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  #1041  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2015, 3:13 PM
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Law Professor Opposes Grand Central Tower Plan

CHARLES V BAGLI
FEB. 4, 2015

Quote:
In the long-running battle over a proposed 65-story office tower next to Grand Central Terminal, a little-known real estate investor has lobbied New York City officials, supported community opposition and offered to buy the project site from the developer.

Nothing seemed to work.

So as the planned office tower and a rezoning proposed by the de Blasio administration nears the end of the city’s lengthy review, the investor, Andrew S. Penson, brought in a weapon that he hoped would extinguish the project once and for all: Laurence H. Tribe, a liberal constitutional scholar from Harvard.

Mr. Penson owns Grand Central and the unused development rights above it. Mr. Tribe, who taught President Obama when he was a law student, was willing to plunge into the murky world of zoning, air rights and New York real estate.

But as is often the case, a lot of money is at the root of the dispute. For its part, the de Blasio administration is eager to see the project built, if only to signal to the real estate industry that it is not anti-development.

Mr. Tribe testified at a City Planning Commission hearing on Wednesday that the rezoning and the 1.6-million-square-foot tower — twice as big as the current zoning allows — “would amount to an unconstitutional taking” of the Grand Central owner’s property, saddling taxpayers with a potential $1 billion liability.

The implied threat of a billion-dollar lawsuit was lost on no one. But city officials say they can overcome any challenge.

Mr. Tribe’s complaint is that the developer, SL Green Realty, the city’s largest commercial landlord, failed to buy the unused development rights from Mr. Penson. Instead, SL Green would get them from the city, after committing to making $210 million worth of improvements to the perpetually crowded subway platforms and stairwells below Grand Central.

The city designated Grand Central as a landmark in the late 1960s, preventing construction of a 50-story tower overhead. In return, the city granted the owner of Grand Central the right to transfer unused development rights to spots nearby.

The transfer was a device to avoid charges that landmark restrictions on a building were an unconstitutional taking of private property.

“This is a ridiculous argument,” Marc Wolinsky, a lawyer for SL Green, said of Mr. Tribe’s comments. “The Constitution did not give Andrew Penson a monopoly over redevelopment in the Grand Central district.”

A group led by Mr. Penson bought Grand Central in 2006 for about $80 million. The Metro-North Railroad pays him $2.24 million a year under a long-term lease. He is betting that the air rights he bought for $61 a square foot are worth more than $600 a square foot today.

At the hearing, Carl Weisbrod, chairman of the Planning Commission and an author of the rezoning, was having none of Mr. Tribe’s argument.

The proposed tower would sit across Vanderbilt Avenue from Grand Central, between 42nd and 43rd Streets. Under the proposed rezoning of Vanderbilt, Mr. Weisbrod said, SL Green had the option of buying the development rights from Mr. Penson or making the transit improvements.

SL Green decided on the latter, while agreeing to cover cost overruns; it cannot occupy the tower until the work is done.

But developers at other potential sites in the area may choose to work with Mr. Penson.

“It’s hard to understand how your client’s rights have been rendered useless,” Mr. Weisbrod said.

Mr. Tribe, who seemed unfamiliar with the zoning proposal and the area surrounding Grand Central, deferred questions to Mr. Penson’s other lawyers.

Duane Loft, a partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner, argued on behalf of Mr. Penson that no rational developer would choose to buy Grand Central development rights, risking that the city might later require it to also make subway improvements.

“The city is pulling the carpet out from under the Grand Central owners and essentially rendering worthless the very rights that saved the city” from prior lawsuits, Mr. Loft said.

But SL Green’s decision to sidestep Mr. Penson apparently had more to do with price. Under the proposed deal with the city, SL Green would pay $210 million, or $400 a square foot, for the rights to build a 1,514-foot tower, more than $100 million less than what Mr. Penson wanted, according to real estate executives who had been briefed on the discussions between the two sides.
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  #1042  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2015, 5:25 PM
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And were listing to the law professor....
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  #1043  
Old Posted Feb 5, 2015, 7:51 PM
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Wasting everyone's time.


http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/0...vanderbilt.php

Grand Central Owner Still Trying to Thwart One Vanderbilt





February 5, 2015
by Jessica Dailey


Quote:
Andrew Penson, the owner of Grand Central, does not want the 1,500-foot megatower One Vanderbilt to rise next door. He's argued that the public is getting ripped off, and even offered to buy the land from developer SL Green for $400 million. Now, as the tower progresses through ULURP and wins needed approvals, Penson brought in someone he clearly hoped would turn the tide in his favor: Laurence H. Tribe, a man the Times describes as "a liberal constitutional scholar from Harvard."

