One of the largest potential office buildings in New York City has long been in the works on the site of the Hotel Pennsylvania, at 401 Seventh Avenue, with renderings for a soaring supertall first released last decade. But now, YIMBY has the latest on Vornado’s newest vision for the site, which would place Facebook within a massive 2.8-million-square-foot tower designed by Rafael Vinoly, dubbed “Penn15” in the brochure.
While the renderings and design are fresh, Facebook has already publicly committed to One Madison Avenue in NoMad, so this ideation may already be moribund. However, the reconception is a likely indicator that the old design by Pelli Clarke Pelli has now fallen by the wayside, with the new scheme built around open floor plans and numerous outdoor spaces designed to lure technology tenants.
The new plan would span the same square footage as the old, however, the configuration of the tower would be dramatically different. Variable stacked floorplates would be interspersed and cantilevered atop one another, with each of the tower’s five components totaling 560,000 square feet apiece.
All of the renderings for the plan feature Facebook’s logo emblazoned across either the page or the tower itself. The design of the base of the tower would be particularly elegant, featuring a terraced garden atop the first floor, and a soaring glass atrium in the middle of the structure. The combination would result in a surprisingly light impact on the pedestrian sphere for a supertall that would be both taller and visually bulkier than the Empire State Building, just a few blocks to the east.
While Penn15’s rooftop would stand 1,400 feet above street level, its interior would only include 48 usable floors, with 43 of those dedicated to office space. The bottom of the tower would span three floors, including the lobby, streetfront retail, conference space, a restaurant, and two theaters, one of which could hold up to 700 people.
Up above, the office floors are broken up by interspersed amenity and mechanical floors. While the ceiling heights for the office floors are not specified, they appear to be approximately 20 to 25 feet each, which would also be unprecedented for Manhattan.
Additionally, since plans for 15 Penn Plaza were previously conceived by Pelli Clarke Pelli, the hotel has fallen victim to increasingly lurid headlines following its renovation. A baby’s death there earlier this year was ruled a homicide, there have been multiple suicides and accidental deaths at the property in recent and previous years, TripAdvisor reviews are exceedingly and overwhelmingly terrible with many guests believing the hotel to be haunted, and this abysmal purported re-enactment of The Shining was filmed in the hallways.
No tentative completion date has been mentioned, and no commitment from Facebook has been formally announced. However, with the success of Related’s Hudson Yards and Brookfield’s Manhattan West just a few blocks to the west of Penn Station, redevelopment pressure in the vicinity is likely to increase, and it is difficult to imagine that a hotel where rooms are currently available for $75 a night has substantial staying power when its potential razing and redevelopment would be a boon to its owners, the neighborhood, and the skyline.