Beekman Tower takes shape

By Jovana Rizzo | May 30, 2008 03:15PM

After delays and financing troubles, construction at Forest City Ratner’s 76-story Beekman Tower, designed by architect Frank Gehry, is progressing and the project’s timeline and details have been finalized.

Ratner officials said at a press event today that the Downtown mixed-use tower’s lower levels are expected to be ready for occupancy in late 2010, with the rest completed during 2011.

The 1.1-million-square-foot Beekman Tower will stand on a 42,000-square-foot plot of land between Spruce Street and Beekman Street, with William and Nassau as cross streets. The tower has an exterior of stainless steel waves, creating the building’s “curtain wall.”

With curves in the exterior, no two floors will be the same, with each adapting to the exterior’s shape. Although the building has a unique exterior and stands above its Downtown neighboring buildings, the Gehry-designed interiors will be simple, and renters will be able to infuse apartments with their own style, the architect said.

“I don’t like architecture that intrudes on lifestyle,” Gehry said. “The generation before me used to design everything, and I don’t like that.”

The development will include 903 market-rate apartments, priced at about $70 to $75 per square foot. Units will include 500-square-foot studios, 670-square-foot one bedrooms, 1,100-square-foot two bedrooms and 1,600-square-foot three bedrooms.

About 20,000 square feet has been set aside for amenities, including a fitness center, pool, conference center, lounge, children’s playroom and sundeck.

The tower will be one of the city’s tallest residential buildings at 867 feet. Larry Silverstein’s planned Four Seasons hotel-condo at 99 Church Street, across from the Woolworth Building, will reach 912 feet.

The Beekman Tower will also include a public school at its base. The school will be a sister school of Public School 234 for kindergarten through eighth grade.

Gehry worked with the exterior at the building’s base, but is not designing its interior. The entrances for the school and residences will be on opposite sides of the building, in public plazas designed by Field Operations.

The building’s fifth floor will be a New York Downtown Hospital ambulatory care center, with 21,000 square feet of offices.