Construction Update: One SoHo Square

One SoHo Square

YIMBY previously revealed the office conversion and expansion coming to 161 Avenue of the Americas and 233 Spring Street, dubbed One SoHo Square, and the project — which was designed by Gensler — is now moving forward, with construction making visible progress. Stellar Management and Rockpoint Group are the developers.

One SoHo Square

One SoHo Square

Once the build-out is complete, the new One SoHo Square will total 768,000 square feet, and stand nineteen stories tall. Insides of both existing structures will be completely gutted, and the reformed and modernized floor-plates should prove attractive to technology firms searching for modernized spaces in the neighborhood, which is dominated by aging pre-war stock.

While most of the work at One SoHo Square is internal, the actual expansion is now taking shape, with steel outlining the conservative addition to 233 Spring Street. The more dramatic commercial penthouses will come later, and that portion of the development will stand taller than both existing structures, though it will not overwhelm 161 Avenue of the Americas, which is already attractive in its own right.

One SoHo Square

One SoHo Square

Stellar and Rockpoint have hired CBRE to market the space, and One SoHo Square is expected to re-open at the end 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 | Rockpoint Group | Soho | Stellar Management

Permits Filed: 30 Hudson Yards

Rendering of 30 Hudson Yards, as seen from the 7 station, via Related

The official groundbreaking for 30 Hudson Yards, Related’s North Tower, happened at the end of 2012, when construction began on the $700 million platform over which part of the tower will rest. And soon, work on the actual tower may commence, with architect KPF filing permits this morning under the structure’s official name, 500 West 33rd Street.

Financing arrangements for the tower are in the works, and the construction loan will close in mid-2015, at which point the tower will begin to go vertical.

Time Warner, which will own their own space, will be the anchor tenant at the tower at 10th Avenue and 33rd Street, occupying the building up to the 38th floor, with the choicest perches still up for grabs.

30 Hudson Yards, as viewed from 33rd Street and 10th Avenue, via Related

30 Hudson Yards, as viewed from 33rd Street and 10th Avenue, via Related

In related news, the first part of the “Hudson Boulevard” park and mid-avenue thoroughfare, between 10th and 11th Avenues, should open by the end of the year, according to the Wall Street Journal. The initial segment will stretch from West 33rd Street to West 39th, and will contain a pedestrian promenade in the center and north- and southbound streets on the edges.

The tower at 30 Hudson Yards will contain around 2.6 million square feet of office space, plus another million in retail in an adjacent podium.

The companion tower of 30 Hudson Yards, known as the South (or Coach) Tower at 10 Hudson Yards, started to go vertical last year. Its tenants – which include Coach, L’Oréal and SAP – are expected to move in by July 2015.

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Posted in 30 Hudson Yards | Architecture | Hudson Yards | Kohn Pedersen Fox | Midtown | Midtown West | New York | Office | Related

Changing NYC Workforce Means Changing Office Needs

Related's Hudson Yards towers, image by Related/Oxford and Visualhouse

A slew of super-sized office buildings are set to rise in Manhattan over the next several years, punctuating the city’s skyline with new spires of glass. Towers with over 10 million square feet of class A space – at the World Trade Center, Hudson Yards and Midtown proper – are either under construction or looking for tenants and financing.

With tenants lined up at for the first two office buildings at Hudson Yards and nearly half of the space committed at One and Four World Trade Center, these glittering giants are going for the globe’s elite corporations. Marquee tenants desire marquee buildings. Ten million square feet of Class A office space is set to rise in New York in the next few years, most of it underwritten by billions of dollars of public investments and tax abatements.

But as much as the city’s future competitiveness rests with satisfying the office needs of Fortune 500 companies, it also depends on attracting and nurturing startups in high-growth industries like tech, media, and design. These firms require a different sort of office space, and they’re finding it in less traditional buildings outside of Midtown’s office district.

There is rising concern that the city will not have enough flexible office space that meets the needs of startups, tech firms and creative businesses. City officials hope that it is these types of businesses that will propel the city’s economy through the 21st century, just as finance did during the second half of the twentieth.

