Down in Chinatown at the base of the Bowery, where streets are crooked and living can be crowded, a proposal is being put forth to bring a massive 128-story building to NYC, where "everyone lives under one roof in harmony." This urban utopia would emerge by way of a "Super Skyscraper" called the Zhongshan Center rising over a newly-created superblock just west of the Manhattan Bridge. To make way for this behemoth, a swath of low-rise bits of brick would come down between the Bowery and Mott, from Bayard to Worth Streets. But unlike in divisive neighborhood transformations like the Atlantic Yards project, displaced Chinatown residents "will be able to move into these beautiful apartments, as if they had just won first prize in a lottery." The mega-scheme is outlined in a 54-point manifesto, covering everything from American capitalism to zoning inequities, with social and historical perspectives interspersed throughout. Entitled "The Zhongshan Center Plans" [pdf], this is the brainchild of the San Yan Wong Workshop. The full 113 pages, which read like brokerbabble filtered through an auto-translator, are chock full of intriguing tidbits, but given the long slog it presents, we've pulled out the highlights for public perusal.
The imagined building, shaped like a very severe capital "H" surrounded by gardens, will rise to 2,173 feet and contain a gross 15,000,000 square feet serviced by 130 elevators. Up high will be the world's largest revolving restaurant, doing a complete 360 every 85 minutes and offering views even better than those from atop the new 1 WTC. Floors below will be individually purposed, giving "mixed-use" a whole new meaning. Six stories of parking for 3,000 cars will anchor it all, leading up to a 10-story vertical retail mall with a wide array of restuarants. The next 12 floors will include community spaces, all offered for free (now we're really in utopia land). Rising over the next 10 floors will be low- and medium-income housing and then another batch of floors offering homes for those displaced by construction of the Zhongshan Center. This place truly has something for everyone, and the wonders only increase as it rises.
In the professional portion, running from floors 56-65, there'll be a floor for doctors, another for lawyers and so on. Next are twenty stories of luxury, "an excellent living choice for successful people." Above that: the Galactic Hotel, 10-stories of hospitality, not to be confused with the loftier 5-story "Super-Galactic Hotel" up on the 106th to 110th floors, where the crazy rich will find 8-star "ultra-luxurious service." On top of it all, there's still room for another fifteen floors where "officials and successful businessmen from the world over" can buy a condo or ten. Topping it off will be a 150 foot spire reaching to the heavens, leaving in the lurch a batch of new NYC towers all hoping to lay claim to the tallest in town.
Beyond being the biggest thing around, what's at the core of the Zhongshan Center pipe dream? "Strengthening the Country, Making People Rich, Getting Out of the Red, Building a Happy Family." Not to mention that it will become "a Scene of Perfection and Harmony" amidst the chaos and noise of NYC. Some big yang to balance out the yin. Who could argue with that?
· The Zhongshan Center Plans [pdf] [Wong Book]
· Views from the 103rd Floor of One World Trade Center [Curbed]
· Manhattan's Tallest Residential Tower Officially Tops Out [Curbed]
· NYC's New Tallest Tower Will Look Something Like This [Curbed]
[Pete Davies is a Curbed contributor and New York State-licensed real estate salesperson working with SCG-Retail, a retail brokerage specializing in securing leases in New York City for national and international retailers]