1,646-Foot-Tall Project Commodore Revealed, New York City’s Possible New Tallest Building by Roof Height, in Midtown East

Project Commodore rendering in blue. Image: Copyright Skidmore, Owings & MerrillProject Commodore rendering in blue. Image: Copyright Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

An Environmental Assessment Statement for 109 East 42nd Street in Midtown East reveals details for the proposed Project Commodore, a 1,646-foot-tall skyscraper on the site currently occupied by Grand Hyatt New York. Developed under the Commodore Owner LLC by RXR Realty and TF Cornerstone, the mixed-use supertall is designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Components include 2,108,820 square feet of office space, a smaller 500-room Grand Hyatt hotel, approximately 10,000 square feet open-air publicly accessible space, and 43,370 square feet of retail including some controlled by the MTA on the cellar, ground, and second floors.

Rendering of Project Commodore

Rendering of Project Commodore

Sitting directly east of Grand Central Terminal in the center of the Midtown East rezoning initiative, the 89-story building will yield a total of 2,976,740 square feet.

The ground floor would contain the hotel lobby and office lobby, a reconstructed Lexington Passage with MTA retail, 6,350 square feet of transit hall space, and approximately 2,400 square feet of additional area for subway entries off 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. The hotel lobby would have frontage on Lexington Avenue, with the office lobby accessed from East 42nd Street. An office lobby and open-air publicly accessible space occupy the second floor with frontage on Lexington Avenue. Office space is planned to be located on floors 7-63, and the hotel on floors 65-83.

Rendering of Project Commodore

Rendering of Project Commodore

The project will also bring improvements to the Grand Central Terminal and the Grand Central-42nd Street subway, including a redesigned and expanded subway entrance at East 42nd Street with natural light. Turnstiles would be relocated to street level and a new staircase would be added to redistribute traffic through the mezzanine level. A new transit hall containing retail, information screens and booths, as well as connections to the Terminal would be constructed at the ground floor level on the western side of the development site. The eastern side of the transit hall would consist of retail stores and overall the transit hall would work with the existing 42nd Street Passage to increase pedestrian throughput.

To increase sidewalk widths, stairs to the mezzanine level of the subway station located near the northwest corner of Lexington Avenue and East 42nd Street would be relocated further north. Also part of this reconstruction is a subway entrance with an ADA elevator built designed to introduce light and aire to the mezzanine level. The Lexington Passage entrance would be redesigned with higher ceiling heights to improve the pedestrian experience and the passage would include retail on both sides of the corridor as well as access to the Grand Central Market. Also noteworthy is a new Short Loop connection that would provide direct access from
Metro-North’s lower platform level to to the Lexington Avenue 4, 5, and 6 subway mezzanine level. A similar connection with stairs and an ADA elevator would be built from the southernmost portion of the new East Side Access/Long Island Rail Road concourse level into the Lexington Avenue 4, 5, and 6 subway mezzanine level.

Project Commodore Rendering. Image: Copyright Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Project Commodore Rendering. Image: Copyright Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

The next step for the project is a public scoping meeting, which will be held on Monday, December 21, 2020. If the development is ultimately approved, timeline details include 18 months of demolition and 47 months of construction. The expected completion date for Project Commodore is 2030.

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55 Comments on "1,646-Foot-Tall Project Commodore Revealed, New York City’s Possible New Tallest Building by Roof Height, in Midtown East"

  1. Poor little Chrysler Building!

  2. Neal Hugh Hurwitz | November 21, 2020 at 10:31 am | Reply

    More destruction in NY NY.
    Who needs this? Just the RE guys.
    TY, NHH

    • You make my head hurt.

    • If you’re really concerned about saving old buildings, you better hope some new subway lines or terminals get built. NYC’s failure to build new infrastructure ensures these old buildings will be demolished.

      There is a reason this is being proposed right next to grand central…

      • you make no sense. what does a lack of new subway lines have to do with replacing old buildings? building bigger buildings will only put even more strain on our trains by drawing in even more people.

      • I am in NYC Multifamily acquisitions | November 23, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Reply

        It is in-fact buildings far from infrastructure that are last to be demolished to make way for new buildings. Why would someone put new development far from subway stations?

  3. I do like how it creates a gateway with Grand Central between.

    • Actually, it’s more like a glorified gatehouse, with arrivals through the station. Will probably reap a fortune from corporate interests. Hotel, corporate facilities, restaurants, shopping, all while barely setting foot on a city street.

  4. This behemoth parked near the Chrysler Building brings up two points. How much vacant space in the building are they willing to accept? Do the architects–like Frank Gehry plopping that monstrosity in Downtown & blocking the view of the Woolworth Building to the throngs of tourists who, we hope, will soon return to NYC–have no shame?

