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Carter's View

The latest wrinkle in angled towers in the city is the design by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill for a 59-story apartment tower for World Wide Holdings at 250 East 57th Street as part of the redevelopment of the High School of Art & Design and PS 59 at that location.

The tower appeared to have an extreme hour-glass pinched figure on its north facade based on a rendering that appeared yesterday in an article by C. J. Hughes in The New York Times. Another rendering obtained by CityRealty.com, however, shown at the right, shows the light-colored tower as seen from the East River.

The tower occupies the eastern portion of the large site on the west side of Second Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets. World Wide Holdings is leasing the site for 75 years and will make annual lease and PILOT (payments in lieu of tax) payments to the Educational Construction Fund that will cover the cost of both new schools, estimated to be $130 million, and generate additional revenues for other school capital projects.

The apartment tower and retail space and the 1,400-sear High School of Art and Design structures are being designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill LLP and Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kihyn is designed the new PS 59, which will be expanded from 400 to 730 students.

Under the terms of an agreement disclosed in October, 2006, with the Educational Construction Fund of the New York City Department of Education, World Wide Holdings will build two new and expanded schools to replace the existing ones and the development will also contain about 170,000 square feet of retail space.

The high-rise 59-story glass tower over a retail base and according to the article David Lowenfeld, a principal of the World-Wide Group, the developer, said it will have 320 units, 60 percent of which will be condos priced at about $1,500 a square foot. Apartments will range in size from studios to three-bedroom units.

The first phase is expected to take three years and will involve the construction of the two new schools and during this phase PS 59 which is known as the Beekman Hill International School will be relocated to a new school facility in the boundaries of the existing school district.

The second phase involves the mixed-use tower in which 20 percent of the apartments available for rent will be affordable. According to the agreement, another 30 units of affordable housing will be built off-site in the boundaries of Community Board 6.

The new development will also include community meeting places.

The two schools will frame an expanded, mid-block, open space.

The fund leases air rights over schools to developers who build new schools and are able to use the air rights not used by the schools for their own purposes.

World Wide Holdings, of which Victor Elmaleh, a fine painter and former national champion handball player, is a principal, has developed more than 1,800 apartments in Manhattan over the last decade and its projects include 50 Murray Street, 53 Park Place, 88 Greenwich Street and the Milan on 55th Street and Second Avenue. It was a partner in the development of World Wide Plaza on Eighth Avenue at 50th Street.

The Educational Construction Fund was created in 1966 and it best known for its mixed-use developments such as the office-building/Norman Thomas High School on the southeast corner of Park Avenue and 34th Street and the apartment building/Robert F. Kennedy School on 88th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues.
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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.