High Rise: How 1,000 Men and Women Worked Around the Clock for Five Years and Lost $200 Million Building a Skyscraper

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9780060924560: High Rise: How 1,000 Men and Women Worked Around the Clock for Five Years and Lost $200 Million Building a Skyscraper
From Kirkus Reviews:

Times Square was slated for ambitious redevelopment in the mid-1980's when real-estate developer Bruce Eichner set out to build a skyscraper at 1540 Broadway. In planning, the concept changed from a hotel-and-residential tower to a residential-and- office tower, then to an office tower over a four-floor vertical shopping mall. Other such malls had bombed in Manhattan, but the architect had a vision: Shoppers coming for their brand-name sneakers or mass-produced donuts would enter a blindingly lit electronic environment of flashing neon, multiple giant video- screens, exposed internal ``clockwork,'' and laser-light displays. The building itself--a Skidmore, Owings & Merrill design distinguished by a ``prow'' that pointed at the street and a tall mast that would be the building's mark--was topped out by the decade's end but never leased. In 1992, the developers filed for bankruptcy and Citibank sold the building to Bertelsmann for less than its construction cost. Adler, a proficient though not facile Newsweek writer who was on the scene throughout the project's evolution, details the process of development in all its grandiose, blind, missionless complexity: acquiring the property and buying off the variously tenacious tenants; scrambling for partners and bank financing for a game in which the only way to make money is to use other peoples'; dealing with N.Y.C.'s bureaucratic regulatory agencies and labyrinthine, ever-changing zoning code (in Adler's hands you'll breeze through a sentence like ``If the foundation failed to vest on May 13, the zoning would revert to 15 FAR''); arguing colors, materials, and elevator panels among architects with visions and value engineers with construction-cost numbers; fly- swatting nuisance lawsuits; and frenetically pursuing and negotiating deals in an attempt to keep the bubble from bursting. What Adler might have hoped would be a high-rolling success story stands now as a cautionary but no less entertaining tale of the Eighties' cockamamie hubris. (Photographs) (First serial to New York) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Planned during the mid-1980s real estate boom, the office tower built by developer Ian Bruce Eicher at 1540 Broadway in midtown Manhattan became a victim of the soaring office-vacancy rates of the '90s. In a crisp narrative told with pizzazz, Newsweek senior writer Adler describes the project from financing through completion. A morass of disputes, snafus, red tape, cost overruns and personality clashes beset the Broadway State building, which was conceived to bring a glorious shopping mall to the Times Square area along with corporate tenants. Ultimately, the German publishing firm Bertelsmann, owner of Bantam Doubleday Dell, bought the tower from the bankrupt Broadway State Partners last year; it is now the Bertelsmann Building and will be headquarters for the Manhattan staff of the publishing conglomerate. The book suggests that erecting Egypt's pyramids must have been child's play compared to constructing a Manhattan skyscraper. A great read. Photos. First serial to New York magazine.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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