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  #1  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2012, 2:12 AM
RobertWalpole RobertWalpole is offline
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Smile NEW YORK | 425 Park Ave | 905 FT | 42 FLOORS

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...FTForthStories

Planning New York's Next Iconic Building .

By ELIOT BROWN



Nearly a half century after much of Park Avenue's high-end corridor of office buildings were built, developer L&L Holding Co. is advancing plans for a new tower.

Aiming to create an iconic, eye-catching building in the place of a 1950s-built boxy tower at 425 Park Ave., L&L last week reached out to 11 top architectural firms to join a competition to design a new tower. The list included Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and Jean Nouvel, each of whom have won architecture's top Pritzker Prize.

L&L Holding Co. has asked 11 top architects to submit designs for a new tower at 425 Park Ave. "We want to work with the best architectural minds out there, because we have some very important things to achieve and to deal with," says David Levinson, L&L's chief executive.

Mr. Levinson says he hopes to begin demolition work in 2015 and to finish the new building two years later. The price tag on the project is expected to be about $750 million, he says.

The bold plan to knock down the bulk of the existing building and to put a new one in its place reflects Mr. Levinson's faith in the value of the site. Currently the building is mostly leased with tenants including the white-shoe law firm Kaye Scholer.

But Mr. Levinson is planning to vacate the building on the bet that he'll be able to substantially boost rents once he replaces it with a modern, attractive design. While older, unremarkable buildings similar to the current 425 Park Ave. tend to fetch annual rents in the $50-to-$70 per square foot range, top architectural icons the Seagram Building at 375 Park Ave. easily win tenants paying over $100 a foot.

The plan still faces high hurdles. For starters, Mr. Levinson needs to attract financing for the project at a time that the Manhattan office market shows some signs of weakness due to the downturn and the contraction of the financial services industry.

Mr. Levinson believes great architecture will enable him to attract tenants and financing. He hopes the building's design will be achieve the same distinction as the Seagram Building or the Lever House at 390 Park Ave., both of which are considered modernist icons.

Vishaan Chakrabarti, a former city planning official and director of Columbia University's Center for Urban Real Estate, is directing the competition for L&L. "We think it could be a jewel, and given where it sits, a crown jewel," Mr. Chakrabarti says.

Park Avenue has been largely static for at least four decades. The bulk of the office towers were erected in the 1950s and 1960s on platforms over rail tracks leading into Grand Central Terminal.

Most of the towers were built with a boxy design that creates a relatively uniform feel for the wide boulevard. The most recent large office building to be constructed was 499 Park, at 59th St., built in 1980, although it doesn't take up the full block.

Complicating the redevelopment for 425 Park and other buildings on Park Avenue is a quirk of the city's zoning code that would force Mr. Levinson to build a smaller tower if he demolished the existing building in its entirety. To avoid this, Mr. Levinson plans to leave in place the steel skeleton for the bottom 25% of the building, the minimum required.

The Bloomberg administration has told landlords it is considering boosting the development rights for office building owners in parts of eastern Midtown. But that plan would likely take at least another year and a half before it would be finalized, and Mr. Levinson has said he needs to begin planning now under the current rules.

L&L partnered with Lehman Brothers in 2006 to buy the long term lease on 425 Park. Lehman still has a stake in the building, although it is looking to exit all its real estate investments over the next few years.

Write to Eliot Brown at eliot.brown@wsj.com

Last edited by RobertWalpole; Apr 23, 2012 at 2:35 AM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2012, 2:20 AM
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This has the potential to be a very innovative and creative project.
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  #3  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2012, 2:20 AM
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How bazaar. Leave 25% of the original building to skirt city zoning? I'd say more but I'm watching MadMen.
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  #4  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2012, 2:26 AM
RobertWalpole RobertWalpole is offline
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Originally Posted by SkyscrapersOfNewYork View Post
This has the potential to be a very innovative and creative project.
I agree.

P.S.: More good news is that this will displace, Kaye Scholer, a very high-end lawfirm that will be seeking several hundred thousand square feet of space!

