Manhattan, NY SL Green Realty Corp., one of the city’s largest office landlords, along with its partners Hines and National Pension Service of Korea, marked the opening of One Vanderbilt Ave., a skyline-defining tower in East Midtown. SL Green leadership was joined at a ribbon-cutting ceremony by government and transit officials, labor leaders, building tenants and the development team to celebrate the official opening of the city’s newest icon. The building received its official Temporary Certificate of Occupancy on September 11th.
Standing 1,401 ft. tall and totaling 1.7 million s/f, One Vanderbilt offers an unparalleled package of amenities, innovative office design, technology offerings, best-in-class sustainability practices and a prime location at the doorstep of Grand Central Terminal.
“Today we are proud to officially open One Vanderbilt Ave., adding a new monument to the unrivaled Manhattan skyline, contributing to the revitalization of East Midtown and proclaiming a bright future for the greatest city in the world,” said Marc Holliday, chairman and CEO of SL Green.
One Vanderbilt represents a new model for how the private sector and government can work together to deliver crucial public infrastructure benefits, created in partnership with the City of New York and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as part of the historic rezoning of East Midtown.
Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) Associates is responsible for One Vanderbilt’s design, which comprises four interlocking and tapering planes that spiral toward the sky. At the tower’s base, a series of angled cuts on the south side of the block creates a visual procession to Grand Central Terminal revealing the Vanderbilt corner of the Terminal’s cornice–a view that has been obstructed for nearly a century. The tower’s terracotta facade, which incorporates the same distinct ceiling tiles found throughout Grand Central Terminal, provides the soaring structure a natural, luminous texture. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) recognized One Vanderbilt and KPF with the 2018 AIANY Merit Award in Urban Design.
One Vanderbilt was constructed ahead of schedule and under budget by a fully-union team, under the leadership of Construction Manager AECOM Tishman, that included more than 3,000 workers over nearly four years. At its peak activity levels, over 1,400 workers were onsite daily as they worked to complete the project. In addition, the project has engaged close to 50 subcontractors. The iconic tower features more than twenty-six thousand tons of US made and fabricated steel and seventy-four thousand cubic yards of concrete.
The commitment to union labor at One Vanderbilt will continue through the operation of the building. At full occupancy, One Vanderbilt operations will consist of almost 150 union employees with 32BJ SEIU, Local 94, and NUSOG being represented amongst the ranks.
SL Green also unveiled a $220 million package of public open space and transit infrastructure improvements that will help ease congestion and overcrowding on subway platforms, improve circulation in and around the terminal and create new, direct pathways to the regional railroads.
The infrastructure improvements include a new 4,000 s/f public transit hall inside the tower, providing enhanced connections to Metro-North Railroad, the shuttle to Times Square, and the future Long Island Rail Road station as part of the upcoming East Side Access project. Adjacent to the transit hall is a new 14,000 s/f pedestrian plaza on Vanderbilt Ave. between East 42nd and 43rd Sts.
SL Green also built two new street-level subway entrances and re-opened the Mobil Passageway that connects Grand Central to a new entrance on the south east corner of 42nd St. and Lexington Ave. Circulation within the Grand Central subway station has also been significantly improved, with a 37% increase in mezzanine circulation space, new staircases between the mezzanine and platform levels of the 4, 5, 6, and 7 subway lines for easier access, including a new ADA elevator, new escalators and elevators, additional turnstiles and gates, and stairs by the shuttle to Times Square. These modifications will ease congestion on the platforms, resulting in at least an additional train per hour through the station.
SL Green’s transit improvements at Grand Central Terminal complement MTA Construction & Development’s 42 St Connection Project. When completed, the 42 St Connection Project will more seamlessly connect the transit corridor underneath 42nd St. to make transferring easier, reduce the overall commute time for customers, and expand system access for customers with disabilities by making the 42nd St. Shuttle line accessible. More than 1.1 million people pass through the 42nd St. corridor every day—a figure higher than the ridership of the entire subway and bus system of Boston in a full day.
