Rockrose has filed plans for a Hudson Yards rental tower

600-unit building will be designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli

Rockrose Development president Justin Elghanayan and a rendering of 551 West 38th Street
Rockrose Development president Justin Elghanayan and a rendering of 551 West 38th Street

Rockrose Development has filed plans to build the first part of its long-imagined, 1.6 million-square-foot development in Hudson Yards.

Plans filed with the city on Thursday call for a 600-unit residential tower at 551 West 38th Street, according to Rockrose president Justin Elghanayan.

Designed by Rafael Pelli of Pelli Clarke Pelli, the 51-story rental tower is located between 10th and 11th Avenues and will total 400,000 square feet. Phase two of Rockrose’s master plan will consist of a 1.2 million-square-foot office tower that’s still in the “early stage of design,” Elghanayan said.

At 551 West 38th, the developer is planning 16,000 square feet of amenities, including a fitness center on the 30th floor as well as a roof deck, game room, golf simulator and squash court. Rather than build a “chunky” rectangular structure, the building was designed to appear as if it has two towers — or “trunks of a tree that have split,” Pelli said. (The taller portion is 590 feet while the shorter part is 330 feet.)

Different glass and metal facades will be used to wrap the sides of the building to give it additional texture, the architect added.

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Rockrose began assembling the site in the early 2000s. In 2007, it paid $83.4 million for 476 11th Avenue. It purchased the third and final piece — 528-534 West 29th Street — from Mercedes for an undisclosed sum in 2012. The developer combined as-of-right component with a district improvement bonus to allow for the 1.6 million-square-foot master plan.

Of the 600 units, Elghanayan said roughly 45 percent will be studios, 45 percent will be one bedrooms and 10 percent will be two bedroom apartments. The project is being built under the new 421a program, meaning 25 to 30 percent of units (around 150) will be set aside as affordable.

Rockrose is providing 100 percent of the equity for the project, which is expected to be completed by 2021. But Elghanayan said the company would likely procure debt later on.
“We’re very bullish on the area,” he said, citing large office leasing deals and residential development nearby. “Chelsea is bleeding up to Hudson Yards; on 42nd Street, Hell’s kitchen is moving down. Hudson Yards is this nexus between the two areas.”

Rockrose was one of the earliest developers to bet on the Hudson Yards area. It developed a 394-unit property at 455 West 37th and an 835-unit property at 505 West 37th Street prior to 2009, when Elghanayan’s uncles K. Thomas and Frederick founded TF Cornerstone. (Justin Elghanayan’s father, H. Henry Elghanayan, is CEO of Rockrose.)

Nearby residential developments include Extell Development’s 555 10th Avenue, a 600-unit rental building. as well as Michael Fascitelli and Eric Birnbaum’s 33-story rental tower Henry Hall at 509 West 38th Street. There’s also 515 West 36th Street, Lalezarian Properties’ 39-story rental tower.