New York by Gehry is the tallest residential tower in the Western Hemisphere, and the first ever designed by Frank Gehry. The architect’s distinctive glass and stainless steel cladding, flowing lines and organic shapes create an elegant architectural silhouette that has redefined the skyline of Manhattan. His innovative approach to incorporating free-form bay windows results in the building’s dynamic silhouette and exceptional panoramic views from its residences. The undulating folds in the exterior wall make for an unprecedented variety of residential unit layouts—over 350 in all. Frank Gehry has designed all of the interior finishes in the units as well as the amenity and public spaces.
In addition to its 903 market-rate rental apartments, the mixed-use development includes a 100,000-square-foot public school on the first through fifth floors, the first ever built in New York City on private land, as well as doctors’ offices for physicians associated with New York Downtown Hospital. There is 1,300 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 26,000 square feet of below-grade parking for 175 cars for hospital use. The development also includes 15,000 square feet of open space in two beautiful landscaped public plazas.
The building’s first apartments, located on floors 7 through 38, were introduced to the market in February 2011, to a hugely enthusiastic response. In just five months, 40 percent of the building has already been rented. The upper floors from 40 through 76, featuring large two- and three-bedroom units were released to an eager market in July 2011.
Architecture Design & Landscape:
Baroque inspiration / modern technique: Sheathed in a stainless steel curtain-wall with glass panels, New York by Gehry has the unmistakably undulating, asymmetrical look of a Frank Gehry building. Its folds, reminiscent of shiny, draped fabric, were inspired by the work of 17th Century Italian sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini. The architect has made a point to distinguish these dramatic “Bernini folds” from the softer look of Michelangelo’s sculptural draping. This complex surface geometry of the building’s curtain wall was mapped by a computer software platform developed by Gehry Technologies called Digital Project.
The “Ripple” Effect: The building’s 428,000 square feet of undulating curtain wall contains 270 tons of 18 gauge steel, hand-finished in Japan. Its engineering took three years and fabrication two years. The façade is constructed from 10,500 separate 1,000-pound sculptural panels, 9,000 of them unique!
“New York” style: For New York by Gehry, Frank Gehry has modernized the design language of the classic Manhattan high-rise, playfully but respectfully riffing on the layer-cake look so common among the city’s skyscrapers.
Skyline and sunlight: Like the Chrysler Building, which also has a stainless steel skin, the façade softly reflects ambient colors from neighboring buildings and the East River. New York by Gehry’s glittering surface catches the warm glow of the morning and evening sunlight.
Context and conversation: New York by Gehry exists in lively conversation with neighboring structures like New York City Hall, Cass Gilbert’s Woolworth Building and the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.
On a pedestal but down to earth: The stainless steel-wrapped residential tower of New York by Gehry sits on a terracotta-colored brick podium, which acts as a pedestal for the glorious edifice, but also engages the surrounding community. This podium houses not just the residential lobby but a public school, retail space and doctors’ offices.
Bay windows: “Stepping into space”: The intricate design of New York by Gehry’s flowing curtain wall allows for many different apartment configurations. Where the walls connect with the exterior façade, freeform bay windows move out into the apex of the folds. Gehry calls the feeling of entering these window bays and experiencing the breathtaking panoramic views “stepping into space.”
Intimate outdoor space: New York by Gehry’s two public plazas are designed by Field Operations, designers of New York City’s High Line, and horticulturist Piet Oudoulf, who collaborated with Gehry on Chicago’s Millennium Park. Featuring intimate seating within a park of trees, native grasses and perennials, the plazas offer a pastoral transition between the building and the bustle of the busy city. A layered mass of canopy trees produce various light quality throughout the day, creating an urban oasis enhanced by sculptural elements covered in vines, lighted planters and animated water features.
Unique layouts: Frank Gehry’s dynamic design of the exterior wall makes for an unprecedented variety of residential unit layouts. The 903 units are located on floors seven through Penthouse and include studio apartments, one, two and three bedrooms.
Panoramic views: From bay windows, all directions offer stunning vistas: intimate perspectives of the Woolworth Building to the west are set against a panorama that encompasses the Hudson River’s piers and parks. All five East River bridges and iconic midtown skyscrapers, including the Empire State and Chrysler buildings, unfold in front of the eastern and northern exposures. Views toward the northern horizon include Central Park and the George Washington Bridge. To the south and east, Manhattan is seen against the backdrop of New York Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean.
Welcoming entrance: Frank Gehry’s custom-designed sculptural concierge desk in the residential lobby resonates with the building’s architectural style and complements the lobby’s honey-colored vertical grain Douglas fir walls. Residents enter New York by Gehry via a porte cochère between Beekman and Spruce Streets fronted by an 11,500 square-foot plaza.
Interiors: All interior finishes and fixtures have been selected by Frank Gehry, including cabinetry crafted in his signature honey-colored, vertical-grain Douglas Fir. In addition, he designed sculptural residential entry door handles and hardware for New York by Gehry inspired by organic forms and movement. All residences are finished with white oak flooring, fitted with solar shades that offer privacy while preserving views, and outfitted with stainless steel Energy Star appliances and washer/dryer units. Building-wide features include water filtration, individually-controlled vertical heating and cooling units, and only lowemitting paints, coatings and sealants with low-volatile organic content that has been used to improve indoor air quality.
