Opppenheim's Manhattan bridged towers that might have been

514 11th Avenue (Courtesy Oppenheim Architecture + Design)

514 11th Avenue (Courtesy Oppenheim Architecture + Design)

Silverstein Properties is developing a 1,100-foot-tall development on Manhattan’s West Side, but it won’t be Oppenheim Architecture + Design‘s proposal for a pair of towers linked by a mammoth greenhouse-topped bridge seen here. The scheme was revealed earlier this year as two speculative mixed-use towers comprising some 1.6 million square feet. Then called 514 Eleventh Avenue, the scheme would have stood eye to eye with the Empire State Building.

In dramatic fashion, Oppenheim’s renderings and video of the project detailed a pair of towers with stunning vistas of the Hudson River, the nearby Hudson Yards development, and the High Line. Then called 514 Eleventh Avenue, the glass-clad towers would be 60-stories tall and houses mostly residences, with offices and retail also in the building. At the top of the tower, a massive lounge area within the bridge created a greenhouse-like setting, complete with a game of croquet. A five-story retail mini-mall with a green wall–covered facade would occupy the base of the building. Oppenheim Architecture declined to comment on the project for this article.

But those plans weren’t meant to be. In July, Silverstein revealed new renderings of a single-tower proposal for a project now dubbed 520 West 41st Street. The basic specs remain the same, with a 1,100-foot-tall tower containing 1,400 residences (including 280 affordable apartments), 175,000 square feet of office space, and a stepped 140-foot-tall podium containing retail space. The project dropped the second tower and bridge connection in favor of a lighter, rectilinear form.


Current plans for 520 West 41st Street. (Silverstein Properties / Via Curbed)

The tower proposal has met some opposition from West Side residents. In letters sent to the New York City Department of City Planning, the Hell’s Kitchen Land Use Committee brought up complaints pertaining to the sheer size of the development. The committee also emphasized that equal amounts of attention and time should be applied to building and furnishing the “affordable housing” that the project promises as has been spent in producing the jaw-dropping renderings.

One major hurdle still remains for the project—zoning. The developer met with the Department of City Planning on July 31st to begin arguing that the project should be rezoned from a predominantly office tower to the apartment building currently proposed. In the meantime, cancel your sky-high croquet plans for now.

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