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501 West 18th Street BKSK's unselected design for Related Companies' 501 West 18th Street
Since the High Line opened eight years ago, developers have rushed in to build some of the most spectacular contemporary buildings the city has ever seen. With more than a dozen projects designed by the likes of Gehry, Piano, Nouvel, and Foster becoming architectural showpieces, today just a few unsown lots remain next to the beloved greenway. Plans are now moving forward to redevelop two of the most prominent underutilized sites. The lots straddle either side of West 18th near where the High Line bends west of Tenth Avenue.
In two separate ventures, Related Companies and HFZ Capital Group will bring to market acres of commercial spaces and hundreds of new apartments to West Chelsea. Furthest along is HFZ’s “The Eleventh”, a fraternal pair of torque towers designed by Bjarke Ingels Group. Sharing a common podium, the two buildings will soar 28 and 36 stories and hold 260 condos, a hotel, and 180,000 square feet of retail and offices. Its full-block site, bounded by 17th and 18th Streets, is bisected by the High Line and overlooks the Hudson River. For the past year, crews have been busy preparing its foundation mat and the first crane is now being erected.
 
 
 
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76-Eleventh Avenue Foundation mat being laid as of early October (CityRealty)
76-Eleventh-Avenue-03 (CityRealty)
Directly north of HFZ’s block, Related Companies is preparing a two-parcel site at the southwest corner of West 18th Street and Tenth Avenue. The leading luxury builder headed by Stephen Ross is developing gargantuan Hudson Yards a dozen blocks to the north and just finished the Zaha Hadid-designed 520 West 28th Street. Little has been released about the development but the design bar is expected to remain high with prior rumors that Rem Koolhaas and Heatherwick Studios have drawn up designs for the site. Recently, New York-based BKSK Architects published their unselected design submitted to Related. While the buildings shown will not be built, they do give us a hint of the project’s scale and configuration.
In early 2014, Crain's New York reported Related paid $205 million (+$700 a foot) for the two lots, which was a neighborhood record until surpassed by HFZ's purchase to the south. Paperwork filed with the city show the project will have 185 apartments, a 115-vehicle parking garage, and ground floor retail. The eastern building will rise from a Tenth Avenue parking lot at 501 West 18th Street and will have 10 floors and hold 63 apartments. The taller tower will rise midblock at 525 West 18th Street, west of the High Line. Demolition is just about finished on the 3-floor warehouse building that stood at the site.
 
 
 
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501-west-18th-street Eastern lot of Related's mixed-use complex
The taller western tower will rise in this view (CityRealty)
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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