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Thread: New Durst-Fetner Building @ W 57th & 11th Ave (next to The Helena)

  1. #151


    Should we repeat posts 137 and 138?

    Honestly, sometimes you sound like a 12 year old.

  2. #152


    Calm down, Amiga. I don't know what those posts say. I have a life outside of my occasional posts on this site.

  3. #153


    Make that ten.

  4. #154
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    BIG News: Planning Commission Approves Durst’s 57th Street Pyramid Apartments

    By Matt Chaban

    A tweaked north side for Durst/Fetner’s 625 West 57th Street. (Durst/Fetner)

    When Douglas Durst began deciding, yet again, what to do with the almost block-long property he owns at 57th Street and the Hudson River, City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden urged the developer to think big. A high-tech data center, a school and a hotel had all fallen through, so Mr. Durst had fallen back on that most reliable form of New York City development: housing.

    Ms. Burden wanted something iconic, especially for a project on such a prominent street at such a prominent location right on the waterfront. With Hudson River Park right there, it ought to be iconic. Mr. Durst delivered something BIG indeed, hiring the Danish wunderkinds at Bjarke Ingles Group to design his project.

    Yesterday, Ms. Burden got to put her official stamp on the project, when she and the rest of the City Planning Commission approved Durst/Fetner’s BIG pyramid. It was the second-to-last step in the arduous months-long public review process, in many ways made all the easier by a dynamic design that has made this arguably the most unusual apartment building in the city.

    “Our approval will facilitate development of a significant new building with a distinctive pyramid-like shaped design and thoughtful site plan that integrates the full block site into the evolving residential, institutional, and commercial neighborhood surrounding it,” Ms. Burden said before voting in favor of the project.

    Contained within the striking design are 753 apartments in a building that tapers from CKCKthree stories along the river up to a pinnacle of CKCK38 stories. It has an unusual sloping aspect (technically a tetrahedron, not a pyramid) with a massive courtyard cut into the middle that is almost the site of a football field. The cutout also affords every apartment with an outdoor terrace, a feature that was especially important to Mr. Ingels.

    The commission required a few modifications to the project, dealing primarily with how it is experienced from the street. There is a limit on the amount of signage and obstructions that can go in the windows of the retail lining 57th Street and the West Side Highway, to ensure transparency and a sense of activity that does not obscure what is going on inside. The fear is a blank wall would deaden the street life, as has happened ion places like Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn.

    The developer has made similar gestures on 58th Street to ensure vibrancy on what is otherwise a block-long stretch of almost blank building. Retail wraps the corners of the building, but otherwise, there is a lobby and a loading dock and little else.

    Part of the reason for this is the building is located in the 100-year-flood plane, so the Con Ed substation cannot go in the basement but instead by located above-grade. The utility needs access to the facilities at all times, so they have to be on the street, and cannot go higher up in the building. The developer also argued that there is barely any retail on 58th Street as is, so forcing it into the northern side of the building would be impractical and difficult to lease.

    The solution was to establish a retail space within the lobby located in that section of the building, and to also install glass vitrines along the blank parts of the façade that could feature plants or sculptures on a rotating basis, creating a more engaging streetscape.

    “It’s an important approval, and we’re pleased with her support and input,” Mr. Durst said in an interview.

    Previously, the developer agreed to additional modifications when the project received approvals two months ago from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. That included widening the sidewalks and narrowing the driveway between 57th and 58th streets located in the middle of the block at the main entrance to the building. Durst/Fetner will also provide seating and landscaping in the space. The developer also agreed to improve a connection to Hudson River Park at 59th Street, a block north of the development. The connection currently passes under an overpass of West Side Highway, and the developers will work with the city and state departments of transportation to spruce up the space.

    “In all, this is an exciting project on a pivotal site that will benefit its occupants, the neighborhood and the city as a whole,” Ms. Burden said.

    One aspect of the project that has yet to be addressed is how long the affordable units in the building will remain affordable. The development is being built through the city’s 80/20 program, which means 20 percent of apartments will be reserved for low- and moderate-income families, while the remaining number will be market rate.

    Currently, those units will only be eligible for less well-off families for 35 years. The community board desperately wants permanent affordability, but Durst/Fetner insists it cannot agree to such an arrangement because they do not own the land. The developers themselves are leasing it from a family that has owned the land for more than a century, and is now comprised of some 100 trustees Durst/Fetner must negotiate with about extending the affordability window.

    But local Councilwoman Gail Brewer has insisted the developers had better get negotiating, because she is willing to torpedo the project at the City Council—the final step in the public review process, where Ms. Brewer will have almost total say over the project—if her constituents do not get what they want.

  5. #155


    I hope that Gail doesn't ruin this project. Would she rather have a vacant lot and no housing.

  6. #156


    People like Gail Brewer would have NY remain a filthy, dilapidated city that exists for no reason than to cater to the poor.

  7. #157


    Quote Originally Posted by londonlawyer View Post
    People like Gail Brewer would have NY remain a filthy, dilapidated city that exists for no reason than to cater to the poor.
    Correction: ........ remain a filthy, dilapidated city that exists for no (other) reason than to cater to the poor......

