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Old October 13th, 2007, 05:53 AM   #481
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http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...M0U&refer=muse

Penn Station Project Needs Real Debate to Produce Great Design

By James S. Russell
Oct. 11 (Bloomberg)


Imagine coming into a new Penn Station under a graceful glass canopy, descending on roomy escalators into a spacious ticket lobby with sunlight pouring through skylights overhead.

This dream has been hanging like a hazy mirage for almost 10 years as schemes for a new railroad station on the west side of Manhattan have come and gone. Now the best possible deal tantalizes: to regain the splendor of the great and tragically demolished Pennsylvania Station as a 21st-century hub.

The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan lined up a dizzying array of federal, state and local players in 1998 to replace the grimy labyrinth that passes for a terminal today. Built after McKim Mead & White's soaring 1910 station was torn down in 1963, it bulges with 550,000 daily passengers, more than double its designed capacity.

Moynihan's idea involved only the western two of the four city blocks of the old Penn Station, reworking the elegant neoclassical Farley Post Office that surmounts the tracks between 31st and 33rd streets from Eighth to Ninth avenues.

Now the stars seemed to have aligned to fully realize Moynihan's dream.

Last year, Related Cos. and Vornado Realty Trust -- both of which possess considerable holdings on or near the site -- proposed to bring the rest of Penn Station into the project: the more important half east of Eighth Avenue.

Secret Negotiations

Happy ending? We don't know yet. The developers are negotiating this extraordinarily complex package in secret with New York state's Empire State Development Corp. In outline, an architecturally distinguished "great station'' would preside over the eastern two blocks.

Making way for the station does not include (as it should) blowing up Vornado's 2 Penn Plaza, a 29-story office tower that defaces the more desirable half of the eastern blocks. This building is so ill-sited that it will considerably impede the development of an inviting station design.

The plan does envision the welcome replacement of the grimy, unloved Madison Square Garden. The Dolan family -- which controls Cablevision Systems Corp., the New York Knicks basketball team and the Garden -- would erect a new arena at the western edge of the site, where it would squeeze within the handsome pink-granite walls of the Farley Post Office, possibly flanked by a couple of half-million-square-foot office buildings.

Although state and federal dollars have been allocated for the $2 billion Moynihan Station project, at least $450 million would come from Vornado and Related for development rights that would move from the station site to nearby parcels they control.

Immense Towers

Getting the towers off the roof of the train station -- especially towers that may demand 60,000-square-foot trading floors -- would vastly simplify the station reconstruction. It also would mean erecting an immense amount of space on those off-site parcels. One tower, apparently sketched by architect Pelli Clarke Pelli for Vornado, may stack as much as 2.5 million square feet to the height of the Empire State Building.

What should the public demand from this deal? First of all, it should get a gorgeous landmark gateway. The players must hire top-drawer architectural talent -- and then demand their best, not something that looks like an imitator's work, as happened at Ground Zero.

A bad sign is the Dolans' selection of Canadian architect Brisbin Brook Beynon, a little-known firm whose Web site suggests a talent so meager as to make us long for the dumpy Garden we've got.

Bare-Bones Plan

In any case, great design is not what we'll see later this year when the state and developers unveil a bare-bones "scoping document.'' It's too soon for a real design, officials say. Instead, the public will have 30 days to comment on a vague arrangement of square footage.

Then the project plunges into a technical environmental review process that in the past has been deployed to obfuscate rather than elucidate.

That approach needs to be rethought right now. The project's scope should be the beginning of a genuine public dialogue, not a one-way hearing process. Cities everywhere except New York have learned to involve the public in forums that help people understand what's at stake and resolve inevitable conflicts. New York needs to learn how to do this.

The project, informed by real public input, can then be tested with real architectural designs rather than finessed with a few fuzzy renderings reluctantly released.

That's how to get a great station, and get it done before even the youngest person reading this grows old.

(James S. Russell is Bloomberg's U.S. architecture critic. The opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer of this story: James S. Russell in New York at [email protected] .
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Old October 13th, 2007, 08:51 PM   #482
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Five Firms Vie for Chance to Build on Far West Side


The railyards, between 30th and 33rd Streets on the Far West Side, belong to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

By CHARLES V. BAGLI
Published: October 13, 2007
nytimes.com

Five developers submitted separate billion-dollar offers this week for the right to transform the West Side railyards — what the Bloomberg administration once called “a hole in the ground” — into a small city of residential and commercial skyscrapers with 12 acres of parks and open space.

