Food for thought on the tower for Independence Plaza

After my first post on the proposal from Vornado and Stellar on the tower for Independence Plaza, Charlie Komanoff wrote to say my numbers were off — he’s a data guy, and he didn’t like how things were not adding up. That was a good tip, since it turned out I had a few numbers wrong (my listening comprehension was clearly faulty and I missed a slide during the online presentation); the press rep for Stellar provided the correct figures added more detail for me and sent the slide below.

  • 974,810 zoning square feet on the site (10.0 FAR x lot area of 97,481 SF)
  • SUBTRACT 58,829 SF that was transferred to the north block
  • 915,981 SF allowed without the voluntary inclusionary housing bonus
  • ADD 194,962 SF can be added via voluntary inclusionary housing bonus
  • 1,110,943 SF grand total
  • SUBTRACT 544,617 SF used now by existing buildings, including townhouses
  • ADD 86,493 available after townhouses are razed
  • 652,819 zoning square feet available on the site for new construction

But this all got me to thinking, now that I have absorbed the numbers better myself, how can this tower get to 90 stories? Stellar says says that “rough estimate” of the floor plate is 100 x 100 feet, resulting in a 10,000-square-foot floor.

With “the voluntary inclusionary housing bonus and proposed demolition, there will be a total of 652,819 zoning square feet available on the site for new construction.” And assuming 10-foot floors, that would not get you much higher than 60 stories. Of course, you could build with much higher ceilings — 56 Leonard, the Jenga tower, has 14- to 19-foot ceilings, depending on the floor.

The press rep warned me not to get carried away with this: “Gross square feet and zoning square feet are different measures that do not translate 1:1. Specific floor plate dimensions and the height of the tower will be determined as part of the design process,” he said.

But still…

My other fixation — and it is just that — is the property line. It was my understanding that the IPN property line extended well past the buildings, which is why, for example, Caliza was able to build a permanent sidewalk cafe out of steel on what had been sidewalk on N. Moore.

But the rep told me the property line ends with the building — and sent the map below. “The property line is where the current buildings are located. New construction would not go beyond that. The DOT manages the sidewalk, and any outdoor seating and the stroller parking area subject to their sidewalk seating regulations.”



  1. I’m not sure where you got the 90 floors figure; a 900 foot residential tower most certainly would have less floors. Ten feet of height does not translate to one floor.

    270 Park Avenue, which is currently under construction, had a height of about 1,400 feet and will only yield 57 floors. Of course that is commercial, but even in residential one needs to account for mechanical floors, ever higher ceiling heights, and other design factors.

    Some new towers uptown have stretched their mechanical space quite a bit creating an almost podium to give the floors additional height (e.g. 50 West 66th Street). Once might be clever, but anymore is a bit unbecoming.

    I would hope this tower does not employ that tactic.

  2. ” It was my understanding that the IPN property line extended well past the buildings”

    nope. long time residents know that greenwich street was twice as wide. the extra sidewalk space was created by eliminating two lanes of greenwich street. the space where cocoon and caliza have built their structures is on the original sidewalk.

  3. With this addition Tribeca will lose more of its charm and character and slowly become more like FiDi

  4. I will support this project if the entire building – all 90 floors – is reserved for apartments for the many homeless people and newly-arrived immigrants in our city. After all, isn’t this what the city needs most?

  5. In 1975 the whole area was low rise. IPN was able to build 3 39-story buildings. Now they want to shove in an 80 story building? No, just no.

  6. Don’t forget – the building will generate tons of residential trash.

    The sidewalks on Fulton/Beekman/William/Nassau etc are unwalkable with trash from the new luxury high-rises that have gone up there….

    And a rat resort.