Is it a screwdriver? A power tool? Wall-E come to life? No! It’s the architect’s vision for a corner site on 8th Avenue and W46th Street, where work has begun on what will be a 1,067ft tower housing a hotel, an observation deck — and Manhattan’s first theme-park style “drop ride.”
The concept sketch for the supertall was revealed this week (and reported by YIMBY), as excavators moved in on the site which has previously housed a parking lot, a Christmas market and, until 2008, a four story-building.
The unique shape of the 51-story Theater District tower is likely to raise eyebrows. The protrusion at the top will include an observation deck as well as the theme-park style ride, which New York Yimby reported will let thrill-seekers experience a “free drop” during a 90-second experience. One commenter on the Skyscraperpage forum compared it to Wall-E, the Pixar robot in the 2008 movie.
Putting a theme-park style ride at the top of a Midtown tower is the latest move in the battle for visitors and dollars being staged among New York skyscraper owners. As well as the time-honored Empire State Building and Top of the Rock, the new competitors include One Vanderbilt, whose Summit features glass floors looking down from the 79th story. And at 30 Hudson Yards, the 1,200ft Edge open-air skydeck offers thrill seekers the chance to climb even higher outdoors.
The hotel at 740 Eighth Avenue will feature up to 825 rooms when it opens in 2027, Urbanize New York reported. It is being developed by Extell, the firm behind other Midtown supertalls, including the forthcoming Central Park Tower, a 1,550ft addition to W57th Street boasting a seven-bedroom penthouse listed for $250 million.
The site has had a checkered history. Boston Properties and Stephen Ross’ Related Companies planned a million-square foot office tower, which was canceled in late 2008. Then Extell slowly pieced parcels of land together over almost 10 years, first planning a 10-story office tower, according to the Real Deal. Extell then shifted its focus to the 51-story hotel, and was able to avoid needing a special permit — thanks to an exemption in new city rules for Theater District sites of over 20,000 square feet, where half the land is empty.
And things could still change. ODA Architecture, the design architects, told W42ST that the drawing is a “concept sketch” and full designs will be unveiled at a later date. SLCE Architects are the architect of record.