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53W53 under construction, June 29, 2018.
General information
Status Under construction
Type Museum, Residential Condominiums
Location 53 West 53rd Street
New York City, New York, United States
Owner Hines,[1] Pontiac Land Group,[1] Goldman Sachs[1]
Antenna spire 1,050 ft (320 m)[2][3]
Top floor 950 ft (290 m)
Technical details
Floor count 87 [3]
Design and construction
Architect Jean Nouvel[1]
Developer Hines,[1] Pontiac Land Group,[1] Goldman Sachs[1]

53W53,[4] also known as the MoMA Expansion Tower and 53 West 53rd Street, and formerly known as Tower Verre[5] is a supertall skyscraper currently under construction by the real estate companies Hines, Pontiac Land Group and Goldman Sachs, located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City adjacent to The Museum of Modern Art.[3][1] The building had been in development since 2006, and construction began in late 2014.[1]


The building, designed by Jean Nouvel, initially was proposed to stand 1,250 feet (381 m) tall (the same height as the Empire State Building below its mast).[3] The mid-block building had run into considerable opposition focusing on fears that it would cast a shadow over Central Park during the winter and that its mid-block location would create traffic problems.[6] Financing had been scarce[7] until October 2013, when the Kwee brothers' Pontiac Land agreed to provide $200 million in equity, supported by an $860 million loan from a consortium of Asian banks.[8]

The building bought air rights from the University Club of New York and St. Thomas Church.[9] On September 9, 2009, the New York City Planning Commission said the building could be built if 200 feet (61 m) were clipped off the top.[10] The City's decision not to approve Tower Verre as proposed was greeted with disappointment and derision by several prominent architecture critics.[11][12] The 1,050-foot (320 m) version was approved by the City Council on October 28, 2009 in a 44-3 vote.[13]

The building's skin would contain a faceted exterior that tapers to a set of crystalline peaks at the apex of the tower[1][14] Due to this, the project is said to be one of the most exciting additions to New York's skyline in a generation.[1] MoMA, which owned the building's 17,000-square-foot (1,600 m2) lot and completed a renovation in 2005, sold the lot to Hines for $125 million in 2007. In September 2014, the air rights were purchased from MOMA and the building became known as 53W53.[5]


The building will be located between the Financial Times Building on the left and The Museum of Modern Art on the right.

Pontiac Land Group and Goldman Sachs are the development partners for Hines on the building, and together they secured an $860 million construction loan from a consortium of Asian Banks led by United Overseas Bank Limited.[15] The building is 82-story, 145-unit tower.[16] In addition to the MOMA, the air rights were purchased from the St. Thomas Church for $71 million.[17] The building's total floor area will be approximately 750,000 square feet (70,000 square meters), and condominiums in the building are designed by Thierry Despont.[18] As of July 2016, construction management company Lend Lease had completed excavation and foundation work with superstructure concrete up to the 8th floor.[19]


The building will be mixed-use, with gallery space, condominiums, and a private restaurant. There will be 145 residences, from one to five bedroom options.[20] One bedroom residences will begin at $3 million and the top floor duplex penthouse is priced at over $80 million.[1]


Residents will be given special privileges at MoMA, including unlimited free admission to the museum, exhibition previews, discounts in MoMA stores, and access to film screenings.[21] The building will also include a private formal dining room, priority access to an in-building restaurant, a library with a fireplace, a children's playroom, a wine tasting room and a lounge with Central Park views available for events. Services available for a fee will include a pantry stocking service, a housekeeping service, and pet walking.[21][22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Ouroussoff, Nicolai (2007-11-15). "Next to MoMA, a Tower Will Reach for the Stars". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-24. 
  2. ^ "Tower Verre". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Tower Verre". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-11-30. 
  4. ^ "53W53rd". Hines Interests Limited Partnership. Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  5. ^ a b "53W53/MoMA Tower/Tower Verre Finally Going Up". citty.com. Archived from the original on 23 May 2015. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  6. ^ "New York State Senator Liz Krueger -Before the Department of City Planning Regarding the Environmental Impact Statement Draft Scope of Work for the 53 West 53rd Street Project". lizkrueger.com. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  7. ^ It Was Fun Till the Money Ran Out - New York Times - December 19, 2008
  8. ^ NYC Museum of Modern Art Condos Get Singapore Investor
  9. ^ "NEW YORK - 53W53 (Tower Verre) - 1,050 FT / 320 M - 73 FLOORS - Page 48 - SkyscraperPage Forum". skyscraperpage.com. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  10. ^ Off With Its Top! City Cuts Tower to Size - New York Times - September 9, 2009
  11. ^ "Why the City Should Let Jean Nouvel Build Every Inch of the Tower Verre -- New York Magazine". NYMag.com. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  12. ^ Ouroussoff, Nicolai (September 10, 2009). "Off With Its Top! City Cuts Tower to Size". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ Will There Be A Monster Stall For MoMA Tower? - gothamist.com - October 28, 2009 Archived April 17, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "NYT: JEAN NOUVEL TOWER NEAR MOMA". ClevelandDesignCity. Retrieved 2007-12-24. [dead link]
  15. ^ United Overseas Bank: A Growing Presence in New York Commercial Real Estate
  16. ^ Bindelglass, Evan (13 June 2016). "53W53 Shows Its Exoskeleton At 53 West 53rd Street, Midtown". New York Yimby. Retrieved 22 July 2016. 
  17. ^ "NYC church gets $71M for air rights over steeple". New York Post. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  18. ^ "Hines luxury condo project in NYC moves forward with Asian funding". Prime Property. Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  19. ^ Construction Photos: 53W53, NYC
  20. ^ "Availability". 53W53. Retrieved 20 August 2015. 
  21. ^ a b Budin, Jeremiah (18 June 2015). "Multimillion-Dollar MoMA Condos Come With Museum Perks". Curbed. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  22. ^ 53 W. 53rd Amenities

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°45′42″N 73°58′42″W / 40.761626°N 73.978394°W / 40.761626; -73.978394