City Council OKs new MoMA tower that will rival Chrysler Building
The City Council Wednesday approved plans for a controversial skyscraper next door to the Museum of Modern Art that will redefine the midtown skyline, rising about as high as the Chrysler Building.
The mixed-use tower, designed by famed architect Jean Nouvel, was overwhelmingly approved over the objection of some neighbors, who say it is too tall and will bring too much traffic.“This is really a travesty,” said Rita Sue Siegel, vice president of the West 54-55 Street Block Association, which opposes the project. The local community board also voted against it. The measure passed Wednesday approves the purchase of air rights, as well as height and bulk changes, by the developer, the Hines real estate company; it does not require the signature of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who favors the project. The 700,000-square-foot building will house new museum exhibition space, 150 residential units and 100 hotel rooms. Supporters say the 1,050-foot tower will provide a boon for the MoMA, which sold the land to Hines and will lease about 40,000 square feet of gallery space in the new building, increasing its exhibition space by 30 percent. “This is going to be an iconic addition to the New York City skyline, really a one-of-it’s-kind building,” said Council Speaker Christine Quinn, whose district includes the planned tower. The city earlier scaled down the original plan, cutting 200 feet off the height. The original plan envisioned a tapering tower with a spire, but a redesign has not been made public. In a statement, Hines noted that the project had eliminated a loading dock and reduced the size of the hotel. The MoMA released a statement thanking the council for approving a project that “will contribute significantly to the city’s architectural heritage and economy while enabling the museum to show even more of our collection to the public.” City Councilman Tony Avella (D-Bayside), one of three members to vote against the project, said the city should heed the objections.
“Once again, we’re not listening to the community,” he said. “It’s a nice building, but 1,000 feet?”