Application filed for new Midtown supertall, proposed as the second-tallest in the Western Hemisphere

By Devin Gannon
All renderings by TMRW courtesy of Gensler

All renderings by TMRW courtesy of Gensler

The developers behind the distinct supertall at 432 Park Avenue want to take a second shot at altering New York City’s skyline. Harry Macklowe submitted last week a preliminary application to the city’s planning department for a 1,551-foot-tall skyscraper between 51st and 52nd Streets in Midtown, the New York Times reported. If the city approves the project, Tower Fifth, the name given to the tower proposed by Macklowe Properties, would become the second-tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.

All renderings by TMRW courtesy of Gensler

The 96-story supertall would still fall below the current title-holder One World Trade Center, which measures 1,776 feet tall thanks to its spire. But if looking at ceiling height only, Tower Fifth would be considered the tallest in the city, measuring just a foot taller than Central Park Tower, under construction on Billionaires’ Row.

Macklowe Properties has tapped Moed de Armas & Shannon Architectsand Gensler for the design of Tower Fifth. As renderings depict, the tower would sit atop stilts above 52nd Street, rising upward until the top where a “two-level slab juts out from the northern and southern sides of the building,” the Times wrote.

All renderings by TMRW courtesy of Gensler

The building would feature an 85-foot-high glass lobby that would stretch a block and frame St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Above the lobby, there would be shops, a food hall, and a public auditorium made of glass, overlooking the landmark. Amenities and tenant space would measure 960,000 square feet throughout the office floors, according to the architects.

Other plans revealed include an energy-efficient facade, public concourse, and the city’s tallest observatory, where apparently visitors will be able to enjoy a clear, 60-foot corkscrew slide.

A page on the project on Gensler’s website describes the observatory: “At the top of the tower, the city’s highest observatory grants unprecedented views and features an array of unique experiential, cultural, and entertainment experiences within a public observatory.”

All renderings by TMRW courtesy of Gensler

The proposed tower is far from becoming a reality. Because the project could encroach on five landmark buildings, including the Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s, it will require approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

And Macklowe Properties will have to secure roughly 580,000 square feet of development rights from neighboring properties, a condition allowed under the 2017 rezoning of Midtown East. Under the rezoning, landmarks can sell and transfer unused development rights within the 78-block area.

While plenty of obstacles lie in wait, Macklowe is confident the city will approve his project. “Tall buildings are a reality,” he told the Times. “The days of restrictions on buildings are really over. This is a building that’s never been built before, a 21st-century building.”


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