Monday, July 22, 2013

70-Story Tower to Rise near World Trade Center

Fisher Brothers has announced it will develop one of the city’s tallest residential buildings, at 22 Thames Street, to rise next to the former American Stock Exchange and a block from the World Trade Center. The thin, rectangular building, slated to open in spring 2017, will have 450 residential units. The new tower will either soar 1,100 feet at 85 stories or 960 feet at 70 stories.  The developer has applied for a variance to build it at the lower height and make up for the loss of square footage by providing shallower setbacks than zoning allows.

A shorter, wider structure would be less costly to build, Fisher Brothers told Community Board 1 last week. Nonetheless, the project’s estimated price tag still rings in at over $500 million.

The lower building would not visually compete with the nearby 4 World Trade Center and the other skyscrapers on and near the WTC site, claim Viñoly Architects, the project’s designers.

The taller building, in contrast, "interrupts the rhythm of the master planning and the massing of the entire Trade Center site."

Responding to a board member’s criticism that the design was "undistinguished,” the architect indicated that there are limited design options for a building on a narrow 9,000-square-foot site.

Fisher Brother’s variance request will entail showing how the proposed building wouldn’t “disturb the essential character of the neighborhood.”

Since the project site is an "as-of-right" development, it does not require a lengthy Environmental Impact Statement or any discretionary action by the City Planning Commission.

As a lesson from Hurricane Sandy, the buildings’ mechanicals, he said, will be installed in higher floors.

The ongoing demolition of the site’s current 10-story building is now down to the fifth floor, and expected to be finished by September.

Construction of the new building is scheduled begin next spring.