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Mayor de Blasio, SL Green, Local Officials Break Ground On New Office Tower, $220 Million In Transit Upgrades For Riders At Grand Central

October 18, 2016

New model in Midtown East secures new investment in public transit as city grows

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio joined SL Green and local officials today to break ground on a new office building and $220 million in transit improvements to Grand Central Terminal. The upgrades are part of a new development model, secured by the de Blasio Administration, Council Member Dan Garodnick and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. The approach demands more of developers, securing private investment in better commutes and reducing congestion as Midtown East grows. ‎

“The new office building, transit upgrades at Grand Central and expanded pedestrian space are what I call smart growth. We demanded and secured private investments into important City infrastructure that put hundreds of thousands of straphangers first. This strategy helps to keep our city competitive while improving the lives of New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Grand Central’s Lexington Line stop is the second busiest in the city, with 154,000 riders each day. With the unprecedented $220 million public infrastructure investment, One Vanderbilt will transform the commuting experience and reduce overcrowding. Specifically, this package of infrastructure upgrades will add more staircases to ease crowding on the 4-5-6 subway platforms, a renovated subway mezzanine and new exits directly to street level. When completed in 2020, the upgrades will increase the Lexington Avenue line’s capacity by an extra train per hour in each direction – or 2,200 riders.

One Vanderbilt, the 1,401-foot-tall commercial office building rising a block west of the E. 42nd Street station, will include a new transit hall and waiting room in the base of the building, a new 14,000-square-foot pedestrian plaza on Vanderbilt Avenue, and enhanced access into and out of the Grand Central complex for riders of the city subway system, Metro-North and future Long Island Rail Road East Side Access.

The City’s proposed 78-block Greater East Midtown rezoning plan, which encompasses the area surrounding Grand Central Terminal, will enter into public review by the end of the year. Building on a vision process led by Manhattan Borough President Brewer and Council Member Garodnick, the proposal couples strategies for promoting office development with specific transit and public realm improvements as well as support for landmarks that distinguish this iconic district. Like the proposed rezoning, the construction and infrastructure improvements announced today will play a leading role in keeping New York growing and competitive.

“This is an exciting new day for East Midtown, where our rules are not only promoting growth but also matching it with extraordinary transit improvements,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “The result will be class A office buildings, and just as importantly, a class A office district. We expect that One Vanderbilt is going to set an important precedent for the rest of East Midtown.”

“It’s gratifying to be breaking ground not just on this building, but on what it represents: a massive investment in our transit and pedestrian infrastructure, and a first step toward the future of East Midtown,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “When development is done carefully, collaboratively, and produces real investments in the public realm that improve the neighborhood, everyone wins.”

 Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney said, “Not only will One Vanderbilt Avenue be a new iconic tower in the heart of New York City, but with $220 million in public improvements, it will revolutionize the way we use Grand Central Terminal and midtown. This is a great example of a public-private partnership, where the public gets new open space and better access to transportation. I want to thank SL Green for being a thoughtful and generous participant in a land use process that really took into account the community’s needs.”

Chair of the City Planning Commission Carl Weisbrod said, "East Midtown has been the premier economic engine of New York City for many years, a title that One Vanderbilt will help it retain. By committing to $220 million in public investment, One Vanderbilt will benefit not only its tenants but the city as a whole. As we move forward with a proposal to revitalize Greater East Midtown, we believe that One Vanderbilt will signal this neighborhood's full potential. For East Midtown, the best is yet to come."

“One Vanderbilt will be a high-performing addition to the Manhattan skyline serving as a blueprint for 21st century commercial development,” said SL Green CEO Marc Holliday. “As the largest commercial property owner in New York, we are proud to partner with the City to create a model for unsubsidized development that drives our economy and makes a critical contribution to its infrastructure.”

SL Green will make improvements to Grand Central Terminal, create a block-long public plaza, and also build a public waiting area for commuters on the ground floor of the new building. The access upgrades include:

  • Refurbish Grand Central’s crumbling subway mezzanine.
    • More connections from mezzanine directly to streets (reducing crowding at existing exits).
  • Approximately 2/3 of the $220 million in public infrastructure funding will go to enhancing connections and circulation spaces along the Lexington Avenue 4/5/6 subway line.
  • New exits at ends of both 4-5-6 platforms.
  • More room on 4-5-6 platforms, by narrowing obstructions.
  • Narrowed staircases.
  • Narrowed columns.
  • Reduced overcrowding will allow for one additional train per hour in each direction – making room for 1,100 more riders each hour in each direction.
  • Direct connections from the new tower to subway, MetroNorth and future LIRR.
  • A 4,000-square-foot public transit hall on the ground floor of One Vanderbilt.
  • Vanderbilt between 42nd and 43rd will become a pedestrian plaza in the heart of Midtown.
  • The upper floors of the tower cannot be occupied until transit work is complete.


