Foundations Underway at 300 East 50th Street in Midtown East, Manhattan

300 East 50th Street. Rendering courtesy of BKSK Architects

Foundations are underway at 300 East 50th Street, the site of a 23-story residential building in the Turtle Bay section of Midtown East, Manhattan. Designed by BKSK Architects and developed by MAG Partners in collaboration with Global Holdings, KRW Realty Advisors, Krown Point, and Safanad, the 275-foot-tall structure will span 170,000 square feet and yield 194 units, with 30 percent allocated to affordable housing, as well as ground-floor retail space, a cellar level, and a 30-foot-long side yard. 300 East 50th Street Owner LLC is listed as the owner and Urban Atelier Group is the general contractor for the property, which is located at the intersection of Second Avenue and East 50th Street.

Recent photographs show the reinforced concrete foundations in progress with the slab and perimeter walls already formed, and numerous bundles of rebar protruding throughout the plot at the locations of the core and columns. Based on the pace of work, construction could reach street level by the spring.

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

Photo by Michael Young

The below Google Street View image details the low-rise building that occupied the property prior to its demolition.

300 East 50th Street in Midtown East, Manhattan via Google Maps

The rendering in the main photo depicts the northern corner of 300 East 50th Street showing a light gray brick envelope surrounding a grid of floor-to-ceiling windows. The structure rises uniformly to the first setback on the 16th floor, which is topped with landscaped terraces. Additional setbacks are located on the 18th floor, after which the building continues to the parapet and mechanical bulkhead lined with metal grilles. The property features 100 feet of ground-floor retail frontage on the northern and western elevations, with large bay windows framed by bronze-colored paneling.

King Contracting Group will be in charge of installing the CMU blocks, brick cladding, and EIFS panels.

The building is planned to house ten to 12 apartments per floor on levels two through 15, and five to seven apartments per floor on levels 16 through 23. Amenities include a shared rooftop deck, bicycle parking, a lounge, a fitness center, and an inner courtyard.

The nearest subways from the property are the E and F trains at the Lexington Avenue-53rd Street station, which provides a connection to the 6 train at the 51st Street station.

300 East 50th Street’s anticipated completion date is slated for the fourth quarter of 2025, as noted on site.

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26 Comments on "Foundations Underway at 300 East 50th Street in Midtown East, Manhattan"

  1. Nice for that location.

  2. Another boring East side condo.

  3. Finally cleaning up that corner! Full of trash, abandoned buildings and more for more than 3 years. Hopefully will encourage residents on south side of block (to First Ave) to clean up their sidewalks and nearby areas as well.

  4. What if NYC stopped demolishing buildings?

    Imagine a stadium that has outlived its useful life. The game has changed, fans have moved away, and it’s getting ever more expensive to keep the place in good repair. Fifteen centuries ago in Rome, the only option was to walk away, leaving the Colosseum to shopkeepers, hucksters, and the plunderers who recycled its trove of stone. In 21st-century America, the more common answer is to turn an obsolete structure into a cloud of concrete dust, perhaps in order to put up a new one or just for more acres of wasteful parking. Buildings come down and go up every day, but that ordinary, slow-motion dance of razing and reconstruction comes at an enormous price, because every demolition is an assault on the environment.

    Concrete contributes up to 8 percent of the world’s emissions; steel adds another 8 percent. Theoretically, the saving grace of these noxious materials is that they last a long time, but premature demolition dissipates all the energy packed into that mass. New construction sucks up more. Shattering floor slabs, melting down girders, trucking away rubble, excavating new foundations, erecting a whole structure — these are all the urban-scale equivalent of spraying soot around your bedroom. Without a meaningful reduction of that one-sixth of humanity’s greenhouse-gas production, there’s no way we get to our climate targets and keep the temperature within a livable limit.

    “Demolishing is a decision of easiness and short term,” the French architect Anne Lacaton has said. “It is a waste of many things — a waste of energy, a waste of material, and a waste of history. Moreover, it has a very negative social impact. For us, it is an act of violence.” Lacaton and her partner Jean-Philippe Vassal won this year’s Pritzker Prize partly on the strength of a self-imposed commandment: Never demolish. That’s a relatively painless position for one architecture firm to take, especially when it’s based in Paris, a city largely preserved in historical amber. But it’s time for American cities to confront their addiction to teardowns.

