Sunday, April 28, 2013

West Side Mega-Tower Coming Back From the Dead

The Moinian Group’s plan for another mammoth residential tower are officially back in play. The foundation for 605 West 42nd Street had been poured when the credit crunch forced the project's developer to put construction on hold. The original design called for a 65-story glass box to be known as the 'Atelier II,' accompanying the neighboring 'Atelier' at 635 West 42 Street - but the empty pit has collecting debris since 2009. Now, there are signs of life at the long-vacant concrete basin. The developer has filed a new application for the site with the Department of Buildings which calls for a brand new 61-story, 656-foot tall rental tower with more than 1,200 units.

Atelier II is the second phase of The Moinian Group's 42nd Street development plan. It was designed in close coordination with the Atelier to create a strong sense of place. It will feature a prominent, sloping glass tower creating upwards of 1,000 apartments.

With over 1.1 million developable square feet, 605 West 42nd Street's distinctive tower will stand 61 stories tall. It will be home to 120,000 SF of luxury retail shops and over 550 underground parking spaces.

As with its sister property, Atelier, Costas Kondylis and Partners drew inspiration from the building's design from the great ocean liners docked along Manhattan's West Side. As described by the famed architect: "Like the buildings that comprise Rockefeller Center, each of the two residential towers has a distinctive character yet work together to define a cohesive whole through their use of composition, proportions and materials."

The developer had first earmarked the 1.1 million-square-foot site, located adjacent to the Moinian Group-developed Atelier condominium tower, for a residential tower in 2007. The recession stymied progress at the site, but the new plans signal that construction may shortly begin again in earnest. The plans originally called for a hybrid building with rentals at the base and condos starting at the mid-section and above. In a more recent interview, however, Joseph Moinian referred to the tower as a rental, indicating that he may have scrapped plans for the condos.

The recent DOB filing shows that Moinian wants to build a total of 1,669 units at the development site, which includes the Atelier at 635 West 42nd Street. There are 478 units at the Atelier, public records show, allowing for 1,191 at the so-called Atelier II.

The project’s architect is David West of Goldstein Hill & West, though early plans called for prolific architect Costas Kondylis to design the property. Tishman Construction will head up construction at the site, sources said.

The Moinian Group paid Verizon $120 million for the building in 2005 and began construction. The foundation was more than half completed when the financial crisis brought the project to a halt, and the site is registered as an 80-20 project eligible for tax abatement. The developer has been seeking a partner with which to develop the site for several years and even considered selling the site in 2010.