Michael Kirchmann of GDSNY Updates YIMBY With Fresh Renderings of SOM-Designed 1241 Broadway, in NoMad

1241 Broadway, rendering from GDSNY1241 Broadway, rendering from GDSNY

YIMBY has covered plans for a new office building at 1241 Broadway extensively over the past few weeks, first reporting on the applications and initial rendering, and then checking in on site progress. Today, we can reveal the updated current design thanks to developer Michael Kirchmann of GDSNY, who also told us all about the project and its burgeoning surrounds in an interview ahead of the groundbreaking ceremony, scheduled for this morning. Sweden-based Klovern is also behind the plans.

YIMBY in bold.

New Class A office space is a rarity in New York City. What makes the vicinity of 1241 Broadway different and worth the investment?

I cannot say enough about this building’s location. This project is at the center of one of the most active, and quickly changing, neighborhoods in Manhattan. The area is getting better by the day. The site is just a few blocks from Penn Station and numerous other transportation lines, as well as being in walking distance to Hudson Yards. This neighborhood also has extraordinary historic architecture and we’re designing this building to have that kind of longevity in terms of its design and quality.

1241 Broadway is located in the middle of a new development boom. How do you see the new hotels and other projects rising in the vicinity changing the streetscape in another few years?

The streetscape in NoMAD is changing rapidly by the day. It started with the Ace and NoMAD hotels ten years ago and now it seems like there is a new restaurant or shop opening every day. There is also a lot of mixed-use development happening all around the area, which will complement our project nicely.

Do plans for 1241 Broadway portend additional new office development in the vicinity, or is your project a one-off in the midst of all the hotels and condominiums?

We knew going into this project that there was a healthy supply of office space in the area and that there will always continue to be this kind of commercial development happening. What differentiates 1241 Broadway from everything else is that we’re delivering an extremely high quality, boutique, Class-A office space – for which there is still a very high demand throughout the city.

As surrounding blocks become completely rebuilt, and as remaining FAR continues to dwindle, what kind of additional impact do you expect pressure on remaining FAR to have on the kinds of new construction on the rise in the neighborhood?

My expectation is that the pressure on remaining FAR in the neighborhood will result in ever-higher-quality development. Our experience suggests that this increased focus on quality that will drive other new development and conversion projects and this will continue to make the neighborhood better and better.

31st Street has traditionally been seen as Midtown South. NoMad, however, has continued creeping north over the past decade. Is 31st Street and Broadway now NoMad, and is this the neighborhood’s northern limit due to Koreatown’s location one block further up?

The exact contours of these neighborhoods are always evolving but the market seems to define the northern part of NoMAD today as being south of 34th Street and west of Broadway. The neighborhood starts to move to the east below 32nd Street.

What amenities and attributes will make 1241 Broadway unique?

There are many differentiators but ultimately the quality of the building, its design and its materials, are the chief attributes that set 1241 apart. First of all, we have eschewed the trend of all-glass towers and instead have designed this building in textured architectural concrete. The massing of the tower steps back as it ascends, to create huge terraces that take advantage of specific views and to provide outdoor space to the tenants, which is rare in New York City office buildings. 12-foot floor-to-ceiling heights on each floor are emphasized by floor-to-ceiling picture windows (also 12-feet-high) that frame views and flood the interior spaces with natural light. These triple-insulated windows eliminate the need for perimeter heating, reduce the heating and cooling costs, limit sound penetration, and allow for maximum views of the city.

The building will also feature a restaurant on the ground floor, as well as a private club for the tenants.

What was the design inspiration for the project?

This the first project we’re developing with our Swedish partner, Klövern. With this building we are bringing a Scandinavian sensibility – informed by other buildings that Klövern owns – with a focus on wellness, understated beauty, and quality natural materials.

What other projects is GDS working on at the moment?

We’re very excited about our partnership with Klövern on 1241. This is the first project we’re developing with them and we’re looking forward to others.

GDS has about 400,000 square feet in development in Manhattan right now, including 500 W 25 – a very high-end residential building along the High Line in Chelsea which will be finished in the second quarter of 2019.

Are you more optimistic regarding the city’s office or residential market heading into 2019 and 2020?

I am always optimistic about both residential and commercial development, as long as we are delivering quality buildings in prime locations.

When can we expect 1241 Broadway to open for business, tentatively?

Late 2020 is the date we expect the building to be open.

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