With the debut of their newly-sharpened website, the visual-realization whizzes at AJSNY are seeking to steal some Apple Watch buzz with this stunningly whimsical rooftop addition atop the now-under-conversion 212 Fifth Avenue in Nomad.
The conceptual vision, designed by the rendering team themselves, shows a bronze-clad, multi-story addition wrapped with sinuous ribbons framing an enormous south-facing clock. Below the steampunk-esque penthouse, AJSNY depicts a standard condo-conversion affair of open layouts and double-height spaces for the 1913 neo-medieval tower. The team’s images also give us an idea of what the official owners–Madison Equities, Thor Equities, and Building and Land Technology–have in mind for this quintessential Manhattan address. The scheme is not official or approved, but it certainly is creative.
According to AJSNY, a 64-seat restaurant and bar dubbed Restaurant Nikola would occupy the new addition, and judging from the finishes and views, we’re imagining meal prices in the range of an Apple Watch or two. While there has been no announcement of a restaurant in the permitted scheme, the ongoing rehab will provide ground-floor retail spaces. An eating establishment would be well suited at the location considering Nomad’s sizzling dining scene and as a nod to a past Delmonico’s restaurant branch that occupied the site a century ago.
Considering 212 Fifth is within the Madison Square North Historic District (pdf), we’re guessing the often-conservative Landmarks Preservation Commission won’t be too fond of AJSNY’s very-visible addition or the double row of balconies scaling the building’s southern lot-line wall. Instead, the approved rehab spearheaded by Helpern Architects is classically motivated and seeks to restore the 220,000-square-foot, 350-foot-tall tower to its turn-of-the-century grandeur. Finished in 1913, the same year as the Woolworth Building, and adorned with the same neo-Gothic style, the Schwartz & Gross-designed building was initially occupied by several garment factories, textile manufacturers, and carpet purveyors.
The motivation behind the monumental clock is likely fantastical, but we’ve surmised that it may be a message for the long-under-construction 10 Madison Square West and the Metropolitan Life Insurance Tower conversions that they’re simply taking too long to finish up. Or perhaps the dial is there to keep Silicon Alley techies aware of their approaching deadlines. The 40-foot-tall medallion would be visible from anywhere along Fifth Avenue and Broadway in the Flatiron District — a neighborhood already studded with its fair share of timepieces. Largest of them all is the 26-foot-in-diameter clock of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company Building (soon to be a Marriott Edition hotel). One block south of 212 Fifth is the 19-foot-tall Fifth Avenue Building Clock that fronts Eataly and helps create one of the richest urban compositions in the city.
Architectural Illustration by Rob Leanna, Painted Buildings (L); Photo of investigative work performed by Jablonski Building Conservation (R)
The owner consortium closed on the purchase of 212 Fifth for a reported $260 million from Extell Development in January, according to the New York Observer. Thor Equities owner Joe Sitt said that the 212 address was half the reason he bought the building, since the numerical sequence is the area code synonymous with Manhattan. The building will be reconceived into 42 condominiums with ground-level retail. Helpern Architects will also replace all the building’s windows and perform a full rehabilitation of the brick, limestone, and terra cotta façade.
212’s sales office is expected to open this spring, and according to the Post, the building is aiming to be “a younger, hipper version of 15 Central Park West.” Apartments surrounding Madison Square Park have attracted an A-list of media moguls and entertainers recently: Chelsea Clinton and Jennifer Lopez purchased units at the Whitman; Rupert Murdoch and Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen bought at One Madison; and back in 2013 a five-bedroom penthouse went into contract for $36.5M at Witkoff’s 10 Madison Square West. Media giant Sony is also in the process of relocating to 11 Madison, along the east side of the park.
You can watch AJSNY’s remarkable video of their vision for 212 Fifth Avenue here. The film employs some of the best drone videography we’ve ever seen; navigating closer and lower to the cityscape than any helicopter could dream. And be sure to check out our galleries below, documenting the rehabilitation and proposed designs for the building.
- Is 212 Fifth Avenue the Ultimate Manhattan Address?
- A Closer Look at NoMad – Manhattan’s “New” Neighborhood
- One Madison: A Modern Marvel on Madison Square
212 Fifth Avenue under Rehabilitation
Exterior Renderings of 212 Fifth from AJSNY
Interior Renderings of 212 Fifth from AJSNY
Neighborhoods : Nomad