Revealed: 20 West 40th Street, 32-Story Mixed-Use Tower on Bryant Park
Last month, a rather unhelpful rendering went up on a construction site on Bryant Park’s southern edge, for a 32-story, 361-foot hotel and condo tower. Developed by Ziel Friedman’s HFZ Capital in combination with some mystery investors, the building broke ground this summer and will soon look out over the New York Public Library’s main branch.
And now, YIMBY has what we believe is the first (real) look at the 200,000-square foot structure. The provenance of the renderings is unclear, but the shape of the building depicted matches 20 West 40th Street’s zoning diagram. Its texture also bears some resemblance to the basic drawing that was posted on the construction fence.
Stonehill & Taylor filed for the permit, and the design is restrained but handsome, with a gridded glassy exterior that compliments and contrasts with the surrounding array of ornate prewar buildings. The project’s crown consists of screens that rise above the highest occupied floor, reminiscent of the New York Times Building across town. And in terms of visual impact, 20 West 40th Street will add some modernist heft to the southeastern corner of the park, joining the new skyscrapers on the Sixth Avenue side.
But unlike 7 Bryant Park and the Bank of America Tower, 20 West 40th will not have any office space. The developers are instead choosing to take advantage of some of the site’s residential zoning allotment, and prop it up on a larger hotel base.
The Schedule A calls for a gym below ground for tenants and guests and two restaurant/bar spaces on the ground floor, with 215 hotel rooms (floors two through 14) and 61 condos (15 through 32). With just 50,000 square feet of net residential space, the average unit size is a mere 820 square feet, with no floor-through units.
The design follows one planned before the recession, whose 2008 new building permit filing never materialized into an actual building. Morris Adjmi was to design a 31-story, 204-key hotel on the site.
While YIMBY welcomes towers catering to all incomes, the relatively small unit sizes (and, presumably, per square foot prices) at 20 West 40th Street are a welcome sign that the market for full-floor duplex $3,000-a-foot apartments is indeed satiable, and ultra-luxury condos are not the only thing developers are willing to build.
Given enough building sites and available development rights, the market will eventually force developers to cater to lower income brackets, even on prominent Midtown sites — and if the city could relax zoning restrictions, this could happen on an even wider basis.