Not Verre Yet: Hines Still Looking for Financing for MoMA Tower

moma tower pounder Not Verre Yet: Hines Still Looking for Financing for MoMA Tower

The construction machinery that got everybody excited about the Torre Verre taking off. (yankeesfan/SkyscraperCity)

53 west 53rd street Not Verre Yet: Hines Still Looking for Financing for MoMA Tower

The torre in question, set to rise 1,050 feet, once financing is secured. (Wikimedia Commons)

For a time, it looked as though Jean Nouvel’s MoMA Tower would be the tallest apartment building in the city, when the 1,250-foot shard was proposed four years ago. Having been cut down to 1,050 feet by planning chief Amanda Burden, and with the revelation earlier this week that Gary Barnett is building a 1,550-foot tower on Broadway and 57th Street–to complement his 1,005-foot One57 and surpass Harry Macklowe’s 1,397-foot 432 Park–it appears Torre Verre, the MoMA Tower’s official name, will simply be a very tall apartment building. Very, very tall.

That, and the project’s starchitect pedigree, have the design-obsessed online watching the project’s every move. Last week, a contributor to the site Skyscraper City noticed that what looked like pile-driving equipment had been assembled on the site next to the Museum of Modern Art. This was a sure sign of the project’s imminent commencement, or so the photographer surmised. Lo, it is not so, according to Hines, the condo tower’s developer.

“That is not construction,” Tommy Craig, the director of Hines’s New York office said through a spokeswoman. “We are progressing on financing.” That has been the key piece hampering this project for the past year, ever since new plans were filed with the city. But so too have other towers suffered from a lack of financing, such as B2 at Atlantic Yards. Now that that building, as well as those like 432 Park are rising, and people are paying insane rates for condo units across the city, surely some bank somewhere must be warming up to this project.

Until they do, nothing is happening on the site, and as George Lancaster, a Hines spokesman, cautioned, people should not read too much into what machinery may be siting on the lot at 53 West 53rd Street. “Not breaking ground YET,” Mr. Lancaster wrote in an email, adding, “Not sure what machinery is on site, but not related to building construction.”