A few weeks ago, The Observer took a stroll around the Drake Hotel site and noticed an orange crane poised in the northwest corner. That was just the first in a series of signs that the developers are moving ahead on one of North America’s most valuable development sites.
Insiders told The Observer a few weeks ago that Mr. Macklowe and his money-partner, the CIM Group, planned a 70-story residential development, with a three story retail component on the ground-floor, and possibly a hotel in between. The Wall Street Journal confirms those plans today and says the developers have hired architect Rafael Viñoly to design the tower.
The Uruguayan-born architect has designed a number of competent institutional buildings, including the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Bronx Housing Court and the odd police precinct. He also designed the Jazz at Lincoln Center building.
Mr. Viñoly is arguably a disappointing choice to design a soaring tower at the inflection point of one of the city’s best retail, office and residential areas. But it’s worth remembering that for all of the hubub about Mr. Macklowe’s glass cube on Fifth or the Club Med of office towers, 510 Madison, neither were designed by world-renowned architects.
A couple of weeks ago, we wrote that Mr. Macklowe plans to make a comeback, with the 440 Park Avenue site as his stage. Apparently pretty thrilled to be back in the game, he’s showing the model to guests in his office in the GM Building, according to The Journal. Ah, to be a fly on that wall.