Vornado’s Supertall ‘Penn 15’ by Foster + Partners Will Rise 1,200′ After Redesign, in Midtown Manhattan

The Penn District. Rendering by DBOX.

Updated renderings created by DBOX for Vornado Realty Trust showcase The Penn District, a 7.4-million-square-foot development in Midtown, Manhattan. Located within the same boundaries as the new Madison Square Garden complex from Vishaan Chakrabarti’s Practice for Architecture and Urbanism that YIMBY recently revealed, the renderings offer a more finalized version of five skyscrapers with the tallest, referred to as Penn 15, anticipated to rise nearly 1,200 feet high. Foster + Partners is designing the structures, which would stand close to the 109-year-old James A. Farley Building and Skidmore Owings & Merrill‘s newly opened Moynihan Train Hall, as well as One and Two Penn Plaza and Madison Square Garden. The redesign also appears to be a tweaked iteration of 15 Penn Plaza from a previous depiction that YIMBY showed back in May 2020.

The parameters of the Penn District remain the same, bound by Sixth Avenue to the east, West 32nd Street to the south, Seventh Avenue to the west, and West 34th Street to the north. Penn 15 would replace the 1,700-room Hotel Pennsylvania and stand along Seventh Avenue between West 32nd and 33rd Streets. Renderings show a monolithic building massing divided into a set of staggered multi-story blocks, each enclosed with floor-to-ceiling glass and landscaped outdoor terraces on top of the cantilevering edges. Two thin, parallel vertical columns on the northern and southern elevations wrap over the top of the roof parapet, giving the impression of binding the rectangular blocks together. Penn 15’s core appears to be positioned on the northern side of the building’s footprint, maximizing office floor space and configuration possibilities for tenants.

The Penn District. Rendering by DBOX.

The Penn District. Rendering by DBOX.

The Penn District. Rendering by DBOX.

The four other skyscrapers are shown rising along the southern edge of West 34th Street. Two flank each end of One Penn Plaza, while the final pair of towers stand immediately to the north and east of Penn 15. Each of these features a similar façades of glass and metal panels and includes landscaped terraces, but with different building profiles.

Click here to view a video that was recently posted on Vornado Realty Trust’s website showing the new complex from the air.

The Penn District will create one of the most dramatic changes to the Midtown skyline in a similar fashion to Related Companies’ first phase of Hudson Yards, just two avenues away to the west. Together with Brookfield Properties’ five-building Manhattan West development found between Ninth and Tenth Avenues, the three sites will elevate this section of New York City’s skyline west of the Empire State Building, but remain below the Art Deco’s architectural height of 1,250 feet.

A timeline for the Penn District’s massive undertaking has not been announced, though it would be ambitious to expect Penn 15 to come to fruition within this decade.

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50 Comments on "Vornado’s Supertall ‘Penn 15’ by Foster + Partners Will Rise 1,200′ After Redesign, in Midtown Manhattan"

  1. David in Bushwick | January 22, 2021 at 8:32 am | Reply

    Another historic building needlessly destroyed.

    • This would be another good place for Foster’s Hearst Tower strategy. Build atop the Hotel Pennsylvania to keep the iconic Seventh Avenue prewar streetwall.

    • What makes this building historic. Or does old = historic to you?

      Also not needless. Hotel Pennsylvania is a low quality hotel that does not make the most of it’s A+ location. Redevelopment would allow many more people to work directly adjacent to a major transportation hub.

    • They need to destroy it to build their new building.

  2. Interesting. A little concerned about the core elevation which isn’t shown, but this is a much better (IMO) design than the old one.

  3. Has no one let Vornado know what the name Penn 15 looks like?

  4. Let’s not beat around the bush – this is a horrible design, especially given its proximity to the ESB.

  5. Daniel Pietenpol | January 22, 2021 at 9:14 am | Reply

    Great name for this throbing phallus.

  6. I’m so over these “hanging boxes” design. I get it, you get columnless floorplans but then there’s a big’ol concrete wall on the back. It’s exactly what Foster did on Park with the L&L building and what Rudin proposed. I don’t mind the smaller ones in supporting roles but buildings this tall should have some thought for their impact on the skyline. There is no elegance to any of these, just a bunch of rectangles. At least Foster’s Chase building has some thought for it’s impact.

  7. This might be the ugliest building Norman Foster has ever designed. And he’s one of my favorite architects. So disappointing.

  8. “Give Peace a Chance”

    • ..but on second glance,people here are correct..this 1200′ box of a proposed building overpowers the Empire State; even if you keep the ESB taller, its tapered form gets ‘crushed’ by this box.

  9. This would completely block the view of the Empire State Building in the skyline view from New Jersey (which Hudson Yards already degrades and blocks enough). It also looks like garbage. And the name Penn 15? Is that joke? Unreal.

    • Then perhaps think about completing the MetLife North Building for the time being? At least give the skyline some breathing room with a new figure to replace the ESB several blocks south.

