The amount of attention showered on Manhattan’s 425 Park Avenue, the proposed 687-foot-high office tower by Foster + Partners, may make people wonder. A very high high-rise—this is what New York City does, so why the fuss? The reasons would seem to be disparate but compelling: the first three of course are location, location, location. The skyscraper, which was announced October 3, will occupy a block between 55th and 56th Streets, a stretch of Park Avenue that is famous for two Modernist landmarks—Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building (1958) and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Lever House (1952).
Add to the location the fact that little new construction has appeared in this swank section of East Midtown since the 1950s. And making the project even more newsworthy is the choice of the architect, the world-renown Norman Foster. Since the developer, L&L Holding Company, is a not-so-famous firm founded in 2000 by David Levinson and Robert Lapidus—heretofore best known for renovating 200 Fifth Avenue—of course New York’s architecture, planning, and building communities are intrigued. (Also intriguing is L&L’s partner, Lehman Brothers Holdings, which only recently came out of bankruptcy from its role in the financial crisis four years ago.)