This past summer we learned that billionaire Sheldon Solow had tapped Richard Meier to design a residential tower on a long dormant site on the Far East Side. The New York Times has brought us several new details and renderings on what’s sure to be one of the most talked about developments in the city in the coming years.
For instance, the mid-section niche in the black glass facade, that was a part of the design reveal in May, will serve as the diving line between the rental and the condo portion of the building. The tower will have a total of 408 rentals that will rise up to the 27th floor, and the building’s 148 condos will start on the 28th floor and upwards.
The glass facade is designed in such a way that it will block views of the interior during the day from the outside, but from the inside out the glass will be totally transparent.
The Times has also brought us the first interior rendering for the building, which shows that the apartments are being done up with white oak flooring, light colored stone counters, and white lacquer kitchen cabinetry. About 69 apartments in the building come with balconies and will offer views of Midtown Manhattan.
Amenities announced so far include a 70-foot pool, a game room, a yoga room, a children’s playroom, and a fitness center. There are also plans for retail on the ground floor
Solow’s development of the Far East Side has been over a decade in the making. In 2000, he bought nine acres of land from Con Edison, close to the United Nations headquarters, for $630 million. He spent millions of dollars on environmental cleanup and getting the requisite and approvals and rezoning for any type of residential project in that area to move forward.
A master plan was drawn up in collaboration with SOM in 2008 that would have seen the creation of six residential towers, an office building, and public parks spread out over five acres, along with a school and an undetermined amount of affordable housing.
The financial crisis put all of that on hold. Solow ultimately sold some of those parcels. One is now home to the River School P.S. 281, and another is occupied by SHoP’s bendy American Copper Buildings. Meier’s building at 685 First Avenue hasn’t yet unveiled the pricing on its units, but the project is expected to wrap up by 2019. When complete, the building will stand 460 feet tall, which will make it Meier’s tallest building in NYC.
“We asked ourselves, can formal ideas and the philosophy of lightness and transparency, the interplay of natural light and shadow with forms and spaces, be reinterpreted in the precise opposite – white being all colors and black the absence of color?,” Richard Meier said in a statement, explaining the design concept behind this tower. “Our perspective continues to evolve, but our intuition and intention remain the same – to make architecture that evokes passion and emotion, lifts the spirit, and is executed perfectly.