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Foster + Partners will design Union Carbide building’s replacement

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JP Morgan Chase has selected the British firm, helmed by starchitect Norman Foster, for its new HQ at 270 Park Avenue

Max Touhey

It’s official: JP Morgan Chase has selected Foster + Partners, helmed by British starchitect Norman Foster, to design its new headquarters at 270 Park Avenue.

Joe Evangelisti, a spokesperson for Chase, confirmed the partnership to Curbed. Bloomberg first reported the news.

In a statement, Foster said he is “delighted” to be working on the new Chase HQ. “The building design is set to respond to its historic location as well as the heritage of JP Morgan, and we look forward to working with them to realise their vision for a new global headquarters for the company,” the statement continues.

Back in February, the city and Chase announced that the bank would tear down 270 Park Avenue—also known as the Union Carbide building, designed by SOM’s Gordon Bunshaft and Natalie de Blois—and replace the tower with a gleaming new 70-story building. The deal is the first major development announced after the approval of the Midtown East rezoning, which gives developers the ability to buy unused air rights from neighboring landmarked buildings in order to go taller. Chase has already made a deal with St. Bartholomew’s Church for around 550,000 square feet of air rights.

But in the wake of the announcement, preservationists rallied to try and save the original structure, which was built in 1961. The building is not landmarked—and thus, among the city’s most endangered buildings—and the Landmarks Preservation Commission hasn’t indicated that will change any time soon.

“There isn’t a skyscraper architect today who isn’t indebted to SOM, and buildings like Union Carbide, for advancing the form, the materials, and the systems that make the contemporary workplace,” Curbed architecture critic Alexandra Lange wrote after the 270 Park plan was announced. “It’s the worst form of shortsighted to throw this building away.”

Foster + Partners, meanwhile, has been keeping busy in New York—and on Park Avenue in particular. The firm is designing the office building at 425 Park Avenue, as well as the residential skyscraper at 100 East 53rd Street, which sits next to the Seagram Building. It’s also behind a new supertall on the rise at Hudson Yards.

If all goes according to plan, construction on the new Chase HQ will begin next year, and be completed within five years. If (most likely when) it’s torn down, it will become the tallest intentionally demolished building in the world.