The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved Project Commodore, a proposed 1,646-foot supertall skyscraper in Midtown East, at a public hearing and vote on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. New renderings further illustrate the 83-story project, which would replace the Grand Hyatt at 175 Park Avenue and rise between the 108-year-old Beaux Arts Grand Central Terminal and the 91-year-old Art Deco Chrysler Building at the corner of East 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Skidmore Owings & Merrill is designing and RXR Realty and TF Cornerstone are developing the project, which is set to yield 500 Hyatt hotel rooms on the upper floors spanning 453,000 square feet; 10,000 square feet of retail space on the ground, cellar, and second levels; new elevated, publicly accessible plaza space overlooking the surrounding Midtown neighborhood; and 2.1 million square feet of Class A office space.
The new renderings from the hearing can be seen below.
The plans for the supertall successfully passed through the Landmarks Preservation Commission earlier this week in swift fashion, with its approval largely based upon two critical advisory reports in the development of the project: an 8-2 vote on the architecturally “harmonious relationship” of the edifice with the adjacent Grand Central Terminal and a unanimous 10-0 vote on the improvement to viaduct passageways and the proposed 42nd Street passage that would help to more efficiently enhance the circulation of commuters walking among the ground floor, sidewalks, and subterranean levels of the complex.
This last aspect also would go hand in hand with the viaduct sidewalks and partial reconfiguration of the limited terra firma in which the base of Project Commodore would rest upon and rise from. Right now there is tight grid of steel columns are currently spread across the below-grade floors, reaching down to the subway platforms and supporting the Grand Hyatt New York hotel above. The new rectangular concrete core for Project Commodore will be surrounded by four huge corner columns that will act as anchors for the superstructure. All of these critical structural components would have to be squeezed within the layout of this dense space upon the demolition of the 41-story hotel.
Many of the textures and the choice of exterior materials for Project Commodore derive from and respect the architectural quality of Grand Central Terminal’s proportions, ornamentation, and iconic stone and glass façade. This can be seen in everything from the inspired appearance and spacing of the fluted columns, the height of the base and convergence of the columns lining up with the tip of the train station, and the selection of a matte finish for the metal panels so as to not create an overpowering reflective appearance. The base also tapers inward from the property line in order to fit the second-floor public plaza space and give extra breathing room between the footprint of the tower and Grand Central Terminal.
The building massing diagram below shows how the array of evenly spaced setbacks would function as outdoor terraces for future occupants and sit behind the vertically expressive structural system of columns stretching to the sculptural crown, which is designed with interwoven steel and gently rounded corners.
The following floor plans give us an overview of what the layout of the ground has been since since 1992, 1999, and what the new rearrangement will look like.
A set of clerestory windows would shine light down to the 42nd Street passageway, almost reminiscent of the arched clerestories on Grand Central Terminal. New storefronts, floor surfaces, and wall surfaces are also part of the renovation process.
Overall, the increased momentum and approvals are a good sign for the future of Project Commodore, with a realized vision hopefully coming to fruition by 2030. The next key step is a Uniform Land Use Review Process, which is expected to occur at the end of 2021. If all goes well, an 18-month-long demolition of the Grand Hyatt would follow suit.