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Manhattan tower would be the first skyscraper built by a largely black development team in the city’s history

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Manhattan tower would be the first skyscraper built by a largely black development team in the city’s history

Adjaye Associates is designing the project.

By David Malone, Managing Editor | October 19, 2021
Affirmation Tower exterior
Renderings courtesy Adjaye Associates

Adjaye Associates has proposed a new project for a site dubbed "Site K" at 418 11th Avenue, bound by 35th and 36th Streets.

The development team, which includes Sir David Adjaye, The Peebles Corporation, The McKissack Group, and Exact Capital, has recently made its presentation to the Empire Development Corporation in response to the RFP for the 1.2 acre lot. The project, which would change the New York City skyline, will also be an economic engine for minorities and women, with the team committing 35% in contracts to people of color totaling more than a billion dollars.

Affirmation Tower terrace

The project, if it moves forward as proposed, would include a 1,663-foot tower, two hotels, an observation deck, a skate rink, commercial office spaces, and the NAACP headquarters. The building would become one of the tallest in the city, as well as one of the tallest in the Western Hemisphere, and the first New York City skyscraper built by a predominantly black development team, according to the project team.

“This project is emblematic of true equity in development,” said Don Peebles, CEO The Peebles Corporation. “A symbol for all who visit New York, cementing in brick and mortar that New York is serious about economic inclusion.”

Affirmation Tower skate rink

The proposed tower will feature a stacked cube look atop a podium, with each cube growing slightly larger and cantilevering out from the cube below as the building rises. Multiple planted terraces will be featured on the building’s east side with multiple seating options and water features.

The project would bring thousands of jobs in the construction, design, and development and provide $4.4 billion of economic output per year. 

“Unfortunately for most of New York’s history, African-Americans and people of color have been rendered as mere economic tourists who gaze upward at one of the greatest skylines in the world with the intrinsic knowledge they will never be able to participate in what really makes New York unique,” said Rev. Dr. Charles Curtis, Sr., pastor Mount Olivet Baptist Church and Head of NY Interfaith Commission For Housing Equality, in a release. “The awarding of this 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.”

Affirmation Tower exterior near the top


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