Chelsea gets winner with 835 Sixth Avenue

835 Sixth Avenue

I haven’t actually counted the stories myself, but press releases claim that the nearly completed 835 Sixth Avenue, between 29th and 30th streets, is 54 stories high, and I can believe them.

Whatever the final figure turns out to be, the building is undeniably very tall, especially in the context of the generally lower-lying buildings that surround it in Chelsea. There was once a time when it would have seemed outlandish to suggest that someone would build a fancy hotel, let alone top-end residences, in this woebegone stretch of Manhattan, but today, even with the upheavals in the real estate market, it apparently makes sense to transform a former parking lot into the imposing pile of 835 Sixth Avenue.

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Designed by the versatile local firm of Perkins Eastman for J.D. Carlisle Development, 835 Sixth Avenue will be home to Eventi Hotel and its 290 hotel rooms (with an alternate address of 851 Avenue of the Americas), as well as 302 luxury rentals, which, when the market turns, will doubtless become condos. Last I heard the hotel was to be run by the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group and would occupy the first eight floors, with longer-term units occupying floors 9 through 13. The residential units go up to floor 54.

Perkins Eastman has been responsible in recent years for the Cielo tower on the corner of 83rd Street at York Avenue, the Centria at 18 West 48th Street, both for J.D. Carlisle, the developer of this latest project, and also the Jade at 16 West 19th Street. In addition, the firm has distinguished itself with the new ticket booth at Times Square.

In its latest venture, Perkins Eastman has designed a pale tower clad largely in limestone, especially at the base, which will house the hotel. The lower part of the facade consists of a series of long and narrow windows cut into the cladding to form a slightly syncopated rhythm. As the building rises, the syncopation becomes bolder and the glass more evident, until, by around the 25th floor, the facade turns entirely to glass. The result is a sober, decent and elegant building that will certainly enhance the building stock in this part of the city.

James Gardner, formerly the architecture critic of the New York Sun, writes on the visual arts for several publications.