Thursday, January 24, 2013

Green Light Near for West 57 Pyramid Scheme

Plans for a giant pyramid-shaped building on Manhattan’s West Side are as ambitious as its young architect, Bjarke Ingels. What's more unusual is that giant rental project planned by Durst Fetner Residential, is just one signoff away. The project, known as West 57,  recently earned the City Planning Commission’s approval and goes before City Council next month. The striking, 870,000-square-foot edifice will rise on West 57th Street, between 11th and 12th Avenues, on a site that looks toward the Hudson River. 

The developer describes the 700-unit structure as a “court-scraper,” a fusion of a Manhattan high-rise and an enclosed courtyard.

A large, deep gash on one side of the 467-foot-tall building will create a central, light-filled public atrium.

The pyramid is expected to cost more than $500 million to build, with completion slated for 2015.

The Durst Organization expects that West 57 sustainability features, including a blackwater recycling system and a compressed-natural-gas shuttle bus to the Columbus Circle transit hub, will earn it a coveted LEED Gold-rating.

The environmental impact statement estimates that West 57 - which lies within a flood plain - will accommodates a two-foot sea-level rise, with its at-grade mechanicals and no basement on its western side.

[See ElectricWeb | Blogger, Apr 29, 2012]

The construction team is largely in place, with Thornton Tomasetti as structural engineer, SLCE as architect of record and Starr Whitehouse as landscape architects.

Despite all its planning and engineering, the site will still be quite difficult to develop; a sloping plot land in flood evacuation Zone B, adjacent to Con Ed’s 58th Street steam plant, the Sanitation Department’s Pier 97 facility, and the West Side Highway.

City officials leaned on the developer to provide upgrades to the 59th Street highway underpass for safer pedestrian access to the waterfront.

The City Council’s Zoning and Franchises committee held its first public hearing on January 17, and the City Council will vote in early February to approve, modify, or block the project.