Monday, March 18, 2013

High Line Park To Get New 170,000 SF Neighbor

A developer has finalized its vision for a new office tower it plans to erect next door to the High Line Park, at 510 West 22nd Street. Plans recently submitted to the city by Garden City-based developer Albanese Organization, for the 170,000-square-foot tower just west of the elevated greenway, are considerably different from last year's proposal— inside and out. What was originally to be a glassy nine-story, all-steel structure will now be a 10-story concrete one. 

Frank Gehry’s IAC building was a shot of glamour for West Chelsea when it was built in 2007, an almost ethereal assemblage of white, sail-like forms at 18th Street and the West Side Highway.

At 130,000 square feet, it is one of the largest commercial buildings in the neighborhood.

Now, it may have a rival, at least in size. The Albanese Organization just closed on a deal for a nondescript warehouse abutting the High Line elevated park that was once intended to be a hotel built by the musician Jay-Z. Albanese plans to replace it with a nine-story 175,000-square-foot office building.

The $140 million project, at 510 West 22nd Street and 10th Avenue, a few blocks north of the IAC building, is to have 160 feet of frontage on the High Line, 14- to 20-foot-high ceilings and floor plates of 15,000 to 20,000 square feet.

“The IAC Building was ahead of its time,” said Mr. Albanese, “but there is demand for another corporate headquarters-type development now in the neighborhood.”

Cook + Fox Architects is designing the structure and is hoping to obtain LEED Platinum certification as a sign of its green credentials. “It will have entirely new infrastructure, and from the interior you will feel engaged with the High Line and with nature,” said Richard A. Cook, a partner at the firm. There will be terraces on the north and south sides of the second floor, as well as a penthouse-style setback on the ninth floor and a planted roof. The ground-floor retail space will most likely be for a gallery or events, Mr. Cook said. Ceiling heights will average 10 feet; column-free window expanses will offer far-ranging views.

The originally all-glass structure with non-opening windows will now include some operable ones, rare in an office building — architect Rick Cook of Cook + Fox “thought it was critical because of the uniqueness of the site for an office building.”

The 510 West 22nd Street address is now a vacant five-story garage, a small chunk of which will be retained to meet zoning requirements.

What’s now a blank wall abutting the High Line — one of the insanely popular park’s few eyesores, although largely shielded by trees until winter — will become a “reach out and touch it” glass facade, similar to those of apartment buildings astride the park.

The developers want to break ground as soon as it can to exploit the High Line corridor’s singular commercial appeal, a function of the park’s gravitational pull on fashion and media tenants, and limited office supply compared with apartments.