Four of America's Tallest Buildings Are Being Built on the Same Street
While most of the
spotlight has been placed China and the UAE over the past few months, there's an even more staggering development happening much, much closer to home. At least four 1,000-foot-plus
There's a residential boom happening in Midtown
But what's most remarkable about this boom? Its geography. At least six major building projects are being proposed along one street-West 57th-over the next few years. Four of those will compete for the title of the city's tallest building, based on habitable height (rather than spire height, for which One World Trade takes the cake), and one will be the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere. Along this short strip of city, a
The most modest of these projects is One57, a 1,004-foot-tall condo building that's currently nearing completion (seen below). This was the project that, arguably, led to the clustering of new projects along the same street. Why? Because it made news for the speed at which its luxury condos sold-at a time when property values were wavering, no less-and set a record for the highest price paid for a residence in New York city: $90 million.
Then there's 432 Park, a 1,398-foot-tall condo building designed by infamous " death-ray architect" Rafael Vinoly. Located a block south of West 57th on the former site of the 80-year-old Drake Hotel, which was demolished to make room for the tower, it's currently climbing quickly with a projected completion date of mid-2014. Each of the building's windows measures 100 square feet of glass, and amenities will include such necessities as a "golf training facility." It'll soon eclipse One57 as the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere:
In late August, Nordstrom shelled out more than $100 million to anchor the forthcoming 1,550-foot-tall condo tower at 225 West 57th Street, which will be designed by the architects of the now-legendary Burj Khalifa , Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (who were part of SOM at the time). The plan is still pending approval from the city, so we only have a vague idea of what it will look like. But if it's given the green light, it will eclipse Chicago's Willis Tower as the tallest building in the US.
The most recent entrant in New York's supertall sweepstakes comes from SHoP Architects and JDS Development Group, which announced a plan to build a 1,350-foot skyscraper at 107 West 57th earlier this month. Though it'll only be the second tallest building in the city (and the fourth in the country), it distinguishes itself in another way. It's only 40 feet wide:
While for a townhouse that might not be all that remarkable, it's unheard of for a supertall skyscraper. The reason most
Will there be a bust to follow this boom? It seems likely. The Skyscraper Index , a controversial theory that posits a correlation between skyscraper construction and economic busts, tells us that intense competition to build ever-taller buildings is usually caused by an unsustainable bubble. According to the Index, as interest rates drop companies expand-and they build larger offices because it's suddenly less expensive to do so.
But what's unique about the boom on West 57th street is that these buildings are largely residential-these aren't office spaces, which is what the Index traditionally focuses on. It's being driven by billionaires who want to invest in residential property. So only time will tell whether this astronomical bubble will burst like so many before it, or whether Manhattan will continue along its journey to becoming the rarified domain of the super-rich.