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Rendering and construction photo from late November (CityRealty) Rendering and construction photo from late November (CityRealty)
If Extell’s forthcoming tower at 50 West 66th Street is an example of the exhilarating things big-name developers can bring, AvalonBay’s residential replacement for the American Bible Society is just the opposite. Now topped out (based on a pitched flag on its roof), at 1865 Broadway and West 61st Street, the tower’s concrete frame rises 33 floors, 416 feet high. Its conventional design by Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) is essentially the city’s zoning envelope passed off as architecture. While the exterior cladding has yet to go up, as of now, the tower’s only positive feature are its skewed angles created by Broadway. That we credit to the Lenape and not the designers.
1865-Broadway-03 Looking northwest from Columbus Circle (CityRealty)
Like most recent New York buildings developed by AvalonBay and designed by the local office of SOM, the building is a bore, unworthy of an exceptional location. The prior building at the site (also designed by SOM) was not much to look at either, but was of its time and offered a public plaza that was later softened by a curving glass pavilion designed by Fox and Fowle. Now, for decades to come, we are left with a taller, more middling concrete “ladder” that seeks to be nothing more than a windfall to its developers and a safe box to its buyers.
1865 Broadway (CItyRealty)
Despite its dullness, the project’s success is inevitable. Benefiting from its proximity to more ambitious schemes, the building is a half-block from Central Park, overlooks Columbus Circle, is close to Lincoln Center and is hemmed in by the trophy towers of 15 Central Park West, Trump International and the Time Warner Center. We hope the façade, which has yet to be installed, saves the building from eternal mediocrity. Based on the sole rendering posted of the project, its structural grid will host deeply inset windows and its slab edges and perimeter columns covered in stone or finished concrete.
There will be roughly 160 residential units inside, a mix of condos and rentals. Prices are sure to be unapologetically high since even low-floor, city-facing units in 15 Central Park sign for more than $4,000 a foot. Amenities are to include a fitness center and swimming pool, a game room, several lounges, a communal pantry, a roof terrace, bicycle parking and tenant storage.
1865 Broadway CityRealty
1865 Broadway Looking up from West 61st Street (CityRealty)
Looking south from Lincoln Center (CityRealty)
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New Developments Editor Ondel Hylton Ondel is a lifelong New Yorker and comprehensive assessor of the city's dynamic urban landscape.
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