Exclusive Reveal for Koreatown’s First Residential Skyscraper at 316 Fifth Avenue, by Kohn Pedersen Fox

316 5th Avenue316 5th Avenue at left by KPF, former extant structures at right by Tectonic

The blocks of NoMad and its immediate surrounds remain incredibly active in terms of new development, and the wave of construction sweeping Fifth Avenue is about to yield yet another skyscraper. Today, YIMBY has an exclusive first look at what’s in store for 316 Fifth Avenue, in Koreatown, where developer Cottonwood Management is planning a 539-foot-tall tower designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox.

Permits for the project were filed back in July of 2017 and show a 39-story building with a predominantly residential makeup of 27 full-floor or larger condominiums. That component will total 52,340 square feet, while a commercial-retail base will have 6,809 square feet on the first two floors.

The base will be topped by an amenity space with terraces for the residential portion of the project, with mechanical levels interspersed up above until the full-floor units begin on the 8th story. Two duplex penthouses will occupy the 33rd through 36th floors, while the uppermost levels will hold additional mechanical functions.

While the filings with the Department of Buildings indicate a top-floor height of 539 feet, the first rendering for the design by Kohn Pedersen Fox seemingly shows some architectural flourish at the parapet, which could yield a final pinnacle between 550 and 600 feet above street level.

Ten years ago, that would have made 316 Fifth Avenue relatively prominent. Today, the blocks to the south have been increasingly built-up, and buildings like 277 Fifth Avenue and 30 East 31st Street are now nearing completion while other projects like 29 East 30th Street, 30 East 31st Street, and 10 West 29th Street are also underway, each of which is of a comparable or larger scope than the Kohn Pedersen Fox design.

While the aforementioned buildings are on the edge of NoMad, 316 Fifth Avenue is actually technically in Koreatown, a micro-neighborhood where new development is exceedingly uncommon, especially of this scope. With full-floor units beginning on the eighth level, the plans seem to account for the vibrant retail scene below, and 32nd Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues is easily one of the most visibly healthy arteries in all of Manhattan.

That is likely both a positive and a negative for the project, with vibrancy a deterrence to some and a draw for others. In the case of 316 Fifth Avenue, severe supply restrictions within the geographic bounds of Koreatown could more than mitigate any downsides of vibrancy when it comes to pricing, especially with the design seemingly accounting for noise and street activity.

314-316 Fifth Avenue

314-316 Fifth Avenue, image by Oppix

Demolition of the site’s former occupants has now wrapped, with advocates of preservation failing in efforts to red-tape the previously extant structures, now reduced to rubble. No completion date for the tower has been announced but the plan exam was denied by the DOB last week, so things will have to be re-filed before work can begin in earnest.

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11 Comments on "Exclusive Reveal for Koreatown’s First Residential Skyscraper at 316 Fifth Avenue, by Kohn Pedersen Fox"

  1. Please pardon me for using your space: Stop to see – stop to follow but I don’t stop to read details of progress.

  2. Shameful because KPF would have been the kind of firm that could have incorporated the beautiful beaux-arts buildings into the design of the new development.

  3. Too bad the historic buildings couldn’t be incorporated into the new build. :-/

  4. Andrew Porter | July 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Reply

    The building on the right in the top photo/rendering was extensively written about in numerous architectural and real estate blogs. Its impending destruction was widely lamented.

    Not ALL tear-downs and their replacements by new structures are a good thing.

    However, here on YIMBY I know I am preaching to the wrong congregation.

    • Nikolai Fedak | July 9, 2018 at 1:14 pm | Reply

      Maybe Manhattan politicians should incentivize preservation instead of using historic buildings as pawns in political chess? If they actually yielded a solution, that would remove their minimal leverage, so of course nothing helpful is done.

      I strongly agree that the structures should have been preserved, there is no reason the city shouldn’t offer FAR bonuses to developers who consider and incorporate the past.

  5. Regrettable that no enlightened developers ever consider working with historic structures and the corner building was indeed worthy of preservation. Why does it only take incentives or tax breaks to be a good neighbor and have some consideration for the city in which you live. Heck it might actually make your building more memorable instead of yet another glass tower. I haven’t seen that one built before. A missed opportunity for KPF to stand out from the crowd. I presume their design staff can’t think out of the box.

  6. I’m enraged by these greedy money hungry developers tearing down beautiful pre-war buildings. wheres the landmark preservation committee?

  7. Steven Kopstein | July 14, 2018 at 10:07 am | Reply

    Poor choice of location. Surely there must be some hideous buildings or parking lot nearby they could’ve used. Sad to see these old dames destroyed… to be replaced by a boring skyscarper. I know it’s “progress” but at what pice? c’est la vie.

  8. LOL, “Koreatown…” You mean Madison Square North/NoMad! Also, there’s two new-ish residential towers across the street, so it’s hardly the first. Unfortunately, this one will be as banal, replacing two beautiful low-rises while several nondescript ones next door should have instead went, or be included for something more ambitious anyway.

    • Nikolai Fedak | July 15, 2018 at 5:47 pm | Reply

      Anything located on 32nd between 5th and 6th is, IMO, Ktown. The ones across 5th are NoMAD/Midtown South.

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