43 Years in the Making
The recently completed Bank of America tower (a.k.a. One Bryant Park) will have its official grand opening gala Thursday night—complete with scheduled appearances by Mayor Bloomberg and tenant Al Gore—with the owners throwing the celebration now that some final touch-up work is finally completed and the scaffolding has been taken down. (The building opened to tenants in 2008.)
On account of the "opening," we took a tour of the tower on Wednesday, guided by developer Douglas Durst and architect Bob Fox of Cook + Fox, who showed off the building's many sustainable features and other innovative designs.
A few things to note about the building itself: It has been decades in the making for the Durst family, which, according to Mr. Durst, first bought land on the site in 1967. The family gradually acquired more and more land on the block, and, in 1996, started work on the 4 Times Square tower on the western part of it. In 2003, using the state to help threaten eminent domain, Mr. Durst acquired land from a final set of three holdouts, clearing the way for the tower. He formed a 50/50 joint venture with Bank of America, which also occupies 1.6 million square feet of the 2.2 million–square–foot tower. (He also, controversially, received the generous subsidy of triple tax-exempt Liberty Bonds to finance the tower. The bonds were intended to help Lower Manhattan recover after 9/11, and the Bryant Park tower is quite a long way from downtown.)
The building is the largest office tower to be built in the city in the last cycle, and commanded some of the highest office rents in the nation—asking rents were more than $150 a foot—for the final few floors.
It also is highly sustainable, and just received word that it indeed achieved the top LEED Platinum rating. The exterior, for instance, captures rainwater that hits the glass, filtering it and putting it into the building's water system. The glass tower is currently the city's second-tallest counting its spire, which rises to 1,200 feet. —Eliot Brown
(Photos by Brian Letwin)