One of the bidders, the Extell Development Company, would use “suspension bridge technology” to span the two 13-acre yards flanking 11th Avenue between 30th and 33rd Streets, while the trains continue to operate, according to real estate executives briefed on the bids.

Extell would erect a dozen towers over the next 15 years, including one more than 1,000 feet tall, at the northern and southern borders of the sites, leaving parkland and open space at the center. The design for this proposal also incorporates a public park on a defunct elevated railway that runs west along 30th Street and north along 12th Avenue.

The four other bidders would build concrete and steel platforms over the railyards and erect a similar array of towers and open space, as well as a home for a yet-to-be-determined cultural institution.

The railyards, which are owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, represent both a rare opportunity to acquire 26 acres of waterfront property in Manhattan and a daunting challenge to redevelop an industrial neighborhood and make it into a major commercial district over the coming decade.

Tishman Speyer Properties has formed a joint venture with Morgan Stanley, the global investment bank, whose headquarters are at the north end of Times Square; their plan calls for a major skyscraper on the eastern railyard that would be a new headquarters for the bank and perhaps the start of another financial district in Manhattan.

Another bidder, a joint venture of the Durst Organization and Vornado Realty Trust, has a tentative agreement with Condé Nast Publications, publisher of Vanity Fair, Gourmet, The New Yorker and 24 other magazines, to build a new home for the company in a 1.5 million-square-foot tower on the eastern railyard.

The Related Companies, one of the city’s biggest residential builders, has formed a joint venture with Goldman Sachs, another major investment bank, and hired three architects — Kohn Pedersen Fox, Arquitectonica and Robert A. M. Stern — to design its proposal. And Brookfield Properties, the fifth bidder, used Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Field Operations to develop a master plan, while Skidmore and the architects Thomas Phifer & Partners, SHoP Architects and Diller Scofidio & Renfro designed the towers.

“This is a massive development opportunity that we may never see again,” said Anna Levin, a member of Community Board 4, whose district includes the yards. “It’ll be the biggest public-private partnership you’ve ever seen. But planning for development that we’ll need for generations to come is a complex process. It has to take into account a multitude of public and private considerations.”

The transportation authority, which had hoped to reap $1 billion from the sale of the development rights to the yards, confirmed that it had received five offers, but declined to provide any details. The authority said it expected to select the winning bidder, or combination of bidders, by February or March, after conducting a design review that would include an opportunity for public comment.

The Bloomberg administration is keenly interested in the outcome because it views the railyards as a key element in a plan to transform the Far West Side. It hopes to begin work soon on an extension of the No. 7 subway from Times Square to the railyards.

The bidders were loath to comment publicly on their proposals for fear of alienating the transportation authority. But real estate executives who saw the offers said that each developer had made a nominal bid of about $1 billion for the development rights.

Still, it is difficult to determine the true value of the offers because every proposal has a different set of contingencies and involves a series of payments over years. City and state officials will also evaluate how quickly each developer would start construction.

Ms. Levin said she hoped the transportation authority would release the proposals submitted by all the developers, in their entirety, because they might include some good ideas that do not fall within the city and the authority’s design guidelines.

Big project proposals in New York can take a torturous and lengthy path to construction, or collapse. A succession of mayors and governors sought futilely to build a baseball stadium for the Yankees or a football stadium for the Jets over the railyards. But in 2005, the city rezoned the Far West Side for high-rise development and the transportation authority sought to sell the development rights over the railyards to raise $1 billion for its capital budget.

Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, who heads a legislative committee that oversees the authority, said the railyards should be viewed alongside plans for the subway extension, the expansion of the nearby convention center and proposals for Pennsylvania Station. He questioned whether there had been adequate planning for the related projects. “The receipt of the bids raises the curtain on a chaotic set of issues that have to be resolved,” Mr. Brodsky said.

The city and the transportation authority created a conceptual plan for the railyards detailing what could be built there and the general location of the buildings, which could vary between 60 and 70 stories. The yard on the eastern side of 11th Avenue has been zoned for development, but plans for the western yard would have to go through the city’s public review process, presumably with the support of the Bloomberg administration and the City Council president, Christine C. Quinn.

