15 Penn Plaza

Coordinates: 40°44′59″N 73°59′26″W / 40.74972°N 73.99056°W / 40.74972; -73.99056

15 Penn Plaza, also known as PENN15 and Vornado Tower, is a 68-story tower proposed by Vornado Realty Trust in the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood of New York City. It would be located on Seventh Avenue between 32nd and 33rd Streets, on the site of present-day Hotel Pennsylvania.[2] The Hiller Group is the designer. Despite only having 68 floors, it is planned to be 1,270 feet (390 m) tall.

15 Penn Plaza (artist's impression).png
General information
Location15 Penn Plaza
(401 7th Avenue)[1]
Roof1,270 ft (390 m)
Technical details
Floor area2,050,000 sq ft (190,000 m2)
Design and construction
ArchitectPelli Clarke Pelli
DeveloperVornado Realty Trust
Structural engineerSeverud Associates


The building would have 430 units on 68 floors and 2,050,000 square feet (190,000 m2) of floor space. It would be 1,216 feet (371 m) in height, 34 feet (10 m) shorter than the Empire State Building two blocks east.[3] Anthony and Peter L. Malkin, owners of the historic structure, had requested the creation of a 17-block exclusion zone that would prohibit large buildings from being built that would obstruct views of the Empire State Building and suggested that the proposed skyscraper be limited to 825 feet (251 m) in height. While Manhattan Community Board 5 voted overwhelmingly against the proposed project, the New York City Planning Commission approved the plan, which would allow the building to be 56% larger than standard zoning rules provide under special regulations that encourage the development of high-density office space near transit hubs. Opinion is divided about the plan, with Henry Stern, former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation said the proposed building "could do irreparable harm" to the city, Daniel Biederman, president of the 34th Street Partnership joined union and construction officials in saying that "If there's anywhere a building of this size and bulk should be built, it's at Penn Station.[3]


The Empire State Building's owner, Anthony Malkin, asked the City Council on August 24, 2010, to deny permission for the construction of the Vornado Tower. Malkin's reasoning is that the new building would alter the skyline and obscure the view of the western side of the Empire State Building.[3] Located at Seventh Avenue between 32nd and 33rd Streets on the site of present-day Hotel Pennsylvania, opposite Pennsylvania Station – a major transit hub for the Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit, Amtrak and the New York City Subway – the proposed building would add a concourse improving access within Penn Station and adding several new subway entrances.[3] In exchange for increases in height and density for the building, Vornado would undertake $100 million in transit-related improvements that would reopen the "Gimbels passageway", which was blocked off in 1986 and would reconnect Penn Station to Herald Square at Sixth Avenue and the 34th Street–Herald Square station (B, ​D, ​F, <F>, ​M​, N, ​Q, ​R, and ​W trains) and the 33rd Street terminal of the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) train, which provides access to Hoboken–33rd Street, Journal Square–33rd Street (via Hoboken) and Journal Square–33rd Street trains. An updated passageway would be built to the standards of "the elegant and efficient passageways at Grand Central and Rockefeller Center" and would also have integrated access to the proposed New Jersey Transit terminal that would be constructed as part of the Access to the Region's Core tunnel that was to be constructed under the Hudson River.[4]

On August 25, 2010, in a 47–1 vote, the City Council voted to approve construction of the building, despite what The New York Times described as "a fierce public relations, advertising and lobbying campaign" by the owners of the Empire State Building to derail the project.[5] The Council's zoning and land use committees approved the project and the full council overwhelmingly voted to approve the plan, with the only dissenter, Brooklyn Councilmember Charles Barron, voting in the negative as a protest against the absence of a guarantee by Vornado to hire minority and female construction workers.[5]

According to the New York Post, by December 2011 the building project was suspended, with Vornado Realty Trust announcing it will instead renovate the Hotel Pennsylvania – the intended site for the 15 Penn Plaza tower – delaying the skyscraper until it becomes financially feasible to start construction.[6] The hotel's demolition was underway by January 2022.[7]


