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


A 52-story residential development at 555 West 38th Street is closing in on its pinnacling 570-foot height. Conceived by Rockrose Development and drawn up by the esteemed design firm of Pelli Clarke Pelli, the 400,000-square-foot venture will join a growing crop of Hudson Yards-area skyscrapers that have dramatically transformed Manhattan's west side skyline. Set to open in late 2021, the bifurcated glass and metal tower will accommodate approximately 600 rental apartments with dazzling city and river views supplemented by an array of amenities.
A recent visit to the still-growing superstructure shows that glass now encases the first 330 feet of the tower with the concrete frame just several floors from topping out. According to Pelli Clarke Pelli, the glass and metal cladding is differentiated to provide texture and tapered slab corners are to enhance the illusion.
555 West 38th Street 555 West 38th Street in mid-January 2021
555 West 38th Street 555 West 38th Street (center) in October 2020
Located across from the expanding Javits Center and a block from a Hudson River ferry terminal, the project lies within one of the last expanses of Manhattan real estate where a meaningful number of apartments can be built as-of-right. As Crain's reported in a recent article highlighting the city's dysfunctional construction regulations and inadequate planning policies, New York issued fewer housing-unit permits in the last decade on a per capita basis than nearly every other large city in the United States—including San Francisco. With stringent and often arbitrary zoning rules coupled with swaths of historic districts, lower Manhattan is increasingly off-limits to new development. South of 34th Street—an area serving hundreds of thousands of workers—only one major new rental building opened last year, the 100-unit 111 Varick Street where one-bedrooms currently start at $5,357/month — a price that includes a leasing incentive of 2 months free.
The importance of providing housing within the physical and monetary reach of the local working population is imperative to combat urban sprawl and climate change while relieving the burden on our network of roads and mass transportation systems. The pandemic has resulted in a softening of prices, and the lull in demand has provided time for sound and visionary plans to emerge. In his State of the State address, Governor Cuomo proposed a plan to adapt superfluous commercial space into affordable housing.
Despite a rather prosaic design and likely top-of-the-market rents, 555 West 38th Street will provide homes for hundreds of families and local workers. A short-list of coming amenities includes a fitness center, a 33rd-floor landscaped roof deck, a game room, golf simulator, squash court, and bicycle parking. The ground-floor will bring retail to a barren area that only comes to life during conventions.

Rockrose eventually plans to build a 1.2 million-square-foot office tower behind the tower whose opposite elevation will overlook the slow-to-emerge Hudson Park Boulevard. Earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a $60M extension of the High Line. One leg of the vision would tie the segment that rounds Hudson Yards to the Javits Center, a future park at Pier 76, and the Midtown West ferry terminal.
Pier 76 Schematic vision for Pier 76. Courtesy of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Office

Additional Info About the Building

New Developments Editor Ondel Hylton Ondel is a lifelong New Yorker and comprehensive assessor of the city's dynamic urban landscape.