Last week, word began to leak that the prolific developer Harry Macklowe, the brains behind the skyline-altering tower at 432 Park Avenue, is planning another cloud-piercer on Fifth Avenue.
And now, the rumors are confirmed: The developer chatted with the New York Times about his plans for the office skyscraper, to be called Tower Fifth, and shed some light on what he’s got up his sleeve. “It’s a chance to change the skyline,” Macklowe told the Times.
Previous reports about the tower had many of the basics correct: It’ll be a supertall, rising 1,551 feet—155 feet taller than 432 Park Avenue, and on par with Central Park Tower, soon to be the city’s tallest residential building. Macklowe will need to amass air rights, including some from neighboring St. Patrick’s Cathedral, for the tower to reach its full height. And it’ll have a spate of bonkers amenities for both tenants and the public—including “the city’s tallest observatory, where visitors would be able to dive down a transparent, 60-foot corkscrew slide,” per the Times.
The building would be designed by the architecture firm Gensler, with Adamson Associates Architects, and would feature some notable design elements. It would cantilever over several nearby landmarks, including the Look Building at Madison Avenue and 51st Street. In deference to the landmarked cathedral across the street, there would be an 85-foot-tall lobby that frames the view of the St. Pat’s; it would also rise about 400 feet at street “on two stems or stilts,” per the Times.
But even with the loosened restrictions on building heights in the wake of the Midtown East rezoning, the project will be a challenge to get built. It’ll need approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission—which Macklowe has apparently already engaged—and will need to go through the city’s lengthy uniform land use review procedure (ULURP), since he’s asking for zoning changes.
But if he’s worried, Macklowe isn’t showing it. “The days of restrictions on buildings are really over,” he told the Times. “This is a building that’s never been built before, a 21st-century building.”