Revealed: 172 Madison Avenue, 31 Stories of Karl Fischer-Designed Condos

172 Madison Avenue172 Madison Avenue, image by Karl Fischer Architects

Back in September, YIMBY covered the first drawings posted for the revival of 172 Madison Avenue, a long-stalled site in Midtown on the northwest corner of Madison and 33rd Street. In the years since plans were initially conceived, another 42-story tower has already risen across the street, at 160 Madison Avenue.

Now it finally seems like 172 Madison Avenue is also about to begin rising, and YIMBY has the first rendering for the 31-story and 391-foot tall tower. Karl Fischer is the architect, while Yitzhak Tessler is the developer, and the building will span 129,442 square feet, with 4,523 square feet set aside for ground-floor retail. The remainder will be divided between 63 condominiums, averaging nearly 2,000 square feet apiece. Rooftop mechanicals boost the building’s height to just shy of 450 feet.

The new version of 172 Madison is a glassy departure from past conceptions for the site, which sits an an awkward crossroads. The site is just to the north and west of the increasingly desirable NoMad and Park Avenue South corridors, but also only one block southeast of the Empire State Building, and definitely feels much more like Midtown than either of the aforementioned areas.

Perhaps this explains the awkward design for the building. Next door, 160 Madison Avenue is an exercise in glassy banality, and 172 Madison will echo its neighbor in a similarly unattractive fashion, again offering a tower that is designed as if it’s completely separate from the podium it is perched upon.

While the façade is not bad, the massing is problematic, and the tower’s envelope is awkwardly broken by balconies that perforate the upper floors. The result is a mess, and while 172 Madison is not as uniformly offensive as 160 Madison, its low points are just as bad.

Despite its faults, the interiors will likely be spectacular, and ceilings will average 11 feet on lower floors, increasing to a very lofty 18 feet on the top five levels. Completion is likely by 2016.

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