New York architecture, planning and interior design firm CetraRuddy are set to transform the New Jersey Bell Headquarters Building tower in Newark. Built in 1929, the historic tower was designed by prolific Manhattan architect, Ralph Walker. The 436,000-square-foot tower, which sits on 540 Broad Street in Newark, will be repurposed to accommodate 260 apartments and 60,000 square feet of office and retail space. Existing tenants like Verizon, whose headquarters are located in the building, are due to remain. CetraRuddy, run by husband and wife John Cetra and Nancy J. Ruddy, has a strong pedigree in conversion projects. The firm are no stranger to Walker's designs, having worked on the Walker and Stella Towers in Manhattan previously. As with those project, CetraRuddy will maintain much of the detailing and 1920s decorum found on and inside the building. "This is an incredible landmark of this city and a national treasure, and we are delighted to help bring it new life," said Cetra in a press release. "For Newark, this visionary project brings new vibrancy and economic vitality to Newark’s downtown center, while also preserving its renowned historic character." In 2005, the building's art deco facade and lobby was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Rising 20 stories (275 feet) the sandstone and buff brick facade features colonnades and motifs by sculptor Edward McCartan. At night, the facade and upper levels are illuminated to reveal McCartan's detailing.
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The latest addition to the Manhattan skyscraper-scape is a 65 story condominium at 45 Broad Street. The tower, designed by New York's CetraRuddy, will have 300,000 square feet of floor area. The Real Deal reports that the buyers purchased the parcel for $86 million. It's not yet known how tall the building will be, but it could reach up to 900 feet. CetraRuddy is well-practiced in the art of the tall, skinny skyscraper. The firm's projects include the cellular, 625 foot tower at 242 West 53rd Street, announced March of this year, as well as 107 West 57th Street, completed last year. That building rises 51 stories (688 feet) on a comparatively small 43 by 100 foot lot. Moed de Armas & Shannon Architects (New York) designed a mixed-use, 62 story tower (pictured below) for the site in 2006. The 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, however, crushed those plans. The site has sat vacant ever since. Construction on the new 45 Broad Street is expected to be complete by 2019.
The latest glassy residential tower to rise on Manhattan's West Midtown comes courtesy of Cetra Ruddy. Curbed spotted renderings of the 625-foot-tall condo tower that is slated to rise on the site of the Roseland Ballroom, a beloved New York City concert venue that shuttered in April. The glass structure is encased in a geometric grid that provides texture and some visual identity to the facade. Protruding, rounded balconies give the building a more fluid form. "[T]he building’s massing responds to various site and zoning constraints, revealing inventive solutions that maximize the residential adaptability of the building through increased floor area, direct outdoor access and amplified views," CetraRuddy said on its website. "Shaping of the form reflects changes in unit mixes, with larger units occupying the top of the building and smaller units occupying the bottom. Building amenities, located within the podium, take on a vertical hierarchy by locating the various amenities from short to tall around the tower, resulting in a series of cascading layers on the roofs above each space." Curbed reported that permits for the building have been filed with the Department of Buildings, but have not yet been approved. And drone footage of demolition work at the Roseland Ballroom site: http://youtu.be/xfbmm5AEgLE
Developers use cutting-edge technology to restore Ralph Walker crown.When JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group purchased the 1927 Ralph Walker high-rise in Manhattan’s Hell's Kitchen neighborhood in order to transform it into the Stella Tower condominiums, they realized that something was not quite right about the roofline. "The building had a very odd, plain parapet of mismatched brick," recalled JDS founder Michael Stern. "We were curious about why it had this funny detail that didn't belong to the building." The developers tracked down old photographs of the property and were pleasantly surprised by what they saw: an intricate Art Deco thin dome crown. "We were very intrigued by putting the glory back on top of the building," said Stern. They proceeded to do just that, deploying a combination of archival research and modern-day technology to recreate a remarkable early-twentieth-century ornament. The developers, who had previously worked together on 111 West 57th Street and Walker Tower, another Ralph Walker renovation, began with what Stern calls "archeology" or "surgical demolition" of the crown area. The excavation revealed that the entire base of the crown remained behind the bricks added by Verizon, the building's previous owner. They also tracked down original drawings of the building, which showed the shape of the crown and some of its dimensions. "We didn't have shop drawings—we didn't have a road map," said Stern. "My team had to basically reverse engineer the crown using the drawings as a guide." They also leaned on 3D scans of the base to fill in the missing dimensions, and constructed a 3D model of the crown in SolidWorks. The SolidWorks model helped the developers answer important questions, like how many new pieces should be cast, how they would be installed, and what support would be required. JDS Construction, who led the reconstruction effort working with CetraRuddy architects, called on Corinthian Cast Stone to fabricate the new pieces. Corinthian cast a total of 48 pieces for the upper half of the crown in colored concrete. To support the new work, JDS designed a complex steel structure for the inside of the crown. They assembled the entire structure offsite before disassembling it and lifting it to the top of Stella Tower using a custom pulley and lever system. Eight craftsmen installed the precast pieces one at a time over the course of approximately five weeks. Each precast piece was clipped to the steel structure, then mortared to its mates. The design and fabrication process, which began with the decision three years ago to reproduce the crown, culminated this September. "The crown is so spectacular," said Stern. "It's better than the invention of the wheel." Besides his pride in the crown in and of itself, Stern sees the Stella Tower project as a chance to restore Ralph Walker's place in the architectural canon. In addition to recreating the crown, JDS and Property Markets Group recast every piece of cast stone and replaced every window and every mismatched brick on the building's exterior. "We've fixed some of the wrongs history has done to the building," he noted. "This was a great telecom building by one of the fathers of New York architecture, but over the years his buildings have been lost in the landscape. With Walker Tower and Stella Tower, we're trying to bring attention back to his legacy."