Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates were recently selected to design a giant office building the landlord hopes to build next to Grand Central Terminal. Selected by SL Green Realty Corp., the architects’ design would be one of the largest Midtown towers on the East Side in a generation. While building in New York is a challenge, SL Green is moving ahead full steam with planning. The company is in discussions with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to obtain additional development rights by building pedestrian improvements including underground connectors to Grand Central, according to executives informed of the planning. More information after the break.
The SL Green project—on the block just west of Grand Central between 42nd and 43rd streets—is likely years away from a groundbreaking. Not only does it need numerous approvals, currently it’s not clear that there’s sufficient demand for the office space. In addition, the company has hired a bevy of consultants for the project, including Texas-based developer Hines; law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP; and Vishaan Chakrabarti, a former city planning official and a partner at architecture firm SHoP Architects. The planning comes as the Bloomberg administration is trying to push through a major rezoning of the area around Grand Central meant to give landlords more incentive to replace aging midrise buildings with new office towers. Should the plan go through as proposed, it would give SL Green the right to build a tower of nearly 1.4 million square feet in size. Roughly 1 million square feet would be allowed under the zoning today, although that size could grow through a lengthy process of buying development rights from landmark buildings. Under the city’s rezoning proposal, to get the added density, the company would need to buy additional development rights from the city, with its payment going toward transportation improvements. It also would need to design a building deemed by the city to have an iconic design. While SL Green would clearly stand to benefit from the rezoning by being able to build a larger building, Marc Holliday, SL Green’s chief executive, told analysts on a conference call in July it was unclear how the zoning plan would affect the company’s timing for the tower. Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal