Alex Ohebshalom’s Empire Management may finally be moving forward with plans to convert a McKim Mead & White-designed bank building at 250 Fifth Avenue and construct a 21-story hotel-tower behind. The project is the latest to join Nomad’s recent hotel boom that has produced the Ace Hotel, Nomad Hotel, Flatiron Hotel, and the upcoming Virgin Hotel. While building permits filed in July have yet to be approved, the existing six-story building recently cleared out its retail tenants, and its upper office floors now appear empty.
Since the site lies within the Madison Square North Historic District, the owners, under the LLC Quartz Associates, had to secure approvals from both Community Board 5 and the Landmarks Preservation Commission. With a proven track-record of steering projects in historically sensitive areas towards approval, architects Platt Byard Dovell White were commissioned. PBDW uncovered that a mid-rise loft building was once proposed for the site and this evidence allowed for LPC to more seriously consider a taller addition to the 1907, palazzo-like building designed for Second National Bank.
The approved design calls for a 21-story tower to rise from the bank’s two story rear annex, a restoration of the existing building’s facades, and a new canopy inspired by the original bank entrance. The new tower would be setback 15 feet from the streetwall and clad in precast concrete with light-colored stone bands complementing its 100-year old neighbor. Metal-framed windows and spandrel panels are organized into sets of unequally spaced rows which bring a vertical thrust to the addition.
Permits filed by the architects of record, Perkins Eastman detail a 90,000-square-foot hotel of 141 rooms with the ground and second floors providing hotel services, guest amenities and a café/restaurant. According to PBDW’s project page, “A full 125-150 seat restaurant with a bar and an open terrace is planned for the roof of the existing building, and on the top floor of the 23-story tower there will be an event space with terraces overlooking Madison Square Park and lower Manhattan.” The firm is also handling the design for a new condominium project at 8 West 70th Street, adjacent to Congregation Shearith Israel and a daring piggy-backing condo addition at 711 West End Avenue.
250 Fifth Avenue is one block south from a 64-story mixed-use tower planned on 29th Street, next to Marble Collegiate Church. Aerial rendering via CityRealty
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Neighborhoods : Nomad