Demolition begins on Murray St., renderings to come

Downtown Express photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic Demolition work at 101 Murray St.
Downtown Express photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic
Demolition work at 101 Murray St.

BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC  |  Thirty Park Place, at 926 feet, and 56 Leonard, at 821 feet, still may win as the tallest neighborhood buildings.

At one time, the building that will sprout up at the former St. John’s University site was in the running for the tallest tower in Tribeca at a reportedly 850-950 feet, but the building is now planned to be 740 feet, according to the developer.

The residential building, which will also have some retail space, has a new address: 111 Murray St., not 101, said Alex Adams, project executive for the Fisher Brothers, one of the developers along with the Witkoff Group.

At Community Board 1’s Tribeca Committee meeting on Feb. 11, Adams stressed that it was a preliminary presentation and there are still no final renderings of the building, he said.

Adams was asked about renderings a few times at the meeting. A rendering that was reported in some outlets early last year turned out to be false.

“As soon as the plans are ready, you’ll come and present them,” said Noah Pfefferblit, district manager. “So we get them direct from you and not in a blog.”

Adams said that he would. He explained that while there is “a very lengthy cast of folks designing it” — including architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox and architect and designer David Rockwell doing a lot of interior work — the plan is close to completion. They are still deciding on things such as the outer shape of the building.

Plaza Construction is the construction manager and Anthony DelGreco, project executive, talked about the building’s timeline.

He said right now they’re demolishing the existing building — a ten-story, 160,000 sq. ft. structure. The developers bought the building from St. John’s for $233 million in 2013.

Demolition began a few weeks ago and should be finished sometime in April. Once completed, the work on the tower’s foundation will begin right away and take about another year to finish, he said.

Then the superstructure will be built, which will also take a year, explained DelGreco, with the tower expected to be finished in the summer of 2018.

The site will actually have two buildings, the 62-story tower and a much smaller four-story building that will have some retail as well as mechanical equipment. There will also be retail at the base of the tower for a total of 2,500 sq. ft.

DelGreco said the hours of construction will be Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 6 a.m. Due to the use of cranes, there will be work sometimes on the weekend.

While the sidewalk on West St. will stay open, not so on the Murray St. side, which will close.

Consideration has been paid to the noise and vibration as acoustic blankets will be installed into the inside face of the construction fence, the owner will hire a third party to monitor both, and the foundation will be drilled with caissons, which is quieter, said DelGreco.

Downtown Express photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic The address of the main building to rise at the St. John’s University site will be 111 Murray St.
Downtown Express photo by Dusica Sue Malesevic
The address of the main building to rise at the St. John’s University site will be 111 Murray St.

Adams said that a website will be up soon that will provide information on upcoming construction and that a number and an email address for concerns will be set up.

After the presentation, Marc Ameruso, a C.B. 1 member, asked if there was “anything about this project that’s not as-of-right you need a variance for?”

Adams said no. He made it clear at the start that while they were happy to answer questions and listen to suggestions, “we’re not seeking any approvals; we’re here for informational purposes.”

But later he did seem to acknowledge a larger building was under consideration, in which case the developer would be more amenable to a public park rather than affordable housing, because the housing would be a much more complicated process.

Several committee members wanted to know if there could be community space within the tower.

“This is a very large residential tower and it would be nice to sort of provide something for the community,” said Elizabeth Lewinsohn, co-chairperson.

“Right now, we’re not planning on anything,” said Adams. “I think we’re interested and happy to be good neighbors and work with the community.”

DelGreco had said “there’s going to be a public park,” but later Adams backed away from that statement, saying that it is something they are considering and “that we are still working through.

“You can see, we have a substantial amount of open space between the footprint of the tower building and the retail building. So we’re trying to figure out the best way to kind of integrate that into the overall site plan … so I think we’ll know shortly what we would like to do, but we’re just not there yet.”