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Thread: Proposed - 980 Madison Avenue - by Norman Foster

  1. #1

    Default Proposed - 980 Madison Avenue - by Norman Foster

    This news was reported in the April 19th edition of the New York Post, and the following article appeared on cityrealty.com on April 20th.

    I hope that the tower will not be tall because, notwithstanding The Carlyle, this part of the UES is not suited for a tall tower. I also hope that it will not be glass because a shiny tower would look absurd in this area. If a shiny 20 story (or more) glass tower rises on this stretch of Madison, I will be more firmly convinced that Abby Rosenfeld, like Gershon Barnett, is intent upon ruining NY's classic areas.

    While the current structure is hardly worth keeping, it would be nice if someone would develop the two shoddy buildings located on the east side of Madison between 77th and 78th (one of which is a Bellmarc Realty office). These two, along with the small diner on the southwest corner of 79th and Madison, are practically the only mierda on Madison that needs a date with the wrecking ball.

    Anyway, here's the article:

    The five-story, limestone-clad building at 980 Madison Avenue that occupies the west blockfront between 76th and 77th Streets may be replaced by a residential condominium tower designed by Sir Norman Foster for RFR Holdings, Inc.
    Sources in the real estate industry told CityRealty.com yesterday they were aware that such a plan was afoot, but did not know any specific details.

    RFR Holdings Inc., acquired the building in late 2004 for about $120 million from the Peter Sharp Foundation, which last year also sold its interest in the 249-room Carlyle Hotel across the avenue to Maritz, Wolff & Company, an investment group that owns a major interest in Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, which operates the hotel, for about $130 million.

    An article by Lois Weiss in yesterday’s edition of The New York Post noted that Foster is designing an office building at 200 Greenwich Street at Ground Zero and “is planning two towers for RFR Holdings – one at 610 Lexington and 53rd Street by the Seagram Building, and the other on the old Sotheby’s building at 77th Street and Madison Avenue.”

    The latter building is 980 Madison Avenue and is known as the Carlyle Galleries Building, whose tenants include the Gagosian Gallery and the East Side office of Prudential Douglas Elliman, the real estate firm. It was built in 1950 as the Parke-Bernet Building and designed by Walker & Poor and is notable for a large sculpture over the entrance by Wheeler Williams. The building, which is in the Upper East Side Historic District, was expanded in 1987.

    Parke-Bernet was the leading art auction house in the United States and was later acquired by Sotheby’s.

    In their fine book, “The A.I.A. Guide to New York City, Fourth Edition” (Three Rivers Press, 2000), Elliot Willensky and Norval White observed that “Unfortunately, Parke-Bernet’s ‘house’ is an insipid box unrelated to any cultural values.”

    Despite such criticism, the building was the elegant backdrop for many years for the brilliant auctioneering of John Marion, widely considered the best auctioneer of the 20th Century. For many years, French & Co., one of the city’s most prestigious art dealers, also had quarters in the building.

    In an October 28, 2001 article in The New York Times, Christopher Gray noted that the 40-story Carlyle Hotel on 76th Street and adjoining 14-story apartment building on 77th Street comprised “the signature project of Moses Ginsberg,” who had built the impressive apartment building at 133 East 80th Street in 1929. The following year he began construction of the hotel to designs by Sylvan Bien and Harry M. Prince.

    Mr. Ginsberg subsequently lost the Madison Avenue blockfront in the early days of the Depression and it was acquired by Robert Dowling who, Mr. Gray wrote, “put up the old Parke-Bernet building across the street…to protect the Carlyle’s west light.”

    Since its construction, the hotel has been the most prominent skyline landmark above 61st Street on the Upper East Side west of Third Avenue.

    A new tower, whose design would have to be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, would likely partially obstruct many views of the Carlyle Hotel from Central Park as well as many views to the south from the Mark Hotel, directly across 77th Street from 980 Madison Avenue and shown to the right of 980 Madison Avenue in the accompanying photograph. The Alexico Group recently acquired the Mark Hotel to convert it to residential condominiums.

    Foster is one of the world’s most famous architects and is known for his high-tech designs, which include the Hearst Tower now nearing completion on the southwest corner of Eighth Avenue and 57th Street.

    One of the principals of RFR Holdings is Aby J. Rosen, an active art collector whose other properties include two of the most famous post-war buildings in the city: the Seagram Building and Lever House, both on Park Avenue in midtown.
    Last edited by londonlawyer; April 20th, 2006 at 03:29 PM.

  2. #2
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Great news! Another Foster tower!

    Maybe he could built on top of this thing...



  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by londonlawyer
    I hope that the tower will not be tall because, notwithstanding The Carlyle, this part of the UES is not suited for a tall tower. I also hope that it will not be glass because a shiny tower would look absurd in this area. If a shiny 20 story (or more) glass tower rises on this stretch of Madison, I will be more firmly convinced that Abby Rosenfeld, like Gershon Barnett, is intent upon ruining NY's classic areas.
    Can you say NIMBY?