Before they build the first tower, however, developers must erect platforms or spans over the railyards while trains continue running. Douglas Durst of the Durst Organization, which has hired the architects FXFowle and Rafael Pelli, has estimated that the platforms would cost about $1.5 billion. But Extell hopes to save money by using bridge-building technology instead.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 08:10 PM   #483
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http://www.arch.columbia.edu/hp/stud...pdf/Farley.pdf
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Old October 16th, 2007, 11:22 PM   #484
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Crain's NY Business
October 14, 2007

Merrill nears decision on headquarters site

Theresa Agovino

Merrill Lynch was a pioneer at the World Financial Center when it opened more than 20 years ago. Now, Merrill must decide if it wants to remain an anchor of lower Manhattan's renaissance or revise its role as a trailblazer by helping jump-start the redevelopment of the area surrounding Penn Station.

In the next few weeks, Merrill is expected to announce the location for its headquarters. Its options are remaining at the World Financial Center, moving to the yet-to-be-built Tower 3 of the World Trade Center or locating in the site that is now home to the Hotel Pennsylvania.

Downtown leaders, led by Lower Manhattan Development Corp. Chairman Avi Schick have repeatedly said they want Merrill to remain downtown. But Mr. Schick insisted last week at a Crain's New York Business breakfast forum that his discussions with Merrill have been restricted to benefits available to any company, including a sales tax exemption on goods purchased to build out the space and a temporary rent tax waiver or reduction.

He specifically rejected the idea that Merrill would qualify for a package that was on the order of the $650 million Goldman Sachs received in 2005 for agreeing to build a new headquarters in Battery Park City.

"The Goldman deal took place at an earlier time," Mr. Schick said. "We've helped Merrill figure out how to use [existing] incentives."

Government incentives are only one part of the equation, however.

The World Financial Center's owner, Brookfield Properties Corp., may have to be willing to provide the most attractive financial deal for the securities firm. That's because if Merrill leaves, Brookfield will need to fill 3 million square feet of space in buildings that will be more than 25 years old when the investment bank's lease expires in 2013.

Brookfield says it has offered to expand one of the buildings Merrill now occupies to allow for the construction of state-of-the-art trading floors. It wouldn't comment on negotiations.

Real estate experts say the Brookfield solution would be cost-effective in other ways as well. Merrill wouldn't have to move, and it might not have to retrofit all of the space.

Tough-minded Larry Silverstein

The World Trade Center site may not be the most economical, but it beckons Merrill with the opportunity to be in a brand-new building that it can customize to its specifications. That's a very attractive lure, experts say.

Reaching an agreement to move into the site promises to be a challenge. The building's owner, Larry Silverstein, has a reputation as a tough and difficult negotiator. He rebuilt 7 World Trade Center without a major tenant and resisted enormous political pressure to lower rents until he got his price.

"If we don't get tenants [before we open], that's OK," says Janno Lieber, director of World Trade Center Development at Silverstein Properties, who declined to discuss the negotiations.

The Hotel Pennsylvania site also offers Merrill the ability to build from scratch and, like the WTC location, presents the opportunity to be part of a major redevelopment.

Equity stake is possible

However, its attractiveness depends in part on whether a very complicated scheme to redevelop the Farley Post Office, move Madison Square Garden and rebuild Penn Station proceeds. Some real estate experts say Merrill won't gamble on the location, owned by Vornado Realty Trust.

One source says that Merrill isn't looking to just rent space, leading some to speculate that it may want to have some sort of equity ownership in its headquarters. If so, a building owner's willingness to accommodate that desire would play an important role in Merrill's decision. Merrill is shopping now because moving 7,500 people and building trading floors is a time-consuming and complicated process.

Mr. Schick just wants the bank to stay downtown. He worries that if banks abandon downtown for 34th Street, sooner or later they could start leaving the city. "You won't stop relocations exactly where you want," says Mr. Schick.

POTENTIAL SITES

THE HOTEL PENNSYLVANIA offers the chance to build from scratch but depends on a complicated scheme.

THE WORLD TRADE CENTER site beckons with the opportunity to customize a brand-new building.

THE WORLD FINANCIAL CENTER'S owner, Brookfield Properties, has offered to expand one building.

Comments? [email protected]

© 2007 Crain Communications, Inc.
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Old October 16th, 2007, 11:23 PM   #485
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Crain's NY Business
October 16, 2007

MSG wants Farley alterations before moving

Anne Michaud

The Dolan family, which owns Madison Square Garden, is requesting significant alterations to the James A. Farley Post Office interior as part of an agreement to move MSG into the building’s western annex, say two people who participated in a state-sponsored tour last week.

