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Now Approved, Riverside Center Switches Out Starchitect

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Riverside Center will not, as its developers had previously stated, be designed by award-winning designer of glass towers (One57, 400 Park Avenue South, others) Christian de Portzamparc, The Observer reports. The rights to construct the five Riverside Center buildings were originally supposed to go to frequent de Portzamparc partners Extell Development, but, as it turns out, they're being auctioned off individually. In the auction for the first building, Extell (which was apparently turned off by the new affordable housing aspect) was beaten out by the Dermot Company. When the Carlyle Group and Dermot presented to Community Board 7 last month, a couple board members did express trepidation about the fact that the renderings didn't look quite the same as the renderings they'd seen the last time they'd been presented. One member even went so far as to bemoan the fact that de Portzamparc must have been used in a bait-and-switch.

Those concerns, however, were mostly brushed aside in favor of a discussion about the project's affordable housing details. While that board member is having the last laugh now, in this case, the last laugh is really more like the first cry. The real last laugh goes to Carlyle, who used de Portzamparc's starchitect status to get their plans approved, and Dermot, who won the bidding rights to build the first tower, Riverside Parcel 2, and have brought on local architecture firm SLCE (known as the guys-who-are-not-Pritzker Prize-winner-Christian de Portzamparc of New York City architecture) to design it. The rights to construct the remaining four Riverside Center buildings have yet to be auctioned off, so the possibility still remains that Extell will get one and use de Portzamparc. Don't hold your breath, though.
· Starchitect Switcheroo! Will the Upper West Side Get Any Pritzker-Worthy Buildings at Riverside Center? [Observer]
· Riverside Center coverage [Curbed]
· Christian de Portzamparc coverage [Curbed]
· SLCE coverage [Curbed]