Demolition Prep Begins for Macklowe’s 1,556-Foot-Tall Tower Fifth, in Midtown

Tower Fifth, rendering by TMRW via Gensler / the NY TimesTower Fifth. Rendering by TMRW via Gensler / the NY Times

Demolition preparations appear to have begun for Tower Fifth, a proposed 1,556-foot-tall office skyscraper by Macklowe Properties. Located along East 51st Street between Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue, and directly to the north of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the 96-story supertall would be the tallest structure by roof height in the city, eclipsing Extell‘s Central Park Tower by six feet. YIMBY last reported that the project team had successfully negotiated a $192 million refinancing package from Fortress Investment Group. The $1 billion development is planned to span two plots of land, 5 East 51st Street and 12 East 52nd Street.

Tectonic recently stopped by the site, where it appears as though all the buildings slated for demolition are vacant and preparing to be gutted. The three low-rise buildings’ doors are boarded up and their storefronts sit closed and empty. A shipping container and metal carts to haul away debris and scraps sit along the curb on East 51st Street.

Tower Fifth. Photo by Tectonic

Tower Fifth. Photo by Tectonic

Tower Fifth. Photo by Tectonic

Tower Fifth would become the third-tallest office tower in New York by floor count, surpassed only by the 102 stories of Empire State Building and the 104 floors of One World Trade Center. The main rendering shown above was released early last year and depicts the potential height and form of the structure against the Midtown skyline. Whether or not this is the final iteration, a tower of this scope will dramatically alter the Midtown skyline between the Empire State Building and Billionaires’ Row.

An expected start or completion date for Tower Fifth have not been announced.

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TFC Horizon

36 Comments on "Demolition Prep Begins for Macklowe’s 1,556-Foot-Tall Tower Fifth, in Midtown"

  1. David in Bushwick | April 21, 2020 at 8:53 am | Reply

    If there is a god, this virus and ensuing recession will cancel this hideous monstrosity.
    NYC and its skyline deserve better than this unrefined, ungainly monument to ugly greed.

    • Ugh! More “greed” comments? Are you envious of those who have more than you? If so, you can always go to Venezuela, Bolivia, or Cuba, where you can be poor like everyone else around you – though everyone, including you I’m sure, wants nice things (that are in short supply). Its human nature.

  2. The skyline is mostly screwed anyway,now. Bring on the mediocre towers!

  3. Ripping down three lovely townhouses for another plain glass thing. Where is Robert A M Stern to help here.

    • Miss Hauck, I totally concur! Tearing down three beautiful century plus townhouses to build such a glass LEGO behemoth is disgusting. I’m worried about the ramifications to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral as this project might awaken Cardinal O’Connor from his eternal slumber. If anything, they should relocate and raze that 1940’s, early 1950’s utilitarian eyesore to the East of this project along fifty-first Street at the corner of Madison Avenue.

  4. The demolition has the wrong address,should be at 432 Park Ave an epicenter of the dearth of creativity and imagination.A four year old with a Lego set could of enhanced the skyline better than that testimony of reckless design,and he wants to add another? Like so many others I hope this unfortunate economy has a silver lining and derails this hideous eyesore beyond my lifetime.

  5. This “iteration” doesn’t tell us much, so I hope that the “final iteration” will at least show how this tower impacts on its immediate neighbors to the right and left, as well as how this hulking mass meets the street.

    • I’m OK with the tower though I admit it could be less austere. Maybe the final design will. Notice how the 1,550′ Extel tower is not in the background, nor the 950′ next to it.

  6. My wife and I commented just this past weekend that the City does not look like the City anymore. With the Twin Towers gone and the new super-talls, you have to squint to see the icons. Ah well, progress!?

  7. John in Morningside Heights | April 21, 2020 at 10:11 am | Reply

    Does this building have to be so ugly? It is depressing, especially since three handsome small buildings will be demolished to make way for it.

  8. Hast the warmth of Luckman’s Prudential tower in Boston’s back bay. Erector set ingenuity.

  9. We really haven’t moved the height game forward very much. 50 years ago the standard was the 1368 feet of the Twins, today it’s 190 feet taller.

    50 years later.

    • There exists a point of diminishing returns, where space on each floor is taken up by so much internal infrastructure – massing, elevator shafts – that, at a certain height, it’s no longer economically feasible to build: You’re not adding enough rentable space.

