The Big Apple is getting bigger! Ambitious skyscrapers iconic skyline

The Big Apple is getting bigger! Ambitious skyline-defining skyscrapers are set to change NYC’s iconic vista – here are some of the most anticipated

  • New York City’s iconic skyline is set to change dramatically in the coming years 
  • Among the new skyscrapers is the $3 billion ‘supertall’ JPMorgan Chase HQ
  • Famous structures like the Empire State and Chrystler buildings will be dwarfed 

The New York City skyline is the most iconic in the world – and the dramatic changes it has undergone over the decades are set to continue.

While preeminent skyscrapers like the Empire State Building, the Chrystler Building and the One World Trade stand out from the pack now, they may soon be overshadowed by a fascinating list of upcoming towers.

One of the most anticipated is the new JPMorgan Chase World Headquarters, which is estimated to cost in the region of $3 billion and will loom large over formerly impressive structures in midtown Manhattan.

And with a variety of outlandish designs and skyline defining features planned for the coming years, the Big Apple’s famous vista could soon look far different. 

The planned new global headquarters for JPMorgan Chase (seen in a rendering) is set to dramatically change the Manhattan skyline as it looms over many of the city’s famed buildings

The Affirmation Tower, a 95-story skyscraper, has been in limbo in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards neighborhood for three years, and if completed would become one of the most striking buildings in the Big Apple

Project Commodore (right) is set to loom over impressive structures like the One Vanderbilt (center) by 2030

270 Park Avenue – JPMorgan Chase’s New Global HQ

For many of the world’s leading companies, owning a standout skyscraper is a status symbol worth paying for. 

And for JPMorgan Chase, America’s largest bank by market cap, 270 Park Avenue has been singled out as the spot for its striking new global headquarters. 

Construction is already underway on the 1,388-foot behemoth, with the tower’s funneled base and steel foundational plinths leading one architectural critic to describe it as ‘grafted on top of creepy legs.’ 

The new JPMorgan Chase Headquarters, also dubbed 270 Park Avenue, is scheduled to be completed by 2025

Estimates place the cost of the skyscraper in the region of $3 billion, and will have more than  2.5 million square feet of space. Currently, only the huge foundational steel plinths are in, leading one architectural critic to describe it as ‘grafted on top of creepy legs’

The tower will be among the largest in midtown Manhattan, with its impressive facade seen in this rendering alongside the Chrystler Building, the Empire State Building, and the One Vanderbilt

The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2025, and includes a high-tech, eco-friendly design that will make it New York’s first all-electric skyscraper 

The bank’s bigwigs began planning for construction before the pandemic, and intend it to be an example of New York’s eco-obsession because it is set to be the city’s first all-electric skyscraper. 

Construction will also reuse 97 percent of the demolition waste from the old site – the Union Carbide Building. 

The tower was briefly halted earlier this year in May, when a worker died plummeting from the 12th floor scaffolding. Despite the setback, the tower is scheduled to be completed by 2025. 

British architecture firm Foster + Partners designed the building to feature a fan-column structure and triangular bracing that will lift the building about 80 feet off the ground, extending the viewpoint from Park Avenue through to Madison Avenue. 

Set to soar above many other buildings in the area, it will be the first to take advantage of New York’s Midtown East Rezoning plan – which significantly loosened restrictions on how tall structures can be in the area. 

The rezoning plan was also meant to motivate developers to build similarly impressive structures, and at least a dozen more skyscrapers are potentially planned for the same area in the next two decades. 

Project Commodore – 175 Park Ave

Standing out next to the One Vanderbilt and the Chrysler Building is a tall order. But if renderings released in January are to be believed, an ambitious skyscraper dubbed ‘Project Commodore’ has done just that. 

Standing at 83 stories and 1,646ft, the skyscraper on 175 Park Avenue will be placed on the site of the 295-foot Hyatt Hotel, and will count a number of the city’s most renowned structures as neighbors. 

175 Park Ave, also dubbed Project Commodore, will be among the standout skyscrapers in Manhattan if it is completed on schedule by 2030

The sleek modern tower will be sat next to the 108-year-old Grand Central Terminal (lower center left) and the 91-year-old Chrystler Building (right). Also seen in this rendering is the One Vanderbilt (far left) and the Metlife Building (upper center left)

The upcoming supertall was named ‘Project Commodore’ after the Commodore Hotel that operated at the location from 1919 to 1976, which was later remodeled by Donald Trump and the Hyatt hotel group. 

Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, it will feature a sleek glass facade with a gradual ascent intended to strike the skyline alongside the 108-year-old Grand Central Terminal and the 91-year-old Chrystler Building. 

Permission to build next to the historic structures was approved by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission in February 2021, a major hurdle to clear for the skyscraper to be erected due to its proximity to the celebrated buildings. 

The developers, RXR Realty and TF Cornerstone, will stack it with 500 Hyatt hotel rooms on the upper floors, over 10,000 square feet of retail space, and over 2.1 million square feet of office space, according to NewYorkYimby. 

The Commodore Project is seen standing alongside the proposed JP MorganChase HQ (center left) in a rendering

Developers will stack the tower with over 500 hotel rooms and 2.1 million square feet of office space

The lower level tower is seen in a rendering stood alongside the 108-year-old Grand Central Terminal 

Development on the tower cleared a huge roadblock after it was approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in February 2021, allowing it to be erected in one of New York City’s most historic and populated neighborhoods

Set to be built by 2030, the skyscraper will also draw the eye on the skyline as it will sit just a few blocks away from the Empire State Building. 

While its height will make it one of the tallest in the city, architects behind the project have designed Project Commodore with pedestrians in mind. 

When the landmark’s commission approved the design, it was handed a unanimous 10-0 vote to improve the viaduct passageways next to the iconic Grand Central Station and 42nd Street passage. 

The titanic steel columns and modern motif are intended to enhance circulation through the ground floor, where pedestrians will be welcomed by a hulking steel foyer complete with several subterranean levels. 

Its place next to historic buildings has also been recognized, with the glass facade preceded a base matching Grand Central’s traditional style, which will have the added benefit of limiting glare on the streets below.  

Affirmation Tower  

Perhaps the most breathtaking design put forward by architects in Manhattan for some time, the proposed Affirmation Tower will be set in the lucrative area of Hudson Yards. 

Designed by Sir David Ajaye’s firm AD100, the 1,663ft inverted structure has been dubbed ‘New York’s most exciting real estate project’ by Architectural Digest. 

Situated in Manhattan’s lucrative Hudson Yards neighborhood, the proposed Affirmation Tower would become one of the standout structures by the Hudson River 

Despite the fervent anticipation for the skyscraper among the architecture community, the future of the project has been thrown into doubt – although developer The Peebles Corporation insists it still plans to build the colossus.  

The 90-story structure will be made up of five blocks, each larger than the one below. Developers planned for the spire to hold offices, two hotels, a skating rink, a theater, and another addition to the city’s numerous observation decks. 

It has also been lauded as a statement of New York City’s commitment to diversity, and it will become the world’s tallest building owned by majority-black led companies. 

Ajaye’s hulking design stretched the square footage of the building to over two million square feet, which the Museum of Civil Rights has already agreed to take at least 50,000 square feet of if the building is complete. 

The 1,663ft behemoth would include two hotels, a skating rink, office spaces and a towering observation deck 

As well as being designed by Ghanaian-British architect Ajaye, the diverse set of leaders behind the tower also include Peebles CEO black multi-millionaire R. Don Peebles; century-old Black and woman-owned design construction firm The McKissack Group; real estate investor Steven Charles Witkoff, founder of the Witkoff Group; and Exact Capital.

Ajaye is known for his striking designs, including his work on the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC. When it came to the Affirmation Tower, he didn’t shy away. 

The building will be terraced in a white picket facade that is intended to be a subtle nod to black history by resembling afro picks, according to City Signal.  The project’s partners have also reportedly insisted on over 30% of the construction work to be done by minority and female contractors. 

In a show of respect – a rarity among Manhattan’s cutthroat real estate sphere – Ajaye and Peebles agreed to make the tower slightly shorter than the 1776ft One World Trade – also known as the Freedom Tower – so as to not topple the 9/11 tribute as the tallest in the city. 

The striking design and luxury space below is intended to be a statement to NYC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion 

However, excitement over the skyscraper took a major hit in December 2021, the same month Architectural Digest hyped up its construction.

After scandal-hit New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned in August 2021, his successor Kathy Hochul decided to rescind a request to develop on the site of the proposed tower in her first months on the job. 

Officials hinted that they may look to build housing instead to ‘reassess development priorities.’ 

