500 Park Tower

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500 Park Avenue, New York City, NY

500 Park Tower
500ParkTowerNYC.jpg

500 Park Tower in Midtown Manhattan
Building Information
Developer The Equitable Life Assurance Society and Tishman Speyer Properties
Architect James Stewart Polshek
Number of Units 56
Number of Floors 41
Year Built 1984
Construction Method Aluminum, Granite
Type of Roof IRMA
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500 Park Avenue, New York City
Distance to Public Transit Less than one block
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning C5 - 3
Title of Land Condominium


Contents

Background

In the late 1950s, architects Gordon Bunshaft and Natalie de Blois were commissioned to design an office building for the Pepsi-Cola Company. Pepsi had just bought a nine story building from the City of New York at a public auction for $2 million dollars, a record sum for the times, and wished to build their new office space on the site. The 11 story Pepsi Building was completed in 1960, inaugurated in 1961, and in 1995, was designated as a City of New York Landmark.

In 1981, the building’s then owner, The Equitable Life Assurance Society, decided to expand this office building and commissioned architect James Stewart Polshek to design a 41 story residential tower to compliment the office building.

The result was 500 Park Tower, a highly sought after residential tower that has been praised for its design that both pays homage to and compliments the land marked building over which 500 Park Tower partially stands.[1]

Location

Located on the southwest corner of Park Avenue and East 59th Street, 500 Park Tower is technically in Midtown Manhattan, although it is right along the boundary between Midtown and the Upper East Side. Residents of 500 Park Tower find themselves at the heart of all that New York City has to offer, as they are close to many of the City’s most recognizable landmarks. Buildings such as the Empire State Building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal, the New York Public Library, and Madison Square Garden are all located within Midtown, as are the cultural destinations of Broadway, Carnegie Hall, and the Museum of Modern Art.

A short walk to the Southwest will bring residents to Times Square, nicknamed the “Crossroads of the World”, while New York City’s famed Central Park is a couple of blocks to the Northwest, giving residents access to acres of outdoor space for recreational activities such as jogging, cycling, rollerblading, and skating. Finally, Midtown Manhattan is known as one of New York City’s largest business districts, offering residents a short walking commute to an abundance of office buildings and commercial space.

With a walk score of 98 out of 100 and a transit score of 100 out of 100, residents of 500 Park Tower do not require a car to complete their daily errands, as they are close to dozens of food, retail, and transit options. With a bike score of 58 out 100, riders will love the flat grades, but will find bike lanes lacking. [2]

Construction

500 Park Tower did not take an easy path to completion, as the project passed through many hands before construction even began. The Olivetti Underwood Corporation moved into the Pepsi Building in 1967, but by 1978 they were nearly bankrupt and were forced to move out out and sell their stake in the building.

The Securities Group became the building’s new owner, and they commissioned architect James Stewart Polshek to design new offices on the 10th and 11th floors of the office building. Pleased with Polshek’s work, the Securities Group then commissioned Polshek to design an adjacent tower that would be a mixed use building of commercial and residential space. This plan was held up considerably in the New York City Planning Commission’s midtown zoning study in the early 1980s, so much so that the Securities Group could no longer support the project financially, and the building, along with Polshek’s plans, were sold to the Equitable Life Assurance Society in 1981.

This Society then agreed to a joint partnership with Tishman Speyer Properties to proceed with Polshek’s design for a 41 story tower. Designed in the Postmodern style of architecture, 500 Park Tower was completed in 1984, containing 56 residential units in the 12th-40th floors, with office space occupying the first 11 floors, matching the adjacent Pepsi Building. [3]

Layout and Features

The exterior of 500 Park Tower is noted for its dual facade design, as the east side of the building contains a silver aluminum and glass facade that was designed to replicate the highly celebrated design of the Pepsi Building, over which 500 Park Tower cantilevers 25 feet. The remainder of the building is clad in a dark-gray granite that features deeply incised windows.

In a 1964 New York Times column, Paul Goldberger attributes the building’s architectural success to its ability to create “a dignified backdrop to the Pepsi Building’s delicate modern box. At the same time, the glass and aluminum section of the new tower act as a counterpoint to the older structure, making the overall design a subtle balancing act of foreground and background, of solid and void, of texture and flatness.” [4]

Residents of the building have their own separate entrance that leads into a handsomely decorated lobby. Apartments within the building feature nine foot ceilings, Sub Zero appliances in the kitchen, entrance galleries, and wraparound windows in the living rooms.

Floor Plans

A selection of floor plans is presented.

Amenities

500 Park Tower is staffed by 24 hour doormen and concierge, and the building itself has storage facilities for residents, a separate residential entrance from the commercial entrance, and a roof deck. [5]


Bylaws

500 Park Tower Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No



This building allows pets, corporate ownership, and sublets. There are no age restrictions. [6]


Sustainability

Built in 1984, 500 Park Tower was constructed before sustainable living came to the forefront of national awareness and is therefore, not designated as a green building. Residents wishing to help improve the building’s sustainability can do so by participating in New York City’s recycling programs and by installing more energy efficient materials and appliances when updating or renovating their apartments.

Trivia

  • Architect James Stewart Polshek was honored with a National Award from the American Institute of Architects for his work on this building.
  • When 500 Park Tower opened in 1984, critics noted that the design was remarkable in its ability to preserve the design of the historically significant adjacent office building, which at the time was considered a Modernist masterwork, but was still ten years away from being eligible for designation by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
  • Architect James Stewart Polshek described the tower’s design function as representing the East to West boundary between the residential section of Park Avenue to the North, and the commercial area of Park Avenue to the South. [7]

References

  1. Pepsi Cola Building Report
  2. Walk Score
  3. NYCLPC Landmark Designation Report
  4. Cityrealty
  5. Streeteasy
  6. Streeteasy
  7. Cityrealty


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