Super-tall spire OK’d to rise over landmark.

By: Scott Henson

Daniel Geiger reports for Crain’s New York Business.


Extell Development received an OK to build over this structure, at 257 W. 57th St., in Manhattan. Photo by CoStar Group.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission approves Extell Development’s plan to cantilever its new residential tower over the neighboring American Fine Arts Society Building. It will include NYC’s first Nordstrom and a hotel.

Extell Development received approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday to cantilever a new super-tall, luxury residential tower that the company plans to build over a neighboring landmark on West 57th Street.

With the city’s OK, Extell will now be able to extend the tower, 215 W. 57th St., 28 feet to the east so that it overhangs the American Fine Arts Society Building. The tower, which Extell Development has stated could rise 1,400 feet or taller, will begin cantilevering at 195 feet, which the Landmarks Commission felt was situated sufficiently above the stately, but squat, four-story American Fine Arts Society Building.

“I think it’s not only an extremely important project for the city, but also important for what it doesn’t do, which is that it ultimately will not have a negative impact on the landmark,” said Robert Tierney, the commission’s chairman. “Here we have a very narrow exposure to something that I believe will have a very negligible effect.”

Gary Barnett, chief executive of Extell and one of the city’s most prolific developers in recent years, said the cantilever was essential to the building’s construction.

“It allows us to move the core of the building to the east,” Mr. Barnett said. Moving the building’s elevators, staircases and other infrastructure to the periphery of the development site was essential for Mr. Barnett’s plan to have a Nordstrom department store in the new building’s base, which will require open, unimpeded floors. Mr. Barnett trumpeted the economic benefits that will come as a result of the new building.

“The Nordstrom and a hotel we also plan to have here will create 1,000 permanent jobs and create more tax revenue for the city,” Mr. Barnett said.

Critics, however, have lambasted the proposed tower as the latest in a string of gaudy, super-tall luxury condos that cater to the ultra-wealthy and are emblematic of a growing wealth disparity in the city.

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