, Tue, September 29, 2015
Grand Central owner Andrew Penson is back in the news again, this time suing the city and One Vanderbilt developer SL Green for a princely sum of $1.1 billion. As the NY Times reports, Penson is claiming that the 65-story behemoth slated to rise next door to the historic structure has led to the devaluation of his air rights atop the terminal.
Penson claims that the de Blasio administration, the City Council and SL Green “deprived him of his property rights when the city gave SL Green permission to build a 1,501-foot tall office tower, without having to buy any air rights from him.” By allowing for a tower twice the size of what was zoned for the block “for free” (but really, in exchange for a $220M investment into the subway infrastructure beneath Grand Central), his air rights have been rendered “worthless.”
More on the lawsuit here
This afternoon, SL Green’s One Vanderbilt tower received the ultimate green light from the New York City Council, as members voted unanimously in favor of both the construction of the new 1,501-foot tall office building and the rezoning of a five-block stretch of Vanderbilt Avenue (the Vanderbilt Corridor) that would bring with it significant infrastructural upgrades to the area’s public transportation. The vote was the last hurdle for the development and is a critical step in the rezoning of a greater area of Midtown East.
Find out more here
- After just six weeks, one-third ($1.1B) of 220 Central Park West has been sold. “Acceptance by brokers and buyers has been extraordinary and unprecedented.” [TRD]
- One Vanderbilt is well on its way to becoming a reality. This morning SL Green cleared its final major hurdle, receiving approval, with some amendments, by a key City Council subcommittee. [Crain’s]
- Philip Johnson’s iconic New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park will get a free $3 million facelift. Bridge and steel painters are donating their time to restore the structure. [NYDN]
- Queens tallest tower has hit the market. [TRD]
- Tiengarden, a 20-year-old vegan eatery in the LES, is shuttering because of a rent hike. [DNA Info]
- The historic Helmsley Building has sold for $1.2B. [NYDN]
Images: 220 Central Park South (L); NY State Pavilion (R)
Image: One Vanderbilt via SL Green/KPF
Foes of One Vanderbilt could soon find themselves with choice words for a new supertall enemy on the rise in the Midtown corridor. The Post reports that developer Howard Milstein is now looking to design and develop a brand new tower at 335 Madison Avenue. Millstein’s move takes advantage of the new Vanderbilt corridor zoning that would allow a building of 30 FAR with various bonuses.
Currently in its place, however, is a 1.1 million square-foot tower from 1984. The new project would require knocking down the existing building and constructing anew. Although that sounds like an impossible task, The Post notes that the tower was actually a redevelopment of the 1913-era Biltmore Hotel that the Milstein family started razing before preservationists could react—meaning there’s far less architectural significance here than there once was. While the current building does host tenants, roughly 500,000 square feet is already vacant. A new tower would also take several years to plan and develop. Milstein’s new plan could include a high-end hotel which would harken back to the site’s hotel past.
[Via NY Post]
When we talk about One Vanderbilt we typically focus on the base of the building–how it relates to its neighbor Grand Central and how it interacts with the planned public plaza in Vanderbilt Corridor. But at a presentation last night about the project, hosted by Open House New York and put on by Jamie van Klemperer, president of Kohn Pedersen Fox (the project’s architect), we learned some exciting new details about the top of the 68-story, 1,501-foot zigzag building.
The four-part contrapuntal structure will feature a transparent topper, which is currently envisioned as a public event space and observatory. And since One Vanderbilt will clock in as the third tallest office tower in the city, this look-out spot could possibly sit higher than the one at One World Trade Center, which offers views at 1,250 feet above ground. Specific renderings of the top of the tower haven’t yet been released, and the architects note that the use is subject to change, but for now more information and renderings for the project are available here:
Rendering via KPF / SL Green
Discord around the construction of One Vanderbilt continues to grow, and the latest contender to enter the ring is Harvard Law professor, “liberal constitutional scholar” and President Barack Obama’s former educator, Laurence H. Tribe. Grand Central owner Andrew Penson has tapped the big-time lawyer to battle the city in his fight against the 1,514-foot supertall, according to The New York Times. Yesterday, with Tribe in tow, Penson went head-to-head—yet again—with the tower’s developer SL Green at the City Planning Commission hearing. The meeting got as heated as one would expect, and “unconstitutional” and “ridiculous” were just a couple of the words thrown around.
Find out more here
Gale Brewer is no shrinking violet when it comes to city planning, and having her on your side is never a bad thing. The borough president of Manhattan has just come out as a full-fledged supporter of not only Midtown East’s rezoning, but more notably, One Vanderbilt, the controversial 1,514-foot supertall slated to pop up right next door to Grand Central. Curbed reports that Brewer coupled her approval with an announcement that her office negotiated a slew of additional community benefits from developer SL Green—the developer that has already put up $210 million for the improvement of Grand Central’s subway station.
More on what’s included in the plan
The proposed East Midtown Rezoning has been a hotly debated issue over the past few years. First introduced by Mayor Bloomberg, and backed by Mayor de Blasio, the rezoning would allow developers to build larger and taller than the current Grand Central Terminal district zoning allows in exchange for financial contributions to the area’s infrastructure needs. The Department of City Planning feels the rezoning would ensure that the area maintains its spot as a global business center, but others think it would forever ruin the historic nature of the neighborhood.
One of the most major components of the project is One Vanderbilt, a 68-story, 1,514-foot zigzag tower that will stand adjacent to Grand Central. Along with the building comes a reconfiguration of the Vanderbilt Corridor, the streetscape around the Terminal. A panel discussion at the Museum of the City of New York on January 20th will examine both the tower and the corridor and what they mean for Midtown East.
More about the event here
- Manhattan Community Boards 5 and 6 want to redesign SL Green’s 67-story One Vanderbilt tower. [NYP]
- Fresh Direct breaks ground for its South Bronx headquarters, but locals protest that it will further damage the area’s air quality. [NYT]
- An opinion on why the proposed megatower on the pier would ruin the South Street Seaport. [NY Mag]
- Long Island City sees a rise in condo development. [Bloomberg]
- West Village townhouse at 79 Horatio Street sells for $21 million, double what it sold for two years ago. [Curbed]
Images: One Vanderbilt (L); Long Island City (R)
Recently at the Municipal Art Society’s 2014 Summit for NYC, James von Klemperer, FAIA , a principal at Kohn Pederson Fox & Associates, briefed the audience with new details on the architecture firm’s upcoming supertall project known as One Vanderbilt.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, the 68-story, 1,514-foot zigzag building is expected to become the tallest office tower in Midtown and third tallest in the city behind One World Trade Center (1,776 feet to spire tip) and Extell’s Nordstrom Tower (1,775 feet to spire tip).
Check out all the new images of the supertall tower here