During a City Planning Commission hearing yesterday, Tribe testified on behalf of Penson, but it did not seem to go well. The Times reports that Tribe "seemed unfamiliar with the zoning proposal and the area surrounding Grand Central," which, uh, are kind of important factors.

Penson, as part of a larger investment group, bought Grand Central in 2006 for $80 million. The crux of Tribe's argument is that proposed Vanderbilt corridor rezoning and construction of One Vanderbilt "would amount to an unconstitutional taking" of Penson's property. Penson owns all of the unused development rights above Grand Central, but SL Green never bought them from him, even though One Vanderbilt will be twice as large as zoning allows.

Instead, SL Green worked directly with the city to negotiate a deal that required the developer to make $210 million worth of transit and infrastructure improvements instead of acquiring the necessary development rights. So, naturally, Penson is pissed that he wasn't able to sell the rights; he says they are worth $600 per square foot, which amounts to $100 million more than SL Green will pay for the promised improvements.

The whole system of landmark owners being able to transfer unused development rights was created to "avoid charges that landmark restrictions on a building were an unconstitutional taking of private property," as the Times puts it.

In an emailed statement, Marc Wolinsky an attorney for SL Green called Tribe's argument "ridiculous." "This is a ridiculous argument bought and paid for by a speculator looking to line his own pockets at the expense of commuters – the constitution does not give Andrew Penson a monopoly over redevelopment in the Grand Central district. The United States Supreme Court and the New York Court of Appeals have held over and over again that government has the right to rezone an area to promote a public good and that no single landowner—no matter how desperate—has a right to expect that zoning regulations will stand still forever."

After all, Penson is still free to sell his development rights to other developers in the district. Carl Weisbrod, chairman of the Planning Commission, told Tribe, "It's hard to understand how your client's rights have been rendered useless."
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  #1044  
Old Posted Feb 6, 2015, 8:18 PM
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Ugh...

Hopefully the demolition/construction can begin by the summer?
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  #1045  
Old Posted Feb 9, 2015, 12:52 PM
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Professor calls on comptroller to join Grand Central tower fight

Quote:
A 65-story office tower to be built next to Grand Central Terminal is likely to spur lawsuits that could cost taxpayers up to $1 billion, Harvard constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe wrote to Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Mr. Tribe urged Mr. Stringer to require the tower's developer, SL Green, to indemnify taxpayers in the likelihood that a judge rules that rezoning of the Vanderbilt corridor to allow the tower's construction is unconstitutional.
Mr. Tribe recently testified at a City Planning hearing that he believes the rezoning for SL Green's 1 Vanderbilt constitutes "a taking" of Grand Central Terminal's property owner Andrew Penson, who owns air rights that SL Green would need for its tower in the absence of a rezoning. A lawyer for SL Green called it "a ridiculous argument."

The de Blasio administration plans to rezone the project site in exchange for SL Green providing $210 million in transit upgrades and other public benefits. Mr. Penson, who owns the terminal's air rights, which were granted when the terminal was landmarked decades ago, said if the project gets the green light, he would consider suing. Mr. Penson reportedly wanted $100 million more for his air rights than the infrastructure improvements would cost SL Green.

Mr. Tribe noted in his letter that the Department of City Planning disagrees with his conclusions about the possibility of $1 billion in legal liabilities. He appealed to Mr. Stringer's reputation as an official who has sought to pre-empt costly litigation against the city.

"In short, I am asking you to take a very simple step to protect the taxpayers. Require indemnification," Mr. Tribe writes. "Avert a significant potential harm. I realize that others see the potential harm differently. But I can't understand why they wouldn't bother to take the basic step of protecting the taxpayers on the chance that I happen to be right."

A spokesman for Mr. Stringer said the comptroller would review the letter.

On a political level, Mr. Penson is fighting an uphill battle. The City Council, which would have to approve the rezoning, has advocated strongly for projects to alleviate crowding on midtown sidewalks and Grand Central Terminal subway platforms. SL Green's contribution represents a substantial chunk of the funding for that work. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has also set aside some money.
=================================
FEBRUARY 9, 2015
http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article...al-tower-fight
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  #1046  
Old Posted Feb 19, 2015, 5:32 PM
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http://www.gothamgazette.com/index.p...ublic-benefits

New Phase of East Midtown Rezoning Prioritizes Public Benefits

by Samar Khurshid
Feb 16, 2015


Quote:
.....With Mayor Bill de Blasio in office, rezoning negotiations were revived in a two-phase approach: the first phase will rezone Vanderbilt Avenue between 42nd and 47th Streets, allowing developers to apply for permits to build beyond existing zoning rules and to purchase air rights. The second phase is being led by the East Midtown Steering Committee, co-chaired by Garodnick and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, which is looking at how the rezoning of the greater East Midtown area should proceed.

