Permits Filed: 138 East 50th Street

138 East 50th Street138 East 50th Street -- the garage at center -- via Google Maps

The first DOB filings are up for yet another major new development in Midtown, at 138 East 50th Street. According to the New York Post, Extell bought the site for $61 million in 2012, but The Real Deal reported that Ceruzzi Properties acquired the site from Extell last August, though the last transaction’s dollar value was not specified.

Permits list SLCE as the architect of record, and the new tower will be a relatively large hotel, totaling 220,638 square feet. Plans include a 7,036 square foot retail component, and above, the 52-story skyscraper will be divided between 764 rooms, and 138 East 50th will stand 502 feet to its roof.

Renderings are currently lacking, but in terms of appearance, the project is likely to be average. Whether SLCE is the design architect remains to be seen, but the filings indicate relatively low ceiling heights, in addition to small rooms; while the product will seemingly fall below the super-luxury threshold, that is a good thing, as demand for more affordable new hotel rooms in Manhattan continues to soar.

As long as 138 East 50th Street has a proper street-wall and cladding that isn’t awful, the project should benefit the neighborhood, generating a significant amount of new pedestrian traffic in an area that is dominated by office workers. Even at 52 stories, the surrounding density will relegate Ceruzzi’s project to ‘filler’ status.

The new plans speak to another issue: Midtown East’s potential should not be limited to office buildings. While unions may oppose new construction, what’s best for New York is most important. The neighborhood’s accessible and central location could and should be a catalyst for a general boom in both hospitality and residential development, and hopefully the imminent re-zoning addresses the need for more projects like 138 East 50th Street.

138 East 50th Street

138 East 50th Street — aerial via Google Maps

If politicians do not up-zone in accordance with pent-up demand, neighborhoods like Chelsea and the Garment District will continue to be leveled piece by piece, with existing pre-war stock gradually replaced by modernist, street-wall defying monstrosities.

No completion date for 138 East 50th Street has been announced, but given the fresh permits, construction would appear to be imminent.

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