    New York has a long tradition of adaptive reuse, and its once derelict overstock of factories and warehouses has gradually been recycled into restaurants, offices, and condos, rich with memories of coal dust and brawn. But the only law protecting architecture from demolition is the landmarks preservation statute, which confers an inherent right to exist on buildings with aesthetic or historical value. Everything else counts as future rubble. That law proved useless when JP Morgan Chase condemned its headquarters at 270 Park Avenue to death by dismemberment, and there is some irony in the fact that the architect for its much taller replacement, Norman Foster, is widely hailed as an architectural environmentalist because his firm creates ultra-efficient towers. In historical preservation, it’s the surface details that matter, and if those have been chipped away, a building forfeits the cloak of authenticity. But the environment doesn’t care about plaster scrollwork; it’s the bones that store most of the pollutants and do the most damage when they’re pulverized. We need an environmental-preservation statute.

    New York need not reach Lacaton and Vassal’s zero-demo goals to do its part in preserving something like our current climate. It need only discourage total destruction, refine its techniques of radical renovation, and embrace efficiency standards at least as high as Europe’s. Swapping out a leaky façade for a tight new skin, installing up-to-date ventilation, plumbing, and elevator systems — these acts of invasive surgery can leave a creaky old tower younger, healthier, and more efficient.

    Reuse makes economic as well as environmental sense, even if it’s being adapted to a different use. The developer Frank Sciame had his office run the numbers on a hypothetical 300,000-square-foot midtown office building and concluded that demolishing an existing structure and replacing it with another of roughly the same size would take eighteen months longer than renovating it, and would cost about 50 percent more as well. Rehabs have recently got quicker and cheaper, he says, thanks to new technology that minimizes costly surprises that often crop up once workers start peeling back layers. “When we do highly architectural projects,” he says, “we go to the archives of the Buildings Department and get their old drawings, which are incredibly precise. Then we laser-scan an entire building and overlay them on the drawings.” The merger of two-dimensional blueprints and 3D-modeling gives architects a highly precise map — no need to guess where the pipes are and punch through the walls for confirmation.

    The environmental imperative to keep what we have and construct more sparingly conflicts with the social need to address the city’s chronic scarcity of places to live. Yet muscular renovation occurs at precisely the point where climate and housing agendas meet. “There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit,” says Scott Short, CEO of the non-profit affordable housing developer RiseBoro. “We can meet complementary goals. We can deliver buildings that perform better and are more sustainable, give lower-income people a healthier living environment, and do all that with tenants in place.” One way to test that approach would be with a comprehensive overhaul of NYCHA. Public housing is especially vulnerable to being torn down; in many cities, dynamite appeals to officials as a simple — if brutal and generally not very effective — way to flush away poverty, crime, and blight. New York has chosen a different tack: preservation by neglect. NYCHA’s towers still stand, but they are badly in need of new everything.

    If the city really wanted to inch towards Vassal and Lacaton’s zero-demo utopia, it could start by renovating some policies and laws. One impediment to widespread renovation for the people who need it most is that the success of an affordable housing program is almost always measured in the number of new homes it can churn out. “That singular focus leaves a lot to be desired in terms of creating thriving, well integrated neighborhoods,” Short says. He ticks off other impediments, too. The rules that govern how low-income tenants are charged for electricity perversely discourage landlords from installing efficient systems. Some high-performance cladding systems with built-in ductwork are popular in Europe but haven’t been able to make much headway in the American market.

    The biggest obstacle to non-historic preservation is that the city hasn’t yet come to grips with the concept of embodied carbon: how many resources are consumed and how many pollutants are spewed out in the process of making something. “From a carbon standpoint, you’re better off driving an old gas guzzler than a brand-new Tesla,” says Richard Yancey, CEO of the Building Energy Exchange, a non-profit consulting firm. “And yet embodied carbon hasn’t been part of any serious policy discussion.” In 2019, city council passed Local Law 97, which imposes long-term carbon-reduction goals on large buildings and an escalating series of fines on owners that fail to meet them. But the law deals only with how much energy it takes to keep it going, not how much is trapped in its structure or it would take to replace.

    “The law encourages property owners to say, ‘What’s the least I can do?’ That mentality is the greatest impediment to thinking positively about reuse,” says Elizabeth Leber, managing partner at the architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle. Leber suggests that if developers were incentivized to keep a project’s embodied carbon low and penalized for wasting it, they might make very different decisions. One tactic, for example, would be to leverage the laziness that Leber refers to, imposing much stricter environmental regulations on ground-up construction than a renovation.

