15 Penn Plaza

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Coordinates: 40°44′59″N 73°59′26″W / 40.74972°N 73.99056°W / 40.74972; -73.99056

15 Penn Plaza (artist's impression).png
General information
Location15 Penn Plaza
(401 7th Avenue)[1]
Roof1,270 ft (390 m)
Technical details
Floor area2,050,000 sq ft (190,000 m2)
Design and construction
ArchitectPelli Clarke Pelli
DeveloperVornado Realty Trust
Structural engineerSeverud Associates

15 Penn Plaza, also known as PENN15 and Vornado Tower, is a planned office tower to be constructed by Vornado Realty Trust on Seventh Avenue between 32nd and 33rd Streets, on the site of present-day Hotel Pennsylvania, in the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood of New York City. Zoning approval overcame opposition by the owner of the similarly-sized Empire State Building, worried about views of the building 2 blocks to the east, as well as historic preservationists worried about the demolition of the Hotel Pennsylvania.[2] The building is designed by Foster and Partners and will contain 430 units on 68 floors and 2,050,000 square feet (190,000 m2) of floor space. Despite only having 68 floors, it is planned to be 1,270 feet (390 m) tall, 34 feet (10 m) shorter than the Empire State Building two blocks east.[3] It will include several subway entrances and will link Penn Station with the 34th Street–Herald Square station. Completion is expected at the end of the decade.[4]


Anthony and Peter L. Malkin, owners of the historic structure, had requested the creation of a 17-block exclusion zone that would prohibit large buildings from being built that would obstruct views of the Empire State Building and suggested that the proposed skyscraper be limited to 825 feet (251 m) in height. While Manhattan Community Board 5 voted overwhelmingly against the proposed project, the New York City Department of City Planning approved the plan, which would allow the building to be 56% larger than standard zoning rules provide under special regulations that encourage the development of high-density office space near transit hubs.

Opinion is divided about the plan. Henry Stern, former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation said the proposed building "could do irreparable harm" to the city. However, Daniel Biederman, president of the 34th Street Partnership joined union and construction officials in saying that "If there's anywhere a building of this size and bulk should be built, it's at Penn Station.[3]

On August 24, 2010, Peter L. Malkin, owner of the Empire State Building, asked the New York City Council to deny permission for the construction of the tower because it would alter the skyline and obscure the view of the western side of the Empire State Building.[3] Located at Seventh Avenue between 32nd and 33rd Streets on the site of present-day Hotel Pennsylvania, opposite Pennsylvania Station – a major transit hub for the Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit, Amtrak and the New York City Subway – the proposed building would add a concourse improving access within Penn Station and adding several new subway entrances.[3]

In exchange for increases in height and density for the building, Vornado will undertake $100 million in transit-related improvements that would reopen the "Gimbels passageway", which was blocked off in 1986 and would reconnect Penn Station to Herald Square at Sixth Avenue and the 34th Street–Herald Square station (B, ​D, ​F, <F>, ​M​, N, ​Q, ​R, and ​W trains) and the 33rd Street terminal of the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) train, which provides access to Hoboken–33rd Street, Journal Square–33rd Street (via Hoboken) and Journal Square–33rd Street trains. An updated passageway would be built to the standards of "the elegant and efficient passageways at Grand Central and Rockefeller Center" and would also have integrated access to the proposed New Jersey Transit terminal that would be constructed as part of the Access to the Region's Core tunnel that was to be constructed under the Hudson River.[5]


On August 25, 2010, in a 47–1 vote, the City Council voted to approve construction of the building, despite what The New York Times described as "a fierce public relations, advertising and lobbying campaign" by the owners of the Empire State Building to derail the project.[6] The Council's zoning and land use committees approved the project and the full council overwhelmingly voted to approve the plan, with the only dissenter, Brooklyn Councilmember Charles Barron, voting in the negative as a protest against the absence of a guarantee by Vornado to hire minority and female construction workers.[6]

In December 2011, the building project was suspended, and Vornado Realty Trust announced it will instead renovate the Hotel Pennsylvania – the intended site for the 15 Penn Plaza tower – delaying the skyscraper until it becomes financially feasible to start construction.[7]

In April 2021, Vornado again announced plans to demolish the hotel to make way for the new skyscraper,[8][9] now known as Penn15.[10]

The demolition of the hotel was underway by January 2022.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Property Profile Overview". New York City Department of Buildings. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  2. ^ Satow, Julie (March 16, 2011). "Developers in New York Try to Ease Prickly Relations". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  3. ^ a b c d Bagli, Charles V. (August 23, 2010). "A Fight on New York's Skyline". The New York Times.
  4. ^ YOUNG, MICHAEL (March 3, 2022). "New Renderings Revealed For 1,200-Foot PENN15 Supertall In Midtown, Manhattan". New York Yimby.
  5. ^ "Vornado plans $100 million on Penn Station transit upgrades". The Star-Ledger. Bloomberg News. August 23, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Bagli, Charles V. (August 25, 2010). "New Skyscraper to Rival Empire State Building". The New York Times.
  7. ^ New York Post, December 14, 2011:Time-out seen in skyline war Archived February 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Wong, Natalie (April 9, 2021). "NYC's Hotel Penn to Be Razed as Vornado Plans Stock Spinoff". Bloomberg News.
  9. ^ "Vornado Realty Trust Plans to Raze Hotel Pennsylvania". The Real Deal. April 12, 2021.
  10. ^ Price, Brian (April 4, 2021). "New York City's Next Empire State Building-Sized Tower Could Be 'PENN 15'". NBC New York.
  11. ^ "At NYC's Hotel Pennsylvania, Interior Demolition Has Begun". Untapped New York. January 31, 2022.

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