New York’s Central Park Tower loses its spire but still adds some height

This building, the tallest under development at the moment, is the latest manifestation of the city’s luxury residential construction boom. 

September 10, 2015 |

Renderings via New York Yimby

The under-construction Central Park Tower apparently has taken the lead in the never-ending race to be the tallest building in New York City.   

The website New York Yimby reports that Extell Development has tweaked its design plans and now will exclude a 245-foot spire at the top of Central Park Tower. Instead, the tower's roof height will gain 20 feet to 1,550 feet tall.

That would make the skinny, 99-floor, 1.3-million-sf Central Park Tower—located at 217 West 57th Street, whose completion is scheduled for 2019—182 feet taller than One World Trade Center’s roof level (One WTC also has a 408-foot-high beacon sitting atop its parapet.) Currently, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere is the 1,450-foot-tall Willis Tower in Chicago.

Gary Barnett of Extell told the New York Post last Spring that his firm never intended for Central Park Tower to exceed the total height of One WTC. Still, since the Chrysler Building rose to 1,048 feet—a height abetted by a late-inning addition of a 185-foot-spire—on October 16, 1929, to become the world’s tallest building at the time, developers have competed to see how high buildings could reach into the skies.

Right now, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai holds that honor, at 2,722 feet, or 700 feet taller than its nearest rival.

New York developers and their architects have been particularly susceptible to skyscraper envy, especially lately as the city’s residential real estate market has exploded with ever-taller luxury residential towers springing up and targeting ultra-rich buyers and tenants, many of whom seem to be looking for the latest trophy rather than someplace permanent to live.

On its website, the Skyscraper Museum shows how heights of buildings in New York have escalated over the years, and how dramatically taller buildings have risen recently. The graphic and information include the Central Park Tower, with its preliminary design that had included the spire. The base of this building will include a 200,000-sf Nordstrom department store.

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