The residents of greater 57th Street can finally get a good look at the tower that they so vehemently opposed. Renderings of the 1,423-foot tower, which recently won approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to cantilever over the Art Students League, have finally been revealed in The Wall Street Journal. Read More
At 6:30 a.m., West 58th Street is a hushed world, still more night than day in the predawn blue of an early fall morning. The occasional runner treads by en route to Central Park, but, for the most part, the city that never sleeps is, in fact, asleep, a slumbering population that once included Joel and Sherri Maxman.
The Maxmans live at 152 West 58th Street, a nine-story co-op that would be utterly unremarkable were it not for One57, one of the tallest buildings in North America and among the most luxurious condos in the world, rising within spitting distance of its backside.
These days, the Maxmans and the rest of the building are early risers whether they like it or not, awake as soon as the hoist begins its creaking ascent up the exterior of the 1,004-foot skyscraper at 6:30 or 6:40 or 6:45 a.m., its journey punctuated by the clang of counterweights at the top. Elsewhere in the city, construction is restricted to waking hours, but One57’s developer, Extell, has exemptions that allow work to start in the early morning and continue into the evening, seven days per week.
Despite strong community opposition, including that of the local community board, this afternoon the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved Extell’s request to cantilever its 1,424-foot skyscraper over the Art Students League.
The vote was six to one in favor of the application, which will allow Extell to cantilever its Smith + Gordon Gill-designed tower at 217 West 57th Street over the comparatively diminutive French Renaissance building next door. In their discussion before the vote, the LPC cited the minimal impact of the cantilever—which is some 290 feet high and not visible from all vantage points—on the experience of the landmark, as well as the building’s contextually-sensitive cladding.
Though they are amazingly popular with billionaires, Gary Barnett’s luxury developments are not always well-liked by the community, and at the Community Board 5 meeting Thursday night, his latest project met with widespread disapproval. After lengthy deliberation, the board voted to reject Extell’s request for a permit to cantilever a 1,550-foot super-skyscraper at 217 West 57th Street over the landmarked Students Art League next door.
Mr. Barnett himself appeared at the community Bbard meeting, in the company of a small army of consultants, lawyers and employees, to ask the board to approve the plans for what has been dubbed the Nordstrom Tower because the retailer plans to open its first New York department store in the tower’s base (a hotel and luxury condos will, of course, rise above).
Extell’s plan to cantilever over the Park Avenue Christian Church didn’t work out so well—neighbors and the Landmarks Commission kind of freaked out over the developer’s plan to build a 210-foot-tall condo tower that would wrap about the historic church’s spire and block a wall of stained glass windows. Extell has since backed off of the Park Avenue plan, promising a less controversial design by preservation experts Beyer Blinder Belle. But that doesn’t mean the developer is giving up the dream of cantilevering over a landmark—and this time it’s the Art Students League.
Gary Barnett continues to bulldoze his way across the city. Just last week, his Extell Development unveiled plans for a new tower at Riverside South; found a partner for a stalled 50-story hotel near Times Square; and secured $700 million in financing from Abu Dhabi toward One57, the condo-hotel tower on West 57th Street that will be the tallest, and likely most expensive, when it is completed. As if that were not enough, the developer has begun work just down the block on another of its long-simmering projects.