For large buildings, especially skyscrapers, in America, New York City is king. Since 1890, eleven buildings in this city have been crowned the tallest in the world. It also hosts the current tallest building in the United States, as well as the 3rd, 5th, and 6th in height.
One of the reasons why the city is home to record-setting building heights is the intrepid developers who have the vision to see buildings go ever skyward. The 15 presented in this list are the best among them; bringing into the city some of the most iconic buildings in the world.
15) Solow Realty & Development Group
9 West 57th St, New York, NY 10019-2701
Sheldon Solow founded Solow Realty & Development Group in 1957, focusing on residential and commercial office properties. The firm describes its portfolio of luxury rental units as “distinguished by award-winning, sheer glass architecture, superb Upper East Side Manhattan locations, white glove services, and outstanding amenities.” Solow is also a successful rebound story in the industry. Coming from massive losses as a result of the 2008 global financial crisis, the firm regained its footing and is now enjoying stable growth. Solow also has properties scattered around Manhattan’s West Side.
One Sutton Place North is one of the premier properties Solow has to offer. It boasts studio, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units with dramatic Skyline and River panoramas. Each unit is built with high ceilings, spacious layouts, and polished hardwood floors, and is equipped with granite kitchens, custom hardwood cabinetry, and imported marble baths. Solow fitted the tower with high-end amenities, including penthouse atrium pools and state-of-the-art fitness centers, as well as 24-hour concierge and attended garage services and private gatehouse and porte-cochere entries.
14) Edward J. Minskoff Equities
1325 Ave of the Americas, New York, NY 10019
Edward J. Minskoff Equities is a New York-based, privately-held real estate investment and development firm. It was founded in 1987 by President Edward Minskoff, former CEO of Canadian developer Olympia & York. Minskoff’s portfolio consists of nearly 6 million square feet of space. The company also selectively develops and markets high-end residential properties.
Minskoff is responsible for the development of 51 Astor Place, a wide mid-rise class-A commercial office and retail development that occupies the entire block bounded by Astor Place, 3rd Avenue, 9th Street, and 4th Avenue. Designed by Fumihiko Maki, the building is characterized by its facade made of black glass, black granite and silver fins. In addition, Minskoff developed 1325 Avenue of the Americas, a 35-floor office building which houses a number of important tenants, such as ING, Warners Brothers, Inc., and the Minskoff firm itself.
13) Rose Associates
200 Madison Ave, 5th Flr, New York, NY 10016-3912
With a portfolio amounting to over $2 billion in projects and more than 14,000 units across New York City in the last 5 years alone, Rose Associates has become a leading multi-family and mixed-use real estate developer and operator in the city. David and Samuel Rose founded the company during the pre-Depression boom of the late 1920s, and it is currently led by descendants Adam and Amy Rose.
Rose Associates is the owner and developer of 70 Pine Street, formerly the American International Building. This 67-story tower was originally an office building until Rose converted it into the current mixed-use tower that includes 612 residential units and 132 extended-stay apartments, as well as a destination restaurant/lounge, fitness and wellness center, and retail spaces for Black Fox Coffee and Urban Market.
12) LeFrak Organization
40 West 57th Street, New York, NY
LeFrak Organization is a family-owned development and investment company headquartered in New York City. As a development company, its portfolio currently consists of more than 400 buildings in New York, New Jersey, South Florida, Los Angeles, and the West Coast. The firm caters mostly to residential and office sectors, with its affiliates investing in hospitality and retail markets. As an investment company, LeFrak runs a private equity fund, a hedge fund, and an energy firm. The company is currently led by Chairman and CEO Richard LeFrak, son of the late founder Samuel LeFrak.
In New York City, LeFrak developed the Gateway Plaza at 345-395 South End Avenue. It is a high-rise residential building complex in Battery Park, the first of its kind in that locale. The entire complex has 1,712 residential units and 10 commercial spaces totaling 1,881,621 square feet in area. Another notable development by LeFrak includes 40 West 57th Street; a 36-story tall office skyscraper in Midtown which houses the offices of LeFrak, clothing retailer Nautica, and investment management firm Elliott Management Corporation.
11) Extell Development
805 Third Ave, 7th Flr, New York, NY 10022
In 1989, President Gary Barnett took his commitment to delivering quality, value, and beauty from his work in the international diamond industry to the world of real estate development. Extell Development has a comprehensive portfolio of residential, office, hospitality, and mixed-use properties amounting to over 25 million square feet in various stages of development. The firm is responsible for some of the highest elevated residential and mixed-use developments in New York City.
One of Extell’s most noteworthy projects is One57 at 157 West 57th Street. This 75-story complex houses 132 luxury residences, including a penthouse bought by former Prime Minister of Qatar Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani for a record-breaking price of $100 million. Award-winning architect Christian de Portzamparc designed the tower, while the interiors were planned by designer Thomas Juul-Hansen.
