Rem Koolhaas’s Flatiron Tower Trimmed?

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Photo: Rendering courtesy of Artefactory

Whispers over supposed problems at 23 East 22nd Street, the cantilevering Rem Koolhaas–designed building in Madison Square Park, and its sister project, the lanky, 60-story One Madison Park, have grown louder in recent days. We hear that buyers are grumbling about the lobby — "It's not looking the way [some buyers] want," says one source — while others are complaining that the entrance will apparently be on the less-pretty 23rd Street side, as opposed to quieter 22nd Street. Now comes word, via Curbed.com, that Koolhaas's design has been guillotined, its size now shrunk to eleven stories. Some wonder if Koolhaas will be attached to the project at all, or if all of the promised amenities will be delivered, which may drive some buyers in contract to rethink their plans.

"I would think that a significant change in construction details in the offering plan raises the likelihood of more deals not closing," muses one veteran of the residential-real-estate industry. "At a time when developers are trying desperately to close out the units they've already sold, this is a significant problem." (We're still waiting to hear from the Buildings Department about whether proposed amendments to the plan are actually significant.) The developers and brokers say not to worry — it's still Rem's building. "The final size of the Rem Koolhaas–designed south tower is still undetermined, but all the Koolhaas-designed amenities in the base of the building (lobby, pool, gym, club room, wine storage, screening room) are moving forward as planned," says Brown Harris Stevens's Wilbur Gonzalez, who's repping the building with colleague Wendy Maitland. In other words, your quality of life won't decline, but they'll get back to you on the quality of the architecture.

Related: Read New York architecture critic Justin Davidson's take on the tower.