Checking in at the Site of 31 West 57th Street, in Midtown

Partial rendering reveal for 31 West 57th street, photo by Lefrak

Recent photos from the site of 31 West 57th Street show the property still bereft of construction activity. The perimeter along West 57th Street has been boarded up and plastered with black-and-white geometric art patterns, but not much has happened since the demolition of the original Rizzoli Bookstore and several other old low-rise buildings. 27-33 West 57th Street is among the most sought-after parcels of land along 57th Street, aka Billionaires’ Row, and it could still sprout a fairly tall skyscraper. The lot sits immediately to the west of the Solow Building and is slated to be developed by the LeFrak Organization.

Looking toward the base of the Solow Building. Photo by Michael Young

The site has been empty for the past several months. Photo by Michael Young

Looking up at the Solow Building which stands next to the empty plot of land. Photo by Michael Young

The rendering in the featured image shows a modestly tall glass skyscraper that would rise slightly shorter than the Solow Building. The eastern elevation features a cantilever protruding several floors above street level and the main podium floors, reminiscent of Extell’s Central Park Tower. However, 31 West 57th Street’s cantilever is likely more of an aesthetic choice, since the position of the neighboring Park Lane Hotel on West 58th Street does not interfere with head-on views at Central Park from the proposed construction. This would most likely become another residential development.

No completion date has been announced for the site.

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24 Comments on "Checking in at the Site of 31 West 57th Street, in Midtown"

  1. Please pardon me for using your space: Thanks for carving your photos showing on empty progress. (Thanks to Michael Young)

  2. Yes David, “Empty Progress” indeed. Beautifully said.

    • And hopefully something ‘special’ will truly happen here, the sacrifice of the wonderful Rizzoli bookstore demands nothing less.

    • Jack Liberman | March 30, 2019 at 2:36 pm | Reply

      Agree, Sollow Real Estate, usually it’s a progress if will be built one building over decade.

    • Jack Liberman | March 30, 2019 at 3:17 pm | Reply

      LeFrak Organization, 3rd building for them since finishing Le Frak Houses in Queens. A very good progress for them, they are developed 43 story tower in Jersey City/Newport waterfront over one decade, so this will be constructed by 2030. And with no completion date yet it could be very well justified my estimate. They use no outside financing, only own line of credit and own money, a jewish mentality, sorry.

      • Jack Liberman | March 30, 2019 at 4:02 pm | Reply

        Little bit wrong they are started in 1986 development what was later became known as a Newport, a mixed office-residential master planned community in Jersey City. Built btw over deserted railyard of Jersey City. They just started this development, but unlike Related Hudson Yards, the other developers came and finished that.
        LeFrak same as Sollow is family run sole ownership business. They use own money and own lines of credits for any developments, they have old jewish mentality, that other people involved will be control their empire in the end, and better built longer than let others ruin their business.

        This is true for old jews who roots from Belorussia/Poland.
        So, this is example of Sollow or LeFrak, you see Sollow Real Estate didn’t let others even became their neighbors, because they afraid of losing of their ownership of Sollow Building next door.
        I wouldn’t blame them, no outside financing, this is their own money, the last thing, they don’t want that Abu Dhabi trust or Kuwait government fund may built something next to the them.

      • Didn’t that desecration that lives in the White House just give some LeFrak a seat on the Kennedy Center board?

  3. Please provide an update on the status of the adjacent brownstone that is west of the above site; the new building east of the site; and plans for the old Greenwich Savings Bank building next to Bergdorf Goodman. Thank you.

  4. Given YIMBY’s core philosophy and aims, it’s rather disappointing that it hasn’t managed to delve into the reasons for this project being apparently stalled. Merely “checking in” periodically provides no net increase in information and the absence of same could arguably be viewed as an illustration of the paucity of YIMBY’s sources.

    • David in Bushwick | March 30, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Reply


      • Jack Liberman | March 30, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Reply

        IT IS SOLLOW, not a money but everything he developed, even one single building takes as long as others to construct whole Hudson Yards. Look for his tower #2 in Upper East Side, look for 685 First Avenue for another example, 5 years or more for empty lot, 5 years or more with foundation finished, 5 years or more looking for best economic situation to built something or simple trying to sell it, then finally after 15-20 years Mr Sollow or his ascendants will be start built this exactly shown building.
        Nothing new for anything Named as Sollow development.

    • Jack Liberman | March 30, 2019 at 2:40 pm | Reply

      It’s not stalled, takes 2 years for demolition, then progress for this developer if it will be make foundation by the next 5 years, then looking for financing issues another 5 years, so good for him, if actual construction start by 2029!!! It is called as “progress” for Sollow. Look for other staff this developer built and for how lengthy this was construction for each project of his!!!