These firms tend to shun the corporate Class A tower for more flexible spaces in Class B and Class C buildings. They are seeking space in Chelsea, Midtown South, Downtown, and Brooklyn, most often in pre-war buildings that are often cheaper and better suited to layouts preferred by high-growth industries.

“Tech companies are finding characteristics in pre-war buildings that they’re not finding in new office buildings,” says Vishaan Chakrabarti of SHoP Architects and Columbia University’s Center for Urban Real Estate. He notes that 85 percent of new, young companies are in older, pre-war buildings rather than Class A office towers.

Part of the reason is based on economics, but the preference for pre-war also reflects deeper changes in workplace culture: an aversion of the corporate aesthetic, an emphasis on collaboration, and a blurring of the lines between one’s “work life” and “social life.”

Tech and creative firms value collaboration, something that does not happen in sequestered offices on separate floors. Collaboration takes place in shared spaces, co-working stations, and other spaces intended to maximize “casual collisions of the workforce.” Pre-war buildings provide the opportunity to accommodate these arrangements in a way that is often difficult or impossible in corporate towers.

The preference for more collaborative spaces reflects foundational and long-lasting changes in the way people delineate their work lives from their social lives. It also reflects how the boundaries of the “workspace” have expanded to include our homes, our commutes, the café, and the park. It is no longer necessary to stay at one’s desk in order to work.

The workspace is now spilling out of office buildings and into neighboring parks, cafés, and even beer halls. As a result, neighborhoods matter, and young firms want 24-hour neighborhoods where jobs and housing are mixed together with restaurants, bars, and nightlife.

This type of working arrangement started with tech companies, but as Chakrabarti notes, “The reality is that most new young companies are tech companies,” including those in architecture. “I’d consider SHoP a tech company.” The upshot is that these new workplaces will become the new normal.

The move towards shared spaces means that companies need fewer square feet per worker than traditional office layouts. It also means that the single-purpose office district will become increasingly unattractive to newer firms.

 

55 Hudson Yards

55 Hudson Yards, image by Related/Oxford and Visualhouse

Growth in creative and technology firms is outpacing that in finance, and developers of Class A space may be beginning to get the message. As the website for 55 Hudson Yards proclaims, the building will feature “efficient and flexible workspace” for “a work/life integration that enhances employee performance.” 10 Hudson Yards will bridge over the High Line Park with a 60-foot public passageway through the building. One can imagine employees at Coach or L’Oreal bringing their laptops down to the park to collaborate on a new project.

But this space will surely be too expensive for the smaller firms that make up another important pillar of the city’s economy. There is an emerging consensus that the city’s focus must shift to growing the supply of Class B and C office space. The city actually lost 6.2 million square feet of Class B and C space since 2000, even as demand has heated up. The city’s Economic Development Corporation estimates that all the remaining space will be full by 2018. If more space doesn’t become available, the city risks missing out on the next wave of high-growth firms.

Seth Pinsky, former president of the city’s Economic Develoment Corporation and now with RXR Realty, recently said, “There needs to be affordable space for the small companies and start-ups we talk so much about attracting to the city,” noting that up to 15 million square feet of affordable space may be lost in the coming years.

And while some of this growth will happen in Manhattan, policymakers and developers are increasingly focusing on the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront for new job growth. While a developer needs at least $67/square foot to break even on a new development in Midtown South, only $46/square foot is needed in Downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City, according to the EDC.

Domino Redevelopment

Two Trees’ Domino Redevelopment, image by SHoP

Bellwethers include the Watchtower properties, with 1.3 million square feet of space, and the New Domino development’s 500,000 square feet of office space. Smaller conversions like 1000 Dean Street and 29 Ryerson Street, both in Brooklyn, will also be a critical component of any strategy to grow space for startups and creative firms.

The de Blasio administration is also rethinking the role of industrial zones along the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront. Planning commission chair Carl Weisbrod recently talked of industrial zones in Long Island City, musing whether “the city can manufacture space by going vertical for industrial use, allowing businesses to expand.” His idea of vertical manufacturing spaces sounds a bit like the type of space favored by tech and creative startups.