      Most of the supertalls that break those boundaries are vanity projects, not proper investments.

      • Quite true about the “vanity”. These 1,800+ towers, such as those built in China – a communist country – are not for making money. They’re for show. To show that their provincial city (some I’ve never heard of) has “arrived” on the world stage. Many have large vacancies, and are poorly built. And look rather stupid when no other nearby building even is remotely close in height to it. New York may not have a 1,800+ tower (yet), but it has the most awesome, dense skyline of any city in the world. Hong Kong a close second.

  10. At the onset of a great depression, how this could be possible remains a mystery.

    • “Great depression”? Really? Keep in mind our economy – which was roaring – was INTENTIONALLY crashed. There is no precedent, as recessions/depressions are normally the result of periods of increasingly weakening economic factors. Not so with this virus-response destruction of our economy. So, the underlying strength, dynamics, and good health of the pre-virus economy should still be there, though likely won’t return to full-speed overnight. (The shock of the sudden 9/11 Islamic terror attacks also caused an immediate economic slow-down, but very short-lived.)

      • Intentionally or not, the results are devastating. If 30% of the business that had forcefully closed will finally open and remain open for a year, it will be a miracle. I work in construction, and the impact of the Chinese virus pandemic is shocking. Available funds have evaporated, projects were shelved overnight, the governmental agencies are in a suspended animation. I dont embrace negativity, I am only trying to be realistic.
        I do not disagree with you so I have no reason to argue against your statements. Thanks

  11. Ugly and unfortunate.

  12. Like I don’t understand how Macklowe hires Vinoly, they present this monstrosity, and Macklowe is like wow this looks good. Are they blind?

  13. Ricardo Ducosquiel | April 21, 2020 at 12:57 pm | Reply

    My 6 year old niece could have drawn something better than that

  14. Yes! Please let it get built! A New US Roof Height Record!

  15. No vision…looks like 432 Park after an earthquake

  16. The owners who sold out their buildings made a killing. The retail stores were likely bagel shops or something. The real hustle was waiting a decade for the right sell price.

    And yes its a boring building. It may not get built until 2026. Well finished. Started in 2024.

    But macklowe owns the plot and can just pay property tax and loan fees until the right time.

  17. The site is horrible. What is that like 1 million sq feet. Or 600000. Kinda narrow. So 3 anchor tenants and smaller firms?

    That building ainnt gettin built soon.

    And yes these buildings r all about ego. These near billionares r all over 60 with 30 yr old trophy girlfriends.

    Its all about laughing that their building is 3 feet taller than urs.

    But hey after 100 million dollars what else is there in life…

  18. What are the actual chances they change the design significantly? This would be my hope.

  19. The rendering says it all…
    Only things that are missing are the Jetson’s and Mr Spacely! ?

  20. Right next to the former “Look” magazine building, on Madison, with the wrap around horizontal windows. I can’t remember, though, if the “Look” building was the “Wedding Cake” building; similar to the nearby “Lipstick” building on Third.

  21. This Tower Fifth is an appalling design. How, how could this be planned for a site – actually any Manhattan site – between the superb Look Building and the Olympic Tower fronting on Fifth Avenue? It’s a top-heavy, bombast nightmare of a building without soul and grace. Begone!

  22. The townhouse on the right shouldn’t get torn down. It is landmarked and renderings show the tower cantilevering over it. Unfortunately we will lose the other ones. Sad.

  23. David Petersen | April 22, 2020 at 9:03 pm | Reply

    I just wish that some influential set of architects would step up and “shame” these guys in to building something more inspirational than a jarring clubhouse on box tube. As an elementary teacher, I was excited to work with kids on design projects. I always reminded them that a great building should be inspiring and exciting…almost enough to take your breath away. Not so with this one.

  24. Just because you can build it, doesn’t mean you should build it. Just another guilded storage shed for global money to park itself in. I’m sure the city fell all over itself giving it tax abatements, you know, because why should those of us who actually live here benefit at all?

  25. Wow, totally headeous design. AND it would be seen from around the city….. Is there any taste left in the city at all? Some of the super tall building–like the one next to MoMA are art pieces in their own right. This childish pretence to “modernity” is downright hideous twisted desk with the drawers left half open… Good god

  26. Keep building supertall skyscrapers!! It’s 2020 not 1980
    The Future is now.

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