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53 West 53rd Street.jpg
Rendering of the 53W53.
General information
Status Under construction
Type Galleries, Hotels, Residential
Location 53 West 53rd Street
New York City, New York, United States
Owner Hines[1]
Antenna spire 1,050 ft (320 m)[2][3]
Technical details
Floor count 82[3]
Design and construction
Architect Jean Nouvel[1]
Developer Hines[1]
The building would be squeezed between the Financial Times Building on the left and the American Museum of Folk Art on the right.

53W53,[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 company Hines to rise in Midtown Manhattan, New York City adjacent to the Museum of Modern Art.[1][3]


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) and contain 82 floors.[3] The mid-block building has 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.[6] Financing had been a problem,[7] until October 2013, when the Kwee brothers' Pontiac Land agreed to provide $300 million in equity, supported by an $860 million loan from a consortium of Asian banks.[8]

The building bought air rights from the University Club of New York and St. Thomas Church.[9] 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.[10] The City's decision not to approve Tower Verre as proposed was greeted with disappointment and derision by several prominent architecture critics.[11] [12] The 1,050-foot (320 m) version was approved by the City Council on October 28, 2009 in a 44-3 vote.[13]

The building's skin would contain a faceted exterior that tapers to a set of crystalline peaks at the apex of the tower.[1][14] Due to this, the project is said to be one of the most exciting additions to New York's skyline in a generation.[1] Each floor has 17,000 sq ft (1,600 m2) starting with 40,000 sq ft (3,700 m2) of space at the base.[citation needed] 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 53W53.[5]


Goldman Sachs was the development partner for Hines on the building, and together they secured an $860 million construction loan from United Overseas Bank Limited. The estimated size of the building is 82-story, 140-unit tower.[15] In addition to the MOMA, the air rights were purchased from the St. Thomas Church for $71 million.[16] The building will be approximately 750,000-square-feet, and condominiums in the building are designed by Thierry Despont.[17] As of March 2015, construction management company Lend Lease had begun excavation and caissons are being placed for the tower as foundation work continues.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Ouroussoff, Nicolai (2007-11-15). "Next to MoMA, a Tower Will Reach for the Stars". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-24. 
  2. ^ "Tower Verre". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Tower Verre". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-11-30. 
  4. ^ "53W53rd". Hines Interests Limited Partnership. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  5. ^ a b "53W53/MoMA Tower/Tower Verre Finally Going Up". citty.com. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "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. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  7. ^ It Was Fun Till the Money Ran Out - New York Times - December 19, 2008
  8. ^ Karmin, Craig (29 October 2013). "New Life for Skyscraper". WSJ. Retrieved 10 January 2015. 
  9. ^ "NEW YORK - 53W53 (Tower Verre) - 1,050 FT / 320 M - 73 FLOORS - Page 48 - SkyscraperPage Forum". skyscraperpage.com. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  10. ^ Off With Its Top! City Cuts Tower to Size - New York Times - September 9, 2009
  11. ^ "Why the City Should Let Jean Nouvel Build Every Inch of the Tower Verre -- New York Magazine". NYMag.com. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  12. ^ Ouroussoff, Nicolai (September 10, 2009). "Off With Its Top! City Cuts Tower to Size". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ Will There Be A Monster Stall For MoMA Tower? - gothamist.com - October 28, 2009
  14. ^ "NYT: JEAN NOUVEL TOWER NEAR MOMA". ClevelandDesignCity. Retrieved 2007-12-24. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Hines Development - MoMa Tower - Goldman Sachs". The Real Deal New York. 18 September 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  16. ^ "NYC church gets $71M for air rights over steeple". New York Post. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  17. ^ "Hines luxury condo project in NYC moves forward with Asian funding". Prime Property. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  18. ^ "Skyscraperpage forums: Tower Verre (Page 117)". Skyscraperpage.com. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 

External links[edit]