Checking In on 56 Leonard: The Rising Star in the Downtown Skyline

January 12, 2015

Esteemed architect and historian Robert A.M. Stern once said that “New York is a constellation of magic moments. No city as complex as New York rebuilds itself so often, and often so well.” Two stars are being born in that nebula of irregular streets we call Downtown. The taller of the two, 30 Park Place, is designed by the famed starchitect himself, and has recently surpassed its neighbor, the Woolworth Building, to soon take its place as the tallest residential perch in the district. The other star, 56 Leonard, may still shine brighter, however. While absent any height superlatives, 56 Leonard may very well end up being the most interesting skyscraper Downtown has produced in decades.

Nicknamed the “Jenga-building” and the “tower of penthouses,” 56 Leonard’s design comes from the Swiss architectural firm of Herzog & de Meuron while working with the residential know-it-alls at Goldstein Hill & West. Currently, the concrete frame is approximately 700 feet tall with little more than 100 feet to rise before topping off. The floors progressively stagger at varying configurations creating cantilevered interior spaces as well as outdoor balconies for each of the residences.

56 Leonard COmbo Courtesy Herzog & de Meuron | Renderings by VUF Studio

The final floors set to rise are where the tower’s engineering acrobatics really begin. At the climactic pinnacle, ceiling heights increase from 14 feet up to tractor-trailer-accommodating 19 feet. WSP Group is the structural engineers meeting the task of keeping the 60-story building upright.

56 Leonard (10) Photos from SOMA Architects’ Twitter

The project is being developed by Izak Senbahar’s Alexico Group and has had a storied history dating back to before the recession. The units range from 1,430 to 6,380 square feet and are comprised of two to five bedrooms. According to the Times, more than 70 percent of the 145 units went into contract just ten weeks after sales began in spring 2013. CityRealty lists only two units still available. Prices average around $3000 per square foot, and the penthouse (the legitimate one) is already in contract for $47 million. Completion is expected sometime in 2016.

56 Leonard (sm

56 Leonard, Herzog & de Meuron, Tribeca condos, Alexico Group, GHWA, WSP group, NYC skyscrapers, Manhattan skyline, Downtown, New York City constructionAerial rendering via CityRealty

The Downtown skyline will change substantially over the next few years. 56 Leonard is located north of the Financial District in Tribeca and will remain relatively isolated due to strict zoning and historic districts.

We’ve saved the best for last, though. The team at 6sqft recently uncovered this exclusive video detailing the intense design process that the architects and engineers endured to arrive at the final form of 56 Leonard:

Find listings, images, and more information about 56 Leonard here.

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