...Garodnick, seen as the key decision-maker in the process because the area falls within his district, is more confident of the new, more collaborative approach. It has proved itself already with regard to One Vanderbilt, a megatower proposed by SL Green Realty to be built across from Grand Central Terminal.

"The Vanderbilt rezoning provides more security to the public than the past proposal did because there is no as-of-right development," Garodnick told Gotham Gazette in an email. "The public will have a chance to review and approve or disapprove all development projects in the corridor," he explained.

...One of the key stipulations, which Garodnick stressed in testimony before the City Planning Commission earlier this month, is ensuring that public works are completed before new buildings are occupied - making it clear that community and public interests are paramount. The Commission was hearing testimony on the Vanderbilt Corridor rezoning and the proposed One Vanderbilt tower, which has become a sticking point between SL Green Realty and Andrew Penson, the owner of Grand Central.

Although buildings in the East Midtown area in question are mostly commercial, residential development has also not been left off the table. With the mayor's focus on affordable housing, evidenced by his making it the theme of his recent State of the City speech, it is likely that certain portions of new living space could be set aside as affordable.

Garodnick acknowledged that the Steering Committee could consider allowing development of mixed-use buildings, with both commercial space and residential units.

Borough President Brewer, who co-chairs the committee with Garodnick, said, "It's still to be decided whether it'll be commercial or residential. I'm sure there will be a push for residential development."

Brewer has already given her conditional approval to an application for zoning text amendments regarding One Vanderbilt after she negotiated a slew of added community benefits with SL Green. As part of the agreement, announced on January 29, SL Green will invest funds in the public plaza on Vanderbilt Avenue, contribute to its maintenance, and ensure that it is more public-friendly, with benches and bathrooms. They also agreed to pull back retail space at the planned 42nd Street/Vanderbilt corner, making the subway entrance more prominent.

...As the Steering Committee continues to hammer out the details, the final recommendations will be decided by consensus and then presented to the Department of City Planning, which has been supporting the committee throughout. The plan, once approved, will head to the City Council where it will likely pass, considering Garodnick's role in its formulation. A hearing could very well be on the docket come spring, bringing a process that has been in the works for more than three years closer to resolution.
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  #1047  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2015, 5:18 PM
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One Vanderbilt May Offer Sky-High Observation Deck

FEBRUARY 20, 2015
DANA SCHULZ

Quote:
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 Openhousenewyork 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, 1,514-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 that 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:

One Vanderbilt: New Images of Midtown East’s Zigzag Supertower
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  #1048  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2015, 8:26 PM
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A nice picture from that Article.

http://www.6sqft.com/wp-content/uplo...L-Greene-6.jpg
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  #1049  
Old Posted Feb 20, 2015, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Roadcruiser1 View Post

That's always been one of the features we are most looking forward to. Someone mentioned earlier about that particular graphic being disappointing because of where the occupied space ends, but as mentioned in that last piece, it's all still under development.


Quote:
Specific renderings of the top of the tower haven’t yet been released, and the architects note that the use is subject to change

It's supposed to be an observation deck the doubles as an event space after hours.
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  #1050  
Old Posted Feb 26, 2015, 8:07 PM
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Is anyone else worried that they'll trash the architectural top due to budget issues? That looks unnecessarily expensive.
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  #1051  
Old Posted Feb 26, 2015, 8:16 PM
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No but I sure hope they improve upon it. Best way is to add 200 ft.
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  #1052  
Old Posted Feb 26, 2015, 8:51 PM
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Is anyone else worried that they'll trash the architectural top due to budget issues? That looks unnecessarily expensive.
No. This is a building that doesn't have to be nearly as tall as it is, but is being built because the landlord/developer SL Green wants a signature tower (after visiting similar types around the world). It's that extra public space at the top that pushes this one up on the skyline. It's not really a large tower (square footage-wise) by city standards. Just one meant to be an icon on the skyline, as well as be a symbol of renewal and growth in the GC area.


Quote:
Edward Piccinich, SL Green's executive vice president of property management and construction, said the company plans to build "a spectacular trophy asset with designs inspiration from around the world," drawing on iconic modern towers such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the International Commerce Centre tower in Hong Kong.

