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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)

Carter's View

432 Park Rendering 432 Park Rendering
Two websites about New York City real estate have shown "unofficial" renderings of a very tall tower supposedly planned on the former site of the Drake Hotel at 50 East 57th Street on the northwest corner at Park Avenue.

An item today at ny.curbed.com said that "a tipster points us to a wirednewyork.comthread that's batting around some curious information on the proposed Rafael Vinoly tower at 50 East 57th Street," adding that "the CIM Group-developed tower, which replaces the former Drake Hotel, meets zoning requirements for more than 1,000 square feet and now we've got an actual number to salivate over: 433 m (1,420')."

It noted that one commenter at wirednewyork.com said the renderings were "not official," "just rough sketches based on descriptions from some people who have been privy to the design process."

One of the renderings of the base of the tower indicated that the mid-block tower was significantly set-back on 56th Street and had a large class enclosure on the corner at Park Avenue. All of the renderings posted in the past two days indicated that the mixed-use tower was sheer and had no setbacks, indicated that the floor sizes would be relatively small. Various reports have indicated that the project would be built "as-of-right," which means without having to resort to public review because it falls within existing zoning and planning regulations.

The hotel had been acquired and numerous low-rise mid-block buildings on East 57th Street had been also bought by Harry Macklowe who subsequently had to surrender the assemblage to lenders although some reports indicate that he is still involved in the project.

Given that Hines Interests was required by Amanda Burden, the chairperson of the City Planning Commission, to reduce the height of its impressive, proposed 1,250-foot-high slanted mixed-use tower designed by Jean Nouvel west of the Museum of Modern Art by 200 feet so as not to interfere with the visual insularity of the Empire State Building about a mile south, one wonders what virtual ax Ms. Burden must be contemplating in frustration for this project that she apparently cannot interfere with.

The spindly and skinny project looks like it might have shuddered in today's earthquake. The substantially fatter and better proportioned Citicorp Center building nearby on Lexington Avenue has a large "tuned mass damper" near its top to counter vibrations from wind and, presumably, the very rare earthquake.

Meanwhile, Extell Development is erecting a mixed-use tower at 157 West 57th Street that will break the 1,000-foot-barrier. It has been designed by Christian de Portzamparc. It and the CIM/Macklowe tower will "dwarf" the upper midtown skyline skyscrapers such as the General Motors Building, Citicorp Center, One Beacon Court, Cityspire, Metropolitan Tower, Carnegie Tower and the TimeWarner Center.
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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.