“One Vanderbilt is already the best address in Manhattan, headquarters to leading global companies and home to the most incredible space and views in New York City. One Vanderbilt is also a testament to what a public-private partnership can achieve to strengthen New York City, and we are thrilled today to deliver to New Yorkers an extraordinary array of privately-funded public improvements in and around Grand Central Terminal,” said Holliday.
“As we rebuild a fairer, better city, we’ll need thoughtful development projects like One Vanderbilt more than ever,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Public-private partnerships like these will help New York City come back stronger – and revitalize major business hubs like Midtown East in the process. I’m proud to stand with our partners in the business community today, and I look forward to working with them on other bold and ambitious projects in the future.”
“Now, more than ever, we need to demonstrate to our fellow New Yorkers that we’re still capable of achieving great things in this city. The completion and opening of One Vanderbilt is one of them. Most importantly, for those working, living and commuting through the Grand Central neighborhood, they will see an immediate impact on their quality of lives through the public benefits we were able to secure,” said Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer. “From transit upgrades on the subway platforms, direct connections to the regional lines, and a new public plaza outside Grand Central, these are substantial improvements that will benefit this community for years to come. I want to thank SL Green for being a great partner and continuing the ongoing revitalization of East Midtown into one of the world’s leading business districts.”
“The East Midtown rezoning offered a tremendous opportunity to modernize Midtown, while connecting new growth to public transportation and open space,” said council member Keith Powers. “Today, One Vanderbilt is the first major project to accomplish that goal. We can all look forward to New Yorkers using the new subway upgrades and public space around Grand Central in the future as a result.”
“Grand Central is among the busiest subway stations in New York – and the entire world. The additional entrance and egress capacity provided by these state-of-the-art upgrades will make the station easier to navigate and improve the customer experience,” said Janno Lieber, president of MTA Construction and Development. “The project also demonstrates how the new MTA C&D organization is leveraging private investment to deliver projects faster, better and cheaper. One Vanderbilt is proof of East Midtown’s resurgence, and the completion of East Side Access in 2022 will solidify the district’s top-tier status.”
“The One Vanderbilt tower recalls the golden age of New York high rise architecture. As a rectangular plan tapered point tower, its prominent top joins the Empire State and Chrysler buildings on the skyline,” said James von Klemperer, KPF president and design principal. “At the same time, the design gives the high rise a new relevance of social and environmental purpose. The new building connects both spatially and programmatically to Grand Central Terminal. We’re very happy that we’ve been able to design a commercial skyscraper that supports today’s critical agendas of building sustainably and enriching the public realm. Overall, the project has already proven to be a boost for East Midtown, leading the way for a progressive rejuvenation of Manhattan’s historical CBD.”
“Because of the partnership between SL Green and 32BJ at 1 Vanderbilt, working class New Yorkers will benefit from new high quality jobs at a time when they are much needed,” said Kyle Bragg, president of 32BJ SEIU. “In the midst of a pandemic, this project exemplifies how new development can provide opportunity for building service workers and their families and communities.”
“One Vanderbilt is emblematic of the values which defined Gerald Hines and his legacy of pairing best-in-class partners and iconic projects. Its striking design honors the responsibility of New York City’s evolving skyscraper tradition,” said Tommy Craig, Hines senior managing director. “The flawless execution, despite many challenges over the last decade, reflects the quality and hard work of the entire project team and the strength of the SL Green-Hines partnership.”
“We want to thank SL Green for their vision and leadership, and for including us in this great project,” said Jay Badame, President of AECOM Tishman. “This building is more than a symbol of the resurgence of Midtown East, it’s a symbol of New York’s endurance and a tribute to the thousands of trades-people who brought it to fruition and who build in this City. We’ve built New York icons before, we did it here, and we know we’ll do it again.”