Last edited by RobertWalpole; Apr 23, 2012 at 2:41 AM.
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  #5  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2012, 2:48 AM
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Wow, very interesting - I look forward to following this over the next few years.
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  #6  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2012, 2:51 AM
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I agree. This should be very impressive.
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  #7  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2012, 3:41 AM
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Awesome. This will be the start of what the new zoning will create. The East Side will keep up with the West.
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  #8  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2012, 4:23 AM
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Wow They will demolish a large building ... I hope they can make a very modern building and super high. Still going very close to the 432 Park Place. It seems that Bloomberg's dream will come true. Just a pity that this will be demolished in 2015 and be built later (if the world does not end at the end of this year).


EDIT: I was reading this part:
"Complicating the redevelopment for 425 Park and other buildings on Park Avenue is a quirk of the city's zoning code that would force Mr. Levinson to build a smaller tower if he demolished the existing building in its entirety. To avoid this, Mr. Levinson plans to leave in place the steel skeleton for the bottom 25% of the building, the minimum required.

The Bloomberg administration has told landlords it is considering boosting the development rights for office building owners in parts of eastern Midtown. But that plan would likely take at least another year and a half before it would be finalized, and Mr. Levinson has said he needs to begin planning now under the current rules. "

And... It's a shame that Mr. Levinson will not wait for the upzoning to build something higher, since the rezoning it will take to be done, and the company wants to start planning early on this project. But let's see, a lot can change.
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  #9  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2012, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Aiming to create an iconic, eye-catching building in the place of a 1950s-built boxy tower at 425 Park Ave., L&L last week reached out to 11 top architectural firms to join a competition to design a new tower. The list included Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and Jean Nouvel, each of whom have won architecture's top Pritzker Prize.

This is always exciting. Can't wait to see what the various minds come up with.
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Old Posted Apr 23, 2012, 4:54 PM
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http://therealdeal.com/blog/2012/04/...-avenue-tower/

L&L seeks architect for new Park Avenue tower



April 23, 2012

Quote:
L&L Holdings has taken a major step towards erecting the first new office tower along Park Avenue in more than 30 years. The Wall Street Journal reported the firm has reached out to 11 big-name architects, including three Pritzker Prize winners, for design ideas on a new skyscraper at 425 Park Avenue, between 55th and 56th Streets.
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  #11  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2012, 6:33 PM
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How much could be tall this iconic tower?
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  #12  
Old Posted Apr 23, 2012, 8:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Sky88 View Post
How much could be tall this iconic tower?
As explained above this building could be as tall as the Drake Hotel Redevelopment (432 Park Avenue).

Anyway guys it would be impressive to see buildings as tall as the roof height of the Sears Tower in Chicago rise in Midtown. Exciting news for Midtown, but not for the Empire State Building.
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  #13  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2012, 1:52 PM
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This building will be more about design, and less about height. It will be an office tower, so that also takes a lot of height speculation off the table. It will be taller than the existing tower, but I don't expect it to challenge 432 Park in height.


http://artinfo.com/news/story/801187...ion-skyscraper

Zaha Hadid for Park Avenue? She and 10 Starchitects Compete to Design a $750-Million Skyscraper



by Kelly Chan
April 23, 2012

Quote:
The current building is already occupied by a pristine office tower, and L&L have bold plans to knock down the bulk of it to construct a bigger, badder "crown jewel." Moreover, the plan to leave part of the existing building in place is to dodge finicky city zoning codes, which would have forced L&L to build a smaller tower had the existing building been completely razed.

