Another supertall has reached its apex this week: Developer SL Green announced that One Vanderbilt, the enormous office tower rising next to Grand Central Terminal, has now topped out.
At 1,401 feet, it’s not the tallest office tower in the city (that title still belongs to One World Trade Center), but it’s certainly one of the largest, and has already made a huge impact on the Midtown skyline. The 1.6 million-square-foot building, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, towers above the nearby Chrysler building by nearly 400 feet, and it’s visible from as far afield as Brooklyn and Queens. “Its slender, crystalline profile assumes a prominent place on the New York skyline,” James von Klemperer, president and design principal at KPF, said in a statement.
But at street level, there are gestures to the public that keep the building from feeling too grossly out of place. 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. And even though it towers high above Grand Central Terminal, it doesn’t obscure or hover over that landmark building.
One Vanderbilt has been in the works for quite some time—KPF’s involvement was announced all the way back in 2012—but didn’t really get off the ground (in a manner of speaking) until 2017, when the building started going vertical. Before then, SL Green had to get the city to approve a rezoning so the building could rise to its full supertall height, and had to settle a lawsuit with the owner of Grand Central Terminal, who argued that the tall tower would devalue the air rights above the landmark train hall. (The Midtown East rezoning, which passed in 2017, proved that assertion wrong—the terminal’s air rights ultimately went for a cool $240 million.)
Once the building started to rise, it rose quickly: SL Green says the building is now several months ahead of schedule, and should open in about a year. When it does, it’ll have TD Bank as an anchor tenant, along with a restaurant from Daniel Boloud and an observation deck that will hover 1,000 feet above the city.
Check out more views of and from the skyscraper below.