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Rendering of base and new Greenwich Street facades for new tower planned at Independence Plaza North (Morris Adjmi Architects) Rendering of base and new Greenwich Street facades for new tower planned at Independence Plaza North (Morris Adjmi Architects)
Major developer and landlord Vornado Realty Trust, along with Stellar Management, have proposed constructing a fourth residential tower within the expansive Independence Plaza complex in Tribeca (h/t Tribeca Trib). The proposed tower is set to reach approximately 900 feet in height and would rise through the site of an existing parking garage and elevated plaza. Positioned between preserved 19th-century rowhouses and the southernmost tower of the three-building complex along Duane Street, the plan includes around 1,240 new units, mostly market-rate rentals, with 10% designated as below-market rates.
900-foot tower planned for Independence Plaza North via he Tribeca Trib
Vornado new tower The vicinity around Independence Plaza North and proposed site of the tower
According to the developers, the tower is planned to be as-of-right, bypassing additional reviews by city agencies and council members. But given its scale, community opposition is likely, considering it would be one of the neighborhood's tallest buildings. Architect Morris Adjmi has been selected for the design. The developers also plan to enhance the pedestrian experience along Greenwich Street, enlisting landscape design firm MNLA for the project.
Renderings from MNLA, which are likely now dated, reveal efforts to further improve the complex's street-level aesthetics and integrate it into the neighborhood fabric. Led by Signe Nielsen, Robert DeMarco, and Molly Bourne, the firm is responsible for a significant swath of Manhattan's waterfront rebirth, and more recently handled the landscape design of the popular Little Island Park. MNLA was also behind the streetscape improvements currently seen on the Greenwich Street frontage of Independence Plaza today.
Greenwich Street landscaping Rendering of an ehanced and re-landscaped Greenwich Street via MNLA
According to renderings published on their site, the firm, working collaboratively with Elkus Manfredi Architects (EMA) further envisions ameliorating the brutality of the complex by giving the low-rise podium new, more pleasantly-scaled facades with a greater degree of variation. The firm explains the goal is to better integrate these streets into the surrounding neighborhood fabric by creating inviting spaces for both visitors and neighbors to sit and relax along a well-trafficked road. Robust planting beds and materials for the landscape are derived from the industrial language of the Tribeca.
Independence Plaza waterfront The most severe crime against urbanity is how the urban renewal project walled off Tribeca from the waterfront. (via Beyond My Ken, Wikimedia Commons)
Independence Plaza view Nearly all west-facing apartments in the tower will have river and Jersey City views
Independence Plaza North The view south from the new tower will be similar to this.
As we previously covered, the Tribeca waterfront is now some of the most valuable real estate in the city, if not the world. Once gritty and teeming with manufacturing, warehouse, and industrial uses, especially when Manhattan still had a working port and the Washington Square Market was in operation. However, since the city's industrial might has waned and the elevated West Side Highway has been dismantled, much of the lower Manhattan waterfront has been reinvigorated with Hudson River Park. Coinciding with the rejuvenation of the waterfront, former manufacturing buildings were steadily being converted into luxury residential lofts.
While luxury living on the TriBeCa waterfront is still a relatively new concept, the waterfront has been home to thousands of residents since the mid-1970s when the three-towered Independence Plaza complex was completed. Located near the southwest corner of Tribeca, between Greenwich Street and the waterfront, the plan designed by Oppenheimer, Brady & Vogelstein was originally conceived as luxury rentals, but since many saw the area as undesirable at the time, the project was brought into the state’s middle-income Mitchell-Lama housing program.
Independence Plaza North The World Trade Center and IPN from the now dismantled elevated West Side Highway (Credit: Andy Blair)
Andy Blair Hundreds of 19th-century industrial buildings were demolished in the 1960's in the urban renewal district. Credit: Andy Blair

Independence Plaza, in addition to the campus of the Borough of Manhattan Community College, is undoubtedly one of the most successful urban renewal schemes thanks to its waterfront location and proximity to the World Trade Center and the Financial District. For over three decades, the apartments provided some of the best deals in Lower Manhattan, and as the city began to recover, the location became more prized.
Independence Plaza remained as a bastion of housing New York's middle class for decades, offering some of the most affordable prices downtown with monthly rent in the low hundreds. Larry Gluck, founder of the real estate company Stellar Management, purchased the complex in 2003 and removed it from the Mitchell-Lama program one year later. However, although the units were not rent-stabilized, then-City Council speaker, Gifford Miller brokered a deal that protected some tenants from escalating rents while other tenants received yearly rent increases that mimic those set by the city’s Rent Guidelines Board. New incoming tenants would be charged market-rate prices. Current availabilities show only two-bedrooms are available, starting at $7,095/month.

Independence Plaza, #40-28H (Stellar Management)

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