One Vanderbilt ribbon cutting marks a milestone for the first major project in the Midtown East Rezoning area

Friday, October 9, 2020

One Vanderbilt ribbon cutting marks a milestone for the first major project in the Midtown East Rezoning area

Ribbon cutting for One Vanderbilt took place on September 14, 2020. The building was designed by James von Klemperer, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates and is located between 42nd and 43rd Street and between Madison and Vanderbilt Avenue, immediately west of Grand Central Terminal. According to developer SL Green, the majority of the building is leased to banks, private equity firms, legal practices and real estate companies. The developer took advantage of the Midtown East Rezoning, which leverages public/private partnerships. Developers can acquire bonus floors for their buildings in exchange for the inclusion of public works in their projects. Unused development rights were also transferred from the former Bowery Savings Bank, a nearby landmark building. The bonus floors added up to make One Vanderbilt the city’s fourth tallest skyscraper. SL Green invested $220 million in public works in and around Grand Central Terminal. One Vanderbilt could not open until the public improvements were complete. A new public plaza and many improvements to the MTA subway station at Grand Central were a requirement of the project, with the goal of improving circulation and accessibility. The improvements are described below.

1 Vanderbilt Plaza, where the ribbon cutting was held, is a new pedestrian plaza located where there used to be a street and narrow sidewalks along Vanderbilt Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Street. The plaza is not yet open to the public because the site hasn’t been cleared yet for public use and its safety plan is not complete.

A new 4,000-square-foot public transit hall inside the tower, will provide enhanced connections to Grand Central Terminal, Metro-North the 42nd Street-Grand Central Terminal subway station and future access to the Long Island Rail Road station as part of the East Side Access project. In addition, there will be a new ADA elevator from East Side Access to 43rd Street.

A new 42nd Street street-level entrance provides direct access to the 42nd Street-Grand Central Terminal subway station along with a new ADA elevator providing service from the Shuttle platform to 42nd Street.

Improved circulation at the 42nd Street-Grand Central subway station offers a 37% increase in mezzanine circulation space, new staircases between the mezzanine and platform levels of the 4, 5, and 6 subway lines, additional turnstiles and gates and a new ADA elevator at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue. Reduction in congestion on the platforms will result in at least one additional train per hour through the station. 

The reopened passageway connects the Grand Central 4/5/6 subway to a new entrance and stairway on the southeast corner of 42nd St and Lexington Avenue. 

Main photo: Mayor Bill de Blasio cut the ribbon at the new One Vanderbilt building. Photo (detail) by Luiz C. Ribeiro/for New York Daily News.

Subway passage from the southeast corner of Lexington Avenue to the subway mezzanine at Grand Central.
New turnstiles at the entrance on Lexington at 42nd Street.
The renovated and redesigned mezzanine at the 4/5/6 Grand Central-42nd Street Station.


Department of City Planning (DCP) website for the project

City Planning Commission (CPC) report, an official document of the project and the improvements.

Mayor de Blasio cuts ribbon for One Vanderbilt, NYC’s second-tallest skyscraper
September 14, 2020,, by Morgan Chittum and Shant Shahrigian