Revealed: 18 West 56th Street

18 West 56th Street18 West 56th Street's mud-splatted rendering -- photo by Andrew McKeon

Renderings have been posted for a hotel that is about to begin rising at 18 West 56th Street; the building will stand 16 stories and 196 feet tall. Stonehill & Taylor is the architectural firm of record, while Firmdale Hotels is developing the site.

Excavation is well underway, and work on the foundation is about to begin; permits for the development were partially approved in December of last year. With 86 rooms, 18 West 56th Street’s closest comparison may actually on the other end of the island, as Stonehill & Taylor and Firmdale also worked together on the Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo, which has a similar aesthetic.

Firmdale’s latest addition is quite promising; for starters, the exterior will be flush with the existing street-wall. Enormous casement windows will dominate, and while the facade material remains mysterious, the design seems to offer a historical take on the ‘industrial chic’ aesthetic — a combination that is undervalued. Visually, 18 West 56th Street will be far superior to surrounding buildings, and the development will be a positive influence on a Midtown block that remains relatively dingy.

18 West 56th Street

Excavation at 18 West 56th Street — photo by Andrew McKeon

The rendering of 18 West 56th Street also shares similarities with the nearby Viceroy — designed by Roman & Williams — at 120 West 57th Street. Together, the developments represent a concerted push to design hotels that actually look nice, with proximity to ‘Billionaire’s Row’ likely a driving factor. Positive externalities of the 57th Street boom are often ignored, but an increase in the quality of the neighborhood’s new buildings is definitely noticeable.

Details remain lacking — and mud splattered across the rendering does not help — but at least the project is progressing. Completion is expected in the fall of 2015.

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