    Other than the insignificant typo: I am afraid you got that absolutely right LL.
    Last edited by infoshare; December 22nd, 2012 at 09:25 AM.

  8. #158


    When developers want to construct landmarks like this Pyramids or 8 Spruce, other than the typical cheap box, it's disconcerting to see Karl Marx types like Gail Brewer obstruct them.

  9. #159


    Yes, we are smart enough to find a way of 'bringing-up' the bottom; without 'tearing-down' the top....... I HOPE.

  10. #160
    Fearless Photog RoldanTTLB's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Broomfield, CO


    Remember, all of her constituents who need affordable housing could be camping in a tent city on this land if the building were not here. I just think it'd be a shame for the as right building to be constructed. It'd be worse for everyone, including Durst, who clearly stands to make more money from this build, considering the effort he's putting into it.

  11. #161


    Quote Originally Posted by RoldanTTLB View Post
    Remember, all of ..........t'd be worse for everyone, including Durst, who clearly stands to make more money from this build, considering the effort he's putting into it.
    Particularly Durst; he just lost a small fortune with his gamble for developing pier 40 into a mixed use complex of new buildings - a BIG win on this Durst-Fetner building would sure help make up for that recent fiasco.

    BTW - The recent news about that story can be found on the Hudson River Park thread.

  12. #162


    Great news as they have been doing little else at the site lately other than move a little dirt around and wander about with clipboards and yellow vests.

  13. #163
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Pyramid Scheme

    Green light nears for BIG's 57th Street "Courtscraper."

    by Bill Millard

    Courtesy BIG

    The pyramidal “courtscraper” by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), an 870,000-square-foot rental project for Durst Fetner Residential (DFR), is one signoff away. The project, known as West 57, earned the City Planning Commission’s approval in December and goes before City Council in January, aiming for completion in 2015.

    Despite West 57’s arresting angles, “it’s not that radical,” says Kai-Uwe Bergmann, a partner at BIG. The design arose from conversations beginning when Douglas Durst described his firm’s success with sustainable towers to a Copenhagen audience and Ingels “heckled from the back row” that better energy performance called for different forms. In subsequent exchanges, Durst offered BIG “a site that’s quite difficult for me to develop,” a sloping plot in flood-evacuation Zone B near Con Ed’s 58th St. McKim Mead & White steam plant, the Sanitation Department’s Pier 97 facility, and the West Side Highway. Sharing its block with DFR’s Helena residential tower to the east, BIG’s design observes Manhattan setback conventions and preserves the Helena’s views, but differs from what Bergmann calls “beefy wedding-cake projects where you don’t bring daylight or fresh air into the interior.” It gives most apartments a terrace, maximizing natural light and ventilation to lower energy use.

    The tetrahedral form marries the European perimeter block, organized around a communal courtyard, with the American skyscraper. BIG traces the evolution of the courtscraper hybrid back to dozens of precedents. Carol Willis, executive director of the Skyscraper Museum, contextualizes it among courtyard structures such as the Parisian hôtel particulier and the “square donut” office buildings built in Chicago from about 1892 until it adopted New York-style zoning in 1924.

    Jordan Barowitz, the Durst Organization’s director of external relations, adds that West 57 will share sustainability features with the LEED Gold-rated Helena, including a blackwater recycling system and a compressed-natural-gas shuttle to the Columbus Circle transit hub. The environmental impact statement estimates that West 57 accommodates a two-foot sea-level rise; Barowitz points to its at-grade mechanicals, with no basement on its western side within a flood plain.

    The construction team is largely in place, with Thornton Tomasetti as structural engineer, Starr Whitehouse as landscape architect, and SLCE as architect of record. The courtyard is private for residents but visible from the street, establishing continuity with the park; Bergmann notes that DFR and city officials both favor upgrading the 59th Street highway underpass for safer pedestrian access to the waterfront.

    City Council’s Zoning and Franchises subcommittee holds its first public hearing on the project January 17 and Council may vote in early February to approve, modify, or block it. Despite design-community enthusiasm and CPC support, approval is far from certain. Community Board 4 voted against it last September, citing affordable-housing terms and vehicular hazards to pedestrians. DFR addressed many of these concerns, Barowitz said.

    Council approval may hinge on the affordable segment. The building is an 80/20, with 150 units designated as affordable, though only for 35 years; tenants will then retain rent-stabilization protection, Barowitz said, but vacancy decontrol will take effect after they leave. The obstacle to permanent affordability is that Durst leases the land from the John Appleby family’s Four Plus Corporation rather than owning it outright. “We can’t encumber the land with permanent affordable housing,” Barowitz said.

  14. #164


    These renderings are hilarious. The picture is probably from late 2007 as there is a construction elevator servicing the construction of the Element condo building on the right and this many people don't walk along that block of W58th in an entire week.

    Quote Originally Posted by Merry View Post

  15. #165


    Has anyone heard anything about the city council proceedings and that idiot councilwoman?

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