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The city's Department of Buildings has received plans from Forest City Rattner for a 74-story, 876-foot-high, mixed-use tower just south of the Brooklyn Bridge and close to City Hall.

The tower, which has the address of 8 Spruce Street, will include 666 rental and condominium apartments, a school and some facilities for the NYU Downtown Hospital, which is adjacent to the large vacant site.

The project, which also has frontage of Beekman Street, has been designed by Frank O. Gehry, shown above, the celebrated architect of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and of a large mixed-use project known as the Atlantic Yards in Brooklyn for Forest City Rattner, the developer of the Metro Tech center in downtown Brooklyn.

Mr. Gehry's first major building to rise in Manhattan is now under construction for ITC, a concern headed by Barry Diller, on West Street south of the Chelsea Piers. It is a white-glass-clad building whose facades resemble sails and it is very, very impressive and beautiful although only a medium-size building. Gehry's design for the Bilbao museum has been the most acclaimed and influential design in recent years. He designed a somewhat similar design for the same museum for a site south of the South Street Seaport along the East River a few years ago, but the museum abandoned the project recently because of funding concerns.

Apart from the planned Freedom Tower at the former World Trade Center site not far away, this tower is one of the most anticipated designs in the city in recent years along with Santiago Calatrava's planned "townhouses-in-the-sky" tower at 80 South Street for Frank Sciame.

No renderings have yet been publicly released for the Spruce Street project, but documents on file with the Department of Buildings indicate that the building will contain about 1,147,043 square feet of space. The project has led to considerable speculation on the Internet about its design with many observers suggesting that Mr. Gehry has continued to tweak his design.

The building will have a garage, a bicycle room, resident's cellar storage and the first floor will contain two residential lobbies, a school lobby, a medical offices lobby, a cafeteria and retail space. The second through the fourth floors will contain classrooms, a library and a gymnasium for the school. The fifth floor will have medical offices as an accessory to the hospital. The sixth floor will be mechanical and the seventh floor will have an accessory gym, an exterior pool, and two community rooms.

Floors 8 through 14 will have 19 apartments each. Floors 15 through 22 will have 18 apartments each. Floors 23 through 35 will have 14 apartments each. The 36th floor will be mechanical.

Floors 37 through 43 will have 8 apartments each.

The 44th floor will have a few apartments, an accessory gym and a community room.

Floors 45 through 48 will have 7 apartments each. Floors 49 through 70 will have five apartments each. Floors 71 and 72 will have two apartments and the lower third of a triplex the rest of which are on the 73rd and 74th floors.

If floors 23 through 43 are rental there would be a total of 505 rental units and if floors 45 through 74 are condominiums there would be 161 condominium apartments.

Earlier this year, some plans for the project were "disapproved" by the Buildings Department, but the application process was completed May 2, 2006.

The building's "block" number is 100. Its "lot" number is "1."

The tower is expected to contain a new public school as well as expansion facilities for the hospital.

Originally, it was also intended to contain expansion facilities for Pace University, but that institution withdrew from the plan.
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.