New York State revokes tender for 418 11th Avenue

Hope Knight of Empire State Development, Governor Kathy Hochul (Getty, rendered via Adjaye Associates)

A proposal for what would have been one of the city’s tallest skyscrapers is now on ice.

State officials this week canceled a request for proposals for a 1.2-acre site on the West Side of Manhattan, where a team led by Peebles Corp. envisioned a 2 million square foot tower built and primarily funded by black-owned businesses.

The proposed skyscraper for the state-owned site at 418 11th Avenue would have marked a record addition to the city’s skyline. Dubbed the “Tower of Affirmation,” the building was to be 1,663 feet taller than One World Trade Center in floor height, but second in spire height.

The group planned to bid on the project, which would have featured at least two hotels, offices and an entertainment complex.

In a statement following the cancellation of the RFP, the team behind the affirmation tower said they viewed the move “as a temporary setback.”

“We are confident that when New York State re-issues a new tender, we will have the winning proposal,” said the spokesperson. “We are waiting for the next steps.

The state released the RFP in March, requesting a commercial or mixed-use development proposal. Brookfield, Related, Rockrose Development Corp. and Tishman Speyer also would have advanced ideas for the site.

Officials have encouraged the development of the hotel “complementary to the Javits Center”, which is located across from the long empty lot.

But a lot has changed since the request was made, including the governor.

Former Governor Andrew Cuomo presented the site as part of a larger transformation of what he dubbed “Midtown West”. The 11 site, along with another state-owned parcel and some of the sites surrounding Penn Station, would include a total of 1,400 affordable housing units, he said at the time. But Empire State Development, which also proposed governor-initiated changes, appears to want to restrict what it will allow on the state-owned site.

Hope Knight, acting commissioner of Empire State Development, said in a statement that the group’s decision was made “in light of today’s changed economic environment and in accordance with Governor Hochul’s commitment to building a prosperous and equitable New York “.

The agency can now “reassess development priorities and solicit more input from the local community and other stakeholders,” Knight said.

A response from Peebles Corporation, Exact Capital Group and Witkoff Group to the RFP was revealed in October, revealing that it would be designed by Anglo-Ghanaian architect David Adjaye.

In an interview with Peebles ahead of the state’s move, the developer said the proposal could serve as a “catalyst, a symbol of recovery.” He said the project could “respond to the present moment”, in the form of a response to the city’s recovery from the pandemic and a nationwide calculation of the systemic racial discrimination sparked by the murder of George Floyd l ‘last year.

The development team had planned to award at least 35 percent of project-related contracts to minority and women-owned businesses, above the state-mandated 30 percent.

“We were trying to reach a large and diverse audience and shake the trees for talent,” he said. “Due to the lack of inclusion, you have to look a little harder, take affirmative action to identify talent. “

Erin Hudson contributed reporting.