    There’s one time-honored technique for cajoling developers into stretching themselves: allow them to create more space in exchange. The zoning code determines how bulky a building can be, but it also allows for a sweetener in the form of extra square footage (an FAR bonus in real estate parlance), usually in exchange for a social benefit, like a library or public plaza. The problem is that existing foundations and columns are rarely engineered to support more floors, unless the building is a disused factory built to withstand the weight of machinery. So the extra square footage would have to be transferable to other sites, like air rights, so that it becomes a form of real-estate currency. Instead of tearing down an existing tower to erect another twice as tall, developers could renovate, reap the carbon bonus, then sell it on the open market. The concept is similar to the trade in carbon credits in which one business’ emissions are offset by another’s savings. The difference is that instead of buying and selling the right to pollute, developers would be exchanging the right to create denser, more efficient housing.

    That legal tool would be a prod, not a panacea. “It doesn’t have to succeed throughout the city to be useful,” says Frederick Bland, Leber’s predecessor as managing partner at Beyer Blinder Belle. “You can offer it, and some people would take it up and others wouldn’t.” Now that hypothetical obsolete stadium, instead of being a pile of disposable junk, would supply the skeleton for its own replacement, plus the right to erect a shiny new tower somewhere else.

    • This is not the colosseum. It’s much needed housing, far more than what the 4 story ones they replaced can provide. And if the are connected w/ electric instead of gas, has the potential to use less fossil fuels over time. If we stop demolishing existing small houses, rent goes up, we stop growing, we’ll have worse living conditions.

      • Not that I thing nothing new should ever be built, but why is endless growth a necessity? Room will eventually run out

        Also, this one has 194 units at least but it’s common for these luxury developments to have such large units that they lead to a net loss in housing.

    • I think you’re looking for NY NIMBY

    • William Morales | January 30, 2024 at 5:10 pm | Reply

      Jesus f*cking Christ Guesser…you’ve really proved yourself to be insane. Your “comment” is nothing more than a screaming child with a loud mouth & no self control

    • Guesser, if you decide to steal an entire article from a 2021 New York Magazine as part of an attempt to deliberately spam the comment section, at least use your brain and have the decency to site your source. Nice job stealing Justin Davidson’s entire article you dumbass

      • NYYIMBY doesn’t allow you to copy links from other sites Brainiac.

        As usual YIMBYS attack me instead of commenting on the article and its conclusions.
        I love you

    • Do you have any shame in plagiarizing, whining, and being so obliviously brash Guesser?

      What was so historical about the old buildings that were demolished to make us hear another rant from you..🙄

      • NYYIMBY doesn’t allow you to copy links from other sites Brainiac.

        As usual YIMBYS attack me instead of commenting on the article and its conclusions.
        I love you

    • Guesser, your comment is as poorly executed and counterintuitive as the two girls throwing & wasting soup on the Mona Lisa to protest food waste. Stop being such an attention whore

    • Alex Cunningham | January 31, 2024 at 10:42 am | Reply

      Guesser, you never learn. Using words you didn’t come up with and spamming Yimby’s comment section with an entire article copy from someone else is something that constitutes as a copy + paste crap comment. I wish Justin Davidson from New York Magazine (the guy you clearly stole from) could knock you out into a coma.

      • NYYIMBY doesn’t allow you to copy links from other sites Brainiac.

        As usual YIMBYS attack me instead of commenting on the article and its conclusions.
        I love you

        • That’s probably for the exact reason you were trying to do Guesser 🙄🤦🏻‍♂️ Stop copying and pasting:

          “As usual YIMBYS attack me instead of commenting on the article and its conclusions.
          I love you”

          Once again, you prove to be the biggest hypocrite playing the victim card and blame others for calling you out. And nobody loves you 🖕

        • You got nobody to blame for your outrage and unresolved anger issues but yourself Guesser. Like why you gotta take it out on everyone here bro?

        • James Rodriguez | February 1, 2024 at 5:53 pm | Reply

          Guesser what do you expect to hear from people if you keep posting the same CRAP/BLSHT response every time? I don’t see how you can’t understand that people will stop correcting you if you start to realize it yourself.

        • As usual, guesser pushes the victim narrative, blames everyone else for making trouble, and shows quick aggression & hostility when confronted. All classic traits of a manupulative bully and gaslighting.

  5. I guess vines will grow in NYC, re yesterday’s conversation.

  6. Domino Sugar Factory..1882

  7. Thx for the “before” photo. The old corner looked more interesting than what’s coming.

  8. David : Sent From Heaven. | January 31, 2024 at 9:37 am | Reply

    If I were the chosen one on apartment, I would probably choose a height of 16th floor or higher: Thanks to Michael Young.

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