The challenge is that Class B and C office space often doesn’t command the rents necessary to cover the cost of adaptive redevelopment, not to mention new construction. “We get the sense that the marketplace is struggling to build new office space for these newer kinds of companies,” says Chakrabarti.

He suggests that the city step in to provide assistance to property owners in older commercial buildings to upgrade their facilities and broadband access. “There needs to be a new type of building, a ‘Class T’ building that gets away from the A, B, C classification.”

Others warn about losing valuable commercial space to residential use. The EDC predicts that another 12 million square feet of Class B and C space will be lost to residential conversions in the next 12 years. There is also talk that the de Blasio administration is considering whether housing should be allowed in the city’s industrial zones.

Jonathan Bowles of the Center for an Urban Future commented on Long Island City’s industrial zones, “I think that we ought to be looking; should that be preserved, tech companies in the next few years may be able to go there—or creative businesses.”

While the city must ensure that construction, transportation, and warehousing firms have a space in the city, there are definitely places where housing and jobs can coexist. Chakrabarti explains, “This isn’t just about housing, it’s about the ecology of people’s lives. We want to start building these communities where people can walk to work or bike to work.”

This was central to the plan at New Domino, and “At Domino, there’s an intent to build the ecology of an entire neighborhood.” (The fact that local politicians would more readily accept a density boost if it came in the form of office space probably didn’t hurt either.)

The city should also consider the live/work approach when reevaluating its plans for Midtown East. Both commercial and residential space should be included in new buildings, with a higher allowable density to ensure that enough new office space is still built. Conversions should not necessarily be discouraged, as more residents and uses would breathe new life into the neighborhood, with the Financial District offering a prime example of resurgent vitality due to similar conditions.

Housing is also a vital component at Hudson Yards, as is the pedestrian environment. The more employees arriving by bike or via The High Line, the more successful the neighborhood will be.

As the nature of the office market changes—preferences, workplace culture, the blurred lines between the office and the surrounding neighborhood—developers and policymakers must react. By focusing on growing startup-friendly buildings—especially in Brooklyn and Queens—the city can work to replace the exodus of manufacturing employment. And by rethinking established office districts as opportunities for additional residential development, the city can meet the needs of tomorrow’s high-growth firms.

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Posted in Architecture | Downtown | Midtown | New York | Office | Residential | SHoP | Uncategorized | Vishaan Chakrabarti

Revealed: Plaza Renovation at 1250 Broadway

1250 Broadway, image by Jamestown

Most New Yorkers may recognize the office tower at 1250 Broadway as the entrance to Koreatown, but owner Jamestown is well on its way to repositioning the black-and-white modernist skyscraper as a tech hub. To that end, the landlord is embarking on a $3 million renovation of the building’s plaza and lobby, and shared renderings of the project with YIMBY.

The makeover involves a new glass curtain wall at the tower’s base and a new stainless steel canopy, as well as replacing “the existing stone metal cladding at the corner of the building with new ‘white glass’ primary façade material,” per a press release.

1250 Broadway

1250 Broadway, image by Jamestown

 

Jamestown bought 1250 Broadway in 2008, and while it doesn’t have the stereotypically pre-war aesthetic of other tech-y buildings — like Chelsea Market, soon to undergo a major expansion — it has still attracted a fair number of firms, showing that a prime location on Silicon Alley and a dearth of older buildings with affordable rents will lead to companies stepping outside of their comfort zone.

Varonis Systems just tripled their space for a total of 46,000 square feet over three floors, while Rocket Fuel and Piksel, among others, also count themselves as tenants.

The renovation of 1250 Broadway should wrap up in the fall. The new design is by Moed de Armas & Shannon Architects, who are also heading up the redesign of nearby Herald Center at 1293 Broadway.

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Posted in 1250 Broadway | Architecture | Construction Update | Jamestown | Koreatown | Midtown | Midtown South | New York | Office

Construction Update: 855 Sixth Avenue

855 Sixth Avenue

Full renderings may be lacking, but construction at 855 Sixth Avenue has begun in earnest, where the Durst Organization is erecting a 41-story mixed-use tower (with the help of some foreign EB-5 investors looking for a slice of the American dream), as YIMBY previously reported.

