New supertall breaks ground in New York City

Nick Myall
Wednesday 19 Oct 2016

A 1,401-foot-tall skyscraper on the doorstep of Grand Central Terminal in New York will reshape the city skyline and transform the 21st century workplace

SL Green Realty Corp broke ground on One Vanderbilt Avenue in New York on 18 October. 

Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) Associates, the new state-of-art office skyscraper will anchor the modernization of the East Midtown business district and stand as the second tallest tower in New York City. 

Rising adjacent to Grand Central Terminal, One Vanderbilt will include direct connections to its network of mass transit, improved by $220m in upgrades that SL Green is implementing as part of the project.

To mark the construction milestone, SL Green Chief Executive Officer, Marc Holliday, was joined by elected officials and partners, including New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, Congresswoman, Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President, Gale Brewer and Councilmember, Dan Garodnick, at an on-site groundbreaking ceremony.

“One Vanderbilt will be a high-performing addition to the Manhattan skyline serving as a blueprint for 21st century commercial development,” said SL Green CEO Marc Holliday. “As the largest commercial property owner in New York, we are proud to partner with the City to create a model for unsubsidized development that drives our economy and makes a critical contribution to its infrastructure.”

“This new office building, transit upgrades at Grand Central, and expanded pedestrian space are what I call smart growth. We demanded and secured private investments into important City infrastructure that put hundreds of thousands of straphangers first. This strategy helps to keep our city competitive while improving the lives of New Yorkers,” Mayor de Blasio said.

“Not only will One Vanderbilt Avenue be a new iconic tower in the heart of New York City, but with $220m in public improvements, it will revolutionize the way we use Grand Central Terminal and midtown,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY12).  “This is a great example of a public-private partnership, where the public gets new open space and better access to transportation.  I want to thank SL Green for being a thoughtful and generous participant in a land use process that really took into account the community’s needs.”

“It’s gratifying to be breaking ground not just on this building, but on what it represents: a massive investment in our transit and pedestrian infrastructure, and a first step toward the future of East Midtown,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “When development is done carefully, collaboratively, and produces real investments in the public realm that improve the neighbourhood, everyone wins.”

“This is an exciting new day for East Midtown, where our rules are not only promoting growth but also matching it with extraordinary transit improvements,” said Councilmember Dan Garodnick. “The result will be class A office buildings, and just as importantly, a class A office district.  We expect that One Vanderbilt is going to set an important precedent for the rest of East Midtown.”

City Planning Commission Chairman Carl Weisbrod said, "East Midtown has been the premier economic engine of New York City for many years, a title that One Vanderbilt will help it retain. By committing to $220m in public investment, One Vanderbilt will benefit not only its tenants but the city as a whole. As we move forward with a proposal to revitalize Greater East Midtown, we believe that One Vanderbilt will signal this neighbourhood's full potential. For East Midtown, the best is yet to come."

Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) Associates, One Vanderbilt will encompass an entire city block, bounded by Madison and Vanderbilt Avenues to the west and east, and East 43rd and East 42nd Streets to the north and south. Standing 1,401 feet tall, the building’s tapered form will pay tribute to New York’s iconic skyscrapers, while its sharp lines and bold angles will punctuate Manhattan’s skyline with an elegant, 21st-century articulation. At its base along 42nd Street, the building will set back at an angle to permanently reveal Grand Central’s majestic Vanderbilt cornice – a view that has been obstructed for nearly a century.

Expected to achieve the highest possible LEED certification, the trophy tower will offer 1.7 million square feet of Class-A office space across 58 floors, featuring column-free floors and stunning views through floor-to-ceiling windows. One Vanderbilt will also offer tenants floor to ceiling slab heights ranging from 14’6” to 20’, a 30,000 sq ft tenant-only amenity floor and world-class dining.

“One Vanderbilt will not only emerge as an elegant, tapered new icon on the New York skyline, but will also serve as a leading example of a global trend of connecting train stations to tall towers, said James von Klemperer, FAIA, RIBA, President of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. “This building will change its neighbourhood for the better. It will provide a new gateway to the city made possible only through the unusually harmonious partnership between architect, developer, and the City of New York.”

Nick Myall

News editor

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