The Houston-based real estate developer Hines announced plans last week for a 28-story, boutique office building at the corner of West 40th Street and Sixth Avenue across the street from Bryant Park. Designed by Pei Cobb Freed principal Henry Cobb – whose most recent project was the LEED Gold-hopeful Goldman Sachs headquarters at 200 West Street – the tower’s architecture echoes both that project’s and the LEED Platinum-certified Bank of America Tower just two blocks away.
Indeed, as the New York Observer notes, the new tower’s concave corners meet in a dramatic point that will provide views directly into the interior of the park, (much like the Cook + Fox-designed Bank of America Tower). “The building was conceived in response to the extraordinary circumstance of its location at the corner of Bryant Park,” Mr. Cobb said in a press release. “The hourglass facade detail will be a lens through which building occupants can view the park with dramatic and alluring immediacy.” Although specific design elements are unclear at these early stages, the tower will feature branding opportunities at the entrance and on the ground floor along 6th Avenue; 10-foot finished ceilings and full-height clear vision glass on each tenant floor; two outdoor terraces overlooking Bryant Park on the tenth floor; and multiple top-floor opportunities, including the possibility for a duplex penthouse office.
What’s most interesting about the project from a real estate perspective – in addition to its location – is that it will only offer 450,000 square feet and likely cater to high-end, boutique tenants that won’t be intimidated by the asking rents. More specifically, the Observer piece also notes that Hines seems to be following the blueprint of 510 Madison Avenue, a LEED for Core and Shell project whose recent leasing successes we’ve followed closely here at gbNYC. Whether the LEED label will ultimately persuade the hedge funds, law firms, and fashion brands that Hines will likely target is a question we’ll track as the project moves forward.
“We are privileged to develop a project that combines such an exceptional location with a distinguished design,” said Tommy Craig, Hines senior vice president in charge of the New York City region. “It will be a singular opportunity for mid-sized tenants in the Midtown market. This project will focus on people and their productivity and become an urban campus where Bryant Park can be a backdrop for the identity of building tenants. It will take advantage of new technologies which create a modern, forward-thinking workplace — a smart building for smart users.”
Hines will build the project in a partnership with Pacolet Milliken, which has owned the development site since 1954. Demolition is complete and construction could start by early 2012 with occupancy in 2014. The project is of-right within existing Midtown zoning requirements.