Back in early 2014, YIMBY featured a first look at speculative plans for the redevelopment of the American Bible Society. That concept fell through, but we followed up with a post that included a prospective design by architects Goldstein Hill & West. Now, Skidmore Owings & Merrill has been tapped to design the project, and thanks to a tipster’s submission of diagrams for the project, we were able to create renderings that are a close approximation of what the building will ultimately look like.
AvalonBay Communities is developing the site, and the Wall Street Journal reported that they acquired the old building for $300 million back in February. The American Bible Society will move to Philadelphia, and its old headquarters will soon be torn down.
The location is one of the best in New York City, and while the site is not directly on Central Park, it’s immediately across the street from 15 Central Park West. Until the rise of 220 Central Park South — also located just two blocks southeast of 1865 Broadway — “Limestone Jesus” held the title of Manhattan’s most expensive residential building.
SOM’s plan for 1865 Broadway will complement its rival across the street quite nicely, employing a facade that evokes I.M. Pei’s Turtle Bay Towers, per our tipster. While YIMBY was able to secure construction diagrams, the renderings were not yet available, and our in-house expert Jose Hernandez modeled the building based on the schematics and advice from our tipster.
The plan features a major retail component at the base, totaling four floors, with two sub-levels and two above-ground levels of space. That will be topped by an angled setback that will include rental units. Above that, the actual tower portion begins, and in an unusual move for AvalonBay, that part will house condominiums from the 23rd floor on up.
Current plans indicate a mix of 131 rentals, ranging from alcove studios to a few four-bedrooms, while there will be 26 condos, all either two or three bedrooms besides a 4,000-square-foot four-bedroom unit on the penthouse level. The building’s gross size will measure 343,000 square feet, and the retail will measure almost 70,000 square feet.
1865 Broadway will stand 32 stories in all, with a parapet rising 417.5 feet above street level. While the height is demure by typical Manhattan standards, the surrounding neighborhood is short enough that the building will have relative prominence, especially when viewed from up or down Broadway.
Luckily, SOM’s plans are extremely appealing, and depart significantly from the firm’s glassier work just a few blocks south, at 250 West 55th Street. The width of the spandrels between the windows will decrease as the facade rises, and the end result will be a tapered execution in concrete elegance.
Like 432 Park Avenue, it appears that windows will be both single-pane and enormous. The single-pane aspect is the more expensive part of the equation, but with buyers willing to pay insane premiums for units at projects like 432 Park, the trade-off is justified for the super-high-end residential market.
Fittingly, SOM was also the architect of the old building that will be demolished to make way for the new tower. It was originally built in 1965, and while it offered a relatively tasteful addition to the Broadway streetscape, the new skyscraper will still be within the scale of the rest of the neighborhood’s recent developments, while also improving dramatically on both the old design, and the site’s accessibility to pedestrians.
The area’s transformation and the birth of the “Lincoln Square” moniker began with the razing of the old New York Coliseum, which gradually became a decrepit magnet for the city’s homeless until its demolition in 2000. Since the construction of Time Warner Center, adjacent blocks have experienced a real estate boom, and both Broadway and Columbus Circle have become some of the best examples of New York’s pedestrian renaissance.
Besides the rise of 15 Central Park West, Fordham Lincoln Center’s campus expansion has also been ongoing for the past several years, located on the super-block between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues. Two residential towers have already been developed by Glenwood on the western edge of the site, and a new law school and dormitory has opened on 62nd Street. And soon, they will be joined by additional buildings fronting Columbus Avenue, which promise to fully integrate the campus into its Lincoln Square surrounds.
As for 1865 Broadway, no firm completion date has been announced, but demolition of the old building is set to begin shortly.