10) Tishman Speyer
45 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10111
Chairman Jerry Speyer, along with former father-in-law Robert Tishman, co-founded Tishman Speyer in 1978, grown from the former Tishman Realty & Development Company. Today, the company owns 167 million square feet of real estate across the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia; 19.8 million in New York alone. Tishman Speyer’s portfolio is currently valued at over $88 billion.
Tishman Speyer currently owns and develops two of the most iconic buildings in the city: Rockefeller Center, and the Metlife Tower. At a total area of 9,382,728 square feet, Rockefeller Center is a destination not only for high-end offices but also for world-class shops, restaurants and entertainment venues. The Metlife Tower comprises 3,078,513 square feet of office and retail space near the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Looking to the future, Tishman Speyer is currently developing the Spiral, a 2.85 million-square-foot skyscraper of 65 stories located at 66 Hudson Boulevard, part of the Hudson Yards.
100 Park Ave, 18th Flr, New York, NY 10017
Tishman dates back to 1898 when founder and Polish immigrant Julius Tishman started his career in the real estate business by using his savings to purchase the tenement in which he was living. In 1928, after acquiring additional properties, Tishman incorporated Tishman Realty & Construction, a building, and development firm. In 2010, its construction arm, Tishman Construction Corporation, was sold to AECOM, while the development arm continues to exist as its own company. Tishman’s portfolio spanning 30 years consists of more than 45 million square feet of projects.
Tishman has developed and currently owns and manages the Westin New York Hotel at Times Square. The 45-story, 873-room hotel is part of New York City’s “Revitalization of Times Square” program, which also included Tishman’s development of the 200,000-square-foot E Walk® Retail on 42nd Street entertainment complex.
8) Sapir Organization
260 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016
President Alex Sapir and his family have been leading the Sapir Organization, a group of privately and publicly-held real estate companies, since its establishment in 1998. During that time, the company has made a number of significant sales and purchases, including the sale of 11 Madison Avenue, an iconic office building, for nearly $2.3 billion, and the ground lease purchase of 110 Church Street and 53 Park Place for $231 million.
Sapir currently owns several luxury hotels and residential buildings, including the Mondrian SoHo hotel at 9 Crosby Street, which, after its purchase, they renamed NoMo SoHo. In addition, Sapir developed and currently owns the building at 2 Broadway in NYC. The 34-story tower houses the headquarters of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
7) Douglaston Development LLC
7 Penn Plaza, Ste 600, New York, NY 10001
Douglaston Development LLC is the real estate development arm of the Douglaston Companies, a developer, builder, and owner company based in Douglaston, NY. The conglomerate was founded by 1979 when Chairman Jeffrey Levine established Levine Builders with just two people. Today, the conglomerate consists of three companies: Douglaston Development LLC, Levine Builders, and Clinton Management LLC. The companies in the group work in partnership to deliver a comprehensive portfolio that covers a wide range of development types, including mixed-use, high-rise luxury rentals and condominiums, affordable housing, hospitality, and senior housing.
Within Manhattan, Douglaston Development is known for Ohm, a mixed-income rental building located on the corner of 30th Street and 11th Avenue. It boasts a total of 369 residential units- 80 of the affordable- and a slew of amenities and other features, including a sky deck, lounge, fitness center, retro arcade, garden terrace, and retail spaces. Meanwhile, a number of projects in Brooklyn have been gaining widespread attention. One such project is 1 North 4th Place, a 41-story market rate multi-family rental tower in the heart of North Williamsburg.
6) Silverstein Development
250 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10007
Chairman Larry Silverstein founded Silverstein Development in 1957 as privately-held, full-service real estate development, investment, and management firm based in New York. Silverstein’s portfolio includes a total area of more than 40 million square feet, servicing the office, residential, hotel, and retail sectors. For the past eight years, the firm has been named one of the “Best Places to Work in New York City” by Crain’s New York Business.
Out of the seven towers of new World Trade Center complex, Silverstein has developed 3, 4 and 7 World Trade Center. The first among the towers to be completed was 7; a 52-story, 1.7-million-square-foot tower that houses such tenants as Moody’s Corporation, New York Academy of Sciences, Mansueto Ventures, MSCI, and WilmerHale. It has also been a milestone building for sustainability, as it is New York’s first LEED-Gold certified office building. Other notable projects include the office towers 120 Wall Street, 120 Broadway, and 1177 Avenue of the Americas, the rental complex Silver Towers and River Place, and the currently under-construction Four Season Private Residences New York Downtown at 30 Park Place.
5) Related Companies
60 Columbus Cr, New York, NY 10023
Related Companies is a privately-held New York City-based integrated and diversified real estate development firm founded in 1972. Founder and Chairman Stephen Ross has led the company to ever-bigger projects, extending the company’s full range of services, which includes development, acquisitions, management, finance, marketing, and sales. Headquartered in New York City, the company also has offices and real estate developments in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, South Florida, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai. Related’s existing portfolio is valued at over $15 billion and includes mixed-use, residential, retail, office, trade show, and affordable properties. Related has received numerous accolades, including the Greater New York Construction User Council Award and the Commercial Property Executive Developer of the Year.
