Progress was made over the weekend—starting Friday, 9pm through Saturday afternoon—on New York City’s One Vanderbilt Avenue as construction crews poured 4,000 cubic yards of concrete foundations into the excavated site. The KPF-designed project broke ground in October of last year after a lengthy squabble over air rights and the controversial rezoning of portions of Midtown. The project’s 1,401-foot, 58-story height was made possible through a special permit which will see the developer make $220 million worth improvements to Grand Central’s transportation infrastructure and pedestrian access. The complex foundation design is indicative of those improvements, making the concrete pour one of the largest in New York City’s history.
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This week Mayor Bill de Blasio, developer SL Green, and other suited officials gathered for the ceremonial groundbreaking of One Vanderbilt Avenue, soon to be one of New York's tallest towers. The building, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), will rise 1,401 feet skyward when it's complete in 2020. Notably, developer SL Green, the largest commercial property owner in the city, is investing millions in transit infrastructure upgrades in and around the site, which is across the street from Grand Central Terminal. Litigation that hampered development was settled in August, allowing the project to move forward. On the public side, improvements include a transit hall at the tower's base, a 14,000-square-foot pedestrian plaza on Vanderbilt Avenue, and more points of access to and from Grand Central for straphangers, Metro-North riders, and the Long Island Railroad's planned East Side Access. Grand Central, Mayor de Blasio noted at the ceremony, is the system's second-busiest, with 154,000 people passing through daily. The tower's enhanced public offerings are no accident, but an exchange for super size. The developer and city officials want One Vanderbilt to be a model of the type of development that could happen under the proposed rezoning of Midtown East. "By committing to $220 million in public investment, One Vanderbilt will benefit not only its tenants but the city as a whole," said Carl Weisbrod, chair of the City Planning Commission, in a statement. "As we move forward with a proposal to revitalize Greater East Midtown, we believe that One Vanderbilt will signal this neighborhood's full potential. For East Midtown, the best is yet to come." Weisbrod's remarks allude to the city's plans to add more competitive Class A office space to Midtown East to make the neighborhood more attractive to tenants who flock to modern office space downtown and in New Jersey. In October, Weisbrod told DNAinfo that the rezoning will most likely be approved within 12 months. The public portions of the 58-story building will come online before the project is totally complete. As for design, the tower's taper nods to New York's classic skyscrapers, while its sharp articulations express contemporary supertall ambitions. The $3 billion "trophy tower" will contain 1.7 million square feet of Class A office space, ceilings up to 20 feet tall, and de rigueur column-free floor plates. On its subastral levels, the structure leans back from the street, allowing previously obstructed views of Grand Central's cornice on its Vanderbilt Avenue side. More images of the project are available on the building's new website.
Kohn Pedersen Fox's One Vanderbilt now has all the approval it needs to climb 1,501 feet over Manhattan
In late May, the New York City Council unanimously voted in favor of a plan to upzone a five-block stretch of Vanderbilt Avenue next to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. The widely expected move gives developer SL Green the green light to start work on its 1,501-foot-tall office tower known as One Vanderbilt. SL Green was able to rally such strong support for its controversial Kohn Pedersen Fox–designed supertall by promising to give some things back to the city. Specifically, $220 million in upgrades for One Vanderbilt's s iconic, Beaux-Arts neighbor—Grand Central Terminal. As AN wrote in November, in an attempt to make commuting through Grand Central less hellish, SL Green pledged to build new subway entrances into the terminal, update existing mezzanines and corridors, and include a 4,000-square-foot waiting hall (complete with a living green wall) within One Vanderbilt. The developer will also create a block-long public plaza along Vanderbilt Avenue. All of these improvements must be completed before One Vanderbilt opens, which is slated to happen in 2021. The city council's stamp of approval also allows other supertall towers to rise on the five-block stretch of Vanderbilt Avenue.
Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) is racking up an impressive collection of superlatives with a host of new glass towers in New York City. Of course there is Hudson Yards where a glossy KPF-designed building will become the tallest tower at the country's largest private development site, but that is just the start of it. In April, renderings appeared for the firm’s 64-story, cantilevering glass tower in Gramercy. The structure, which has a multi-story masonry facade, reaches 777 feet, making it the tallest residential building between Midtown and Downtown. Unsurprisingly, 45 East 22nd Street is going condo. Moving right along to 101 Tribeca, another all-glass condo building. NY YIMBY reported that this tower, which houses 129 units, rises from a more narrow base and then curves its way up to a pinnacle at 950 feet. At that height, 101 becomes the tallest residential building in Lower Manhattan...for now. Now back to Hudson Yards for a moment. As KPF's 30 Hudson Yards rises to 1,227 feet and its more modest sibling, 10 Hudson Yards, climbs to a respectable 895, new renderings surfaced for 55 Hudson Yards. This tower, designed by KPF and Kevin Roche, is still glassy, but slightly less so thanks to a metallic grid that frames its 900 feet. According to the developer, Related, the 1.3-million-square-foot structure is inspired by early modernism and Soho commercial buildings. And then there is One Vanderbilt in Midtown. According to NY YIMBY, this glass giant reaches a pinnacle at 1,450 feet making it the second tallest tower in New York. But why stop there? If One Vandy gets approved to go just one foot higher it gains yet another superlative—topping Chicago's Willis Tower. And that, folks, makes it the second tallest tower in the Western Hemisphere. While not officially approved, the building has already become the glossy symbol of Midtown East Rezoning—a plan to upzone the area around Grand Central Terminal. That proposal died under Mayor Bloomberg, but has found new life under his successor. If the controversial rezoning ultimately does move forward, it likely won't take effect until 2016. Fear not One Vanderbilt, the city is expected to give this 1.6-million-square-foot tower a special permit to kick things off ahead of schedule.
Even though the Midtown East rezoning is still under consideration, SL Green Realty is counting on it becoming a reality. According to Curbed, the developer has tapped architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox to design an office tower at 1 Vanderbilt Street located a block from Grand Central Terminal. SL Green needs the rezoning to be approved to move forward with the construction of their 1.55-million-square-foot building. The proposed rezoning would allow for taller buildings to be built if developers make a contribution to a fund called a “District Improvement Bonus,” which would be used for area-wide pedestrian network improvements.