New York City, also known as a city that never sleeps, is home to over 7,000 high-rise buildings, 132 of which are taller than 600 feet (183 m). It is the number two destination globally for tallest towers, behind Hong Kong.
NYC’s signature skyline makes quite an impression. While some buildings have dominated the skyline seemingly forever, it is also a landscape that is evolving fast. New and more courageous projects are coming every year.
One of those projects is Central Park Tower. It is developed by the Shanghai Municipal Investment Group and Extell Development Company. It is a mixed-use tower located in Billionaires’ Row on 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan.
Rising 1,550 feet (472 m), Central Park Tower (also called the Nordstrom Tower) is the 15th tallest building in the world and second-tallest skyscraper in the United States, after One World Trade Center that stands 1,776 feet (541 m) tall.
Since more than 85% of the building’s total floor area is dedicated to residential usage, Central Park Tower can also be titled the tallest residential building in the world.
Central Park Tower Profile
Height: 1,550 feet or 472 meters
Floor area: 1,285,308 square feet or 119,409 square meter
Number of Floors: 131, of which 98 are residential
Number of Lifts: 11 high-speed elevators that travel 2,000 feet per minute
Developer: Extell Development Company
Architect: The tower is designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, a Chicago-based firm known for designing and developing energy-efficient and sustainable architecture.
Initial Construction: Despite the uncertainty of the project’s financing and tower’s final design, excavations at the site began in May 2014. Actual construction began ten months later.
Total Project Cost: In 2015, it was estimated that the cost of construction would be $1.9 billion. However, $1.7 billion was already spent by the end of 2018, and developers were expecting to spend another $1.3 billion before completion. That brings the total cost to $3 billion.
2011–2012: The site of the skyscraper was previously occupied by two buildings at 1780 Broadway and 225 West 57th Street. In 2011, Extell began demolishing 225 West 57th Street, and by the end of 2012, they completely tore down the 1780 Broadway’s interiors.
2012-2013: Extell purchased the first five floors (plus two basement floors) of Nordstrom, an adjacent property at 223 West 58th Street, and 90,371 square feet of air rights.
May 2014: Extell started excavating the tower’s 80 feet deep foundations.
July 2014: A newly leaked design unveiled a 1,479 feet tall building with a 296-foot-tall spire. As per the design, the architectural height of the tower was 1,775 feet, just one foot smaller than the tallest building in the United States, One World Trade Center.
Feb 2015: The concrete foundation was poured after ten months of excavation.
Mid-2015: New permits revealed 1,550 feet tall tower without a spire. Around the same time, the building gots its official name (Central Park Tower), and it was estimated to be completed in 2019.
September 2015: The tower reached the street level.
Mid 2016: The tower portion rose several hundred feet into the air, completing the structural steel for Nordstrom’s retail base.
March 2017: The completion date was pushed back to 2020. By this time, Extell had spent over $939 million on the development (including land and rights acquisition, financing, and construction costs).
September 2017: The tower reached one-third of its total height, and workers began installing glass on the building.
April 2018: The building reached the 1,000 feet mark.
End of 2018: Extell had spent about $1.7 billion on the project. The company officially launched sales in October.
Early 2019: Extell introduced initiatives for buyers: it offered to pay half of the broker’s commissions and waive three years of common charges.
March 2019: The architectural height of the tower reached 1,400 feet, surpassing 432 Park Avenue, a residential skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan.
July 2019: The tower surpassed Willis Tower (a 110-story skyscraper in Chicago), reaching 1,450 feet.
September 2019: The tower reached its long-awaited milestone: it topped out 1,550 feet above Midtown.
October 2019: The seven-story Nordstrom department store at the base of the tower was opened for business. It covers approximately 320,000 square feet of area.
December 2019: The installation of the glass curtain wall almost finished by the end of the year.
March 2020: Construction was temporarily halted because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The ground-level perspective of the building | Image Credit: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Looking up from the ground, the building appears to have a series of thin, elongated towers stacked closely to one another. They form a textured look that glistens under natural light.
The first 7 floors of the building are occupied by the Nordstrom department store, and floor 8-12 are reserved for various amenities for residents.
Starting from the floor 32, there are 179 apartments that span from 5,000 to 17,000 square feet. All north-facing residences have direct Central Park views, thanks to the tower’s cantilever to the east.
The glass curtain walls provide all 179 condominiums floor-to-ceiling windows that look out on amazing views in all directions. Interiors (designed by a Texas-based firm Rottet Studio) include white oak floors, custom cabinetry, and high-end domestic appliances.
The living spaces are strategically positioned in the corners to maximize and multiple panoramas and citywide views | Credit: Extell and AS+GG
Grand corner living spaces boast soaring ceiling heights and stunning vistas. Bedrooms are built in a separate wing to provide optimal privacy, and massive eat-in kitchens come outfitted with Sub-Zero and Miele appliances. Master suits are in a class by themselves: they feature two dressing rooms, two baths, and a private sitting room along with an enormous corner bedroom.
The tower has a triplex penthouse that spans 15,898 square feet across floor 129, 130, and 131. It features seven bedrooms, a 1,647-square-foot private elevator lobby, and a terrace covering 1,433 square feet. The sky palace also comes with a private ballroom, library, media room, gym, observatory, and grand salon.
Floors 8 through 12 are reserved for amenities that span 50,000 square feet. The 14th floor has “Central Park Club,” which includes a tween lounge, play area, conference room, and theater. There is also a landscaped terrace whose fluid design inspires social engagement.
The 16th floor has children’s playroom, basketball court, gym, exercise room, spa, and a 63-foot pool.
The 100th floor of the tower houses a ballroom, bar, dining room, full-service kitchen, and wine/cigar lounges. According to the developer, it is the world’s highest private residential club, spanning 50,000 square feet across three floors.
Perks and Price
In 2017, Extell was targeting a sellout of $4 billion for all apartments, with an average unit price of over $22 million. That’s two times more than the average sales price for an apartment in the top 10% of the market.
Twenty of those apartments were planned to be sold for over $60 million per unit, including a $95 million penthouse. The price of three duplex penthouses and a triplex penthouse at the top still remains to be finalized.
Furthermore, the least expensive apartment in the building is a 569-square-foot studio that costs $1.5 million.
View from a high-floor apartment
The quarter-mile high apartments provide unparalleled views of notable landmarks like Hudson Yards, One World Trade Center, Empire State Building, Central Park, One Manhattan Square, as well as the surrounding landscapes of Downtown Brooklyn, Long Island City, New Jersey, and beyond the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.
At 1,400 feet, you aren’t just above NYC – you lord over it. Vehicles on the street become toys, and people become dots. Helicopters fly below you.
Your head is literally in the clouds. Instead of staring out at neighbors’ windows or brick walls, you gaze out at oceans and sounds, bridges and mountains, sunrises and sunset. For some billionaire, that’s worth the price.