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

Revealed: SoMA Newark

SoMA Newark, image from Richard Meier & Partners

Plans for the first phase of the Richard Meier-designed Teachers Village in Newark have been closing in on completion, but it appears that something slightly larger is on the horizon, in the form of SoMA Newark. RBH Group, which is the firm behind the Meier project, has posted new renderings of their greater plan, and — assuming the scheme is actually built — the collective change will result in the complete rebirth of the city.

While Teacher’s Village will likely result in positive changes for the surrounding neighborhood, the up-swing in Newark is clearly just beginning. Bringing Richard Meier into the project could have an avalanche of positive benefits, and the starchitect’s brand should provide the necessary pull to begin attracting additional young professionals back to the city.

SoMA Newark

SoMA Newark’s residential district, image from Richard Meier & Partners

Per RBH’s page on the project, the group working on the scheme includes “Richard Meier & Partners Architects, LLP, landscape architect Field Operations, engineers ARUP USA, Inc., and LEED consultant Viridian Energy & Environmental, LLC,” as well as others that joined “as the concept matured and the first phase development known as Teachers Village emerged.”

Clearly, RBH has a comprehensive team working on its vision for Newark, and the quality of the new renderings — as well as Richard Meier’s involvement — gives credence to the idea that a massive transformation for the city is on the near-horizon. Indeed, RBH has acquired 79 different parcels encompassing 23 acres, which have collective development rights of over fifteen million square feet.

SoMA Newark

SoMA Newark in 2025, image from Richard Meier & Partners

Converting Newark into a ‘Living Downtown’ is an equally important part of RBH Group’s vision for the city, with the SoMA plan bringing a significant amount of mixed-use space to the neighborhood, which will truly re-activate the old Downtown. Per renderings, the enormous office buildings are clearly the most obvious aspect of the plan, but the amount of residential space will also be significant, resulting in an active and vibrant streetscape.

Newark has a tremendous amount of potential and promise, and its recent revitalization is only beginning to accelerate; Teachers Village will open this year, but other major projects currently underway include new office buildings for Prudential, and a host of smaller residential developments. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the gradual and sometimes rocky transition the city is facing, while still highlighting its upwards potential.

SoMA Newark

SoMA Newark’s landscape today, image from Richard Meier & Partners

The SoMA scheme would boost Newark’s vertical profile significantly, and looks to include at least one potential ‘supertall’ standing over 1,000 feet. Altogether, the plan would add three major office towers, in addition to several slender residential skyscrapers. Collectively, the high-rises could even push Downtown Newark’s height past Jersey City and Downtown Brooklyn — though the apparent goal of a 2025 completion date leaves room for alterations before all aspects are constructed.

SoMA Newark in 2015

SoMA Newark in 2015, image from Richard Meier & Partners

As prices in central locations continue to escalate into the stratosphere, the spread of development is inevitable, and pressure on New York’s peripheral nodes is finally reaching a boiling point. Imminent changes in Journal Square have so far been the best example of vertical potential, but in the near future, the growth of Newark could be even more significant. With a major airport nearby, and excellent accessibility to regional transit, the city’s renaissance is only just beginning — and as the SoMA plan illustrates, Newark may soon regain both regional and national stature.

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Posted in Architecture | Hotel | Newark | Office | RBH Group | Renderings | Residential | Richard Meier | SoMA Newark

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

Revealed: One SoHo Square

One SoHo Square's rooftop addition, image by Neoscape

The first renderings are up for a large new office project that will join two buildings at 161 Avenue of the Americas and 233 Spring Street into one, under the moniker of One SoHo Square; the images were created by Neoscape. Stellar Management and Rockpoint Group are developing the site, and Gensler is the architect, while Cushman & Wakefield is handling marketing and leasing.

One SoHo Square

One SoHo Square, image by Neoscape

One SoHo Square is located in a booming neighborhood, and its SoHo surrounds are seeing a significant influx of new development; directly across the street, the BKSK-designed One Vandam is about to begin rising. Both residential and commercial space are in significant demand across SoHo, and with supply severely limited, the new square footage will help satiate demand in the ravenous sub-market.

One SoHo Square

One SoHo Square, new lobby; image by Neoscape

The externals of the existing buildings will remain relatively unchanged — besides the creation of a new glass lobby — though the internals will be completely revamped; per a rep, “the modernization of the buildings’ infrastructure with more efficient mechanical plants and services, and removal of redundant egress stairs, allowed Gensler to identify additional square footage that enabled the addition of the three new penthouse floors.”

One SoHo Square

One SoHo Square terrace, image by Neoscape

Gensler’s rooftop addition will be the most significant visual change, as a ‘fin’ of commercial penthouses will erupt from the pre-war structures, juxtaposing the historic buildings with contemporary, cutting-edge design. The project will definitely jive well with the neighboring One Vandam, and combined, the developments will provide a positive juxtaposition against their historic surrounds, rather than overwhelming them.

