The last update YIMBY had for 118 East 59th Street was back in July of 2015, when the SCDA Architects-designed tower launched its promotional website and renderings. Now, the Midtown East site has been cleared of the previous buildings that once stood, and is a partially excavated open pit, replete with its own lake and new surrounding greenery. Permits were filed for the 470-foot, 38-story residential tower back in September 2014. SLCE Architects is the architect of record, while SCDA is designing both the exterior and the interiors of the 29 residential units that were expected to span around 2,400 square feet each. The developer of the project is Hong Kong-based Euro Properties, however, given the site’s current condition three years after groundbreaking was anticipated, current plans may be scuttled.
Starting with the bottom floors of the tower at ground level, “current” plans indicate about 6,000 square feet of retail space opening up to the sidewalk. In renderings, as one looks up the main profile of the tower along East 59th Street, a series of staggered and shifting boxes that pivot from the centerline of the skyscraper create its distinct and dynamic appearance. Each section contains four floors of the residential units enclosed behind a glass facade and column-free corners.
The same pattern is seen on the southern facade while the east and west elevations are a simple flat wall that directly line up with the property line and adjacent buildings. It’s unclear if they will be clad with a gray grid of panels or left as a bare concrete wall.
Units will all be full-floor spreads or duplexes. The tower is not a supertall like the dizzyingly tall skyscrapers along 57th Street, but its most recent iteration would still yield a minimal and subtle impact on the Midtown skyline seen from Central Park. Seen from Sheep’s Meadow, it would visually appear somewhere close to 520 Park Avenue and the Bloomberg Tower, depending where you stand and look south.
The previously anticipated completion of the project was slated for 2018, but it is uncertain whether foundation work and construction of the skyscraper will begin anytime soon. Given the current state of Chinese-backed development in New York following a successful government crackdown on capital outflows, 118 East 59th Street would appear to be the most likely of all the recent stalled projects YIMBY has featured to see a new developer and total re-design.