A sneak peek into a 21st century TOD

One Vanderbilt is not just an addition to New York’s famous skyline. It will also “change the energy and imagery of Grand Central Terminal” says AECOM’s Marc Colella.

Speaking in the World’s Best Projects session at The Property Congress recently, AECOM’s industry director said the transit oriented development (TOD) will “reclaim the primacy” of Grand Central Station with an 83-storey tower to “rival the Chrysler and Empire State buildings”.

“Physical connectivity is a unique feature of One Vanderbilt,” Colella said, as the building will stand directly adjacent to one of the busiest railway stations in the world.

Grand Central was always conceived as a TOD – or transit oriented development – and the surrounding land, called ‘Terminal City’ was sold off to underwrite the station.

Five of those buildings, which the New York Times called “some of the least distinguished” structures in the area, were demolished in late 2016 to make way for the new tower.

“Building a super tall tower on top of existing and future infrastructure, next to one of New York’s busiest transit halls, has its technical challenges,” Colella admitted. And “a complex and diverse range of public consultation had to be met”.

SL Green Realty’s development coincides with the East Side Access project, and station upgrades being undertaken during One Vanderbilt’s construction will provide extra capacity for more than 65,000 new passengers.

SL Green Reality has invested $220 million in public transport improvements. “It’s the largest contribution of its kind in New York City and it’s all underground,” Colella said.

Among these improvements are a unique plaza space, a new entry to the subway system, upgraded subway lines, and a new concourse which will allow increased capacity, Colella said. The additional capacity will mean up to 6,000 more subway passengers per hour can use the station.

“As a passenger, you will enter Grand Central and then connect with the office and hotel lobbies,” he explains.

A hub of tourist destinations – food halls, market places, restaurants and shops – will all nestle above a “network, maze or labyrinth of underpasses”.

The 160,000 sqm premium office tower will feature retail and restaurants on ground floor, and observation decks on the top three floors.

At 430 metres tall, One Vanderbilt will be one of the Big Apple’s tallest towers. “It will leave a lasting impression on the New York skyline.”

With a contract value of US$3.1 billion, One Vanderbilt will be completed in 2020.