    • Dude I agree, we need to stop demolished so many buildings. Nyc is built off small 2-4 story builds, not huge skyscrapers. Developers have no respect for the surroundings and the beauty of the build, just to make a profit. The build in my opinion if ugly beyond belief

    • There have been talks about the demolition of the Grand Hyatt Hotel for a LONG time, so this is no suprise. It sure will be sad to let it go. It sure was quite a famous NYC building.

      • confused in st louis | November 21, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Reply

        My sense is it was the underlying Commodore Hotel that was famous. The current structure seems to be famous for it’s use of massive tax breaks to up date the previous structure.

      • It was the Hotel Commodore that was special. Its redevelopment into the Grand Hyatt ruined it. It would have been possible to remove the tacky reflective glass that covered the original brick underneath and restore the facade, but with the new East Side zoning it would be crazy for any developer not to take advantage of the opportunity to build a behemoth. It’s a shame that views of the Chrysler Building will be blocked. No doubt, the Chrysler Building will be reflected in yet another boring glass facade.

  5. Up, up and away. When will we see a 2000ft building in NYC?

  6. A new tallest!

  7. Bring it on, baby!

  8. Michael D. Skelly | November 21, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Reply

    MONEY, Makes the World Go ROUND and UP but seldom, Down. The Cash is what makes this city GO ROUND more cash Higher You May GO…

  9. Wow. A 1,646 foot (501 meter) tall skyscraper in New York City. Even better, that is its roof height. This is very exciting. Extremely exciting infact. I think this Project Commodore has some really promising potential. My only complaint is the design that has been teased. I don’t exactly favor it too much, and the last time we were at this conclusion we were met with a very disappointing result. Anyways, I think New York City is in for a big treat, or more so a tall treat. 😊 Really good stuff here.

  10. This should be stopped by the Historic Properties Commission immediately. The last thing we need right now is more office & retail space, given the cavernous interiors of most such buildings during these Covid times. The new office building on Vanderbilt, just west of Grand Central, is far from being leased out. And the proposed Commodore will dwarf the spectacular Chrysler Building. Is this another of our idiot mayor’s projects? Did he ruthlessly and cavalierly ram this building through all levels of approval? I already despise this new building and am beyond repulsed by Mayor William De Blasio. Would that he would get lost en route to his Brooklyn gym every morning, mofo that he is. Why not tear down the unbearably ugly Port Authority Buikding and build this new monstrosity on the footprint over on 8th Ave.?

    • Why do you hate jobs?

      • Location of the Port Authority is equally as good in terms of transportation, so I’m not certain what drove your response, or is it just a non sequitur?

      • what jobs do you think a mostly empty office building provides?

        • The ones building it, the ones supplying the materials, the ones occupying it thereafter… Class A space does not stay empty, it replaces extant Class A space, which is then affected thereafter and either turns into Class B / C space or is razed and repurposed for residential use (probably after turning into B, then C space).

      • People are moving out, not in. Building another eyesore in a dying CV it defies logic. We are fed up with empty platitudes and token donations of public space. If the builders block CV k light and air they are not donating anything. They are just giving back what was stolen. Bryant park is already overloaded with tall buildings. 9 p.m. one can’t open a window for fresh air bc a. There isn’t, with so much buildings blocking the flow, b. The noise level from construction is not conducive to normal conversation even 10 stories up. During the day there is scant access to sunlight. Please observe the crowds at the park and tell me why another monstrosity with token public space is approved.

        • Because it is MIDTOWN MANHATTAN and if you want sunshine and butterflies you should leave the densest Central Business District on the planet. Or head to 23-25 Cleveland Place.

          • I think Central District on Hong Kong Island vies for the title of densest business district on the planet.

          • Nikolai Fedak | November 22, 2020 at 2:34 pm |

            Central is dense but it is geographically more confined than Manhattan, the terrain etc is not as conducive to the sheer scale of something like Midtown (as HK is very sloping). I could be wrong on this, but I do not think I am?

          • The comparison is between Central, Hong Kong to Midtown Manhattan, not the whole of Manhattan island. Although Central extends part way into Mid-Levels, the terrain of Central is not, in large measure, steeply sloping and a good part of it extends over reclaimed land.

          • Can’t help but laugh when people complain about the shadows and lack of sunlight in Midtown Manhattan, as if the place suddenly changed from being an open field in Kansas to magnified density overnight. If you can’t stand skyscrapers and shadows, maybe you shouldn’t be in Manhattan.

    • So stupid…

    • The dumbest comment on this thread…so far

  11. Who is going to occupy all these new office buildings, with WFH becoming a long term trend?

    • The new Class A space will likely displace the old Class A space. The demand destruction will occur in newly Class B & C space, which is antiquated and dated, and can be converted to residential or hotel use or torn down altogether. The former is probably more likely given the scale of many of the 60s office towers.

