Bryant Park is set to welcome a new tower of glass and steel courtesy of Hines and Pacolet Milliken Inc. The building, which takes up a whole block between West 39th and West 40th Streets, has been designed by Henry N. Cobb and Yvonne Szeto of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and will offer 450,000-square feet of rentable space over 28 stories. Its biggest asset is the views—from the southwest corner of Bryant Park—and the location, between Midtown West to the north and the Garment District to the south.
Its proximity to the Garment District is relevant to the Pacolet Milliken company, whose roots in the textile manufacturing industry go back to 1865, when Seth Milliken made up one half of a small woolen fabrics firm in Maine named Deering Milliken Company. In 1868, Milliken moved to the heart of the American Textile Industry, New York City, and the following year also invested in a new facility in Pacolet, South Carolina, where the manufacturing operations grew. Milliken & Co moved its headquarters to the corner of 40th and Sixth Avenue in 1954 and has owned the property ever since. Milliken’s original building, a white marble modernist block with recessed ground floor access, was demolished in 2009, two years after the company its moved its headquarters. Today, given its proximity to Midtown, the Houston-based developer Hines is considering the potential for the base of the building to become trading floors, an opportunity to apply much of its experience in build- to-suit projects for clients including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and UBS.
Designed to maximize the views across the park and as far as the historic Public Library, the building is sculpted into an hourglass shape, with feature windows on every tenant floor. Indeed its entrance on 40th Street curves inwards almost in reverence of the park it overlooks. “The hourglass façade detail will be a lens through which building occupants can view the park with dramatic and alluring immediacy,” said Cobb. Suspended over the corner entrance at 40th Street a signature gesture in the form of a 48-feet wide stainless steel disc will act as a canopy as well as a grand architectural feature.
It has been a busy year for Hines so far, having recently sold 750 Seventh Avenue for more than $800 per square foot, or $485 million, and announced a $1 billion medical property venture with New York State Retirement Fund earlier this month, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. In true spirit of the city’s free market landscape, Milliken & Co bought 65,085 sq ft of transferrable air rights from the adjacent landmarked Springs Mills Building at 104 40th Street back in December, according to the New York Post. Without restrictions or having to tamper with any existing zoning guidelines, the project will move ahead with construction starting in 2012 and should be ready for occupation in 2014.