"I imagined how the lines and the curves of these designs will make a huge impact on the city skyline. I thought about how great it would be [to] construct one of these tower[s] over Grand Central Terminal," Mr. Piccinich said.
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  #1053  
Old Posted Mar 12, 2015, 1:31 AM
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http://rew-online.com/2015/03/11/van...something-big/

Vanderbilt rezoning the start of something big


MARCH 11, 2015
By Steven Spinola


Quote:
There’s been a lot of activity around Grand Central Terminal lately, and not just the usual hustle bustle of rush hour commuters.

Last month, at a City Planning Commission hearing, the proposed Vanderbilt Corridor Text Amendment and SL Green’s Special Permit Application for One Vanderbilt received strong support.

The Text Amendment would permit the five blocks (from 42nd Street to 47th Street) along the Vanderbilt Avenue to be redeveloped up to a 30 FAR, either through the purchase of air rights from a landmark or through an improvement in the public realm.

New developments in the Vanderbilt corridor would require a special permit and would go through a seven-month public review process.

The 1,500-foot One Vanderbilt tower, planned by SL Green, is being developed under this special permit process and is proceeding concurrently with the Text Amendment.


This transit network improvement that SL Green will undertake and be required to complete as a requirement for the additional floor area will make significant improvements to pedestrian circulation in Grand Central Terminal and the adjacent subway lines.

The important goal of the Vanderbilt Corridor Rezoning Text Amendment is to encourage modern commercial development along Vanderbilt Avenue, to create a mechanism to link new development to much needed infrastructure and public realm improvements in the Grand Central area, and to allow more flexibility for the transfer of unused landmark development rights.

We think the proposed rezoning will create opportunities to construct new landmarks that reflect modern ideals and set new standards in sustainability and design. The project is projected to create 5,200 construction jobs, 190 permanent union building service jobs, and approximately $50 million in annual tax revenues.

The SL Green One Vanderbilt tower, an approximately 1.8 million gross square foot mixed use office building with an enclosed public space at ground level, is exactly the type of dense, transit-oriented development that belongs immediately adjacent to Grand Central Terminal.

Designed with careful attention paid to the needs of modern tenants, One Vanderbilt will feature open and efficient floor plans and will be a LEED-certified, Class A building. SL Green will finance and facilitate the construction of all public improvements, including enhanced transit connectivity and new public spaces for an estimated $210 million.

SL Green has worked diligently with the Community Board and Borough President’s Office to further improve urban design elements that may impact public space.

As a result of this collaboration, the Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer has supported the project at the Planning Commission hearing but was clear that there were still important changes that had to be made to the project, such as the inclusion of restrooms and benches in the transit hall, continued maintenance to the plaza by SL Green, doors to the building’s ground-floor retail section that open into the plaza, and more changes which reflect an emphasis not only on appealing to the workers in the One Vanderbilt building, but to the general public as well.

The Text Amendment and the One Vanderbilt Tower hearing at the City Planning Commission was very encouraging for the future of East Midtown.

We think these two actions will launch the revitalization of this section of East Midtown and pave the way for a rezoning of the greater Midtown East area. This project is currently being discussed by a Steering Committee comprised of major stakeholders, including REBNY, the Grand Central Partnership and the East Midtown Partnership and chaired by Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Member Dan Garodnick.

Meanwhile, last week it was reported that Howard Milstein is planning to develop a completely new modern tower at 335 Madison Avenue. This rezoning could trigger even more development than expected.

Greater East Midtown may create even more good middle class jobs and ensure that New York City remains the center of world commerce, culture, media, and finance.

So the next time you’re passing by Vanderbilt Avenue, if you listen carefully amid the hustle bustle of commuters, you might hear the theme song from the old Steve Allen Show, “This Could Be the Start of Something Big.”


http://nypost.com/2015/03/11/one-van...wo-irish-bars/

One Vanderbilt developer shuttering two Irish bars


By Lois Weiss
March 11, 2015


Quote:
Irish eyes will be crying in their pints next week over the demise of both Patrick Conway’s Pub and the neighboring Annie Moore’s.

The rival Irish pubs have been given the heave-ho by SL Green Realty Corp., which will be demolishing the entire block from East 43rd Street, where the bars are located between Madison and Vanderbilt avenues, to 42nd Street, where they will develop the office building, One Vanderbilt.

Both bars were bought out of their long-term leases by SLG.

Ed Creed says he will shutter the stained-glass-filled Patrick Conway’s at the end of April. He is yet to locate another spot for the 41-year-old bar in what is now a high retail rent area. “I will focus on the closing first,” he said. “We’ve had a good run.”

