In what sounds like a cross between a party and a design crit from architecture college, L&L Holdings held four marathon sessions last week to explore proposals for replacing the tower it owns at 425 Park Avenue with a new modern office building.
Last year, L&L revealed it planned to tear down the 1950s office block and replace it with something new. A complication in the zoning meant L&L had to keep the bottom 25 percent of the building intact, otherwise the developer would be forced to replace the current building with something smaller. It tapped 11 of the world’s top architects to come up with their own plans, then chose four to present preliminary designs, which took place last week.
Best Laid Plans
New Yorkers have gotten used to hearing talk of sweeping new visions for various underdeveloped parcels in the five boroughs. In Manhattan, of course, the Far West Side and the West Side rail yards have occupied the dreams of planners, developers and politicians for years now. And one of these years, assuming everybody remains on the same page, those underdeveloped sections will realize their potential.
Midtown has rarely factored into discussions of how to reimagine huge swaths of Midtown. That stands to reason: The business district is home to any number of iconic Manhattan buildings, and there is no blot like the West Side rail yards waiting to be transformed.
But that’s no reason to stop reimagining. At least, that’s how the Bloomberg administration sees it.
What perfect timing our good friend Christopher Gray has. No sooner has the city begun debating in earnest the merits of whether or not Midtown East should be upzoned to allow for ever bigger skyscrapers than The Times’ Streetscapist reminds us that such debates, always fervent, are as old as the skyscrapers themselves, stretching back a century and a half.