One SoHo Square will measure 768,000 square feet, standing nineteen stories in total. Completion of the renovation and expansion is expected in the fall of 2015.

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Posted in 161 Avenue of the Americas | 233 Spring Street | Architecture | Downtown | Gensler | New York | Office | One SoHo Square | Renderings | Rockpoint Group | Stellar Management

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

Approved: 425 Park Avenue

425 Park Avenue -- existing building

All permits for construction at 425 Park Avenue have been approved, and work may begin shortly; the existing building is being partially demolished to make way for 42 stories of offices, designed by Norman Foster. The developer is L&L Holding Company.

The entirety of the redevelopment will encompass approximately 513,000 square feet, and the height to the highest occupied floor will be 905 feet. That figure may not include the ‘fins’ atop Foster’s vision, given that Department of Buildings measurements do not include architectural flourishes; if 425 Park Avenue doesn’t break the 1,000-foot mark, it will certainly come close.

425 Park Avenue

425 Park Avenue — image from Foster

While the future of the Midtown East re-zoning has been temporarily derailed, the cloud of disconcertion should be temporary, as De Blasio has promised to continue the push that failed under the Bloomberg administration. 425 Park Avenue is not dependent on the re-zoning, as it will simply be a re-configuration of the existing square footage into Class A space.

Indeed, moving forward ahead of the general re-zoning will give L&L an edge over other developers, as 425 Park Avenue will rise several years prior to competing projects.

The lower quarter of the existing 425 Park Avenue must be preserved, so demolition may be more difficult than usual, but L&L’s project is expected to be completed in 2017.

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Posted in 425 Park | Architecture | Foster | LL Holdings | Midtown | Midtown East | New York | Office

Vision: The New York Skyline in 2020

The Midtown skyline in 2020

The future of New York City can be hard to visualize; while renderings do a decent job of depicting the city’s evolving profile, accurate images are few and far between. YIMBY stumbled upon the Instagram of Adrien Berger back in 2013, and his drawings of buildings capture details that renderings often leave out; the following images are the first of many that will illustrate the future skyline in all its supertall glory.

The Midtown skyline in 2020

The Midtown skyline in 2020; Torre Verre, 111 West 57th, One57, 217 West 57th, and 220 CPS

The first set of images are drawn from the perspective of the San Remo, looking south; the changes encompassing the Central Park skyline will be dramatic, as 57th Street develops into one of the densest corridors on the planet. From right to left, the drawing includes 220 Central Park South, 217 West 57th Street, One57, 111 West 57th Street, the Torre Verre, and 432 Park Avenue.

The Midtown skyline in 2020

The Midtown skyline in 2020 — 432 Park at left

Each of the new towers will be enormous, but collectively, they herald a new era for Manhattan; for the first time, buildings standing over 1,000 feet will become a common sight in New York City, adding another dimension to the urban plane. The developments span across the entire island, from the World Trade Center all the way to Central Park.

While Manhattan and Chicago have been the traditional homes of the skyscraper, New York is pulling away from its Midwestern second cousin in the super-tall department — and while cities in developing nations have temporarily taken the mantle for ‘supertall’ superlatives, Manhattan’s skyline may soon re-take the crown. Besides the towers rising along 57th Street, 175 and 200 Greenwich will add to the Downtown skyline, while the emerging Hudson Yards will create a new vertical forest on the Far West Side.

The Midtown skyline in 2020

The Midtown skyline in 2020 — draft

All told, there are approximately twenty towers of over 1,000 feet either proposed or under construction; New York is booming, and the market in Manhattan is entirely market driven, a feature that developing cities cannot boast. While NIMBYs have battled against new developments, the tide is turning, a point that Adrien’s illustrations drive home.

The Midtown skyline in 2020

The Midtown skyline in 2020, viewed from the Queensboro Bridge

All of Adrien’s prints — including a variety of other sketches — are for sale on his website.

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Posted in Adrian Berger | Architecture | Illustrations | Midtown | New York | Renderings | Residential | Supertall

Revealed: Flushing Commons

Flushing Commons -- image from Perkins Eastman

The 1.8 million square foot redevelopment of Flushing Commons in Queens is about to get underway, and a set of renderings from architect Perkins Eastman reveals the master plan, which will result in four new buildings, and 1.5 acres of open space. A litany of developers are involved with the project, including TDC Development, The Rockefeller Group, AECOM Capital, and Mount Kellett Capital Management.

Curbed reported on the site’s approval at the end of December, and Flushing Commons will be the last legacy development of the Bloomberg administration, which paid $20 million for the municipal parking lot that currently occupies the site. Phase I will include 150 residential units and 220,000 square feet of office space, as well as 1,600 parking spaces, though the last component will be temporary.