The tower will be predominately residential, with 375 luxury apartments (20 percent of which will be rented at below-market rates), but will also include a sizable office component and 57,000 square feet of retail space.

855 Sixth Avenue

855 Sixth Avenue

Because the large development site bleeds into the industrial M1-6 zone between Sixth and Seventh Avenues, the developer cannot build the entire site to its highest and best use – luxury residential – and will therefore be including a substantial 127,000 square feet of office space on the second through sixth floors (to put that in perspective, that’s not that much smaller than the Jeanne Gang-designed all-office “Solar Carve” tower going up on the High Line).

While the office space won’t be as profitable as luxury apartments – and office space hasn’t been more profitable than residential space anywhere in the five boroughs for longer than we’ve been around – Durst will likely have no problem finding tenants. Unlike the towers going up at the World Trade Center and on the Far West Side, 855 Sixth sits squarely within the Midtown South subdistrict, where tech and creative companies are eager to lease space.

855 Sixth Avenue

855 Sixth Avenue

The tower should add some heft to an area that’s been crying out for height to accompany the once-lonely Empire State Building. And the partial renderings that have been released show a clean façade designed by Cook + Fox (SLCE is the architect of record), mercifully bereft of the PTAC heating and cooling units that normally pockmark rental buildings in New York City, but which are unheard of in office towers.

855 Sixth Avenue

855 Sixth Avenue

Per on-site signage, completion of 855 Sixth Avenue is expected in April of 2016.

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Posted in 855 6th Avenue | Architecture | Construction Update | Cook + Fox Architects | Durst | Midtown | New York | Office | Residential | SLCE

Nordstrom Tower to Become World’s Tallest Residential Building at 1,775 Feet

Nordstrom Tower, 3D Model and architectural diagrams

YIMBY has the latest drawings of Nordstrom Tower, courtesy of an anonymous tipster close to the project. Scoping documents also include the actual height numbers: 225 West 57th Street‘s facade will top-out 1,479′ above street level, while a surprise spire on top will cap the tower at 1,775 feet. Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill are designing the building.

Nordstrom Tower

Diagram of the Nordstrom Tower’s roof and spire, 1,775′ up

New York City’s skyscraper boom is entering unparalleled territory, and 225 West 57th Street could very well represent the crest of the current wave, assuming the tower is financed. The new height details will result in several superlatives: Manhattan will finally retake the ‘tallest roof’ in the United States from Chicago’s Willis Tower, which stands 1,451′, and 225 West 57th Street will become the tallest residential building in the entire world, surpassing both 432 Park Avenue and Mumbai’s World One Tower.

Nordstrom Tower

Nordstrom Tower, south elevation along 57th Street

Structural drawings indicate the curtain wall will be accompanied by steel fins and aluminum louvers, and the result should become a contemporary icon on the Manhattan skyline.  The talented Otie O’Daniel created 3D models of the tower based on the drawings and schematics, which give better insight into the building’s eventual appearance — though the images are not official renderings.

Nordstrom Tower

Nordstrom Tower — rendering by Otie O’Daniel

225 West 57th Street’s design has seen modifications since vague renderings were presented to Landmarks during the debate over the tower’s cantilever, which will rest over the historic Arts Students League. Additional protrusions have been eliminated, and the ultimate design appears to be far sleeker than the original proposal.

Even the cantilever appears to be well-integrated, adding additional heft to the stem of the actual tower, which rises after several setbacks in a style befitting the wedding cake-shape of Manhattan’s traditional skyscrapers. The result is aggressive, and the tower’s ultimate pinnacle will stand over 300 feet taller than any other manmade objects in Midtown, piercing the nascent plateau emerging around the 1,400-foot mark.

The Nordstrom Tower

The Nordstrom Tower

In terms of contemporary comparisons, the design looks to draw from Smith + Gill’s Trump International Tower in Chicago, which is also replete with setbacks and ends in a distinctive but far shorter spire; indeed, it almost looks like a merger between Trump and Willis, though the notched indentations at Nordstrom will be far less intrusive than the setbacks on the former Sears Tower.

