The tradition of “topping out” a new construction dates back hundreds of years. In many countries, and the U.S. was always one, the ceremony consists of raising the last, highest steel beam into place decorated with the national flag and/or a pine tree. In many jurisdictions, union ironworkers sign the beam as well. The flag is, perhaps, an obvious tribute while the tree has been said to be a good luck symbol; again, some unions have traditionally used the live tree as a symbol of a death-free jobsite, a condition to be celebrated and one, not that many years ago, that was rare among the skyscrapers in major cities. When the World Trade Center topped out in 1973, 60 workers had died during the construction.
Which brings us to the race to the sky being held by numerous countries around the world; a race to have the tallest occupied building. Currently, the tallest structure is Dubai’s Burj Khalifa Tower at 2717 ft. However, when the 3,280 ft. (1,000-meter-tall) Jeddah Tower, in Saudi Arabia, opens in 2020, it will knock Burj Khalifa off its throne as the tallest skyscraper in the world by 236 feet (72 meters). Construction of the landmark is estimated to cost $1.4 billion.
Also in the race is a new contender. At less than half the height of the Jeddah Tower, Central Park Tower in New York city is claiming the title of tallest residential tower in the world. Although not a fully residential building—the lower seven floors will house the flagship Nordstrom’s store, and several floors of non-residential facilities and amenities for residents will be available such as restaurants, swimming pool, and private club space—the tower meets the accepted definition of residential: the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat defines a residential building as one where 85% or more of its total floor area is dedicated to residential usage.
Extell Development Co., the developer of Central Park Tower and One57, the first supertall condominium on West 57th St., has pioneered Manhattan’s Billionaire’s Row. Designed by architectural firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, a firm committed to the design of high-performance, energy-efficient, and striking architecture, Central Park Tower’s facade features combined elements of glass, satin-finished stainless steel, and light-catching vertical and horizontal details that accentuate the interplay of texture and light. Three hundred feet above the street, the tower cantilevers to the east, creating Central Park views for all north-facing residences.
The 179 ultra-luxury two-to-eight-bedroom residences begin on the 32nd floor of the building and range in size from 1,435-sq.ft. to more than 17,500-sq.ft. Located within the tower will be one of the world’s most exclusive private clubs, Central Park Club. The Club will offer approximately 50,000-sq.ft., of thoroughly curated luxury amenities spread across three floors, each location providing a unique experience complemented by five-star service.
At the base of Central Park Tower, will be Nordstrom’s first full-line department store. This approximately 300,000-sq.-ft., seven-story store is the culmination of a 25-year search for the perfect site to open a New York flagship store. This is Nordstrom’s largest single-project investment in its more than 100-year history. The store will open to the public on Oct. 24, 2019.
Extell is co-developing Central Park Tower with SMI USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Shanghai Municipal Investment, an infrastructural investment company responsible for the esteemed Shanghai Tower, the second tallest building in the world. Lendlease, one of the world’s largest property, infrastructure, development, and construction management firms, served as construction manager for Central Park Tower.
First closings are slated for 2020. Pricing for current availability at Central Park Tower starts at $6.9 million.