Tom Ryan, who owns Annie Moore’s at 50 E. 43rd St., said they have known for several years that SL Green had purchased the whole block and was going to develop it. “We cut a deal with SL Green and they were gentlemen,” Ryan said.


Ryan has already opened a second joint, Blackwell’s Restaurant & Pub at 150 E. 47th St., in another SLG building. But he is yet to find a spot to park the Annie Moore’s moniker.

“Annie Moore’s is an institution,” added Ryan, who will give back his keys after 31 years, also at the end of April. The bar was named for the young Irish immigrant who on Jan. 1, 1892, became the first person to pass through Ellis Island, receiving a $10 gold coin for the honor.

Cushman & Wakefield’s global retail guru, Gene Spiegelman, who does not represent either pub, says the low vacancy rates make it hard to find spaces on the less-expensive side streets.

“The best use is for food and beverage to accommodate the needs of the offices,” he said. “But each block as you go up toward Rock Center gets more expensive.”
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Last edited by NYguy; Mar 12, 2015 at 1:50 AM.
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  #1054  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2015, 12:34 PM
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Location: New York, NY, USA
Client: SL Green Realty Corporation
Type:Office, Retail, Supertall
Size: 1,700,000 ft2/ 158,000 m2
Height: 457 meters /1,500ft
Leed: Gold

Quote:
One Vanderbilt is an iconic Class A office tower in Midtown Manhattan. The building’s design was to meet today’s market needs, but also address a civic need to strengthen the Midtown Core and the Grand Central District. Formally, the massing is comprised of four interlocking, tapering volumes that spiral up to the sky. This tapered shape creates an elegant proportion sympathetic to the shaft of nearby Chrysler Building. At the base, a series of angled cuts organize a visual procession to Grand Central Terminal, revealing the Vanderbilt corner of its magnificent cornice – a view which has been obstructed for nearly a century.

The material palette of the design takes cues from the textured, masonry construction typical of the neighborhood – the tower wall consists of a terra cotta spandrel while terra cotta soffits and herringbone flooring are reminiscent of Guastavino tile work. Shading elements enhance environmental performance and add texture to the tower.

Although the section of the tapered form is sloped, the plans of the building are strictly rectangular – the building facades integrate harmoniously with the larger urban fabric of the New York City grid. Additionally, the design accommodates a variety of floor plates.

An active urban base makes One Vanderbilt a 21st century successor to Rockefeller Center. A Transit Hall on the North-East corner of the site anchors a proposed pedestrian-only Vanderbilt Ave. By positioning the primary office entry on this new Vanderbilt Plaza, the design stresses a synergy of public and private space at the main address. The Transit Hall offers an incredible integration of complex below grade conditions to grade; a grand stair connects the Transit Hall to Grand Central Concourse Level B1, a further escalator continues to Dining Level B2, and a final escalator leads to East Side Access. On the South end of Vanderbilt Plaza, an MTA connection to Shuttle and 4, 5, 6 Subway Lines is created. Finally, retail edges along Madison Avenue and 42nd Street add frontage that follows city guidelines and an additional 7 foot setback at the sidewalk on Madison Avenue opens up the congested shopping route.

Following the layered language of such great New York buildings as the Chrysler, the Empire State, and the Woolworth, the top of One Vanderbilt spirals up to a narrow point. A nuanced façade treatment that interplays vertical and diagonal structure against a transparent glass is also pragmatic, offering panoramic views of the city. The core wall is lined with folding metal panels that reflect and refract natural light, a design that accentuates the crystalline form against the city skyline.
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  #1055  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2015, 1:29 PM
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Wow what a loss.

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  #1056  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2015, 6:25 PM
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Compared to what's going up, in that neighborhood. I think not.
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  #1057  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2015, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
The material palette of the design takes cues from the textured, masonry construction typical of the neighborhood – the tower wall consists of a terra cotta spandrel while terra cotta soffits and herringbone flooring are reminiscent of Guastavino tile work. Shading elements enhance environmental performance and add texture to the tower.

One thing I like about 111 W. 57 and 1 Vanderbilt is how the designs both give us modern towers, but offer a new take on materials of the past. We'll see how they fine tune that top/spire.
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  #1058  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2015, 12:12 AM
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A little more on design/height.
















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  #1059  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2015, 12:53 AM
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This is going to be one of NY's coolest buildings

The low floor count for such a monster is still a bit odd though but I suppose clients want their high ceilings
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  #1060  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2015, 12:56 AM
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The low floor count for such a monster is still a bit odd though but I suppose clients want their high ceilings
Why is it odd? It's no different from other new towers in Manhattan of similar heights.
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