Renovation Award of Excellence: Five Manhattan West, New York City

Ame Engelhart
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Hong Kong

From Ungainly Ziggurat to Glamorous Zenith

Located on 10th Avenue and spanning over the Penn Station rail yards from 31st to 33rd Streets, Five Manhattan West is a 16-story, 1.7 million-square-foot (157,935 square-meter) building. When the developer acquired it in 2011, it was completely isolated on the west side of Manhattan, an area that had not yet undergone its transformation into the Hudson Yards District. Despite its challenges, the building has incredible “bones,” with massive floor plates – up to 124,000 square feet (11,520 square meters) – and high ceilings up to 15.65 feet (5 meters), exceptionally rare in Manhattan, and very attractive to tech and creative tenants. It had key positioning as part of the larger Manhattan West development, an eight-acre (3.24-hectare), six-building complex.

The building has now undergone a $350 million redevelopment. It was more than 60 percent occupied when renovation commenced, and required substantial design and construction coordination, along with innovative problem-solving. A temporary construction wall, 12 feet (3.7 meters) from the building’s interior perimeter, was erected to shield tenants during the façade recladding. A customized rig was developed to replace the opaque exterior with an iconic glass façade. Former loading docks were transformed into retail spaces, enlivening the ground floor. Portions of the building’s concrete walls were removed to create an elevated two-story breezeway connecting to public open space, further integrating the repositioned building into the plans of Manhattan West and the final sections of the High Line. It is now a desirable office destination that is 100 percent leased.

View Building on The Skyscraper Center