It is clear that L&L have placed incredible faith in the appeal of the site as well as the appeal of name brand design, enough to expect that tenants will happily shell out $100 or more per square foot. The plans exhibit architecture at its most aggressive, aiming to find a form that will turn dollar signs into even more dollar signs, or in more relevant terms, architecture of the 1%. Judging by the shortlist of architects, the aesthetic of Park Avenue's new skyscraper will make a similarly forceful statement, breaking through the uniformity of an avenue fossilized in the 1960's.


d.guija

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Old Posted Apr 24, 2012, 2:37 PM
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This tower has great massing. All what it needs is a reclad with limestone. Would be a shame to demolish it.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2012, 3:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Oura View Post
This tower has great massing. All what it needs is a reclad with limestone. Would be a shame to demolish it.
Or the new building can pay homage to the old one with a similar but more modern design.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2012, 3:51 PM
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The plans exhibit architecture at its most aggressive, aiming to find a form that will turn dollar signs into even more dollar signs, or in more relevant terms, architecture of the 1%.
This statement is kind of bullshit. Saying that about some palatial chateau neo-mansion, but a gorgeous uplifting edifice in an urban environment, viewable by all social classes is a public good - it's beauty and generative emotion does not benefit the "1%" anymore than the "99%."

Remember when developers and financiers used expressions like "for the enjoyment of the city..." et cetera, et cetera?

Interior designers may cringe, but for me the privately held interiors of a commercial building are the back of the painting.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2012, 10:32 PM
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Wow this could be as tall as 432 Park Ave? That's impressive.

@Roadcruiser1, the ESB has owned Midtown for 80 years, its time for new iconic towers to dominate.
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Old Posted Apr 24, 2012, 10:49 PM
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Agreed. It's time for a new age in the New York skyline.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadcruiser1 View Post
Or the new building can pay homage to the old one with a similar but more modern design.
The existing building already looks similar to this one.


But I'll be content with whatever idea they pick. Park Avenue has the potential to become another grand canyon of skyscrapers.
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  #19  
Old Posted Apr 25, 2012, 12:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOPA View Post
Wow this could be as tall as 432 Park Ave? That's impressive.
Not likely. If it were residential, maybe.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Oura View Post
This tower has great massing. All what it needs is a reclad with limestone. Would be a shame to demolish it.
Likely needs a lot more than that. They're not just trying to build a more useful building, they are trying to build a tower suitable for the Manhattan market of today, or in other words, what would be built there today. Think in terms of the size of the floorplates, ceiling heights, and other amenities that the modern Manhattan office tower comes with.



http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/25/re...-levinson.html

The 30-Minute Interview
David W. Levinson


April 24, 2012


Quote:
Q. Are you working on many projects right now?

A. Some of our existing buildings are going through redevelopments. We are doing a very large retail development down at 195 Broadway, and probably our most important and most exciting new development is 425 Park Avenue.

Q. Let’s talk about your plans there.

A. We’ll be demolishing about 75 percent of the building. There’ll be a podium — of course the brick skin will come off — and we’ll build a new tower on top of the podium. The current condition of the building — it’s so dated — is that it’s not economically feasible to try to rehabilitate it. It’s not a sustainable building in terms of energy efficiency: there’s single-pane glass, old mechanical systems.

This is a very special and unique opportunity — it’s a full-block building. There has not been a full-block building built on Park Avenue in 50 years, and there’s no other in the foreseeable future.

Q. How do you envision the new building?

A. We’ll leave it to the architects, but I would guess probably the first six floors of steel will remain — that would be the podium — and then there will be a tower on top of that. We’ll start getting Central Park views probably about 300 feet up. There will probably be a variety of floor sizes. We’re looking to do it column free, floor-to-ceiling glass and sustainable — LEED platinum or gold. It’s going to be in the range of three-quarters of a billion dollars. So you have to create value.

We just invited 11 of the greatest architects in the world to compete for the design, and then we’ll get it down to a short list. We would like to hear back from them some time in early May to see if they’re interested. Hopefully we’ll have our architect selected by the early fall.

Q. What’s the development timetable?

A. It’s all “as of right,” which means we don’t need any special permission or permits. We just have to comply with all of the regulations. We’ll begin early spring 2015. All the current leases expire on the same day in April 2015. And we expect we’ll complete it by the end of 2017. None of us have ever seen a building demolished on Park Avenue.
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  #20  
Old Posted Apr 25, 2012, 1:36 AM
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If they have to wait for 2015 for the tenants to clear out, it seems like they would be able to take advantage of the rezoning.

On they other hand, they might be planning on buying out the leases.
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