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Carter's View

Zeckendorf Development LLC may seek permission to add a 158-car garage to its large development project, now in excavation, at 15 Central Park West that occupies the full block between Central Park West and Broadway and 61st and 62nd Streets.

The large luxury condominium apartment project is "as-of-right," that is, it falls within existing building and zoning regulations and therefore does not need any public review or approvals.

At a presentation last night before the land use committee of Community Board 7, however, the developers indicated that they may seek special approvals to add the garage as existing regulations of the Lincoln Square Special District do not permit such usage.

The project consists of a 20-story building along Central Park West and a 43-story, mid-block tower with a five-story base along Broadway.

The tower and the Central Park West building will be separated by a 60-foot-wide street-level, walled open space. On 61st Street, that space will have a turnaround driveway, or "motor court," with motorized sliding gates. On 62nd Street, the space will be walled but have grills that enable pedestrians to see into it. This northern space will be landscaped with a reflecting pool that will serve as a skylight for a swimming pool underneath in the project's fitness center. In the middle of the through-block space there will be an oval entrance pavilion and the through-block space will also have a through-block pedestrian arcade.

The five-story base along Broadway will have two-story-high retail spaces topped by three residential floors.

The entire development will be clad in Indiana limestone and the Central Park West entrance will be two-stories tall with an arched and curved surround flanked by wall lanterns.

The Central Park West building will have several terraces and its roof will be landscaped, according to Robert A. M. Stern, the project's design architect, to enhance the vistas of neighbors on higher floors.

The asymmetrical top of the tower building will have a variety of elements including an arch reminiscent of one atop 1040 Fifth Avenue, open colonnades and a pergola-like structure.

William Lie Zeckendorf, co-chairman of Zeckendorf Development LLC, told the committee that the project will be "the gateway to the Upper West Side" and that he wanted the "special kind of architect that could relate the project contextually to Central Park West and Broadway."

The project has received a 20 percent zoning bonus under the city's "inclusionary housing" program and this requirement is being met by providing 41 such units at 33 West End Avenue under the auspices of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.

The tower will be the same height as the Trump International tower just to the south across 61st Street.

Mr. Stern told the committee that the project complements the "great enfillade" of Central Park West buildings that generally rise about 15 stories and then, if higher, have setback towers. "We are now in the second wave of development," he continued, stating that the project's tower is part of what he called "the second skyscraper range" that extends generally along Broadway in the area between Columbus Circle and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts district.

There will be two elevator stacks in each building so that the elevators will open onto two-apartment hallways.

Excavation work is expected to be completed around the end of November and construction will start simultaneously on both buildings.

The entire development will have 201 apartments and 30 "suites" that residents can purchase for their guests or personal staff or for use as home offices.

SLCE is the architect of record.

The site was formerly occupied by the Mayflower Hotel.
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Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.