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Yardsmania #2: Extell's Suspension of Disbelief

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Developer: Extell
Architect: Steven Holl Architects
Biggest building: A 1,238-foot-tall, three-million-square-foot triple-headed super tower thingy
Housing: Basically half of the 11.3 million square feet that would be built
Public space: 19 acres
High Line?: Saved!
Online?: Yup!

Extell's bid is absolutely crazy, but is it crazy enough to win? Whether intentional or not, the company leaked its full proposal on Friday, so we've had time to brace, but wow. Extell may have taken its underdog status and just decided to go balls to the wall with it. A 90-story mixed-use triple tower with a sky lobby and gigantic observation deck? Boom. A high-tech suspension deck built over the rails with a huge undulating park on top? You're damn right. A bridge over the West Side Highway, connected to the High Line, extending to a new floating pier and ferry terminal? Yes, yes, YES! In some weird way, Extell's bid is the minimalist's choice, given the fact Gary Barnett & Co. want to do the least amount building and include the most green space. But this minimalist's choice still includes six back-to-back 62-story "Sun Slice" apartment buildings lined up on 30th Street. Subtle, it ain't.

Extell is trying to lure the MTA in with a promise of this being quick and cheap, both relative terms in regards to a project of this size. All of the big buildings would be built on solid ground, not over the rails, and the suspension deck would reduce the construction and operating impact on the Long Island Rail Road. Steven Holl's designs complement his future Extell-developed Towering S near the yards.

Gary Barnett, always such a fond patron of the arts, tosses in a concert hall/performing arts school building on 30th Street and Tenth Avenue to meet the necessary cultural requirement. Also for the people is the design touch that most of the buildings, from the 90-story behemoth to the Sun Slice Towers, are angled to cast the most light on the big park in the middle, which will include a River-facing amphitheater. Yay, no touch football in eternal darkness! So why such gloomy renderings, Extell?

Suspension deck madness!

The site plan. Click to expand.
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