Time Warner Center, the 2.8 million-square-foot residential and commercial complex that serves as the global headquarters of Time Warner Inc., is one of Related’s premier development projects. In addition to offices and digital production and broadcast facilities, this 55-story building houses residences, a jazz concert hall, and a major upscale shopping center. Related is also currently developing Hudson Yards above a 26-acre rail yard off 10th Avenue, between 30th and 33rd Streets, owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The project is one of the most ambitious projects ever completed in the city, as its mission is to construct a community from scratch.
4) Vornado Realty Trust
888 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019
Chairman and CEO Stephen Roth founded Vornado Realty Trust in 1982 based on the holdings of a discount store chain and a struggling retailer in New York. From those humble beginnings, the company has grown to currently own and develop 107 office and street retail properties with a total floor area of 23 million square feet in Manhattan alone. The firm is a real estate investment trust (REIT) with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Vornado is also a proud recipient of the Energy Star Partner of the Year Award for Sustained Excellence in 2017 for having a portfolio composed almost exclusively of LEED-certified buildings.
In 2005, Vornado completed 731 Lexington Avenue, also known as the Bloomberg Tower. It is a 1.3-million-square-foot, 56-story, mixed-use tower designed by Cesar and Rafael Pelli. The building sits on the former site of Alexander’s department store, covering the entire block between East 58th and 59th Streets and Lexington and 3rd Avenues. The tower is known for its circular courtyard and offers office, retail and residential spaces.
3) TF Cornerstone
387 Park Ave South, New York, NY 10016
TF Cornerstone began in 1970 when Tom and Fred Elghanayan renovated a small brownstone in New York. In the 40 years since, the brothers have been focused on the acquisition, development, construction, and management of fine residential, commercial and retail properties. The company now boasts a portfolio totaling over 10 million square feet throughout New York City and Washington, D.C, including more than 7000 luxury apartments. TF has won a number of awards for its projects, including the Concrete Industry Board Award of Merit, the AIA New York City Award for Excellence, and the GNYCUC Award for Outstanding Open Space Project.
TF is responsible for The Max at 606 West 57th Street, a massive 42-story apartment complex in Midtown West. With a unit count of 1,028, it has become one of the largest residential developments in New York City. The building, designed by Arquitectonica, features a Tetris-like formation and facade. The tower was dedicated to Max Elghanayan, the late son of Fred Elghanayan who died just aged 30 in January 2018.
2) Forest City Realty Trust
1 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Forest City Realty Trust is a real estate development and management firm headquartered in Cleveland, OH, with offices and core markets in New York City, Washington, DC, Dallas, Denver, and San Francisco. Charles, Max, Leonard and Fannie Ratner founded the firm in 1920 after they emigrated from Poland. The company originally sold materials to contractors, then eventually moved on to development by the 1930’s. In 1960, Forest City went public with an initial offering of 450,000 shares over the counter, eventually moving to its current trading spot in the New York Stock Exchange. The firm has won numerous awards throughout the country, including the ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award, the USGBC Outstanding LEED Homes Multi-family Developer of the Year Award, and the ULI New York Award for Excellence.
The New York by Gehry, located at 8 Spruce Street, is a 76-story apartment building that boasts 904 residential units near the City Hall. The building also includes a pre-K-8 public school in its first 5 floors, an ambulatory care facility for New York-Presbyterian / Lower Manhattan Hospital, ground-floor retail and a level of below-grade hospital parking. Frank Gehry designed the entire building, including the exterior, interior, and all 20 model apartments. The property won the Emporis Skyscraper Award in 2011.
1) Durst Organization
One Bryant Park, New York, NY 10036
Joseph Durst, an immigrant from present-day Poland, founded what would become the Durst Organization in 1915 after buying his first property: the Century Building, at One West 34th Street. Since then, the company has grown into a family-run development firm that is one of the giants of the industry. Throughout its history, it firmly holds on to the principles of innovation, integrity, community, and sustainability, while developing, building, owning, and managing premier office towers and residential buildings that set new standards in environmental responsibility and user efficiency. Durst Organization has been the recipient of multiple awards for its work over the years, including the AIA New York State Design Award, the International Highrise Award, and the Engineering News-Record Best Projects Award.
Durst is responsible for developing One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the United States and in the Western Hemisphere, together with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The tower was designed and constructed with the safety, security and sustainability demanded in this new generation of buildings. One WTC has won multiple awards, including Engineering News-Record’s 2015 Best of the Best Projects in the Office/Retail/Mixed-Use category. Other notable developments include the Condé Nast building at 4 Times Square and the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park.