Extell’s latest development will have a collection of superlative titles, but its (hopefully) imminent rise underscores the velocity of New York’s general ‘supertall’ boom, which is now the most impressive on the planet. In Midtown alone, other supertalls on the near-horizon include 111 West 57th Street, 432 Park Avenue, 53 West 53rd Street, 3 Hudson Boulevard, 30 Hudson Yards, and 35 Hudson Yards, all of which are already under construction or on their way.

Nordstrom Tower

Nordstrom Tower — rendering by Otie O’Daniel

While the Nordstrom Tower’s roof height will be the tallest in the Western Hemisphere, its pinnacle will fall one foot shy of One World Trade Center’s, which begs the question of whether Extell could simply add a few dozen feet to snatch the crown. Such a feat would not be unprecedented, and what ultimately signals resilience is continued progress; instead of deferring to the “Freedom Tower,” 225 West 57th Street should surpass it, returning the title of Manhattan’s tallest building to Midtown on a more permanent basis.

Completion of 225 West 57th Street is currently slated for 2018, and the most recent permits — which were partially approved on July 1st — reveal a total scope of over 1.2 million square feet.

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Posted in 217 West 57th Street | 225 W57th | 225 West 57th Street | Extell | The Nordstrom Tower

New Details: 3 Hudson Boulevard

3 Hudson Boulevard, image by Neoscape

A tipster sent along the link for 3 Hudson Boulevard’s new website, which has all the details for the soon-to-be supertall, as well as views from the top of the tower. The project’s architect is FXFOWLE, and Moinian is developing; a recent report indicated that the project has secured a ground loan, which means that construction is now imminent.

3 Hudson Boulevard will stand 1,050 feet to its pinnacle, and will contain a mix of uses; tenants have the option of turning the entire building into offices, but given the incredible demand for elevated residences, condominiums on the upper floors would appear to be likely. The tower will total 1.8 million square feet, and the fact sheet has additional specifications.

The tower’s impact on the skyline will be significant, given its location on 11th Avenue, which guarantees permanent visibility from New Jersey — at least pending an eventual redevelopment of the Javits Center. While the largest buildings at Related’s Hudson Yards development will be taller, those towers will be located to the southeast; the skyscraper is directly to the north of 55 Hudson Yards.

3 Hudson Boulevard

View from the 60th floor looking south, image via Moinain

Views will be impressive, and the tower’s perspective over the Midtown skyline will be particularly noteworthy; the build-out of the rest of the neighborhood will enhance the vistas with additional architectural icons.

3 Hudson Boulevard

View from the 60th floor looking east, image via Moinian

Besides its elevated profile, 3 Hudson Boulevard will also contribute to the pedestrian sphere, and the project will front directly onto the new Hudson Boulevard and Park. Renderings reveal the fountains and landscaping that will define the tower’s interaction with the subway station, and the end result will greatly enhance a portion of Manhattan that is currently barren, creating a walkable and pedestrian-friendly environment.

3 Hudson Boulevard

3 Hudson Boulevard — plaza next to 7-line stop, image by Neoscape

Completion of 3 Hudson Boulevard is expected in 2018.

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Posted in 3 Hudson Boulevard | Architecture | FX Fowle | Hudson Yards | Midtown | Midtown West | Moinian | New York | Office | Renderings | Supertall

New Look: 175 and 200 Greenwich Street

200 Greenwich Street -- image by Otie O'Daniel

While the Port Authority continues to stonewall efforts to complete the new World Trade Center, a talented reader has used existing schematics to create new renderings of 175 and 200 Greenwich Street, which illustrate the site’s ultimate appearance and obvious potential.

World Trade Center

200, 175, and 150 Greenwich — image by Otie O’Daniel

175 Greenwich Street will be the first of the two towers to rise, and may do so this year, assuming Silverstein and the Port Authority can come to an agreement. GroupM already has a tentative lease, and the base of the Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners-designed skyscraper has already made significant progress, with the first several floors now clad in glass and metal.

