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Black developers, architects, builders and financiers have formed a dream team to develop a supertall skyscraper alongside Hudson Yards and the Javits Center.

The proposed 1,500-foot tower on 11th Avenue. Renderings: Adjaye Associates

Architect David Adjaye, developer Don Peebles, construction boss Cheryl McKissack and executives from Exact Capital Group have submitted a proposal for a 1,500-foot tower at 418 11th Avenue. The 1.2-acre site is across from the Javits Center and bounded by W35/36th Streets and the Bella Abzug Park.

The group responded to a Request for Proposals made in March this year by a subsidiary of Empire State Development (ESD) which owns the plot. The site currently houses a number of ventilation shafts and is over an active Amtrak train track. It was presented by ESD as offering “an opportunity to develop one of the last remaining vacant parcels on the West Side of Midtown Manhattan”. The area is a key part of Governor Cuomo’s $51bn plans for Manhattan Midtown West, announced in January.

The proposed site of the new supertall skyscraper. Image: ESD

The proposal from the group is anchored by commercial office space to be used as the NAACP headquarters, with the addition of two hotels, an observation deck and a skating rink. If the idea is accepted by the New York State organization, it will be the first skyscraper built by an all-African American team in New York — according to Real Estate Weekly who first reported the story.

The group says that over the six years of the project 30,000 will be employed, including 15,000 permanent jobs for New Yorkers. The project will generate more than $5 billion in new tax revenue for New York over 30 years.

The proposed 1,500-foot tower on 11th Avenue towers above the Javits Center and Pier 76. Renderings: Adjaye Associates

Peebles, the CEO of The Peebles Corporation, told Real Estate Weekly (REW): “This project is emblematic of true equity in development. A symbol for all who visit New York, cementing in brick and mortar that New York is serious about economic inclusion.”

New York’s African-American business and civic organizations are backing the proposal. “Unfortunately, for most of New York’s history, African-Americans and people of color have been rendered as mere economic tourists who gaze upward at one of the greatest skylines in the world with the intrinsic knowledge they will never be able to participate in what really makes New York unique,” said Reverend Dr Charles Curtis, Head of NY Interfaith Commission For Housing Equality, speaking to REW. “The awarding of this project to this team will send a statement across the globe that architects, developers, engineers and financial professionals of color are now full participants in this great miracle of global capitalism called New York City.”

Manhattan Community Board 4 (CB4) continues to push for local development to be focused on housing. “As CB4 made clear to ESD, and was specifically incorporated into the RFP, our clear preference is for residential development (with an affordable component) on this site.  We wish this design team would come back with something that fits the community’s needs,” said Lowell Kern, the Board chair.

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8 Comments

  1. I love it! It looks a bit frightening being so top heavy, but I love the development over here of vacant lots, as long as we don’t start knocking down other things to build new.

  2. So this is supposed to be a good idea because the people involved are black? Supertalls are bad all around, no matter who wants to build them. Stop already!

  3. Mr. Peebles-If you were interested in equality you’d be building affordable housing instead of another white elephant that is completely unneeded in this city sitting with tens of thousands of empty feet of commercial space, not to mention residential space in towers for billionaires. The NAACP could do better than to join this penchant for hyper-development that has no relationship to the needs of their constituents or to this city. Very sad.

  4. Another outrageously imposing tower to dwarf the life in the neighborhood. Thrusting their talents into the air…erecting a big F…You to all who call Hell’s Kitchen home. No, I’m not happy about this.

  5. I agree with S. Simon’s comments 1000%. No matter who does it, unnecessary development is still development, which all too often is environmentally and socially destructive to communities, neighborhoods, and individual lives. Likewise, introducing the issue of race, no matter who is doing it, is pathetically transparent. No doubt meant to silence preservationists, liberals, and even some liberal progressives, it is downright shameful.

  6. Everyone wants a piece of the pie…no matter its detrimental impact…no matter that the 15,000 permanent jobs and another 15,000 during the construction process quoted numbers are ridiculous hype.

    No matter the EB5 Hudson Yards ruse: hudson-yards-EB-5: https://www.brickunderground.com/live/hudson-yards-EB-5

    “As with many rezoned areas, Hudson Yards is required to provide a percentage of affordable housing as part of their residential portfolio. However, a plan that’s been in the works for a decade to build an affordable housing development nearby has been scrapped, according to The City.

    AM New York is reporting that NYC public advocate Jumaane Williams has slammed Hudson Yards for being slow to build promised affordable housing and for providing no indication of how the development is helping poorer communities. A Hudson Yards spokesperson insists the project has created jobs for residents all over the city, including Harlem, the area it is tied with to get financing.”

    The ‘jobs’ rationale continues to be used as sanctimonious b.s. and is always belied by the reality of how many folks actually get hired. We saw it here in the Atlantic Yards bait and switch!

    And everyone is afraid to call the lying out for what it is.

    This ‘supertall skyscraper’ idea builds on a ‘house of shameful cards’-

    The color of one’s skin does not automatically designate goodness -nor evil…and while we can not ignore ‘race’ in a color-blind society where overdue reparations still await payment…and equal justice remains elusive-or too often non-existent(!) – the moral arbiter of our times, MLK said that he hoped :

    “children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

    We all understand that greed is a human condition…it knows no color…but speaks to the content of their character.

  7. Just because the developers are Black doesn’t make this a project good for the neighborhood. At one time, a working-class neighborhood, this monstrosity will add to the list of empty shells where the wealthy can park their money and tourists can come to gape at the top-heavy super-tall. This is no “miracle of capitalism” – it’s theft for the top of the towers. “Economic inclusion” apparently means that Blacks now are included in theft of the city.

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