What Could Have Been: 16 West 57th Street

16 West 57th Street16 West 57th Street, image from B+B Capital

Yesterday, Katherine Clarke at the Daily News broke the latest on 16 West 57th Street, which has been acquired by a group of Brazilians for $95 million. While renderings of the project have not yet been released, YIMBY has a first look at the most recent plans for the site, which come from developer B+B Capital.

Air rights total approximately 100,000 square feet, and the mid-block project is located on the prime 57th Street corridor, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. While several supertalls are rising along the thoroughfare, 16 West 57th will be of a smaller scale, closer in size to the recently completed Viceroy, one block to the west.

Still, plans will apparently include condominiums above the hotel, so views may be a driving force behind the ultimate design. Unfortunately, the site is directly across the street from the Solow Building — which stands 689 feet tall — and barring a miracle of engineering, it will be impossible for residences to reach a height that would award Central Park panoramas.

The stretch of 57th between 5th and 6th Avenues has been quiet until recently, but several projects are on the near horizon. Across the street from 16 West 57th, Vornado is planning a 7-star hotel at 29-33 West 57th Street, where Rizzoli was formerly located. Another vacant lot at 52 West 57th Street was supposed to give rise to a 25-story and slightly over 200,000 square foot tower back in 2005, but that site is also likely owned by Vornado, and could potentially give rise to something significant, assuming additional air rights are assembled.

Schematics for the B+B’s 16 West 57th show a building approximately 30 stories tall, and while the eventual structure could be taller, anything over 500 feet would appear unlikely. Still, the site’s redevelopment presents an opportunity for the continued improvement of 57th Street, especially if it includes ground-level retail, which would seem likely given the street’s rapidly rising cache.

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