Architects revive plans for new U.N. tower

State authorities reached a deal with the city and the United Nations to revive stalled plans for a $340 million new U.N. tower earlier this month, the New York Observer reported. That means that Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki, who was selected to design the building when the idea first emerged in 2004, will be dusting off his blueprints alongside local partners architecture firm FXFowle and getting back to work.

“We have a saying around the office,” Dan Kaplan, a principal at FXFowle, told the Observer. “It takes a long time for things to happen suddenly.”

Much of the design work has already been completed for a 35-story tower on the site at the southeast corner of First Avenue and 42nd Street, but it will require some changes, Kaplan said.

“We’re not back to square-one, maybe square 1.5. It’s a tight site and a tight building envelope, so I don’t think the designs will change that much, but we are going back over everything,” he said.

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Jeffrey Feldman, president and CEO of the U.N. Development Corporation, told the Observer that he hopes to have the final designs by early 2012. The project is slated to break ground in 2013.

Maki has been racking up some other high-profile projects lately, including 51 Astor Place and 4 World Trade Center.

The deal follows a memorandum of understanding between the State Assembly, Senate and the Bloomberg administration that will provide the financing framework to close the gap in the Manhattan Greenway on the East Side of Manhattan through a land deal with the U.N..


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