Beekman Street Tower

Real estate developer Bruce Ratner announced plans to increase the size of his Beekman St. tower from 55 stories to 75 stories, making it the second tallest proposed building in the Downtown skyline after the Freedom Tower, and inciting outrage from local residents and a potential lawsuit from the city council.

A proposed residential tower designed by Frank Gehry, which would almost certainly add a twist to the Lower Manhattan skyline, is being considered for tax-exempt financing, the city’s Housing Development Corporation said yesterday.

Forest City Ratner Companies would develop the tower. The building would rise 50 to 60 stories on what is now a parking lot behind N.Y.U. Downtown Hospital, across Spruce Street from Pace University, which might occupy about one-third of the new building. Under the current plan, there would be about 375 market-rate apartments, said Tracy J. Paurowski, a spokeswoman for the Housing Development Corporation.

Forest City Ratner has requested $131.4 million in tax-exempt financing through the Liberty Bond program toward the $210 million cost of the residential portion, Ms. Paurowski said. She said the corporation was not yet committed to approving the financing. Details of the project were first reported yesterday in The New York Post.

Besides the apartments and university space, the roughly 850,000-square-foot project would include about 40,000 square feet for the hospital, which owns the parking lot; 30,000 square feet of retail space; and 80,000 square feet of underground parking.

The project would allow a significant and visually distinctive expansion of the Pace downtown campus, which is understood to be a priority of its president, David A. Caputo, to handle a growing enrollment. Although no details are final, the university might take about 330,000 square feet of space in the new building, said a Pace official who requested anonymity because of the preliminary state
of negotiations. There would be classrooms, largely for the business school; an art gallery; offices; and dormitory rooms.

Pace now has about 950,000 square feet of office, dormitory and classroom space in Lower Manhattan.

If the tower were completed, and depending on when, it would be the first high-rise building by Gehry Partners of Los Angeles. Until now, the firm has been best known for sinuous, undulating, polymorphic institutional buildings like the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

A Gehry tower would add an extra jolt to the future downtown skyline, along with the twisting Freedom Tower and a stack of 45-foot glass apartment cubes at 80 South Street.

Mr. Gehry is already working for Forest City Ratner on the proposed Brooklyn arena for the Nets basketball team. He was seriously considered, but not chosen, for the future headquarters of The New York Times on Eighth Avenue, between 40th and 41st Streets, which Forest City Ratner is developing with The New York Times Company.


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