    • Jack Liberman | March 30, 2019 at 3:04 pm | Reply

      Don’t blame YIMBY, they trying to show this as a progress for Sollow, took only two years for raze that building, now is empty lot for 5+, and if this takes less time it’s a good construction progress for this particular developer who building one building per decade, no wrong with that, it is proven.
      Tell me how many building he built since 1990???? You will be surprised that you may found as many as just 2. That’s it this is a third project for them, hopefully will be finished by the end of next decade. They developed this as small private owner developed own second home, takes years for construction using own funds and credit. This exactly role of Sollow, he built everything with solely use own money, it is only shame that he apply this small building owner philosophy. But at least his risk equal zero. Hopefully will be nice addition to landmarked Sollow Building Skyscraper.
      While Related is famous by such projects as TWC, MiMa, Hudson Yards redevelopment, Mr Sollow is famous by only less than few building who he is only developed since his Real Estate empire. He bought some buildings developed by others, but he only developed 5 buildings or less by self!!! One of them became the most recognizable Landmark on 57th Street!!!
      He is ok with that, and don’t expect this site finished earlier than by 2029.

    • Jack Liberman | March 30, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Reply

      This is a true progress for Sollow and LeFrak, they both same type of developers who use own line of credit and own money, no outside money involved, no ask for share development with other developers. This empty lot will be stay for years, before you see round of construction equipment, then brace to see digging foundation for another 5 years, this will be called as progress, then another 5 years for crabs money on hands to built something or delay it for better times. No time frame estimate can be accurate for Sollow and LeFrak. Can be finished in 5 years or next 25 years. My estimate is by 2030.
      They ask no help, a true sole ownership of business, no share of capital. A unique form of 17th century style business model survived for pretty big Real estate empire in 21st century!!! I have no blame for them, but blamed for the City officials who allowed this Rizzoli bookstore being razed down!!!

  5. Jack Liberman | March 30, 2019 at 3:08 pm | Reply

    Oh my mistake, being developed by Mr Sollow clone real estate LeFrak Organization this will be as a 3rd building for them since finishing LeFrak Houses in Queens!!! But they built really nice building in Newport section in Jersey City few years ago.

  6. Jack Liberman | March 30, 2019 at 3:27 pm | Reply

    Btw any news about really stalled 45 Broad project???

  7. It’s still a shame they demolished the old art-deco building here.

  8. It seems Jack Liberman’s sources are much more developed than YIMBY’s. Maybe they should take him on the payroll. Or could it be that Jack Liberman is actually an alias for someone already on the YIMBY payroll one way or another? Is the lack of command of English just faked up to help disguise his true identity. The varying standard from post to post would seem to suggest so.

    • Jack Liberman | April 1, 2019 at 9:25 am | Reply

      What kind of standards, I hate to see that another empty lot for many years will be established in NYC, that’s it. This development won’t happen anytime soon, since LeFrak using own money and own credit for his business, he is sole ownership firm. No partners, no outside investment allowed except own family members. Yes, Wiki said he is developed Newport Section in Jersey City waterfront, better said he start this development in 1986, but most of buildung there were developed without LeFrack, only 43 story building opened two years ago, just across pool of water from Hoboken HBLR station. So, LeFrak developed some building there in 1986 and after and very last building of Newport waterfront. So, with this progress LeFrack needs 30 years to finish empty lot here next to famous 50 story 700′ Sollow Office Tower, next door. So, this fall on 2049…

    • Jack Liberman | April 1, 2019 at 9:46 am | Reply

      My sources are from Internet recearch and Wiki, and this developer is old timer jewish business model for sole ownership companies. Same as Sollow. Their roots from Belorussia/Poland, and they run their RE empires like old jewelry store in streets of Grodno or Warsaw or Krakov in early 1920s… Without trust to any outside investors. In modern capitalism that can be transferred as good preservation of original capital, like store your wealth in CD account high yield, or stacked gold bars, but you have little growth since you are not involved outside investors, not taking a risk. A ship in harbor is a safe, but except hiden during hurricanes, the ship is not built for staying in harbor, it’s built and designed for High Seas!!! If this Rizzoli lot was purchased by Related, or Henry Maclove, or Maynian, or other high development companies, who are not standing hiding in the hardevelopersstorm is over, I wouldn’t worried that this lot sitting empty for long!!! RE is a risky business, but is also a high profitable. The Ship designed for High Seas, not to moored in harbor, while preserving his original condition. RE is for flying High, not for flying low, especially in NYC, right now is still a time to invest for RE, especially for this little project. Many mistakes happened before last Recession when developers waiting for long, for slightly better deals, before it was too late and no financing was available at all or it was become too risky for banks to simple lending money during Great Recession.

  9. BadArchitectureInNYC | April 1, 2019 at 7:48 am | Reply

    A truly awful building that will unfortunately cover up the unique bracing of 6 West 57th.

    Solow has one L, not two.

  10. It is a pity to tear down some very nice older buildings in haste and then do nothing.

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