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3 Columbus Circle

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William Welles Bosworth / Shreve & Lamb - Reclad+Renov by Gensler


1775 Broadway


Believe me, this will get restored in 25 years time....
Original building 1928. Reclad 2008 (typical pre-GFC activity).


Neomodern architecture


Apartment Building Office Building Hotel Apartment Building


$60 million makeover


This building, completed in 1928, witnessed the Great Depression, a World War, and other tumultuous times, but it cannot endure the ravages of a cannibalistic commercial real estate market in Manhattan.

This sturdy fixture at the iconic intersection of two of the city's major streets, Broadway and West 57th Street, is known to many as the Newsweek Building after the magazine moved its headquarters here in the early 1990s. Originally it was called the Columbus Tower, soon it will have part of than name restored when it is renamed 3 Columbus Circle, but everything else will be about this building will be left only to fond memories and photographs.

The building's columns, cornices, bricks, and windows are being hidden (or removed, no one is certain) behind another curtain of reflective glass. Gone will be the sense that here stands a rugged old friend who has weathered good times and bad and still stands guard at the head of the street. Instead, will stand another shiny, slick, featureless clone of every other post-modern edifice churned out by the hundreds these days. The new building's website states, "Enduring Location, Modern Vision." Odd that it doesn't boast an "Enduring Vision," or perhaps, "Enduring Edifice." I suppose the developers realize that nothing is enduring except an address.

This building clad entirely in glass will be entirely lifeless. It will only be able to reflect the world around it, but not contribute any life of its own. The new building will have a shape, but no sense of a tangible surface.

How long must American cities be wrapped in what amounts to shrink-wrap and aluminum foil? If the old techniques which constructed this building are a lost art, then why must we destroy the remaining relics of a bygone age? Do we knowingly destroy a Michelangelo because there are no more Michelangelo's sculpting?

Some who worked in this building said it was in disrepair. Its structural elements are healthy, so why couldn't its exterior be saved? This building's exterior hasn't been cleaned in decades, what would it look like if it was given a good scrubbing? We'll never know. It wasn't given a chance to spruce itself up.


For those who didn't hear the news (and if you didn't, you're in for quite the surprise), the Moinian Group is changing the address of the Newsweek building at 1775 Broadway to 3 Columbus Circle. Oh, and they're replacing the classic pre-war brick façade with glass. All glass. So much glass! It's all part of a $60 million makeover meant to bring new blood to the office building, which is losing both Newsweek and Comedy Central as tenants. The Moinian Group also launched a website touting the new-look tower, featuring what has to be the most offensively horrid piece of music ever recorded by Enya. Just ... wow.





December 27, 2007

Steve Cuozzo
THE Newsweek building at 1775 Broadway is in for a new look, new tenants, and even a new address.

A $60 million upgrading in 2008 will transform Joseph Moinian's beat-up-looking, pre-war brick office building that takes up the whole block bounded by Broadway and Eighth Avenue and West 57th and 58th streets.

Moinian bought the property for about $130 million eight years ago. His planned recladding will give it a gleaming glass skin designed by Gensler Architects. The 26-story, 625,000 square-foot address will also get a new lobby and elevators. A new address - 3 Columbus Circle - has been approved by city officials.

As my colleague Lois Weiss has reported, Newsweek, the largest tenant, won't renew its lease when it expires soon, and is looking downtown.

Newsweek's and other lease expirations will free up at least 400,000 square feet of space at 1775 Broadway. A Newmark Knight Frank team led by Jimmy Kuhn and including Michael Dreizen and Andrew Udis will handle marketing.

Kuhn said another current tenant, Comedy Central, will be gone soon and, "we'll deliver the new building by the first quarter of '09."

Kuhn said asking rents haven't been finalized but will likely be in the $100-$125 a square foot range. As for Newsweek, which moved in years ago when rents were below $50 a foot, "There was no indication they ever considered renewing."

Like other owners active in the area, Moinian aims to exploit 1775 Broadway's proximity to reborn Columbus Circle, anchored by Time Warner Center.

Last year, we reported that investment firm Gilder Gagnon How & Co. had re-upped for the top floor of 1775 Broadway at an average rent over 10 years of $100 a square foot. And Chase paid around $325 a square foot for a 10,000 square-foot retail branch. Both will remain after the redesign.

The Buildings Dept. has slapped a stop-work order on the big apartment building development at 2075 Broadway, and revoked permits it issued earlier for excavation and foundation work.

Locals had wondered why nothing was happening in the big hole at the southwest corner of Broadway and 72nd Street months after images of the new, curved tower appeared on cur and retail leasing agent Robert K. Fut terman had sent out flyers.

As we re ported on Nov. 20, Lynette Tulkoff, devel opment director for the $200 million joint-venture by Philip Pilevsky, Rhodes NY and the Gotham Organization, said excavation would start "just after Thanksgiving or even this week."

But the corner site remains idle. Practically no work has been done since several old buildings were demolished a year ago. Mystified neighbors flooded us with e-mails after we wrote the job was finally set to go.

In November, Tulkoff denied the go-slow up till that point was because of reported damage to the wall of adjacent 214 W. 72nd St. - it was just a matter of "teeing up" the new project.

But on Dec. 7, the Buildings Dept. issued a stop-work order for "failure to protect the adjacent property during construction."

Then, on Dec. 12, it revoked permits for excavation and foundation installation after the partners "failed to address objections raised by the department during an audit of the plans."

Steve Solomon, a spokesman for the project on behalf of Gotham, the development's managing partner, said:

"The DOB issued excavation and foundation permits earlier in the year. From what we understand, the DOB conducted an audit of the permits, and it recently raised questions that we are responding to."

The owner of 214 W. 72nd St., Peggy Ma, could not be reached.

One of the year's largest building sales finally closed this week - the $1.15 billion purchase of 230 Park Ave. by Anthony Westreich's Monday Properties and Goldman Sachs real estate fund Whitehall, from Dubai's Istithmar. The contract was first disclosed last April.

Meanwhile, Joseph ("Coney Island Joe") Sitt's Thor Equities bought the office building at 590 Fifth Ave. from the Feil Organization for $90 million.