PR maven Ronn Torossian, who was evacuated from his offices at 888 Seventh Avenue, has been passing around an op-ed to outlets across the city, Gothamist among them. He blames Extell Development for failing to maintain its now-crushed crane at One57, accuses the firm of negligence and mismanagement and endangering the people and economy of the city. “A thorn and open question remains the 90-story residential tower, One57,” Mr. Torossian writes, in his piece titled “Shame on Extell Development and Gary Barnett.”
“The city of New York should demand that Extell and Barnett pay back the city, residents and businesses back for the millions it will cost because of their negligence,” he concludes.
Extell released the following statement to The Observer taking Mr. Torossian to task for trying to capitalize on this misfortune.
Superstorm Sandy has been full of dramatic events, from the fire in Breezy Point to the flooding of all those tunnels, the explosion of the Con Edison plant, submersion of the Rockaways… it has been a terrifying 24 hours. But perhaps no moment typified the New York-iness of this storm quite like the crane accident at One57. Where but here would you find a death-defying incident 1,000 feet in the air involving a home for the world’s billionaires?
With that in mind, many New Yorkers have been wondering just what the fate of the crane boom that has been hanging precariously for more than a day would be. According to the Department of Buildings, inspections reveal that the crane should be safe for now, but given the difficult conditions from the storm, it has been very difficult to inspect the damage directly.
“Our engineers have been on the scene all day now with the crane,” Tony Sclafani, the DOB spokesman, said in a phone interview. “Up until this point, they have not been able to access the building due to high winds. But last night, two inspectors made their way up to the 70th floor, floor by floor, step by step, to make sure all the connections to the crane were secure. They were accompanied by firefighters along the way.”
For the past few hours, New Yorkers’ eyes have been trained on the skies, or at least their TV and computer screens. No, they are not watching out for the eye of the storm but the crane that Hurricane Sandy has dislodged in Midtown Manhattan. The boom of the crane attached to the billionaire-beloved One57 snapped back earlier today and has been hanging precariously ever since, but it has yet to break free, and the hope is that will be the situation until the storm passes.
At a press briefing this evening, Mayor Bloomberg said all buildings on West 57th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues have been evacuated, as well as “exposed buildings” on the same block of West 56th Street. Among the buildings evacuated were a hotel and some apartment and office buildings. “We’re sorry for the inconvenience, but better safe than sorry,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
The accident occurred at 2:35 p.m. today, according to a statement from Lend Lease, the general contractor on the project, the tallest apartment building in the city, at 1,005 feet, and also home to the most expensive sale ever, more than $90 million for the penthouse.
Mayor Bloomberg said the surrounding area had been secured, with steam, electricity and gas all being shut off to prevent any additional damage should the crane’s boom come loose.
The MAS Summit has offered plenty of rousing discussions about design and architecture in the city, and cities around the globe, for the past two days at the Time Warner Center. But there was also an unexpected architectural treat outside. As readers are well aware, we here at The Observer are rather obsessed with One57 and its skyward march. Now, for the first time we have seen, the curving cornice of the building has been installed.
This revelation was exciting not simply for the continued progress of the city’s biggest apartment building and the reshaping of the Central Park skyline, but also because of something we learned while reporting this week’s feature on Goldstein, Hill & West: it was they, and not the celebrated Christian de Portzamparc, who is responsible for the crown of One57.
Has the Upper West Side fallen for an eight-acre bait and switch?
At least one and possibly all five towers at the massive Riverside Center development will not be the work of Pritzker Prize-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc. The French designer helped Extell Development and the Carlyle Group sell their swank plans‘ to the community and the City Planning Commission. The latter was so taken with the crystalline designs of Mr. de Portzamparc, who also designed the LVMH headquarters and Extell’s One57 tower, that restrictive zoning covenants were set to ensure the buildings would look as promised.
But now, Extell and Carlyle have turned over one of their tower sites to the Dermot Company, which has hired local firm SLCE to design the apartment building on the West End Avenue section of the site. While Dermot insists its project will be up to the standards promised during last year’s public review process, some, including the exacting City Planning chair Amanda Burden, worry the design doppelgangers will lead to lesser work.
It was announced yesterday that One57 had topped out, making it (upon completion) the tallest residential building in the city, and thus the Western Hemisphere. Upon hearing the news, The Observer decided to take a rather sweaty stroll up Eight Avenue from NYO HQ to Columbus Circle to see what this record-setting 1,005-foot tower looked like.
The answer? Not much!
We already know One57, like all of Gary Barnett’s projects, is the best everything all the time.
This goes for its marketing materials, too. Get a load of this insane video, for example, just posted to the development’s sleekly updated and expandedsite. Herein some clever video editors make Christian de Portzamparc’s tower come alive, which we guess is the kind of industrial light and magic one can afford when a project is on pace to gross $2 billion.
Lebanese American University is buying a three-floor office condominium at 211 East 46th Street for $11 million.
LAU, which has campuses in Lebanon but has adjunct operations in Manhattan, will use the roughly 30,000-square-foot space primarily for administrative offices and classroom facilities.
Leaving the Building Congress luncheon today, The Observer looked up to notice something we had never seen on the Midtown skyline before: One57! Garry Barnett’s Central Park-towering apartment building is now totally a part of the city skyline, unavoidably peeking down on Columbus Circle.
It’s the great white whale of Manhattan retail.
Aside from Walmart, Nordstrom is the store every retail broker in the city dreams of harpooning and reeling into a new home. One prominent broker familiar with the store, the amount of space it needs and the rents it would probably be willing to pay estimates that the commission for handling its lease would be around $10 million.
But like a leviathan lurking beneath the waves, the department store has offered only fleeting glimpses around the city, most notably at several development sites and a few existing assets with the capacity to accommodate its sprawling footprint.
The scuttlebutt nowadays: Nordstrom is contemplating one of two leases, one at the West Side rail yards with the Related Companies or another at the base of Extell Development’s soaring new residential tower now rising at 157 West 57th Street.