May 29, 2016

REAL ESTATE REPORT: Here Comes 685 First Avenue

Plywood wall along First Avenue, in need of spell check.
The former parking lot between 39th and 40th Sts. on First Ave. opposite Windsor Tower has been demolished, and a foundation is being dug for the 42-story, 460-foot apartment house that will replace it.
Developed  by real-estate billionaire Sheldon Solow, the 556-unit building will be a mix of rentals and condos, designed by noted architect Richard Meier. Made of aluminum and black glass, it will be Meier's tallest building in Manhattan. Completion is expected in 2019.


Rendering of 685 First Avenue (arrow),  Richard Meier's first black skyscraper
Close-up rendering of the building (right),
the view looking down First Ave. from 40th St.

685 First Avenue sits across the street from the vacant six-acre lot (formerly the site of a Con Edison power plant) that Solow acquired it in 2005. His $4 billion plans for the site -- including 7 towers and landscaped gardens -- met with much opposition from Windsor Tower residents protesting their loss of views and light. Ultimately, the project stalled because of the 2008 recession, environmental cleanup of the site and Solow's entanglement in various unrelated lawsuits.

Now it seems back on track with the arrival of 685 First Avenue. Given the city's current pro-development mood and the march of new buildings north of 34th Street along First Avenue, further construction seems inevitable.

We don't think that Fred French would object. After all, "New York cannot be overbuilt" was his motto.

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