Residents have exclusive access a 24-hour doorman, complete concierge services, and 22,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor health, wellness, social, and entertainment amenity spaces. On the southern side of the 6th floor, the Grilling Terrace is outfitted with dining cabanas with picnic tables, café seating, and grills. From this terrace residents will enjoy stunning views of Cass Gilbert’s classic Woolworth building. The adjacent Game Room is furnished with custom seating by Frank Gehry. On the 7th floor a 50-foot pool is set within a sky-lit space surrounded by a series of glass doors that retract, creating a seamless expanse of indoor and outdoor spaces from the pool to the wraparound sundeck.
Overlooking City Hall Park to the north, a large Drawing Room with multiple seating areas and a grand piano is adjacent to a Private Dining Room. Both can be reserved for residents’ events and serviced from a Chef’s Demonstration and Catering Kitchen. A 3,300 square-foot state-of-the-art Fitness Center with a view of the Brooklyn Bridge and a Spa Treatment Suite are also located on the 7th floor.
The 8th floor offers Group Fitness, Pilates, and Private Training Studios, a Library with a well-curated selection of books and periodicals, a Tweens’ Den, a Children’s Playroom, and a Screening Room with Gehry-designed amphitheatre seating.
– Grilling Terrace with Dining Cabanas
– Game Room
– Sky-lit 50-foot Pool with Sundeck
– 3,300 Square Foot Fitness Center
– Spa Suite with Private Treatment Rooms
– Chef’s Demonstration and Catering Kitchen
– 1,200 Square Foot Group Fitness Studio
– Yoga & Pilates Studio
– Private Training Studio
– Screening Room
– Children’s Playroom
– Tweens’ Den
– Private Dining Room
– Drawing Room with Grand Piano
Bike storage will also be available to residents of New York by Gehry.
Lower Manhattan Community:
New York by Gehry is designed to be a vital part of the daily life of its community, the residential population of which has grown by 170% in the past decade. The base of the building houses a much-needed public school, retail space and offices for doctors affiliated with New York Downtown Hospital, and its plazas will provide accessible public open space.
Public School: Long sought by the City’s public officials, the Region 9/School District 2 school will help relieve overcrowding at public schools in Lower Manhattan. The 100,000 square-foot public school occupies floors one through five of New York by Gehry. The first NYC public school ever built on private land, the pre-K through 8th grade school will have space for approximately 630 students and will also have a 5,000-square-foot rooftop play area on the fifth floor.
Doctors’ Offices: New York Downtown Hospital’s 21,000-square-foot ambulatory care center with doctors’ offices will be located on the fifth floor, accessed through a lobby along William Street. Parking for the medical offices will be located in a 175-space parking garage one level below grade and accessed via a ramp from William Street.
Public Open Space: The site’s two public plazas have been designed for the enjoyment of the entire neighborhood. To the east on the northern portion of William Street fronting the school, the landscaped plaza of approximately 3,500 square feet will be heavily used by the students throughout the academic year. To the west, adjacent to two Nassau Street residential buildings, fronting the residential lobby and the porte-cochère will be 11,500 square feet of distinctive open space. The open space uses elements inspired by Gehry’s tower to create visual continuity between the plazas and the building. Lighted planters are set within a network of trees, ornamental grasses and perennials. Sculptural elements will be covered with vines, and water fountains are set in pavers bringing the space to life.
The site, formerly owned by New York Downtown Hospital, previously served as a parking lot. In November 2003, the hospital solicited requests for proposals from real estate companies to develop the property. Forest City Ratner Companies was selected at the end of 2003 and purchased the land and development rights in December 2004.
Development Cost & Financing:
The development cost of the building is $875 million. Forest City Ratner closed on $680 million in construction financing in March 2008. The $680 million in bonds—$204 million from the New York Liberty Bond Program—were issued by the NYC Housing Development Corporation. Institutions participating in the financing are Eurohypo AG; NORD/LB; ING Real Estate Finance, Fifth Third Bank, RBS Citizens, N.A. and Munich Re AG. National Electrical Benefit Fund (NEBF) provided a Mezzanine Loan and is Forest City Ratner’s equity partner in the project.
In July 2011, Forest City Enterprises, Inc. and National Real Estate Advisors (NREA) recapitalized and modified credit facilities resulting in significant debt reduction for the property and Forest City. NREA, on behalf of the NEBF converted mezzanine debt to equity, increasing its equity ownership to 49 percent. Forest City also modified the property’s financing with the six-bank group led by Eurohypo. Taken together, these changes reduce total debt on the property from $715 million to $539 million and Forest City’s share of the debt from $500 million to $275 million. Forest City subsidiaries retain 51 percent ownership of the property.
Architect & Design: Frank Gehry, Gehry Architects New York P.C.
Landscape Architect: Field Operations
Developer: Forest City Ratner Companies
Rental Marketing: Citi Habitats Marketing Group / Nancy Packes, Inc.
Building Management: Cooper Square Realty, Inc.
Amenities Management & Programming: Luxury Attaché
Location: New York by Gehry sits just north of Manhattan’s Financial District overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge, occupying a large portion of the block bounded by Spruce, Beekman, Nassau and Gold Streets.
Size: 76 stories, 870 feet tall, 1.1 million square feet.