Just under half of all the super-tall buildings completed in the United States in 2016 were erected in Lower Manhattan, according to a new report from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH). The non-profit organization, which is the leading expert on tall structures, defines “super-tall” as any building that reaches a height of 200 meters (656 feet) or higher. A total of seven structures meeting this criteria were finished in America last year, five of which are located in New York. Of these, three are Downtown apartment buildings.
According to CTBUH’s 2016 Tall Building Year in Review, the three recently completed Lower Manhattan super-talls are 30 Park Place (937 feet, with 157 apartments), 56 Leonard Street (821 feet, with 145 apartments), and the Beekman Hotel and Residences (700 feet, with 67 units). These join existing giant residential towers Downtown (such as Eight Spruce Street), as well as apartment skyscrapers completed in 2015 (such as 50 West Street), and recently completed or ongoing conversions of former office towers into residential buildings (such as 70 Pine Street and One Wall Street).
In addition to this tally, at least seven more super-tall towers are either currently under construction or in the planning stages for Lower Manhattan. The new tower at 111 Murray Street is nearing completion, while 45 Park Place has begun to rise. On the drawing board are enormous towers proposed for 125 Greenwich Street, 80 South Street, 45 Broad Street, 75 Nassau Street, and 118 Fulton Street. In the aggregate, these 14 buildings are in the process of collectively creating more than 2,000 new dwellings in Lower Manhattan. They are part of a larger wave of development (including smaller buildings) that appears likely to bring more than 6,000 new apartments to Downtown in the next few years.
While residential development proceeds at a brisk pace, the creation of new civic infrastructure to support the growing population of Lower Manhattan has lagged. The greatest success has been in the area of schools: Three new public schools have been created Downtown since 2001, with plans for a fourth recently announced by the City’s Department of Education. But this good news is tempered by the fact that the area’s deficit in schools seats, relative to its exploding residential population, has actually increased during those years. And in other areas, Lower Manhattan has clearly lost ground. One hospital serving Downtown (Saint Vincent’s Medical Center) closed in 2010, and another (Beth-Israel) recently announced plans to shut down. For transportation, the picture is more mixed: Lower Manhattan has gained ferry capacity on the Hudson and East River waterfronts, while the advent of bike-sharing services has given commuters a new option for moving around the City. And the long-promised Second Avenue subway, which recently opened for service on the Upper East Side, is slated eventually to reach the South Street Seaport and Hanover Square. But completion of this phase of the project, which has not been funded, and for which no start date has been announced, appears to be decades away.