On March 4, 2013, Vornado announced that it was abandoning plans to build the tower; instead it will "invest aggressively" into the Hotel Pennsylvania to make it into "a really profitable, really good hotel for our purposes."[8][9][10] In August 2014, citing increased interest from tenants, the project was unshelved and the proposed renovation of Hotel Penn was put on hold indefinitely.[11]

As of February 2015, Vornado Chairman & CEO Steve Roth was non-committal to the project:

The Hotel Penn is important, but not the main event. The main event is to get the office buildings so that they command higher market ranch than they do currently. And by the way, they are rising with the marketplace, quite smartly, currently. So we’re not prepared to commit to what our plan for the Hotel Pennsylvania is.[12]

In March 2018, Vornado Realty Trust renewed special permits with the City Planning Commission to develop the proposed 15 Penn Plaza skyscraper on the Hotel Pennsylvania's site. In an April 2018 letter to investors, Roth mentioned the demolition and 15 Penn skyscraper plan as a continued option, but also described Vornado as being at "a tipping point" with regard to redeveloping the Pennsylvania into a "giant convention/entertainment hotel".[13] In April 2021, Vornado again announced plans to demolish the hotel to make way for the new skyscraper,[14][15] now known as Penn15.[16] According to Roth, "the hotel math has deteriorated significantly over the last five years", and the benefits of continuing to operate the hotel were outweighed by the drawbacks of maintenance, taxes, and lack of demand.[17] At this time, Penn15 was planned to be 1,270 feet (390 m) tall.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Property Profile Overview". New York City Department of Buildings. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  2. ^ Satow, Julie (March 16, 2011). "Developers in New York Try to Ease Prickly Relations". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d Bagli, Charles V. "A Fight on New York’s Skyline", The New York Times, August 23, 2010. Accessed August 24, 2010.
  4. ^ via Bloomberg News. "Vornado plans $100 million on Penn Station transit upgrades", The Star-Ledger, August 23, 2010. Accessed August 24, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Bagli, Charles V. "New Skyscraper to Rival Empire State Building", The New York Times, August 25, 2010. Accessed August 25, 2010.
  6. ^ New York Post, December 14, 2011:Time-out seen in skyline war Archived February 1, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "At NYC's Hotel Pennsylvania, Interior Demolition Has Begun". Untapped New York. January 31, 2022. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  8. ^ "Long Live Hotel Pennsylvania". The Wall Street Journal.
  9. ^ "Hotel Pennsylvania to be renovated, not razed". Crain's New York Business.
  10. ^ "Renderings don't always paint a pretty picture". The Real Deal Magazine.
  11. ^ "Famed Hotel Pennsylvania facing wrecking ball again". New York Post.
  12. ^ "Vornado's 4th Quarter call". Hotel Pennsylvania Preservation Society. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  13. ^ "Vornado Plans to Sell 666 Fifth Stake to Kushner, Maybe Build Big Penn Plaza Towers". Commercial Observer. April 6, 2018.
  14. ^ Wong, Natlie (April 9, 2021). "NYC's Hotel Penn to Be Razed as Vornado Plans Stock Spinoff". Bloomberg. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  15. ^ "Vornado Realty Trust Plans to Raze Hotel Pennsylvania". The Real Deal. April 12, 2021. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  16. ^ Price, Brian (April 4, 2021). "New York City's Next Empire State Building-Sized Tower Could Be 'PENN 15'". NBC New York. Retrieved May 31, 2021.
  17. ^ Hughes, C. J. (April 16, 2021). "What Will Happen to All the Empty Office Buildings and Hotels?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  18. ^ "Foster + Partner's 1,270-Foot Supertall 'Penn 15' Gets Additional New Renderings, in Midtown Manhattan". New York YIMBY. February 26, 2021. Retrieved May 31, 2021.

External linksEdit