While the move poured cold water on the proposed tower, the developers behind the project told Architect’s Newspaper in February 2022 that they remained ‘undeterred in our efforts to transform New York City’s commercial real estate industry by meeting this historic moment in time.’ 

‘The continued overwhelming broad-based support Affirmation Tower has received from the community, the city, the state, the country, and the world further demonstrates that the time for a skyscraper designed, developed and built by African-Americans is right now.’ 

As of September 2023, it appears that the tower remains in limbo. The Peebles Corporation has not announced any plans to abandon the project, but did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by  

350 Park Avenue

Among the most recently proposed supertall towers in the city, 350 Park Avenue will climb to 1,350 feet over the Murray Hill neighborhood of in midtown Manhattan. 

Designed by Norman Foster of Foster+ Partners and developed by Vornado Realty Trust and Rudin Management, the skyscraper will feature landscaped terraces and a staggered, curtain-like glass facade. 

The skyscraper will stand out among the modern designs in Manhattan with terraced gardens filling its 1,350-foot facade 

The original renderings for the structure, rolled out in 2019, showed a drastically different design where the staggered edge was far more prominent one side with twin spires on the roof. 

Instead, Foster’s redesign opts for a more balanced skeleton, which will stand out among modern designs in Manhattan with terraced gardens filling its facade. 

Slated for completion by 2032, a decade from now the upper echelons of New York City’s skyscrapers may be littered with exclusive landscaped gardens.

Distinctive floor-to-ceiling white paneling has also been added to the design – contrasting the sleek glass preferred by most modern skyscrapers.

The building is topped off by a white terrace at the peak, which if erected today would be the sixth tallest in the city. 

The tower will be stacked with 1.7 million square feet of office space, which hedge fund Citadel LLC is set to occupy 54 percent of, according to NewYorkYimby. 

Previous designs for the skyscraper from 2019 showed a drastically different design, where the staggered edge was far more prominent one side with twin spires on the roof

Tower Fifth 

In a city where soaring skyscrapers are the norm, Tower Fifth has longshot ambitions to become the tallest of them all.

Macklowe Properties, the developer behind supertall skyscraper 432 Park Ave, captured headlines in January 2019 when it released dramatic renderings of the tower. 

Tower Fifth would become New York City’s tallest building if plans are realized, standing at 1,556 feet 

The defining feature of the currently held structure is a Jenga-style upper level 

Tower Fifth is among the most talked about potential skyscrapers in New York, which is partly down to the record-breaker remaining in limbo for years. 

If completed, Tower Fifth would stand at 1,556 feet, surpassing nearby Central Park Tower and taking the record for the tallest building in New York City by roof height by just six feet – unless the Affirmation Tower is built before. 

But while the striking projections sent architectural imaginations wild, the project has seemingly stalled since demolition permits for surrounding buildings were filed in April 2020. 

The skyscraper would sit on the site of two low rise buildings on 51st Street and Fifth Avenue – just a short walk from ‘billionaires’ row’, a street along the southside of Central Park currently home to the city’s most lavish supertall residential towers. 

The tower’s unique design would set it apart among Manhattan’s towers, seen in a rendering alongside several other ‘supertall’ skyscrapers near Billionaire’s Row 

Dramatic renderings emerged over three years ago and sparked excitement among the city’s elite real estate sphere 

A rendering of the inside of the structure, released by developer Macklowe Properties, showing the upcoming supertall’s expansive lobby and view of St. Patrick’s Cathedral 

Tower Fifth would also become the 15th tallest building in the world, and although the development hasn’t moved forward, it has also not been entirely scrapped. 

The facade of the tower – which will be complete by a Jenga-style upper level – was designed by Gensler, and would utilize modern architectural advancements by reducing solar heat by 70 percent. 

When developer Harry B. Macklowe’s original renderings were first revealed by the New York Times in 2019, they sparked widespread excitement among the elite real estate world. 

‘It’s a chance to change the skyline’, Macklowe told the outlet.

His designs on reshaping New York’s vista remain uncertain, as unlike the approved Project Commodore – another ambitious skyscraper on this list – the building is seemingly awaiting approval from the city’s landmark commission due to its proximity to the Rockefeller Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  

Although it may seem a tall order, Macklowe is no stranger to putting his mark on the city. In 2014, he and the CIM Group finished 432 Park Ave, which at the time was the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere. 

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