World Trade Center

200 Greenwich, 175 Greenwich, and 150 Greenwich — image by Otie O’Daniel

 

As the renderings show, 175 Greenwich Street will ultimately stand 1,175′ tall, though the supertall will still rank behind both One World Trade Center and 200 Greenwich Street in terms of height.

World Trade Center

200 Greenwich Street’s pinnacle, image by Otie O’Daniel

Completion of Two World Trade — aka 200 Greenwich — remains somewhat more elusive, but the Norman Foster-designed tower will likely become the crown jewel of the site once it is complete. Rumors have circulated that several banks have expressed interest in moving to the tower, but given the building will span 2.53 million square feet, something significantly more concrete will be necessary for the structure to begin rising.

World Trade Center

200 Greenwich, image by Otie O’Daniel

Nevertheless, once construction does begin, 200 Greenwich Street promises to bring positive changes to the vicinity, and its presence on the skyline will be iconic. The tower will stand 1,350′ to its pinnacle, almost putting it on-par with the roof of One World Trade Center.

World Trade Center

200 Greenwich facade, image by Otie O’Daniel

The renderings underscore the importance of reconstruction, especially as the Calatrava-designed Transit Hub comes closer to its opening day; the majority of the World Trade Center is about to be finished, yet the Port Authority’s lack of cooperation may result in a portion of the site remaining an active construction zone into the 2020s.

World Trade Center

Calatrava Hub wings & 175 Greenwich Street, image by Otie O’Daniel

Given the amount of office space coming online in Manhattan, 175 and 200 Greenwich face an uphill battle to secure tenants, but with other portions of the site now opening, commitments that will result in verticality are hopefully imminent. While Related and Brookfield’s projects on the Far West Side are close to Penn Station, their accessibility does not compare to the World Trade Center’s, which will hopefully guarantee the complete build-out of the WTC prior to 2020.

150 & 175 Greenwich and the World Trade Center Transit Hub

150 & 175 Greenwich and the World Trade Center Transit Hub

For now, 175 Greenwich remains stuck at its podium levels, while 200 Greenwich is a mechanical stump; at the very least, foundations for both buildings are complete, which means that once tenants are secured, construction can quickly proceed.

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Posted in 175 Greenwich | 2 World Trade | 200 Greenwich | 3 World Trade | Architecture | Downtown | New York | Office | Renderings | Silverstein | Supertall | World Trade Center

New Details: One Vanderbilt Vies for Title of Midtown’s Tallest

One Vanderbilt rendering, image by Kohn Pedersen Fox via Crain's New York

While the Midtown East re-zoning awaits additional tweaking and ultimate passage, plans are already proceeding for SL Green’s new tower at One Vanderbilt, which will be built under a special permit. Kohn Pedersen Fox is designing the 67-story building, and the project’s draft environmental impact statement contains tentative new specifics regarding its total size.

Per illustrations, One Vanderbilt’s rooftop will measure 1,350 feet, while its ultimate pinnacle looks to stand approximately 1,450′ above 42nd Street; the latter number would place the building as the second tallest structure in New York City, behind One World Trade Center. Pending adjustments, an additional foot would put the skyscraper ahead of Chicago’s Willis Tower, making it the second-tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

One Vanderbilt

One Vanderbilt — image via the draft EIS

The structure’s roof height of 1,350′ will be slightly less significant, ranking below three of the 57th Street supertalls, as well as One and Two World Trade Center. Nevertheless, the building will become a neighborhood landmark, looming over the much-bemoaned MetLife tower. Unlike its monolithic neighbor, One Vanderbilt’s upper floors will be characterized by a series of setbacks, and the parapet recalls pre-war Manhattan, when the city was dominated by spires.

On lower levels, the tower’s plan includes both restaurants and retail space; SL Green will also dramatically improve conditions on Vanderbilt Avenue, which will soon become a pedestrian gateway into the revitalized Midtown East. KPF’s latest icon will also have direct subway access.