  12. Please Let This Get Complete!

  13. Fine, great. Build it. Build it as tall as you want.

    But how about not making it ugly and boring for a change? I cannot believe how many of NYC’s new towers are dull and devoid of any imagination or style. The one that immediate comes to mind is the one at Vanderbilt and 42nd, which manages to be ugly and boring at the same time. We have the world’s most famous skyline, how about designing buildings worthy of it?

  14. Tanja Martinovic | November 21, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Reply

    Horrible ugly building. No nuance. Eliminates view of Chrysler building from LIC. Is bulk and height what architecture is about now?

  15. Steven Pearlston | November 22, 2020 at 6:44 am | Reply

    This will erase the view of the Chrysler Building west of 5th Avenue.

  16. Aspects of this project are nice, but seriously, didn’t the City recently use funds from SL Green’s project to renovate the subway entrance at the Hyatt. What a waste of public funds if that’s the case.

  17. 60 new floors of office space. Are they living in 2019? Offices are over. I used to work in midtown and out of all my clients and contacts not one (not one!) plans to ever work from an office again. Our company has given the go-ahead for all workers to WFH permanently and every single employee signed up for it. Every single one. So that’s at least 400 people with no intentions of ever working in an office again. These towers are being built for no one. 1 Vanderbilt will likely remain 60% empty for as long as it stands.

    • One Vanderbilt is already at least 60 percent leased. JP Morgan Chase is also moving ahead with speed to build their mammoth headquarters, because they are building for the future. Eventually, down the road people will still need office space.

    • I believe it is Barry Diller who said working at home “doesn’t work” (for many jobs), and that you cannot – on a long-term basis – run a global corporation from thousands of people’s own homes. And as the lock-downs drag on on, many – employees AND companies and alike – are finding many problems with WFH on a mass scale. Employees are finding the ONLY real plus is not having to commute to the office. Companies were hoping to gain by reducing office space, hence, rent expense. But the negatives of mass WFH have now negated those pluses. Everyone in my company is now back in the office since July, and all feel it is better for everyone all-around.

  18. GOD BLESS AMERICA – May this project(s) be a closed shop.

  19. The scale of the project should it actually be completed is spectacular, however I would also say that the developer as well as the architects should design something which is truly iconic. The impact of a building of this scale on the skyline presents the developers as well as the architects with an opportunity to really add a new symbol to New York and by extension to the United States. These buildings should be regarded as more than just utilitarian structures or business ventures, I would suggest that projects of this kind should also represent the United States, the City of New York and lastly be regarded as some of the greatest works of art in the world. Based on the potential obscurement from some angles of the Chrysler Building, itself not just a building but also a symbol of New York and an art piece, special emphasis should be added to the design more than anything else. Nearly every iconic building now universally beloved by the public always had its inception a fair share of detractors. So if done the right way, with the right design it could be something breathtakingly beautiful again representing not just New York but the United States of America.

  20. Looks like the NYC version of the revel casino is about to be built. The empty office spaces will be abundant and would expect the price of a square foot to tumble I can see serious issues arising with the project

  21. Michael D. Skelly | November 22, 2020 at 7:25 pm | Reply

    I dont know what city you all are talking about, because in NYC if you have enough cash you can build where you want, and what you want, just look at the Hudson Yards sitting vacant and office space still not rented. that was all about money, and it may just bite the money backers in the ass, as long as the virus lives there will be nothing but empty space, welcome to the new world..

  22. Looks like the NYC version of the Atlantic City Revel casino is about to begin. Can see lots of issues with the project It will.be no surprise when the investors start suing each other. Let’s hope the city council cans this monstrosity

  23. Has anyone actually been in this hotel building, or walked through the existing subway entrances. It is terrible architecture, functionally and physically obsolete. The new building is a huge improvement and will generate both public sector improvements will greatly improve the neighborhood as well as significantly improve the subway entrances at a very important MTA hub.

  24. The city cannot allow anyone, for any amount of money, drop this monstrosity ON TOP OF THE CHRYSLER BUILDING! 1 Vanderblech is bad enough — three blocks away — but this! Why not wedge it up against San Marco in Venice? Slap its down over the Sagrada Familia, stick it in the center of the Colosseum? Bad enough that the developers’ promises are obviously false: profitable office spaces when the office is now dead. And that we now prize degradation, begging for private funds to improve a public necessity like GCT. This is an ignorant, almost vicious attack on the soul of New York, our Art Deco heart. Seriously — F–K New York if it allows this to happen.

  25. Zoning Handbook | November 24, 2020 at 9:39 am | Reply

    Looks good. Can’t argue for contextual development elsewhere if we don’t put the supertalls where they belong.

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