Posts tagged with "Midtown Manhattan":

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Neighborhood sues to stop Sutton Place condo tower

The troubled tower originally designed by Foster + Partners in Manhattan's Sutton Place neighborhood has hit yet another speed bump. Crain's reported that local residents have filed a lawsuit to block the condo building from going up at 430 East 58th Street, claiming that it has run awry of recent zoning changes. Locals are unhappy with the tower's height. Its scale is closer to the skinny supertall towers of nearby 57th Street, which is also known somewhat pejoratively as Billionaire's Row and is the home of some of the city's most expensive apartments. Sutton Place is, however, an affluent mid-rise and low-rise area, home to historic townhouses and exclusive brick apartment buildings. The project has never been welcome in the area. In an attempt to block its rise, the local populace successfully lobbied the city government to change the area's zoning to exclude structures of the tower's proportions. The developers then scrambled to get the building grandfathered into compliance by finishing the building's foundation before the new restrictions took effect last December. The city gave the developers an extension to meet the deadline, which is what the neighborhood is objecting to and suing the project over. The suit is aimed at stopping construction and shrinking the tower, which is currently planned to be 68 stories. The original developer, Joe Beninati, was a relative newcomer to the New York City real estate scene, and after a series of bad financial decisions he lost control of the project, and it went into the hands of Gamma Real Estate. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Foster + Partners is the current architect on the project. 
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Public art chapel in corporate midtown Manhattan to get a restoration

Tucked away in the corporate international style Citigroup Center in midtown Manhattan lies a spiritual sanctuary designed by one of the 20th century's great artists. The Chapel of the Good Shepherd, also known as the Nevelson Chapel, is the work of Louise Nevelson, a flamboyant New York City sculptor who rose to prominence for her postwar abstract assemblages that turned street detritus into enigmatic works of art. An interdisciplinary team is restoring the space, both conserving the painted relief sculptures that line the walls and installing modern mechanical systems to better condition the room. The Nevelson Chapel is a privately owned public space (POPS) in the Citigroup Center, which opened in 1977 and features a distinctive raised base and a slanted roof. The building was landmarked in 2017. POPS began in 1961 when New York City started offering developers FAR bonuses on developments if they would build public spaces as part of the projects. Dozens of these areas are now scattered through the city. As a POPS, the chapel is open to visitors. Saint Peter’s Church originally commissioned the chapel and currently operates the space as part of their worship areas in the complex. The restoration is part of a $5.7 million initiative made possible by donations from nonprofits and individuals, many of whom are connected to Saint Peter's. Objects Conservation Studio and Pratt Institute students are treating painted wood surfaces to reveal Nevelson's original paint using a technique developed in Florence, Italy. Jane Greenwood of Kostow Greenwood Architects, Michael Ambrosino of ADS Engineers, Michael Henry of Watson & Henry Associates, Ryoko Nakamura of Loop Lighting, and Sarah Sutton of Sustainable Museums are installing new lighting and mechanical services. According to the Saint Peter's website, the Nevelson Chapel is accessible every day at almost any hour. The chapel will be open while the artwork is being restored through October 15, after which time more intense construction will take place, and the chapel will close. The space is scheduled to reopen in spring 2019.
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SHoP Architects tapped to transform Manhattan tower into haven for tech startups

New York firm SHoP Architects is hopping on the coworking train with a commission to design and renovate 335 Madison Avenue into the new home for Company, a vertical tech campus that combines working spaces and lifestyle facilities. Within the 350,000-square-foot space, Company will house “a curated community of top-tier companies that spans the innovation spectrum from venture-backed startups to large enterprises,” according to Company's description of the project. Company’s office building is located next to Grand Central Station in Midtown Manhattan. SHoP has recently unveiled a series of interior renderings that showcase the firm’s plan to renovate the atrium lobby and office floors of the building. They will also design supporting amenity spaces. The new spaces include “a bar, multiple dining venues, several event spaces, a two-story glass enclosed library, a wellness center and a gym, and a terrace.” The location will also create ample networking opportunities for the tenants of the building. The startup offices on the lower floors are furnished with “meeting rooms, phone rooms and breakout spaces optimized for productivity,” according to a statement from Company. Those offices range from 2,000 to 12,000 square feet. The enterprise offices will take up the upper floors of the 29-story building with open floor plans.
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Natalie Griffin de Blois’s Union Carbide tower is slated for demolition by Chase

