Revealed: 400 West 42nd Street

400 West 42nd Street400 West 42nd Street - image via the New York Immigration Fund

Demolition is complete at 400 West 42nd Street, and renderings of the new development are now online, via the New York Immigration Fund. Designed by Handel Architects, the tower will be an unfortunate addition to the neighborhood, though it won’t be tall enough to completely violate the skyline.

No DOB permits for the tower have been filed, but the skyscraper looks to rise roughly 40 floors. The ugly hotel trend sweeping the island will have a new poster-child with 400 West 42nd Street, as it takes ‘forward-thinking’ progressiveness in the wrong direction; it has a terribly awkward form, relying on protrusions and unstable massing to ill-effect.

Modern, progressive architecture can be stunning – a point Handel’s 170 Amsterdam Avenue will hopefully prove – but in this case, it seems that the architect was forced to deliver an ‘eccentric’ final product at a low price-point, resulting in a complete mess. The NYIF’s plans may not be final, and excavation has not yet begun, but if 400 West 42nd Street is built in its current form, it will detract from the neighborhood; un-ironically, the building is rising to the east of the ‘Zebra’ tower, as if it needed a visually unfortunate companion.

The Real Deal reported that plans for the tower had been revised last February, with a new design that would only rise 28 floors, but the information on the NYIF’s website contradicts this statement, and the rendering appears fresh. Hopefully the plans have changed to something less offensive, but the development’s true form will remain elusive until new building permits are actually filed. With the lot now sitting vacant, that will likely be soon.

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