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Chase’s new Midtown HQ could be a supertall with new Metro-North access

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The banking giant seeks to modify the required public space in its new, Foster + Partners-designed building

Max Touhey

Now that Foster + Partners has been announced as the architect for JP Morgan Chase’s new headquarters at 270 Park Avenue, the banking giant isn’t wasting any time in moving forward with its plans for that Midtown skyscraper.

YIMBY reports that Chase has filed a zoning text amendment with the Department of City Planning, which sheds a good deal of light on what, exactly, the company has planned for its new HQ. According to those documents, the new building could indeed be a supertall—rising more than 1,500 feet, depending on whether or not the firm receives approval for a change to how the site would be arranged.

The purpose of the amendment is to shrink the amount of public space that would be provided with the new skyscraper. Under the adopted Midtown East rezoning plan, any new buildings in the area on a lot of more than 65,000 square feet must provide at least 10,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space.

Chase’s text amendment seeks to bring that number down to 7,000 square feet, but would result in what the amendment says would be a “a new and different form of year-round public open space for the area” that would be “attractive to the general user population and help enliven the Madison Avenue corridor.” It could be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., with retail space and the ability to host private events. It would also have a direct underground connection to Metro-North trains at Grand Central Terminal, just a few blocks away.

There are two building scenarios presented within the zoning amendment: In the as-of-right case (pictured on the left above), the 10,000-square-foot public space would remain as-is, and would be located along East 47th Street; the building itself would soar more than 1,500 feet high. If the proposed amendment is adopted, the public area would be smaller, enclosed (as opposed to open), located along Madison Avenue, and lead to a building height of around 1,400 feet.

As YIMBY notes, DCP has already determined that the new proposal wouldn’t have an adverse effect on the environment.

Preservationists continue to call for the city to try and save the original structure, which was built in 1961 and designed by SOM’s Gordon Bunshaft and Natalie de Blois. 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.