Stalled New York: 99 Church, 56 Leonard, and 50 West Street

While some high-end residential projects are finally getting off the ground, very many continue to exist in limbo. Of these projects, three of the most notable buildings are located downtown–99 Church Street, 56 Leonard Street, and 50 West Street.

Most prominent of these projects is 99 Church Street, being developed by Larry Silverstein as a mixed hotel-condominium project featuring a Four Seasons Hotel. Rising 912 feet and featuring 68 stories, 99 Church could eventually be the tallest residential building downtown, surpassing the 876 foot Beekman Place, also recently built.

99 Church Street: Image from, resized by NYGuy at Skyscraperpage

Designed by Robert Stern, 99 Church features an limestone facade that complements the nearby Woolworth Building while simultaneously leading up to the new World Trade Center, acting as a stepping-stone of sorts. While the overall design is definitely of an extremely high caliber, the roof’s lack of detail is disappointing given the sophistication present in the rest of the building.

99 Church (next to the Woolworth) alongside the new World Trade Center: Image via hotelchatter

56 Leonard also promises to rise prominently on the downtown skyline, however it will be a more modest 821 feet with ‘only’ 57 floors. Construction on 56 Leonard may actually begin fairly shortly, as interested in the building stayed strong through the recession and continues to remain robust. The fascination is easy to understand, as the design is certainly innovative–

56 Leonard: Image via archdaily

According to reports, the building’s developers were expecting buyers to offer more than $5,000 per square foot for the most expensive units. While demand for such expensive apartments tailed off after the housing crash, projects such as One57 and 432 Park Avenue are clear indicators that the market for extremely high-end housing is once again thriving.

50 West Street is also being built downtown, just south of the new World Trade Center. The new tower will have 65 stories, and it will contain both condominiums and a hotel.

Image from Murphy Jahn
The site has been in limbo for quite some time, with construction originally supposed to begin in 2008, but the recession put a freeze on the site, just like the other two above. Permits were just re-issued for the building’s construction last month though, and the site is supposedly slated to begin construction early next year. We can certainly hope!
50 West Street: Image via Time Equities

As the Manhattan high-end residential market seems insatiable at the moment, it seems increasingly likely that all of these buildings have a good chance of rising in the next year. The hotel-condo combo seems to be the bet most developers of high-end residences are looking at these days, as both 99 Church and 50 West Street feature hotels–amenities offered by luxury hotels are increasingly seen as essential for luring very high-end buyers. While the architecture of 50 West Street is fairly basic, the designs of 99 Church and 56 Leonard are both superb, with 56 Leonard particularly striking; hopefully more developers (including those of 50 West–if it doesn’t have a foundation, it isn’t too late for a design change!) begin to take their queues from Hines and Silverstein.

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