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Large Growth Infects Midtown Office Building, Turns it Hotel

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Ah, air rights, that unharvested cash crop of so many a Manhattan mid-rise. One place where the air up there will no longer go underutilized: 63 West 38th Street, a 12-story office building between Fifth and Sixth Avenues two blocks from Bryant Park (alternate address: 62 West 39th Street). The property traded hands in January, and the new owner has big plans: a "vertical enlargement" plopped on top of the existing building. See the design above from architects Gertler & Wente? Don't even bother passing judgment. Odds are the tumor will look nothing like it.

The Gertler & Wente renderings are for a nine-story residential addition (five apartments per floor), and according to the firm's summary, the upper six floors of the existing structure would be converted from commercial to residential as well. How early 2008! A plan filed with the DOB in June (its currently under review) calls for a reduced six-story addition, and a conversion of the whole shebang into a hotel. The new architect: Gene Kaufman. The one, the only. Any renderings of the new proposal floating around out there? Do send them along. Unless they'll give us nightmares. Actually, especially if they'll give us nightmares.
· West 38th Street [Gertler & Wente]
· Application: 62 West 39th Street [DOB]