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Carter's View

A sleek, mixed-use tower is planned for 161 Maiden Lane, a site directly south of the proposed residential tower designed by Santiago Calatrava for Sciame Construction Company at 80 South Street.

The new mixed-use tower, which overlooks the East River a few blocks south of the South Street Seaport, has been designed by Rogers Marvel Architects.

It is north of the 41-story dark glass office building with an angled base and a space-frame lobby at 180 Maiden Lane that was designed by Der Scutt, then at Swanke Hayden Connell.

The Calatrava tower, a stack of 10 four-story residential "cubes," has received wide critical acclaim but its status in uncertain as construction has not started and apparently no units have yet been sold.

Mr. Calatrava was quoted in a Fortune Magazine article last month as stating that he was "full of hope we will start it," although an article by Gabby Warshawer in this month's edition of The Real Deal noted that the marketing firm for the project, I. Kahn Inc., & Company, was "no longer associated with the building's marketing and sales," and that the project's building plans, which were approved January 28, 2005, may need to be resubmitted next month to avoid being considered "dormant."

The Calatrava tower and another major tower nearby designed by Frank O. Gehry for Forest City Rattner on Beekman Street near City Hall were widely seen as greatly enhancing Lower Manhattan especially during the long uncertainties and controversies over the redevelopment of Ground Zero.

Construction has started on the Gehry-designed tower and recently plans for its public plazas have been unveiled.

Rob Rogers, a partner in Rogers Marvel, told today that the 161 Maiden Lane project, which would probably be about 500 feet tall, is still in preliminary design, which should be finalized by early next year.

His firm's design won a design competition for the project, which, Mr. Rogers said, will be the first project in New York City for a major developer.

Renderings of the project on the architectural firm's website indicate that it would have a light-colored facade with a top ratcheted at the corners by inset balconies.

Mr. Rogers said that the developer for his project has had discussions with Mr. Calatrava's developer, adding that the 80 South Street project is "having marketing challenges but is very exciting and great for New York."

Rogers Marvel Architects PLLC recently designed the very handsome Theory Corporate Headquarters low-rise office building near the Gansevoort Hotel and Pastis restaurant in the Meatpacking District, the Studio Museum in Harlem, One Seventh Avenue South and 350 West Broadway.
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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.