The project means important and permanent boosts to private and union jobs, and tax revenue for the City. It represents 5,200 construction jobs. Once complete, the tower will be home to 8,000 workers, 190 of them with permanent union jobs. TD Bank, the anchor commercial tenant, will also have retail space in the building.

Marking the beginning of construction, the mayor today joined Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Council Member Dan Garodnick, SL Green Chief Executive Officer Marc Holliday, and Gregg Gerken, Head of Commercial Real Estate at TD Bank, among others at an on-site groundbreaking ceremony.

Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) Associates, One Vanderbilt will encompass an entire city block, bounded by Madison and Vanderbilt Avenues to the west and east, and East 43rd and East 42nd Streets to the north and south. Standing 1,401 feet tall, the building’s tapered form pays tribute to New York’s iconic skyscrapers, while its sharp lines and bold angles will punctuate Manhattan’s skyline with a 21st century articulation. At its base along 42nd Street, the building will set back at an angle to permanently reveal Grand Central’s majestic Vanderbilt cornice – a view which has been obstructed for nearly a century.

Expected to achieve the highest possible LEED certification, the tower will offer 1.7 million square feet of Class A office space across 58 floors, featuring column-free floors and views through floor-to-ceiling windows. One Vanderbilt will also offer tenants floor to ceiling slab heights ranging from 14’6” to 20’, a 30,000 square foot tenant-only amenity floor and world-class dining.

SL Green has secured TD Bank as an anchor tenant set to occupy approximately 200,000 square feet of office and retail space in One Vanderbilt, including a flagship store at the corner of 42nd Street and Madison Avenue. Hines is SL Green’s development manager and AECOM’s Tishman Construction is the construction manager.

"As the leading builder of New York's greatest iconic towers, we're excited to be breaking ground such a distinctive and visually stunning building, which will be the cornerstone of a revitalized East Midtown," said Jay Badame, President of AECOM Tishman. "By demonstrating a tremendous commitment to an area of New York that needs new building, SL Green is transforming a neighborhood, and that's something we are always proud to be a part of."

Jamie von Klemperer of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates said, “One Vanderbilt will not only emerge as an elegant, tapered new icon on the New York skyline, but will also serve as a leading example of a global trend of connecting train stations to tall towers. This building will change its neighborhood for the better. It will provide a new gateway to the city made possible only through the unusually harmonious partnership between architect, developer, and the City of New York.”

"The One Vanderbilt building is a historic addition to the New York City skyline and we're proud to participate in the financing of this transformational project," said Gregg Gerken, Head of Commercial Real Estate for TD Bank. "We also look forward to becoming a tenant. This building is designed to achieve the highest possible LEED certification, which aligns with our commitment to being an environmental leader - and that's something we know is important to our employees and customers."

“Today's groundbreaking is an important step forward in the modernization and future of Midtown East,” said John H. Banks III, President of the Real Estate Board of New York. “We congratulate SL Green on this milestone, One Vanderbilt will now become a catalyst for the creation of good middle class jobs and important tax revenue. This project will serve the needs of Midtown East's aging office supply and set new standards in sustainability and design, further ensuring that New York City remains the center of world commerce, culture, media, and finance.”

“It is a privilege to be a partner with SL Green in this transformational development,” said Tommy Craig, Senior Managing Director of Hines. “The property’s direct connection to Grand Central Terminal, its remarkable open space at grade, aspirational architecture and best-in-class technology, will have a catalytic effect on midtown Manhattan for decades to come.”

”As the leading builder of New York's greatest iconic towers, we're excited to be breaking ground such a distinctive and visually stunning building, which will be the cornerstone of a revitalized East Midtown," said Jay Badame, President of AECOM Tishman. "By demonstrating a tremendous commitment to an area of New York that needs new building, SL Green is transforming a neighborhood, and that's something we are always proud to be a part of."

“The MTA worked closely with SL Green as it developed plans for this iconic new building next to Grand Central securing private sector investment in transit infrastructure that will make commutes better for hundreds of thousands of our customers every day," said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast. "The MTA will continue to support innovative proposals that link development with transit investment, and we hope that One Vanderbilt is the first of many to come."

Learn more about One Vanderbilt at and follow its progress at @one_vanderbilt on Instagram and Twitter. High-resolution images of One Vanderbilt can be downloaded here.

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