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s (SOM) 270 Park Avenue, an international-styled glass-and-steel tower in Midtown Manhattan that Ada Louis Huxtable once described as one of the “sleek and shiny temples” to business, is now scheduled for demolition. As first reported by the New York Times, the building’s current owner, JPMorgan Chase, will be tearing down the 52-story tower for a taller replacement. Completed in 1961, 270 Park Avenue, originally the headquarters for Union Carbide, was designed by SOM partner Natalie Griffin de Blois, one of the few women working in midcentury corporate architecture at the time. The 707-foot-tall, slab-shaped tower holds about 1.5 million usable square feet. Chase has called the tower its headquarters since 1996, but have claimed that with 6,000 employees in a building meant for 3,500, the location is now too small. To that end, the company will be tearing down the Union Carbide Building and replacing it with a new 70-story headquarters that could be up to 500 feet taller than the midcentury icon it would be replacing. The financial giant expects that the new tower will be about 1 million square feet larger than its predecessor, and will eventually house 15,000 employees. The expansion plan is only possible under the recently passed rezoning of Midtown East, which allows developers to build taller and denser in exchange for transportation improvements and buying the air rights of historic buildings (with proceeds going towards a public fund). The New York Times reports that Chase will be buying $40 million of air rights, with the money going towards improving Midtown East’s sidewalks, pedestrian plazas and streets. 270 Park Avenue doesn’t seem long for this world, as Chase wants to begin demolition early next year and have its replacement tower finished by 2024. Employees who currently work in the building will be relocated in the neighboring 390 Madison Avenue, as well as 237, 245 and 277 Park Avenue. The public reaction to the announcement has been pointedly critical, especially as Mayor de Blasio has expressed his satisfaction with the deal. Preservationists took to Twitter to bash Chase for tearing down an original tower in Park Avenue’s valley of international offices, and expressed hope that the building could get in front of the Landmarks Preservation Committee before its demolition. No architect for the replacement tower has been announced yet. AN will provide an update when we have more information on the project.
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Iranian-controlled Midtown tower will be seized by the U.S government

Following nine years of legal battle, the federal government can now seize a skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan that is linked to Iran, a jury found on Thursday. The jury ruled in favor of the United States in its effort to seize 650 Fifth Avenue, of which the Alavi Foundation, an Iranian nonprofit foundation accused of violating U.S sanctions against Iran, controls 60 percent. The government accused the organization of money laundering through its partnership with Assa Corporation, a shell company for an Iran-owned bank that owns the other 40 percent of the building. "For over a decade, hiding in plain sight, this 36-story Manhattan office tower secretly served as a front for the Iranian government and as a gateway for millions of dollars to be funneled to Iran in clear violation of U.S. sanctions laws," acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon H. Kim said in a statement and covered by Patch New York. The 36-story office building is in a prime location and is valued at more than $500 million. It brings in millions of dollars in rental income annually, and Nike had signed a 15-year contract to rent seven floors last year. It would be the largest terrorism-related civil forfeiture in U.S history, according to federal prosecutors. The government plans to sell the building and has also agreed to distribute the proceeds to the families of the victims of Iran-linked terrorist attacks (including September 11), as reported in the New York Times. The government first took action in 2008 against Assa Corporation, and in 2009, prosecutors filed a complaint against Alavi, saying that it was directed by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In 2013, Federal Judge Katherine B. Forrest ordered both Alavi and Assa to forfeit their shares, however, in 2016, Alavi’s case went back to trial on the grounds that it was unclear whether the nonprofit knew its partner was directly controlled by Iran. The ruling last week saw the judge convinced that the nonprofit had taken “directives from Iranian government officials, and its day-to-day operators have been appointed by Iranian officials to ensure conformity with the interests of the government of Iran,” the Times reported. Defense lawyers for Alavi are expected to appeal the decision.
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New York’s Port Authority Bus Terminal to get $90 million band-aid

Nobody likes the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. Nobody. And an infusion of $90 million probably won't change that. According to the New York Times, the money, which was approved by the authority last week, will be used for fairly minor improvements including better cell phone service, improved restrooms, and more legible signs. As for an entirely new terminal? That's not happening any time soon. At least not within the next decade. So, for the foreseeable future, commuters are stuck with what the dirty, dark, dated, and crowded terminal over on 42nd Street. A space that leaves Penn Station looking more like Grand Central. That's not being overly cruel, the Port Authority also thinks the place is a dump. According to the Times, the vice chairman of the authority said the terminal was outdated, “physically, technologically, functionally, in every way that you can imagine.” And that was in a committee meeting, not on Yelp.