A month after his divorce, Harry Macklowe prepares to fight for a $1B office supertall

The developer is filing plans for the office tower next week

Harry Macklowe and a rendering of the proposed office tower on East 51st and 52nd streets (Credit: Getty Images and Macklowe Properties)
Harry Macklowe and a rendering of the proposed office tower on East 51st and 52nd streets (Credit: Getty Images and Macklowe Properties)

Mere weeks after his fortune was split down the middle in a bitter divorce trial, Harry Macklowe is gearing up to get one final supertall over the line.

The developer is close to filing plans for his ambitious Midtown office tower, a 1,500-plus-foot tower that would likely be the capstone to his dramatic 60-year career in New York real estate.

Macklowe will submit plans next week, initiating the city’s public review process, Crain’s reported. The project is likely to cost upwards of $1 billion.

His vision for the project — midblock between East 51st and East 52nd Streets — includes a multilevel observatory on the highest floors and a tapered midsection that will prop up the height of the floors below. Its mass-damper, a water-filled mechanism that reduces sway in supertall towers, will be displayed with a seismograph, according to Crain’s.

To build the 1-million-square-foot project, Macklowe will have to transfer hundreds of thousands of square feet of development rights from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is across the street. It will likely cost tens of millions of dollars. The move would have to go through the city’s uniform land-use review procedure — which requires public review and City Council approval.

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As The Real Deal first reported in June, Macklowe has been purchasing properties at the site of the project for several years. He targeted five-parcel site with the combined addresses of 5-9 East 51st Street and 12-20 East 52nd Street. And an entity tied to Macklowe acquired the property at 12 East 52nd Street for $32 million, as well as 4 East 52nd Street.

The office tower’s height would surpass Macklowe’s 432 Park Avenue, a 1,400-foot-tall luxury condo project. It’s unclear whether he will secure air rights for the building, the Crain’s report said.

Depending on if and when it’s built, the project could face competition from SL Green Realty’s One Vanderbilt in Midtown — as well as Tishman Speyer’s the Spiral and Moinian Group’s 3 Hudson Boulevard in Hudson Yards and Silverstein Properties’ 2 World Trade Center in the Financial District. [Crain’s] — Meenal Vamburkar