255 West 34th Street
Work Haults on Cantilevered Hotel Tower in Midtown
At 255 West 34th Street in Midtown, Manhattan, the concrete superstructure of a 33-story hotel tower remains in an unfinished state. Late last year, the developer, Chetrit Group, defaulted on a $481 million loan, which has halted all work on the project. Chetrit's lender, Maverick Real Estate Partners, reportedly took over the development in January, and Chetrit Group is currently accusing Maverick of conducting a commercially unreasonable auction for its control. The situation is a mess, but based on the amount of work that's been completed so far (and due to the fact that this is a funding problem, not a construction issue), we can't imagine that the structure would just be demolished and replaced with a clean-slate design when matters are eventually resolved.
So far, the general contractor, , has built up to around the 20-25th floor of the structure, with around 10 floors to go. Set to top out at feet tall, it will total square feet. The team at Architects is responsible for the building's design.
The hotel is planned to contain guest rooms, which will target a wide range of travelers as the site is situated just a block away from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. One of the structure's most distinct architectural features is a 20-foot cantilever, that begins about a third of the way up. This overhang section will actually suspend 20 of the uppermost floors over the roof of the building next door. Depending on who you ask, this is either a disaster in the making or a testament to the engineering team and the strength of the building.
Whether or not you love the idea of sleeping in a hotel room suspended in mid-air, this type of forward-thinking design may actually provide a practical solution to a slowly growing NYC problem. With an abundance of unused air rights in and around Manhattan, but space for new development becoming scarcer by the day, developers will soon have to find new ways to pack more square footage into smaller footprints. As a result, we could potentially start to see an increase in the popularity of large, cantilevered structures like 255 West 34th Street, within the coming years.