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53 West 53
53W53 condominium tower, looking west on August 9, 2019.
General information
TypeMuseum, Residential Condominiums
Location53 West 53rd Street
New York City, New York, United States
Coordinates40°45′42″N 73°58′42″W / 40.761626°N 73.978394°W / 40.761626; -73.978394Coordinates: 40°45′42″N 73°58′42″W / 40.761626°N 73.978394°W / 40.761626; -73.978394
Construction started2015
Estimated completion2019
Antenna spire1,050 ft (320 m)[1][2]
Top floor950 ft (290 m)
Technical details
Floor count77 [2]
Design and construction
ArchitectJean Nouvel[3]
DeveloperHines, Pontiac Land Group, Goldman Sachs[3]
Structural engineerWSP Global
Main contractorLendlease Group

53 West 53,[4] also known as the MoMA Expansion Tower and 53 West 53rd Street, and formerly known as Tower Verre[5] is a supertall skyscraper currently under construction by the real estate companies Hines, Pontiac Land Group and Goldman Sachs, located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City adjacent to The Museum of Modern Art.[2][3] The building had been in development since 2006, and construction began in late 2014.[3] It was officially topped out in August 2018.[6] As of 2019, 53 West 53 is the seventh-tallest building in the city.[7]


Alternate side view of building from Midtown Manhattan, looking west with scaffolding visible, on March 23, 2019.

The building, designed by Jean Nouvel, initially was proposed to stand 1,250 feet (381 m) tall (the same height as the Empire State Building below its mast).[2] The mid-block building had run into considerable opposition focusing on fears that it would cast a shadow over Central Park during the winter and that its mid-block location would create traffic problems.[8] Financing had been scarce[9] until October 2013, when the Kwee brothers' Pontiac Land agreed to provide $200 million in equity, supported by an $860 million loan from a consortium of Asian banks.[10]

The building bought air rights from the University Club of New York and St. Thomas Church.[11] On September 9, 2009, the New York City Planning Commission said the building could be built if 200 feet (61 m) were clipped off the top.[12] The City's decision not to approve Tower Verre as proposed was greeted with disappointment and derision by several prominent architecture critics.[13][14] The 1,050-foot (320 m) version was approved by the City Council on October 28, 2009 in a 44-3 vote.[15]

The building's skin would contain a faceted exterior that tapers to a set of crystalline peaks at the apex of the tower[3][16] Due to this, the project is said to be one of the most exciting additions to New York's skyline in a generation.[3] MoMA, which owned the building's 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) lot and completed a renovation in 2005, sold the lot to Hines for $125 million in 2007. In September 2014, the air rights were purchased from MOMA and the building became known as 53 West 53.[5]


The building is located between the Financial Times Building on the left and The Museum of Modern Art on the right.

Pontiac Land Group and Goldman Sachs served as Hines' development partners on the building, and together they secured an $860 million construction loan from a consortium of Asian banks including United Overseas Bank, Maybank, OCBC Bank, and DBS Bank.[17] The building is 82-story, 145-unit tower.[18] In addition to the MoMA, the air rights were purchased from the St. Thomas Church for $71 million.[19] The building's total floor area will be approximately 750,000 square feet (70,000 square meters), and condominiums in the building are designed by Thierry Despont.[20] As of July 2016, construction management company Lend Lease had completed excavation and foundation work with superstructure concrete up to the 8th floor.[21] The building officially topped-out in August 2018. With the final apex of the building being put in in late December 2018. [6]


The building will be mixed-use, with gallery space, condominiums, and a private restaurant. There will be 145 residences, from one to five bedroom options.[22] One bedroom residences will begin at $3 million and the top floor duplex penthouse is priced at over $80 million.[3]


Residents will be given special privileges at MoMA, including unlimited free admission to the museum, exhibition previews, discounts in MoMA stores, and access to film screenings.[23] The building will also include a private formal dining room, priority access to an in-building restaurant, a library with a fireplace, a children's playroom, a wine tasting room and a lounge with Central Park views available for events. Services available for a fee will include a pantry stocking service, a housekeeping service, and pet walking.[23][24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Tower Verre". Emporis.com. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d "Tower Verre". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved November 30, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Ouroussoff, Nicolai (November 15, 2007). "Next to MoMA, a Tower Will Reach for the Stars". The New York Times. Retrieved December 24, 2007.
  4. ^ "53W53rd". Hines Interests Limited Partnership. Retrieved January 27, 2008.
  5. ^ a b "53W53/MoMA Tower/Tower Verre Finally Going Up". citty.com. Archived from the original on May 23, 2015. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  6. ^ a b "53 West 53rd Street Reaches Full Pinnacle 1,050 Feet Above Street Level, Officially Tops-Out". NY Yimby. August 6, 2018.
  7. ^ "12 tallest skyscrapers in New York City". am New York. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  8. ^ "New York State Senator Liz Krueger -Before the Department of City Planning Regarding the Environmental Impact Statement Draft Scope of Work for the 53 West 53rd Street Project". lizkrueger.com. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  9. ^ It Was Fun Till the Money Ran Out - New York Times - December 19, 2008
  10. ^ NYC Museum of Modern Art Condos Get Singapore Investor
  11. ^ "NEW YORK - 53W53 (Tower Verre) - 1,050 FT / 320 M - 73 FLOORS - Page 48 - SkyscraperPage Forum". skyscraperpage.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  12. ^ Off With Its Top! City Cuts Tower to Size - New York Times - September 9, 2009
  13. ^ "Why the City Should Let Jean Nouvel Build Every Inch of the Tower Verre -- New York Magazine". NYMag.com. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  14. ^ Ouroussoff, Nicolai (September 10, 2009). "Off With Its Top! City Cuts Tower to Size". The New York Times.
  15. ^ Will There Be A Monster Stall For MoMA Tower? - gothamist.com - October 28, 2009 Archived April 17, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "NYT: JEAN NOUVEL TOWER NEAR MOMA". ClevelandDesignCity. Retrieved December 24, 2007.[dead link]
  17. ^ Ghigliotty, Damian (August 5, 2015). "United Overseas Bank: A Growing Presence in New York Commercial Real Estate". Commercial Observer.
  18. ^ Bindelglass, Evan (June 13, 2016). "53W53 Shows Its Exoskeleton At 53 West 53rd Street, Midtown". New York Yimby. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  19. ^ "NYC church gets $71M for air rights over steeple". New York Post. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  20. ^ "Hines luxury condo project in NYC moves forward with Asian funding". Prime Property. Retrieved May 28, 2015.
  21. ^ Construction Photos: 53W53, NYC
  22. ^ "Availability". 53W53. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  23. ^ a b Budin, Jeremiah (June 18, 2015). "Multimillion-Dollar MoMA Condos Come With Museum Perks". Curbed. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  24. ^ 53 W. 53rd Amenities

External links[edit]