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Office Tower in Midtown after 40 Years!February 2, 2015
NEW OFFICE BUILDING IN MIDTOWN MANHATTAN AFTER 4 DECADES
Sometime next week, a metal frame will go up around the blocky brick tower at Manhattan’s 425 Park Ave., designed to protect pedestrians from falling objects. It’s a prelude to the building’s demise.
In about three years, if all goes according to plan, the site will have a new Norman Foster-designed skyscraper more than twice the height of the existing one. The replacement would be the first new office building in almost four decades on what the developer, David Levinson, called New York’s “grand boulevard of commerce.”
The 893-foot (272-meter) tower will rise amid Manhattan’s biggest rush of skyscraper construction since the 1980s, with millions of square feet of offices in such projects as Hudson Yards on the far west side and the World Trade Center downtown. Levinson is building “on spec,” meaning without any tenants signed up. It’s a gamble on the staying power of today’s accelerating demand for space, and a practice that’s had a checkered history in the city, said Lawrence Longua, a retired real estate professor at New York University.
“Obviously, when you begin one of these large New York office buildings, the market is there when you begin it,” said Longua, now an adjunct at Baruch College’s Newman Real Estate Center. “But the market may not be there when you complete it.”
The new Park Avenue skyscraper, between East 55th and 56th streets, will be narrower than the existing 1950s-era building, and have about the same 670,000 square feet (62,000 square meters) of floor space. The developers are touting it as a 21st century answer to the neighboring Seagram Building, which was hailed as an architectural masterwork upon its 1958 completion.