper looks to rise roughly 40 floors. The ugly hotel trend sweeping the island will have a new poster-child with 400 West 42nd Street, as it takes ‘forward-thinking’ progressiveness in the wrong direction; it has a terribly awkward form, relying on protrusions and unstable massing to ill-effect.

Modern, progressive architecture can be stunning – a point Handel’s 170 Amsterdam Avenue will hopefully prove – but in this case, it seems that the architect was forced to deliver an ‘eccentric’ final product at a low price-point, resulting in a complete mess. The NYIF’s plans may not be final, and excavation has not yet begun, but if 400 West 42nd Street is built in its current form, it will detract from the neighborhood; un-ironically, the building is rising to the east of the ‘Zebra’ tower, as if it needed a visually unfortunate companion.

The Real Deal reported that plans for the tower had been revised last February, with a new design that would only rise 28 floors, but the information on the NYIF’s website contradicts this statement, and the rendering appears fresh. Hopefully the plans have changed to something less offensive, but the development’s true form will remain elusive until new building permits are actually filed. With the lot now sitting vacant, that will likely be soon.

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Posted in 400 West 42nd Street | Architecture | Handel Architects | Hotel | Midtown | New York | NYIF | Renderings

Construction Update: 136 West 42nd Street

136 West 42nd Street

The Poon-designed 136 West 42nd Street has been topped-out for over a month, so it’s no surprise that cladding has finally begun to rise. What is unexpected is the quality of the facade – and not in a good way. The glass looks to exude an awkward cerulean hue, perhaps befitting of a new tower in Miami or Vancouver, but extremely out-of-place in New York City. Especially disheartening is the tower’s context, as it sits between the Bush Tower and the old Knickerbocker Hotel; two pre-war gems that do not deserve a glaringly garish 37-story skyscraper next door.

While 136 West 42nd Street’s form is fine enough, the cladding was what would make or break the tower in terms of aesthetics – and it does seem that the facade will be bad enough to make the building fall short of the ‘adequate’ category. The architectural malaise that has begun running rampant in Chelsea and The Garment District has clearly spread, and though the 42nd Street corridor is no shining example of beauty, it deserves better than 136 West 42nd’s mediocre design. The tower’s glass is made more awkward by interspersed white accents, which give an aura of confusion and disarray to the already tacky exterior.

Completion of 136 West 42nd Street, which will be occupied by a Hilton Garden Inn, is expected in 2014, and the tower will yield a total of 282 hotel rooms. Whether the tourists care about the lackluster appearance remains to be seen – and they probably won’t, because the bottom-line for these new hotels is demand and not aesthetics – but it’s clear that Midtown Manhattan has received yet another visually unappealing new building.

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Posted in 136 West 42nd Street | Architecture | Construction Update | Hilton | Hotel | Midtown | New York | Peter Poon

Construction Update: 7 Bryant Park

7 Bryant Park

The Pei Cobb Freed-designed 7 Bryant Park is now above street level, and the building’s core looks to present a fantastic opportunity for construction-watching given its prominent situation on the southwest corner of Sixth Avenue and 40th Street, across from Bryant Park. The building will use location to its advantage and its siting will be incorporated into the design, with the ‘cut-out’ of the building’s northeast corner facing Bryant Park, an inviting gesture to both pedestrian eyes and natural light.

Developed by Hines and Pacolet Millikin, 7 Bryant Park will eventually stand 28 stories and 450 feet, delivering 474,000 square feet of Class-A office space to a subdistrict badly in need. Its location straddles several neighborhoods; 7 Bryant Park sits at the intersection of Times Square and prime Midtown Manhattan, though the design indicates a desire to identify more with Midtown, given its super high-end nature; the ceilings on most floors will be eleven feet tall, and the tower’s asking rents are sure to be astronomical.

Completion of 7 Bryant Park is expected in 2015, and the pace of construction so far has been swift – excavation began this year, and the last update on the project, from early September, showed the core just beginning to rise out of the ground. Now above street level, the core stands naked, awaiting the rise of the rest of the building’s superstructure – aka the actual floors, where people will work.

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Posted in 1045 6th Avenue | 7 Bryant Park | Architecture | Construction Update | Hines | Midtown | New York | Office | Pacolet Millikin | Pei Cobb Freed

Construction Update: The CitizenM Hotel

CitizenM Hotel, photo from Dave Allen

The CitizenM Hotel at 218 West 50th Street is almost ready to open, per the latest submitted photos from YIMBY readers Dave & Ava. The only thing the development appears to be missing from its renderings is the bright billboard that surrounds the upper floors, but with the ‘I <3 CM’ signage only recently going up, that may still be in the works.

Regardless, at 22 floors, the building is a fairly innocuous addition to Midtown, and completely unnoticeable on the New York skyline. The hotel will certainly serve its purpose too, offering relatively low-cost but chic travel lodging.

CitizenM‘s Times Square outpost will be the chain’s first in the U.S., as they have previously kept to European markets. The Midtown edition will soon be followed by another New York expansion, though the city’s second CitizenM Hotel will be located on the Lower East Side.

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Posted in 218 West 50th | Architecture | CitizenM | Construction Update | Hotel | Midtown | New York | Reader Submission

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