Office junkies?the ones obsessed with commercial real estate, not those shooting heroin behind the Xerox?behold the first issue and new web presence of the Commercial Observer, the NYO's new spin-off pub. Mazel to all! Though we must admit that the commercial real estate world is usually a snoozer, the debut issue does have an update on one of the most bonkers building designs to come out of the boom: The 59-story tapering tower of apartments/schools/Whole Foods at 250 East 57th Street (at Second Avenue), designed by SOM. Back in the glory days, the developer struck a deal to replace the existing schools on the site with new facilities within the tower. A temporary school was slapped together on 63rd Street, and construction was set to start on 57th Street last fall. Only, it never did. Now there are some big questions that need answering.
Dana Rubinstein reports that plans have been filed with the Department of Buildings for the project's first phase: An 11-story building with space for the two public schools and a reduced 40,000 square feet of retail (still aboard, Whole Foods?). As for the second phase, the residential tower above the base, developer the World-Wide Group isn't committing to a size or whether the building will be rentals or condos. But while the building's uncertainty is an all-too-common ailment nowadays, there is a bit of confidence that the project will come out as planned, although it's not coming from the developer but rather something called the Education Fund. Hey, the kids need to believe that anything is possible, right?
· 57th Street Skyscraper Up in the Air [NYO]
· 250 East 57th Street coverage [Curbed]