Viceroy Hotel – 120 W. 57th Street

Viceroy Hotel-Parker Meridien-120 W 57th Street-Midtown-NYC

The fashionable Viceroy Hotel, next to the arched entrance to the Parker Meridien Hotel was built on the land formerly occupied by the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services. As CurbedNY reported, the original 12-story building, designed by Harry B. Mulliken, was built in 1903 but had alterations later as well.

ONE57—157 W. 57th Street

A sloping glass tower at 157 W 57th Street—deftly named ONE57—is nearly complete, and will offer 92 luxury condominium residences, along with other amenities. It has been a $1.5B investment in the city’s economic future that is backed by Extell Development Company, seemingly omnipresent in the Midtown residential development discussion.

They looked to Pritzker-prize winner Christian de Portzamparc to design the shiny beast, which is a residential tower-cum-hotel development, and will “redefine luxury New York living.”

Danish Designer Thomas Juul-Hansen has been commissioned to design the residential interiors, and the building will coexist with the “new” North American flagship of the Park Hyatt Hotel.

ONE57 was slated to be the tallest residential property in Manhattan, that is, before JDS submitted its plans for the aforementioned 1,350-ft luxe wonder. Regardless, ONE57 will stretch approximately 90 stories—just over 1,000 feet—and will provide residents with inimitable views in all directions, despite its deviance from the aesthetic of surrounding architecture.

ONE57-facade-57th Street Midtown-NYC

On a westward jaunt to the next proposed development, you’ll pass by the Louis H. Chalif Normal School of Dance at 163-165 W. 57th Street, completed in 1916, and for which the architects were George A. & Henry Boehm. Although the Chalif school moved out in 1933, the structure has been an important place for musical culture in New York. Columbia Artists Management Inc. has called the building home since 1959.

Rodin Studios Building

Further west and slightly south resides the Rodin Studios Building at 200 W 57th Street. Completed in 1917 and receiving its landmark designation in 1988, this building was designed “specifically for artists,” and was one of the first to provide them with housing and work spaces. It was a productive space for decades, and encouraged its occupants to form a cooperative based on a collective creative interest.

217 – 225 W. 57th Street – Nordstrom Tower

Located next to the landmarked Art Students League of New York building will be another Extell Development, donned The Nordstrom Tower. It will be the first apartment tower that will sit atop the City’s first Nordstrom department store, since the Seattle-based company purchased the lot for $102.5M.

Nordstrom Tower-W 57th Street-Midtown-NYCView of 217-225 W 57th Street from 56th Street

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has allowed Rothstein to move forward with constructing the mixed-use tower designed by Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill. It is expected to reach a height of approximately 1,500 ft—a soaring 88 stories—and has an optimistic deadline for completion in 2018. The proposal includes 233 residential units and just over 82,000 sf of “community facility,” although what specifically that will be, or how it will serve said community, is unclear. If the development progresses with no revisions, this tower would be the second tallest building in the city, surpassing the Empire State Building, and will be a scant shorter than SOM’s One World Trade Center.

The Society House of the American Society of Civil Engineers resides between this proposed development and the forthcoming, at 220 W 57th Street. Lee’s Art Shop still makes a home in this building at street-level, is another historical remnant en route.

Lee's Art Shop-W 57th Street-Midtown-NYC

Additionally, the A.T. Demarest & Company and Peerless Motor Car Company Buildings (which later became the General Motors Corporate building) resides at 224-228 W 57th Street, and was constructed in 1909, and was a shared project between architect Francis H. Kimball, Purdy & Henderson were consulting engineers, and the George A. Fuller Company were the builders, and the New York Architectural Terra Cotta Company. Ultimately combined into one building by architect Henry Hardenbergh, this landmark is a reminder that there was a time when a portion of Midtown was “Automobile Row.”

625 W. 57th Street

Further west, Durst Fetner Residential (DFR) has announced the design of West 57, a proposed mixed-use development that will include 711-units, 80/20 residential (which will actually span 623-629 W. 57th Street). According to renderings, the building will be pyramid-shaped and was designed by the Danish Architect firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

According to the DOB Property Profile Overview, there was a partial Stop Work Order on the property due to “questioning structural integrity of most and boom/jib sections” that has since been resolved.

432 Park Avenue

Originally the site for the Drake Hotel, Harry Macklowe of Macklowe Properties is working with CIM Group to develop 432 Park Avenue.  The proposed development will have a 300,000 sq. ft. footprint. It is projected to be a 1,397 sf, 95-story mixed-use project. The project is slated for completion is expected in 2015.

At Risk

31 W. 57th, Rizzoli Bookstore

The building that houses Rizzoli Bookstore is n owned by LeFrak and Vornado Realty Trust, but there is discussion that the buildings have been sold. Though the paperwork is not yet available, according to the NYC Department of Buildings, 4 permits have been issued for this property, three of which regard the renovation of the façade that is currently happening, including the installation of scaffolding and a sidewalk shed.

Media coverage has indicated that LeFrak and Vornado have sold three buildings on W. 57th, including #31, and it’s understood that the intent is to raze the properties to prepare for another sky-scraping tower. Whether it will be residential or commercial has not yet been determined. Has Rizzoli been invited to re-occupy space once the development is complete? Likely not, but that also hasn’t been divulged.

Although this City has changed so much over the years, hope ought not be lost. One one hand, it can be easy to be chagrined that the super wealthy have been invited to reside and play in neighborhoods that were once occupied by artists and the not-so-wealthy. But an idea worth considering is the coexistence of landmarked buildings with the posh new developments that are punctuating Midtown. Being mindful of why a building deserves to become a landmark can help create a narrative for the greater evolution of New York City’s growth. It may also quell some anxieties about the direction of said growth. Like loud staccato bursts, a beautiful edifice can serve a purpose and convey a message, but what’s lasting is the impact of those bursts on those that are listening.

Read more about the tabled Midtown Rezoning Plan and the pedestrianized 6½ Avenue in Midtown.

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