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stern
    Can you say NIMBY?
    You really have to be kidding if you think that a large glass tower belongs in that area!

    I am no NIMBY. I support huge towers, and I happen to like modern glass ones. Nevertheless, certain towers are not appropriate in certain areas, and such a tower clearly does not belong in this part of the UES.

  5. #5
    Forum Veteran macreator's Avatar
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    Screw context, I am looking forward to a new skyscraper on the Upper East Side. Madison Avenue is woefully lowrise in that area.

    The same people who bolster "contextual building" would have never approved a modern expansion to the old Hearst building base. The worst thing that could happen on this site is for the developer to build another crap "brick luxury" way overdone postmodern apartment house.

    The Upper East Side has enough limestone and red brick, let's see some sleak glass and break through the ~12 story plateau that holds a grip on the neighborhood.

    So...umm....yea....I'm supportive of this project

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by londonlawyer
    You really have to be kidding if you think that a large glass tower belongs in that area!

    I am no NIMBY. I support huge towers, and I happen to like modern glass ones. Nevertheless, certain towers are not appropriate in certain areas, and such a tower clearly does not belong in this part of the UES.
    Im not kidding and I live in the area. There are plenty of large towers in the Upper East Side and a glass tower would be a breath of fresh air. You derided the project without seeing a rendering or knowing anything about the development, that by definition is NIMBYism
    Last edited by NoyokA; April 22nd, 2006 at 12:54 PM.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stern
    Im not kidding and I live in the area. There are plenty of large towers in the Upper East Side and a glass tower would be a breath of fresh air. You derided the project without seeing a rendering or knowing anything about the development, that by definition is NIMBYism

    With respect to the proposed tower, other than the Carlyle, there are no tall buildings on Fifth Madison or Park. Moreover, a shiny glass tower here would look as out of place as it would in the Mayfair section of London or on the Avenue Montaigne in Paris. It would be fine on 1st, Second or Third Avenues, but it would look foolish here.

    I hope that Foster designs a 10 story building with a limestone and brick facade.
    Last edited by NoyokA; April 22nd, 2006 at 12:55 PM.

  8. #8
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    Looks like 17-19 stories max:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/zone/art09c09.pdf
    (p. 15)

  9. #9
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    the zoning text \/
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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  10. #10

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    This area of madison holds it´s value...it´s cache...because it is relatively low-rise. It´s a respite from the rest of the city and has a village feel.... a neighborhood feel. It also feels timeless...still "white-glove". It´s Holden Caulfield´s New York...still intact. You don´t want to break the spell with another glass skyscraper. And despite all of the designer boutiques...this area of Madison maintains an "old money" asthetic.... a bit shabby here and there..no flash. Have you ever been to the Carlyle? It´s still kind of old-lady-ish....just the way it should be.

    LondonLawyer is right when he says: "a shiny glass tower here would look as out of place as it would in the Mayfair section of London or on the Avenue Montaigne in Paris."

    Fortunately Foster is a cultured guy... I doubt that he´d do something out of place ... and the community groups here would probably never let a monstrosity get built.... not to mention the historic district zoning laws. So, we´ll see...

    BTW: the old Park-Bernet building on this site is another example of 1950´s chic... similair to that building on 5th that we discussed a while back....or the Donnel Library building on 53rd ....or the Tiffany building ...simple limestone structures .... modest... but they still screamed "wealth". Please note the top floor: that´s a new addition. Note the sensitivity used in incorporating it with the old structure.
    Last edited by Fabrizio; April 21st, 2006 at 04:39 AM.

  11. #11
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    The yellowish brick building across the street (see photo above) appears to be 14 - 15 stories -- so the new Foster building, even given the zoning limitations, will still rise above that.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by tmg
    Looks like 17-19 stories max:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcp/pdf/zone/art09c09.pdf
    (p. 15)
    That height would be tolerable although I would prefer less. Foster did not design the YMCA tower to the maximum height on a ultra-commercial stretch of Lex. Therefore, I hope that he doesn't here either. 10 stories should be the max.

    P.S.: Is anyone aware of non-brick or metal facades that Foster has designed? Is it he or Rogers who is designing a low-rise, limestone hotel near Aldwych in London?

  13. #13

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    17-19 would work with set-backs toward the top... and set-backs would allow terraces... my guess is that´s how it would be done. I think after the huge responce for 15CPW, my bet is that what ever goes here will probably be in a super-deluxe retro style...even from Foster. Perhaps not as blatantly retro as Robert Stern, but something that fits in. I would not expect floor-to-ceiling glass windows on this street.

  14. #14

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    Cachet! Cachet! A cache is a place to store things. Cachet is prestige.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fabrizio
    This area of madison holds itīs value...itīs cache...

  15. #15

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    In Italian itīs "cache".

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