Flushing Commons

Flushing Commons phase I — image from Perkins Eastman

Phase II will be even more impressive; it will add another 450 units, an additional 280,000 square feet of commercial space, a 62,000 square foot YMCA, and another 15,000 square feet for community facilities. The second phase will also include the 1.5 acre town square, which will center around a fountain plaza.

Flushing Commons

Flushing Commons at full build-out — image from Perkins Eastman

The reveal by Perkins Eastman is promising, and highlights the site’s potential at full build-out; the clear focal point of the development is the public space at the center, which will provide “public gathering and event spaces,” while also enhancing “pedestrian circulation with access from nearby mass transit.”

Flushing Commons

Flushing Commons — image from Perkins Eastman

The parking component of Flushing Commons will be bulldozed to make way for phase II of the development, further highlighting the project’s positive benefits; it will transform a periphery neighborhood into a truly urban center, where vehicles are not necessary for access. Creating a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere will be crucial to ensuring the plan’s success, and it looks like Perkins Eastman’s vision is the right idea.

Flushing Commons

Flushing Commons — image from Perkins Eastman

Phase I is expected to be completed by April 2017, and phase II will break ground in 2018, with the entirety of Flushing Commons to be completed by the early 2020s. The cost of the development is $850 million, and the NYCEDC website has additional information.

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Posted in AECOM Capital | Architecture | Flushing | Flushing Commons | Long Island City | Mount Kellett Capital Management | New York | Office | Perkins Eastman | Queens | Residential | TDC Development | The Rockefeller Group

Construction Update: City Point

City Point -- phase II retail & residential

Work is progressing quickly at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn, which promises to bring the most dramatically positive change of any new project in the neighborhood. The second phase is well underway, and will deliver additional retail space, as well as two residential towers. The site’s architect is COOKFOX, and the developers are Acadia Realty Trust and Washington Square Partners.

Phase I of City Point has already activated one sliver of the site, with 50,000 square feet of retail; phase II will add another 650,000 square feet for shoppers, and while Downtown Brooklyn has long been a retail hub — with Fulton Mall at its center — the neighborhood lacks Class-A space, which is a void that City Point will fill.

City Point

City Point

While the most crucial component of the development is its retail presence, work on the residential towers is also progressing, with concrete and structural steel beginning to rise above the retail base. Phase II’s apartment buildings will stand 19 and 30 stories, with 690 units between them; the stacking plan has additional details.

City Point

City Point

Phase III remains elusive, with details unconfirmed; the site may host the tallest tower in Brooklyn, and early renderings depicted a skyscraper that would soar over 700 feet in height. An on-site rendering — placed where phase III would ultimately rise – possibly reveals the borough’s tallest tower.

City Point

City Point — possible rendering of phase III

No date for the commencement of phase III has been announced, but the entirety of the site will likely be built-out before 2020.

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Posted in Albee Development | Architecture | Brooklyn | Citypoint | Construction Update | Cook + Fox Architects | DoBro | New York | Office | Residential | Retail

Approved: 217 West 57th Street

217 West 57th Street's 1,550' massing diagram -- via the DOB

The Nordstrom Tower finally has all the approval permits necessary for verticality; besides the Art Students League’s overwhelming vote in favor of the air-rights transfer and cantilever, the development’s journey through the Department of Buildings also appears to be finished. Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill are designing the tower, while Extell is developing.

While the Art Students League vote was potentially up in the air, the DOB permits are more of a formality, given the tower is an as-of-right development. Though the ASL’s transfer of air rights seemingly confirms the vague renderings displayed during the tower’s journey through the Landmarks approval process, recent filings reveal the version that could rise to 1,550 feet, and 85 floors.

217 West 57th Street

217 West 57th Street — via the DOB

The zoning diagrams lack detail, but even without any textures, colors, or intricacies, the 1,550-foot version looks superior to the concept presented during the Landmarks process. Indeed, the drawings confirm that the model YIMBY posted back in October was accurate, though whatever does rise will likely have many changes.

217 West 57th Street

217 West 57th Street

Speculation that the presented version of 217 West 57th Street may not be final is reasonable, and the DOB drawings confirm that the tower’s design could still be up in the air. Per the latest diagrams, the tower smoothly glides to a pointed peak above the skyline; given the ante-upping design of 220 Central Park South across the street — and 111 West 57th Street, one block over — a design that is actually appealing seems much more likely than not.

Completion is expected by 2018.

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Posted in 217 West 57th Street | 225 W57th | Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill | Architecture | Construction Update | Extell | Hotel | Midtown | New York | Nordstrom | Residential | Supertall | The Nordstrom Tower

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