The most striking change would be the installation of a huge glass wall between the proposed train hall and MSG, which the Garden wants in order to better advertise events. Garden officials also want to expand two large arches that lead from the post office area into the train hall, and create four arches instead.

Peg Breen, president of the New York Landmarks Conservancy, says the changes skew the project too far from the public interest.

“Neither one of these things is necessary for the Garden to have a successful move,” she says. “This started out as a project to provide a great gateway to New York, and it is turning into a lobby for the Garden.”

The alterations could also jeopardize $250 million in federal tax credits if the National Park Service decides that they trample on historic preservation rules. The building’s exterior would be largely unchanged.

An MSG spokeswoman says the Garden has made no decision to move and continues to explore renovating its current facility.

Empire State Development official Robin Stout led a tour Friday of about 25 people, most of who belong to Friends of Moynihan Station, a group of planners and preservationists led by the late Sen. Pat Moynihan’s daughter, Maura Moynihan. Mr. Stout presented the ideas as a work in progress.

“Robin's tour was an effort to share the latest concepts behind Moynihan,” says another tour participant, Neysa Pranger, a director with the Regional Plan Association. The RPA is a member of Ms. Moynihan’s group.

Preservationists have generally supported moving the Garden from the east side of Post Office building to the west side, which would open up Pennsylvania Station to natural light and better traveler circulation. The project would also distribute development rights around the immediate area, creating a new office, retail and transportation hub on the scale of Rockefeller Center.

ESD is preparing a supplemental environmental impact statement for the project which is expected to be released this month. The agency declined comment on the plans.

© 2007 Crain Communications, Inc.
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Old October 17th, 2007, 07:16 AM   #486
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Lower Manhattan Gains a Tenant, but Merrill Lynch Is Undecided

By CHARLES V. BAGLI
Published: October 17, 2007
The NCR Corporation, the data processing giant and the largest maker of automated teller machines, announced yesterday that it is moving its executive office from Dayton, Ohio, to a new skyscraper in Lower Manhattan.

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Go to City Room » Gov. Eliot Spitzer and the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, who spent more than two years wooing the company, hailed NCR’s decision to lease the 35th floor at 7 World Trade Center as the latest indication of Lower Manhattan’s resurgence as an international financial capital.

But NCR’s move involves only 200 employees, and its headquarters will remain in Dayton. Its announcement comes at the same time that the investment bank Merrill Lynch, which has about 10,000 employees in Lower Manhattan, is considering moving north to a new skyscraper opposite Pennsylvania Station.

A spokesman for Merrill Lynch said the company expects to decide by the end of the month.

State officials are optimistic that Merrill Lynch will either expand at its current site in the World Financial Center or move to a skyscraper that would be built nearby at ground zero. But the investment bank also has its eye on a site farther uptown, the Hotel Pennsylvania, across Seventh Avenue from Penn Station.

“NCR’s decision to relocate its executive offices to the World Trade Center site is a vindication of the strategy we’ve been pursuing all year,” said Avi Schick, chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. “Of course, Merrill is the big fish. We hope to reel that one in soon.”

Mr. Schick and the Spitzer administration have taken the position that Merrill Lynch should remain downtown, where it could get tens of millions of dollars in incentives and tax breaks. The state has insisted that it would not provide Merrill Lynch with any incentives or subsidies to move uptown.

Defying predictions of a collapse of the downtown financial district after Sept. 11, thousands of new residents and jobs have moved there in the past few years. Goldman Sachs is now building a new headquarters across West Street from ground zero.

And earlier this year, JPMorgan Chase and Governor Spitzer announced that bank’s plans to build a $2 billion investment banking headquarters for 7,000 employees at the corner of Church and Liberty Streets. If Merrill Lynch joins them, Speaker Silver, who represents Lower Manhattan, said it would ensure the area’s position as a financial center for the next 50 years.

Merrill Lynch currently occupies 222 Broadway and Tower 2 at the World Financial Center, but its lease expires in 2013. Under one proposal, the landlord, Brookfield Properties, would enlarge three floors at the base of Tower 2 to allow for 80,000 square feet of trading floors. Under a second option, Merrill Lynch would build a 2.4-million-square-foot building at the World Trade Center site.

But Merrill Lynch has told state and city officials that the Pennsylvania Hotel site, which is owned by Vornado Realty Trust, would allow them to build even larger trading floors and to own the building. The site, however, sits over train tracks, posing an engineering and security challenge. It must also be rezoned for a commercial skyscraper, a process that could take a year.

