Vornado Rising: 220 Central Park South and 50 West 57th Street

220 Central Park South220 Central Park South

Though the Nordstrom Tower’s cantilever debacle had already made it obvious, Vornado and Extell have resolved their dispute over 220 Central Park South, where Barnett had bought the lease to the basement garage as well as an adjacent lot. With properties exchanged and the lease closed – all for the cost of $194 million – Vornado may now proceed with their tower at 220 Central Park South, which will reportedly rise 920 feet.

There had been speculation that the Stern-designed tower would get a significant height boost, and it has; the new building will rise over 300 feet taller than the original pre-recession proposal. Though the skyscraper will pose a problem for the Nordstrom Tower, it will be a gold mine for Vornado. 220 Central Park South may not breach the one thousand foot mark, but it has a far superior location compared to the litany of 57th Street projects.

The difference is only two blocks, but when it comes to views – which are the driving force behind the current wave of development – that translates to thousands of dollars per square foot. Units at 220 Central Park South will rank alongside 15 Central Park West, which is just around the corner, as the most expensive in New York City. The development will likely be configured in a similar two-towered situation, with a small building rising along Central Park South and the main skyscraper sitting on 58th street.

Beyond 220 Central Park South, Vornado may soon have another project underway on 57th Street – perhaps complimenting their 920-foot building with an actual supertall.

Vornado owns 50 West 57th Street, which sits adjacent to a dingy low-rise, empty lots, and a rental apartment building. All of the latter items are owned by Jeffries Avlon, which proposed a 25-story and 213,000 square foot tower at 52 West 57th in the early 2000s. Plans never got off the ground, which yields the site’s current potential, as the economics of 57th Street now justify the demolition of the rental building, at 60 West 57th Street. Given the scope of the redevelopment, Vornado seems well positioned to take advantage of the assemblage, which could yield a project greater than 500,000 square feet – a similar size to 432 Park Avenue.

Other notable parcels controlled by Vornado include the buildings from 29-33 West 57th, as well as 49 West 57th – though none of these sites appear as primed for development as 50 West 57th Street.

Despite their relatively low profile since the recession, Vornado is back in action; 220 Central Park South will begin rising soon, and the potential assemblage at 50 West 57th Street could yield something with significant height. With one saga resolved, another begins – and this one could be even taller.

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