Permits Filed: 1558 Third Avenue

1558 Third Avenue, image from Google Maps1558 Third Avenue, image from Google Maps

In the past, DDG’s projects have all been on or below 14th Street, but the integrated design-and-development firm has finally moved uptown: today their architects filed permits for a tower at 1558 Third Avenue, on the Upper East Side.

The 469-foot, 31-story tower will sit at the corner of East 88th Street, on a site that they picked up from Muss Development for nearly $70 million.

The permit indicates 182,995 square feet of residential space (though, confusingly, just 151,458 square feet of total construction area) divided among just 44 apartments. Even using the lower square footage, this works out to apartments that are nearly 3,500 square feet in size on average – far larger than the average new American single-family home. Units this large combined with the extreme ceiling heights (each story will be more than 15 feet, including mechanical space) and DDG’s past projects all but guarantee that it will be condos.

The project will be by far the most attractive on this stretch of Third Avenue, once dubbed Birnbaum Canyon for all of the Philip Birnbaum-designed middle-class towers that went up after World War II. That building boom was sparked by the demolition of the old IRT Third Avenue elevated line, and perhaps aided by the fact that the Yorkville section of the Upper East Side was one of the last desirable corners of New York City with generous zoning under the 1961 code. (That loose zoning is still in effect, though rent stabilization and controls have made redeveloping the avenues’ remaining tenements difficult.)

The current boom is also likely being sped along by rapid transit, but by addition rather than subtraction. By 2016, the first phase of the Second Avenue subway, on the Upper East Side, should open. It will have a stop at 86th Street, and will provide a one-seat ride across 59th Street to the West Side and then down Broadway, as an extension of the Q (at least for the foreseeable future, before the third and fourth phases downtown are completed). The DDG site, however, is actually closer to the current express stop on Lexington Avenue than it will be to the Second Avenue one.

HTO Architect is the architect of record, but DDG does its design in-house. There will be no parking included.

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