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Yardsmania #4: Vornado/Durst Enlist Mother Earth

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[Click to expand.]

Developer: Vornado Realty Trust/Durst Organizatin
Architects: FXFowle and Pelli Clarke Pelli
Biggest building: 80 stories, 1,205 feet tall
Housing: 7,000 units
Public space: 12 acre park in the middle, assorted green space mixed in
High Line?: Saved and destroyed! The 30th Street chunk would remain, but the portion curving north up Twelfth Avenue toward the Javits Center would be removed.
Online?: Nope!

Eco-friendly developer Douglas Durst and deep-pocketed Vornado have teamed up for this proposal (and Condé Nast would anchor one of the four commercial buildings), which we've dubbed Dr. Feelgood. It's all about sustainable development, water conservation, efficient energy, blah blah blah. It's also more dedicated to residential development than the others, a move that should rally support among housing advocates. But, there's controversy here. Durst/Vornado wants to tear down the wooden portion of the High Line along the Hudson. The space-age elevated walkway cutting through the development and over the West Side Highway to Hudson River Park is called the "Skyline." Oh, and FXFowle's Daniel Kaplan told the Sun today that the Skyline would be "21st century version of the High Line." Now that's ballsy. Friends of the High Line already emailed us to say, "Isn't the High Line the 21st century version of the High Line?" They have a point.

In all, this proposal calls for 6.4 million square feet of housing, and 5.4 million square feet of office space. The buildings are all varying heights to get light into that park that makes up the heart of the proposal, but the four that include commercial space are mighty large. One is the 80-story commercial and residential building that would sit in the Tenth Avenue superblock, and another is the Condé Nast headquarters, at Eleventh Avenue and 33rd Street on the western edge of the eastern portion (got that?). A glass-enclosed Galleria connects the base of two of the office buildings, for what would basically be a mini-mall?our words, not their's.

The southern edge of the Eastern Rail Yards would house an extremely wide yet relatively low-rise arts building, or Kunsthalle if you prefer (we don't). Architect Rafael Pelli told The Real Estate that the building would be perfect for "flower and antique shows." The Western Rail Yards includes 125,000 square feet reserved for a public school at the southeast corner, because someone is going to have to teach all these new little Yardslings. In what could be a very bad idea, the school will have an entrance on the High Line. Could you concentrate on geometry when 10,000 hot French tourists are casually strolling right outside your classroom? We think not! Now, on to the pretty pictures:

Here's all your hippie crap. Click to expand.

The site plan. Click to expand.
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