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Silverstein scraps 1,100-foot Midtown tower for two shorter buildings

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The project will now likely be built in two phases

A group of tall city buildings along a waterfront. Oppenheim Architecture + Design via Crain’s

Silverstein Properties can’t quite seem to make its mind with the massive property it owns around West 40th Street and Eleventh Avenue on the Far West Side. In the latest turn of events, it’s now speculated that the development firm has ditched plans to build a 1,100-foot tower there for two comparatively smaller towers, Crain’s has learned.

It now seems that Silverstein is interested in building the project in two phases. The first phase could see the construction of a CetraRuddy-designed residential tower that would span 600,000 square feet. Money generated from that development would then likely fund a second, larger tower with 1.2 million square feet of commercial space.

We first learned of the project back at the start of 2014 when Silverstein announced its intentions to purchase the Mercedes-Benz car dealership at the site, which is located at 514 Eleventh Avenue. At that time, plans called for a somewhat similar two tower approach, both over 60-stories tall, with about 1,000 apartments altogether.

A year later it was revealed that Silverstein had gone through with its purchase of the former dealership plot for $115 million, but in the interim, plans for the development had changed. The development firm instead decided to build a 1,100-foot supertall with 1,400 apartments and a massive retail component. When demolition work got underway at the site in the summer of 2015 it seemed like that particular iteration of the project was actually moving forward.

In fact, Silverstein had reached a deal with the city to build residential on the commercial section of the property in exchange from providing 30 percent of the building’s units as affordable. But Crain’s points out that Silverstein eventually abandoned those plans and even put up the site for sale for a brief period.

Now it has come full circle and it’s back to the two tower plan, albeit a more subdued version. Since plans haven’t been filed yet there still could be a change in the coming months, but it seems that Silvertsein is leaning in this direction at the moment.