One Vanderbilt

One Vanderbilt — image via the draft EIS

In terms of specifics, One Vanderbilt will have 1.079 million square feet of office space, 246,000 square feet reserved for trading floors, 53,000 square feet of retail, 27,000 square feet for restaurants, and 55,000 square feet dedicated to rooftop amenities, including an observation deck. The development’s total scope includes another 343,500 square feet of unusable space, for a total volume of 1.8 million square feet, and an FAR of 30.

One Vanderbilt

One Vanderbilt’s base, image via KPF/Crain’s

The potential deck at One Vanderbilt would offer a new perspective on the skyline to the general public, given the site’s distance from both the Top of the Rock and the Empire State Building’s 102nd floor. Including such a feature will further enhance the tower’s potentially iconic status.

As Midtown’s built environment finally catches up with 21st-century demands, One Vanderbilt will likely be joined by other ‘supertall’ buildings. Demand for new development in the surrounding neighborhood is extreme, and given the prices people are willing to pay for premium office and residential space, future structures will likely push even taller, especially if the re-zoning allows for significant residential density.

De Blasio’s push for more affordable housing must come with a similar thrust to reduce constraints on market-rate development, which is the housing most New Yorkers inhabit. In its current state, ‘affordable housing’ is a misnomer, and securing such a unit is like winning the lottery; 50,000 New Yorkers applied for 124 apartments at one such development in Harlem.

Adding the potential for significant residential development to the Midtown East re-zoning would create new living options for the neighborhood’s office workers, while also transforming the area from a relatively sterile business district into a thriving hub where people can both live and work. Plans for One Vanderbilt are proceeding without thought for this potential, though the KPF-designed building will still enhance the pedestrian sphere and the skyline, maximizing its built envelope.

One Vanderbilt

One Vanderbilt — image via the draft EIS

No formal completion date has been announced — and the site’s existing structures must still be demolished – but given the recent news that SL Green is in talks with TD Bank as a potential anchor tenant, a 2020 completion date would appear feasible.

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Posted in Architecture | Kohn Pedersen Fox | Midtown | Midtown East | New York | Office | One Vanderbilt | SL Green | Supertall | Zoning

Concept: 19 Kent Avenue

19 Kent Street, image by Workshop DA

19 Kent Avenue will become one of the largest office buildings in Williamsburg, but before the project’s current configuration, it was conceived as a potential mix of hotel and retail space. Workshop DA has renderings of the futuristic design, and given the size of the assemblage — which spans the entire block — the site leaves ample room for creativity.

The rendered version would have totaled 160,000 square feet, with new retail lining the entirety of the block. A courtyard would occupy the site’s center, with adjoining pedestrian arteries bisecting the shops, creating a lively public space along the ground level. 19 Kent Avenue’s 21-story hotel would rotate half-way up, allowing for “rooms with different view exposures.”

19 Kent Street

19 Kent Street at night inside courtyard, image by Workshop DA

Permits indicate the ultimate version of 19 Kent Avenue will span 384,000 square feet, and the additional density will benefit the neighborhood. While the Wythe Hotel has crowned the area’s renaissance, many vacant and underused lots remain, and escalating prices are pushing a surge in development.

Workshop DA’s vision for 19 Kent Avenue is nonetheless impressive, and its form evokes the creativity of both the Domino redevelopment and another unbuilt project by OMA, originally set for Jersey City. Shape-shifting architecture remains a relative rarity in New York City, but as technology keeps advancing, built envelopes will continue to evolve; Bjarke Ingels’ tetrahedron on 57th Street proves that unconventional massing can have its benefits, including the maximization of accessible outdoor space.

Heritage Equity is the site’s developer, and while Workshop DA’s concept will not be realized, the site’s eventual occupant will likely be large and attractive, given the neighborhood’s increasingly high-end appeal. DOB filings show that the new building will stand nine stories and 134 feet tall — substantially shorter than the renderings above — though evidently 19 Kent Avenue’s bulk will not be slight.

No completion date has been formally announced.

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Posted in 19 Kent Avenue | Heritage Equity | Toby Moskovitz | Williamsburg | Workshop DA

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