It's true that a new tower has been proposed for New York City. And it isn't just any tower. This tower would change NYC's skyline by being the second-tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. (The tallest, at 1,776 feet, is One World Trade Center.) Not only that, if approved, this tower would be the first majority Black-built skyscraper in NYC.
Whether the addition of this building would be enough to bring New York back is another question entirely, but a project of this scope and significance surely couldn't hurt.
Site K is what people are calling the 1.2-acre lot that will soon be the home of a 1,663-foot-tall tower. The location is adjacent to the Javits Center, at 418 11th Ave. at Hudson Blvd. between West 35th and West 36th streets.
The look of the building would be stacked cubes atop a podium, but instead of the biggest cube on the bottom and smallest on top, it would be reversed, giving off a sort of toppling Jenga-game quality.
Plans are to include two hotels, headquarters for the NAACP, commercial office space, an ice skating rink, and an observation deck. There will also be planted terraces, water features, and seating options.
The Empire State Development Corp. announced in March that it planned to develop Site K. A majority Black development team submitted an RFP in October. The team consists of:
- Architect Sir David Adjaye of Adjaye Associates: Adjaye worked on the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
- Developer Don Peebles of The Peebles Corp.: The Peebles Corp. is guided by the principles of Affirmative Development, which helps empower women and minorities in order to close the wealth gap.
- Construction firm McKissack & McKissack: This company is an outgrowth of the oldest minority-owned architecture/engineering firm in the United States.
- Real estate development firm Exact Capital.
Minorities and women, according to Peebles, own fewer than 3% of real estate development firms. If selected, this group would be the first Black team to work on a city skyscraper. This proposed project has already received support from Black business and religious leaders in New York.
"The awarding of the 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," said Rev. Charles Curtis, Sr., head of the NY Interfaith Commission for Housing Equality, in a statement.
How this could help NYC
This proposed project would provide an estimated $4.4 billion of economic output per year. It would employ over 30,000 New Yorkers over six years, and half of those jobs would be permanent. The location of the tower, near the Javits Center, where trade shows and conventions are held, is a prime spot because of the two hotels the tower would house.
The real estate investor takeaway
The hotel industry experienced severe economic damage because of travel restrictions during COVID-19. Jobs in leisure and hospitality in NYC declined by 53%. This proposed skyscraper with its two hotels would send a message to New Yorkers that hospitality is coming back to the Big Apple.