  10. Uninspiring in a city that could use a good dose of inspiration at the moment. The big tower would destroy the soaring autonomy of the Empire State Building — New York’s most loved and recognized building. Thanks Vornado for such a great idea! Developer strategy of the moment: break massive amounts of rentable space into shifting boxes and plant something green on top of the exposed ‘terraces’. The only thing here that definitely should be done is the recladding of the execrable 2 Penn Plaza building… old Penn Stations’ tomb stone…

    • Then perhaps think about completing the MetLife North Building to its original design for the time being? At least give the skyline some breathing room with a new, or in this case completed but old, figure to replace the ESB several blocks south.

  11. WOW, all that’s missing are flying cars and jet packs!

    Welcome to
    “BladeRunner… the reboot”! ?

  12. what a shame to demolish the Pennsylvania Hotel .All the new construction on my opinion looks the same boxes on top of boxes

  13. make it look like a updated version of the ESB or Chrysler.

  14. The IM Pei design was easily superior. I don’t have a problem w replacing the Roosevelt, but this POS with the exposed, blank spine on its back (which you can’t really see in the renderings, but which anyone above 34th St will have to endure in all eternity) is absolutely atrocious. I really hope this isn’t close to final yet.

  15. This is a good design for London but not blocks from Empire State. I’m for building tall as sightlines will inevitably change but something other than a box is not too much to ask for.

  16. I think this is way better than the Madison Square Gardens project, but I’m not very certain if I like the four skyscrapers. Again, they’re better than the MSG project, but they do look sort of funny, especially in the context of the New York City skyline.
    It’s also very sad to hear that the demise of Hotel Pennsylvania is getting closer and closer. I’m very pro-developement, and I love density, but this one is just so iconic. I even stayed there once! But then again, where are you going to get the space to do such large developments in Manhattan unless you get rid of the old.
    But overall, I think Penn 15 could be really nice. There are just some pieces of it that I’m not so fond of. Then again, who cares, because we won’t see this come to reality anytime soon. See you in ten years!

  17. ha nice name

  18. Howard Glenn Maurer | January 22, 2021 at 4:39 pm | Reply

    Simply awful. Very disappointed with what Foster’s done here. And it’s a big “F*ck You” to the nearly and beloved Empire State Building.

  19. Happy to see yet another super tall for New York City!

  20. Seriously!

    The developer & their architect can’t come up with something better than this FUGLY eyesore?

  21. I’m a Chicagoan who follows NY construction and I do believe projects like this are destroying our cities with such bland and uninspiring designs. Could you imagine Paris building a high rise in front of the Eiffel Tower? Or any where near it? How will they fill these buildings with tenants post COVID?

  22. Michael D. Skelly | January 22, 2021 at 5:55 pm | Reply

    Cant believe this is a Foster and Partners building, most of there work is excellent, shows even what I though they could do no wrong, boy was I fooled.

  23. Boxes & boxes & boxes

  24. THE most loathed Manhattan tower…… circa 2050.

  25. It looks like something from Cyberpunk. I hope it says PENN15 in huge letters on the side.

  26. Angel's Body (David). | January 23, 2021 at 3:38 am | Reply

    Every reporting has its own benefit, so I wouldn’t be talking about what I have read and watched: Thank you.

  27. Why would you destroy something so beautiful to build something this ugly?

  28. The video is very interesting, especially for the changes at 2 Penn.

  29. Ugly. Bulky. Unnecessary.

  30. I have to concur with the majority of the earlier comments. This is really disappointing. Too many similar buildings in a small area. Remember that awful Burgee-Johnson proposal for Times Square that we luckily avoided due to a real estate downturn? This makes the same mistake. On top of that, the design language is already tired and will look outdated upon completion. C’mon Foster! If you’re going to juxtapose a new tower with an icon like the ESB, give us something equally exciting in 21st century terms. You’ve proven you can do better. New York deserves your best, especially at this location.

  31. So what happened to Nelson Tower? I don’t see it in any view. Tell me it’s not going to be demolished.

  32. What are they going to build on 35th Street between 10th Avenue and 9th Avenue did Brownstones for 55 or 56 459 what’s 63 wanted it going to stop building there thank you

  33. Are they going to build anything by 459 West 35th Street in Manhattan ZIP code 10001 when are they going to stop building. Thank you

  34. In keeping with the now institutionalized tradition of demolitions on the scale of Penn Station. The new complex challenges the seminal presence of the Empire State Building with an ensemble as banal as the buildings that replaced Penn Station.

  35. I think this design is absolutely stunning, but I also agree that it is sad and worrying that the old building will be destroyed. I love how progressive this city is, but preserving old is so important!

  36. I’d venture that this doesn’t get built. Or even worse, they start it and then the project goes bankrupt and we have a bare frame sitting there for a decade.

  37. i cant wait for them to erect the penn15 , i will watch the progress very carefully getting bigger and bigger LMAO – FAIL

  38. Hotel Penn need to be torn down! It is a horrible place to stay and has been for many years.

  39. Please send me an application for a two-bedroom affordable apartment by email

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