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Midtown’s soon-to-be supertall, One Vanderbilt, shows off its views

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The office tower is more than halfway toward its pinnacle

Photos by Max Touhey

It’ll still be a couple of years before the observation deck atop One Vanderbilt, perched more than 1,000 feet above the ground, opens to the public, but developer SL Green is making swift progress on the massive Kohn Pedersen Fox-designed supertall. It’s already reached the 56th floor, and construction is ahead of schedule.

Now that the structure is more than halfway to its 1,401-foot pinnacle, it gives the developer the chance to show off one of its main selling points: views. On a recent construction tour of the building, reps from SL Green took a group of reporters up to what will be marketed as the 44th floor, which has incredible views of myriad New York landmarks: the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings, Hudson Yards, the supertalls lining Central Park, and more.

While the lower levels of the building may not have the same show-stopping views, they do offer potential tenants with lots of employees—what a rep for SL Green called “high-density” employers—the opportunity to pack more people into a space. Those might include a financial services company, or other firm that would require a trading floor. (TD Bank is the building’s anchor tenant, taking 200,000 square feet within that includes a ground-floor bank branch.)

But those lower floors have something the upper ones don’t: previously unseen views of Grand Central Terminal—from the 11th floor, you’re at eye level with the iconic clock and statue of Mercury on the building’s exterior. (A rep for SL Green called this the “sweet spot” of the under-construction tower.)

In addition to the glass and terra cotta tower above, the project’s scope includes improvements at the ground level. Once One Vanderbilt is complete, the block-long stretch between 42nd and 43rd streets on Vanderbilt Avenue will become a car-free pedestrian plaza. There will also be a transit hall, open to the public, that connects the building and the streetscape to Grand Central below. Once East Side Access is complete (the MTA says by 2022, but given the delays on the project tomorrow, who knows), it will also connect to the LIRR platform there.

Construction is expected to be complete before the end of 2020.