56 Leonard Street

Why is this Jenga-looking futuristic building considered one of the most significant and expensive new residential buildings built in downtown Manhattan over the past decade?

Let’s start with the basics


56 Leonard Street is often referred to as the “Jenga Building” due to its unique cantilevered design that resembles a precarious stack of blocks. It was marketed during sales as a Global Landmark (and appropriately so).

Location


The building is situated in Tribeca, a neighborhood of Lower Manhattan in New York City just south of Soho and often listed as one of the most expensive zip codes in the United States.

56 Leonard Street Buildings

Design


56 Leonard Street is architecturally significant to say the least. It was designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, which is famous for creating innovative, modern designs along with the use of visual concrete.

Height and Structure


The building stands 821 feet tall and consists of 57 floors. This makes it one of the tallest structures in the Tribeca neighborhood and it stands out distinctly in the skyline.

56 Leonard Street interior with bedroom

Residences


It houses 145 residences, each of which has a unique floor plan. The variety and layout of these apartments aim to provide a “houses in the sky” feel for its residents—the lower floors house one, two and three bedroom apartments. As you get to the higher floors, there are four bedroom half floor, and full floor five bedroom penthouse units.

Needless to say the views are as good as you will find in Manhattan due to the lack of tall buildings in the landmarked neighborhood. The initial Sponsor sales are sold out. There are, however, resales available.

Prices


One-bedroom resales start at around $2,600,000 for just under 1,000 sf. Two Bedroom apartments which are 1,692 sf, start at $4,750,000 and up. Three Bedroom apartments are 2,150 sf and start at around $7,000,000 then you have half floors and Penthouse full floors, which are $14,000,000 to $47,000,000.

Construction


The construction of the building started in 2008 but was halted due to the financial crisis. It resumed in 2012 and was completed in 2016. Alexico was the developer and Hines was its partner. Goldman Sachs was an investor in the project and several executives ended up living there once complete.

Anish Kapoor’s Sculpture


The base of the building features a mirrored, bean-shaped sculpture by Anish Kapoor, the artist who also created Chicago’s “Cloud Gate” (popularly known as “The Bean”). Rumor has it that the sculpture was bartered with the developer for a half floor unit. It is unclear if this is true but Anish Kapoor is an owner of a half-floor unit in the building.

Amenities


56 Leonard Street offers several luxury amenities to its residents, including a 75-foot lap pool, a theater, a children’s playroom, and an outdoor sun deck. There is of course a full time doorman and concierge.

Penthouse


The penthouse of 56 Leonard Street is one of the most expensive residences in Tribeca and downtown. It offers panoramic views of the city, from the Hudson River to the Atlantic Ocean

swimming pool at 56 Leonard St

Herzog & de Meuron, the architects behind this project, have been known for forward-thinking concepts throughout their careers. In the case of 56 Leonard, these concepts take the form of an innovative stack of individual homes suggesting the new idea of a vertical neighborhood in which each owner can choose a unique residence, albeit in the sky.

The foundation of 56 Leonard


The foundation of 56 Leonard consists of 1,500-ton, 24-inch diameter caissons socketed in bedrock, and 180-ton end-bearing H-piles. The lengths of caissons and piles range from 90 to 110 feet below the cellar level. Five-foot-deep reinforced concrete caps structurally connect the caissons and piles. The caps serve as main supports for the vertical and lateral force-resisting systems.

empty space at 56 leonard street


The building also has a great number of cantilevered slabs. The thickness of the slab controlled short cantilevers whereas larger ones utilized beams. The largest of cantilevers, which are about 25 feet long, were solved by creating a reinforced concrete Vierendeel truss extending over two stories and engaging the vertical members between them. The tower’s height, limited space and large slenderness ratio imposed stringent demands on the overall strength and stiffness of the structure.

Those demands were met economically by using high-strength concrete of up to 12,000 psi. The specified concrete compressive strength ranges from 12,000 psi at the base of the building to 7,000 psi at the top.

The wind tunnel study performed for the 56 Leonard project resulted in the incorporation of a Liquid Sloshing Damper (LSD) aimed at reducing and controlling lateral displacements and accelerations. An LSD, measuring 32 by 36 feet in plan and reaching 10 feet high, was placed at the 56th mezzanine floor.

Best of all there is one brand new unit left in the building. It is a resale and was a sale closed in 2017 and never occupied by the owner

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