In recent weeks, Merrill Lynch has been bargaining with state and city officials over location and a subsidy package. In 1997, the city gave Merrill Lynch a benefit package worth at least $27.6 million after the company threatened to move employees to New Jersey.

“What we need more than anything else is the contiguous space that allows for 70,000-to-80,000-square-foot trading floors comparable to what we have in London and Tokyo,” said Jason Wright, a spokesman for Merrill Lynch. “If we don’t have that, we’d consider ourselves to be at a competitive disadvantage in New York.”

Speaker Silver, however, said he was hopeful that Merrill Lynch would remain downtown. “I think we’re getting close,” he said. “I think we’ll succeed.”
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 03:28 PM   #487
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http://www.nysun.com/article/64985

State Finally To Make Move On Penn Station

By ELIOT BROWN
October 22, 2007

In a boost to the planned multibillion-dollar remake of Pennsylvania Station, the state is expected to release an environmental planning document today, a required first step in a lengthy approval process for the far-reaching development plans.

The release of the draft scope for an environmental impact statement would be the Spitzer administration's first public display of forward progress on the Moynihan Station project, which seeks to move Madison Square Garden into the back of the neighboring Farley Post Office and spread new development throughout the area.

Economic development officials for months have said the document's release was due in coming weeks, though people briefed on the project say the state seems to have had trouble sorting through a tangled web of stakeholders. Between Amtrak, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New Jersey Transit, developers Vornado Realty Trust and the Related Companies, Madison Square Garden, the city, and the community, the state has slowly formed a more coherent vision for the project.

While two towering skyscrapers were initially planned for the site above the Garden, the state moved toward a less costly option of spreading the 4.5 million square feet of development rights in the surrounding neighborhood.

"It's a good step for the project," the executive director of the Regional Plan Association, Thomas Wright, said of the scoping document's release. "We're pleased that they're looking for ways to spread the development density around the district."

In briefing officials and community members, the state said and the Post Office may continue operations in some of the Farley building's stamp booths, and officials said the exterior signage on the building would be reasonable, sources briefed said.

The progress comes almost a year after the speaker of the Assembly, Sheldon Silver, blocked the Pataki administration's efforts to advance a smaller scale version of the project before the governor left office. Mr. Silver wanted to see the Garden's move to the Farley building included in the project, along with the renovation of the existing Pennsylvania Station, a vision that has taken the state and developers months to craft.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 04:38 PM   #488
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There's a massing of a tower over 1,600 feet tall to its roof and another two about @ about 1,350' to the roof! Let's hope those are the heights we see in the final product.

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Old October 22nd, 2007, 07:39 PM   #489
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What in the hell are all those dots?
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 07:52 PM   #490
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what kind of microsoft paint renderings are these....certainly
don't present themselves are serious options.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 09:03 PM   #491
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They said Massing, not renderings

Btw, omg how tiny One Penn Plaza looks next to those massive beasts. I always thought it was bigger. It must be cause it's on its own or so..
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 09:08 PM   #492
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So does that mean they have a plan with 2x 1,300+ and one tower with a roof at around 1,600 feet? Now that would be kickass x1,000.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 09:11 PM   #493
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Quote:
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There's a massing of a tower over 1,600 feet tall to its roof and another two about @ about 1,350' to the roof! Let's hope those are the heights we see in the final product.

I don't think we'll see towers as high as 1,600 ft. That was a study from a Moynihan Preservation group. It's nice to see that they aren't opposed to towers as high though.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 09:14 PM   #494
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I hope you're worng because just one tower with a roof around 1,600' would be utterly amazing considering all of the other new supertalls going up. It could be the greatest icon of the city.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 09:43 PM   #495
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Here is more from that link...




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Old October 22nd, 2007, 09:48 PM   #496
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4 new supertalls!
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 12:01 AM   #497
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wow 1600 ft to its roof
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 12:14 AM   #498
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This was a preliminary rendering of the two towers that slipped out in Q2.

These towers would be perfect for the 3 million square ft. Merrill Lynch is demanding.
A Twin Towers part two???
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 05:45 AM   #499
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Nyguy.. I'm sorry if it's hidden somewhere deep in the article but I figured you would know best as to what those dots were?
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 05:52 AM   #500
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Nyguy.. I'm sorry if it's hidden somewhere deep in the article but I figured you would know best as to what those dots were?
Dimples?
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