Interview: Discussing 80 South Street’s Progress

80 South Street80 South Street and its inspiration, The Longacre Tower

While details on 80 South Street’s progress have been scarce beyond YIMBY’s previous interview with Morali Architects, there is good news for the tower’s prospects, as permits for the transfer of air rights from the neighboring landmarks have now been filed. YIMBY sat down with chief architect Anthony Morali to discuss the plan’s progression.

YIMBY: Cord Meyer is the tower’s developer, and as of our last meeting, they were seeking financing – do you have any updates?

MORALI: Cord Meyer is committed to getting 80 South Street built, and we’re in talks with several hotel partners as well. The residential market is booming right now and the interest is there – partially thanks to YIMBY – and we’re almost finished with the approval process.

YIMBY: How has the approval process gone, and have you had to incorporate any modifications post-Sandy?

MORALI: Well the process has evolved somewhat, but the chief concern is the new flood regulations from the federal government – but there have been no major changes since we last spoke. The Seaport is vulnerable to flooding but 80 South Street has been designed in a way to mitigate this, both at the base and through other means – the tower incorporates several levels that could potentially serve as elevated connections to other buildings in the neighborhood.

YIMBY: We touched on that idea last time, and it seems that several projects in the city – like 432 Park Avenue – offer similar ideas in their incorporations of ‘cut-outs’ between occupied sections of the tower. Do you see this is a future component of all new construction in the city?

MORALI: 80 South Street is unique in that it’s forward-thinking and extremely environmentally friendly; it’s forward thinking in that the levels incorporate greenery, and the dividers truly can be used to link the tower to nearby buildings with elevated walkways if the need arises. And that’s the thing; we need to be proactive with new development, and think of the future. Remedial design is just that, but 80 South Street is something different; unlike other developers we’re acknowledging the building’s location, which is prone to flooding in extreme situations, and we’re taking measures that will totally mitigate any impacts from future events. The different levels a gesture to the city’s future, and the fact that we shouldn’t think of New York as existing on a single plane; the future of the city will be built on different horizontal levels, and this is a facet 80 South Street incorporates. So whether others follow remains to be seen, but I see the city becoming a series of planes rather than what it is now, which is only one street level – and 80 South Street incorporates this potential into its design.

YIMBY: You also mentioned green features and environmental friendliness; can you explain further?

MORALI: Beyond the levels, the terraces – inside the ‘gaps’ between each of the building’s apartments – will have greenery, and flowing pools. The roof is going to be green. What we’re seeing now is more green roofs that actually incorporate vegetation and that’s something we plan on doing at 80 South Street. Instead of a simple white roof, which aids the albedo effect, a green roof with plants will actually absorb both carbon and water runoff. We’re seeing problems resulting from the city’s reliance on asphalt and concrete and the sewer systems can’t cope with all the rain during heavy events; vegetation on a building’s roof absorbs part of the excess run-off and also helps cool the city. It’s a win-win and a feature we’ll be incorporating that goes above and beyond current mandates. The building also has a driverless parking system; computer automation has come a long ways, and we can pack the cars in via sensors at this point. It won’t be major, but it’ll be a nice addition as the tower will be luxury.

YIMBY: And the permitting process; where are you now? What happens next?

MORALI: Landmark permits will be certified next week. Financing is in the works; the company is going to leave a defining mark on the Downtown skyline. The market is definitely there and I think 80 South Street offers a unique location away from other competing developments, so it has a definite niche. You have towers like 56 Leonard and 30 Park Place – and then the 57th Street supertalls – but 80 South Street really offers something unique, in a neighborhood that’s very high-end yet lacks significant luxury development. 80 South Street is well situated to take advantage of its location and position and it will; Cord Meyer is confident enough to proceed.

For any questions, comments, or feedback, email [email protected]

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