Inside the Opening of the Last Major Parcel Along Bryant Park

By Liam La Guerre

July 22, 2015,

In 2010, long before shovels were in the ground at an empty lot across the street from Bryant Park, three titans of the real estate industry came together to celebrate.

Renowned architect Henry Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, global developer Gerald Hines of Hines, and textiles magnate Roger Milliken of Milliken & Company—a trio that had collectively shaped many skylines and landscapes of major U.S. cities—had just formed a partnership for a parcel of land along the park and they wanted to mark the occasion.

These men were in their 80s and 90s (Mr. Cobb and Mr. Hines were 85; Milliken, who would die later that year was, 95), but at a dinner between the three men—and five others—they raised a glass:

To the future, someone said.

The tower the trio envisioned, 7 Bryant Park, will open by the end of the summer with a new subway entrance and features that emphasize the park, such as a curved corner facing the green space that creates panoramic views of the park from upper floors in the building which are unlike any tower in the area. Commercial Observer got a first look at the views and the rest of the office building last week.

“It brings the park in from across the street. Here it feels like the park is an extension of the building,” Tommy Craig, senior managing director of Hines, one of those who was in attendance at the dinner, told CO. “It really was the last open piece of the park—so we are completing the park.”

The steel and glass building respects Bryant Park in even more ways than just being a building from which to admire the park.

And although it’s smaller than some of its neighbors, “the scale of the gesture of what they did here makes it such a presence on the park and gives you a feeling that it’s sort of boxing in the same weight class with these great big buildings,” said Mary Ann Tighe, the chief executive officer of CBRE’s New York tri-state region, who is exclusively marketing the available office space in the building and small retail space.

At the curved entrance for 7 Bryant Park, where East 40th Street and Avenue of the Americas meet, a 46-foot diameter, UFO-like steel canopy floats at the base of its hourglass-shaped facade. The disc was made with the intention to be a landmark near the park, welcoming pedestrians.

Under the canopy there will be public seating and a water fountain.

Mr. Cobb “saw this as a social space where people could say, ‘I’ll see you under the canopy,’” Mr. Craig said. “This is a very important edge now in