Architect Ralph Walker’s work is definitely en vogue in New York at the moment; as renovation is wrapping up on the architect’s prominent 212 West 18th Street, aka Walker Tower, it is just beginning on the somewhat shorter but equally ‘historic’ 435 West 50th Street. The new project is coming along rapidly, with the above photos – courtesy of YIMBY reader Michael – showcasing 435 West 50th’s progress, as well as continued reveals at its Chelsea sibling.
The New York Observer reports that floors 10-17 will be converted to luxury condominiums, with “somewhere around 65 and 70 units” to be included in the building. Since the Observer article, exact figures have become available via the Department of Buildings, with sprinkler permits indicating the renovation will include 56 units – so the project has gone more upscale, which makes sense given the massive success at 212 West 18th Street.
The developers – JDS and PMG – bought the property for $20 million, and Starwood Capital injected a further $25 million into the site last summer. Cetra/Ruddy is designing – the firm also helmed the first incarnation of 111 West 57th Street, though their involvement in that tower’s latest 1,200-foot iteration remains unknown. Cetra/Ruddy’s success with the re-design of 212 West 18th Street is an indicator that 435 West 50th will likely follow in similar finely-detailed footsteps, with the refurbished building a definite improvement over the Walker original.
Historically-minded New Yorkers should be thrilled with 435 West 50th Street’s re-development given the propensity to preserve dated architecture. There is nothing inherently beautiful in an old building if the only interesting thing about it is age; there are thousands upon thousands of ‘old’ buildings in New York completely unworthy of preservation. Walker built enormous data centers – not the gainliest of buildings, and generally without any real flourish – and the adornment of shiny Art Deco accents missing in the original design will greatly enhance 435 West 50th, combined with the opening of new windows and other adjustments.
Verizon will retain the building’s lower 10 floors, which will remain in-use as offices and an operations bas.