Tower Fifth: A New Supertall Tower Proposed for New York City

For many years New York City has been witnessing a lot of supertall towers proposed and built in the city. Now a 474-meter-high (1556 ft) tower may join them, to become the 35th supertall tower proposed for New York City, and the 10th building in the city proposed to surpass 400-meter mark in height.

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Tower Fifth among the skyscrapers in Midtown New York
Tower Fifth among the skyscrapers in Midtown New York, seen between the 53W53 and One 57, blocking the view of Central Park Tower

Named Tower Fifth, the tower is proposed by Harry Macklowe, the developer behind the skinny supertall at 432 Park Avenue. The developer plans to build the tower between 51st and 52nd streets on the east side of Fifth Avenue, just across the E 51st street from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The developer has submitted the project to New York City’s planning department.
If gets approved and built, Tower Fifth would become the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, only after the One World Trade Center in Downtown New York, which is 541 meters tall measured to the top of its spire. However, if judged by highest occupied floor and roof height, Tower Fifth will be much higher, even a few feet taller than the Central Park Tower, a building that will become the tallest building in the city by roof height.

Tower Fifth is being designed by Gensler, which also designed the Shanghai Tower, the world’s second tallest building.

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Similar to Central Park Tower, the tower would cantilever over an adjacent property, which is the John Pierce residence on E 51st Street.

Looking up at Tower Fifth
Looking up at Tower Fifth from the bottom of St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Near the uppermost floors there will be a two-level structure protruded from the building’s profile, as is depicted by the renders of the project.

According to Gensler, the top of Tower Fifth will have a public observatory, which will become the highest observatory in New York City, offering unprecedented views of the city. And Macklowe envisioned a 60-foot glass slide to be added on the exterior of the observatory.

Tower Fifth is still far from becoming a reality, the project needs to go through the city’s land-use review procedure, which requires the approval from the City Council, and also the public review.
And Macklowe will have to secure hundreds of thousands of square feet of air rights from neighboring properties to build a tower of that size.
Moreover, because Tower Fifth is planned to be built in close proximity to several landmark buildings like St. Patrick Cathedral, it will also require approval by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
However, Macklowe is confident that his project will be approved by the city, as nowadays the city’s restrictions on buildings is fewer than in the past. And in past few years the developer has quietly purchased some low-rise properties in the location of the proposed tower to assemble the site for the tower.

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