Architecture studio Adjaye Associates has designed Affirmation Tower, a supertall skyscraper in New York
Manhattan’s tallest building, The Affirmation Tower, is poised to be designed and developed by a star-studded Black team, making the iconic Site K across from the Jacob Javits Convention Center the first skyscraper built by Blacks in the city’s history.
The diverse development team includes architect, Sir David Adjaye, who is renowned for designing global buildings such as the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC; The 40-year-old real estate firm, The Peebles Corporation, led by one of the largest developers in the country; The McKissack Group, a century-old company and the oldest minority/women-owned design construction firm in the US and Exact Capital, which has a niche in residential and commercial real estate. Real estate investor Steven Charles Witkoff, founder of the Witkoff Group, is also a member of the team.
“This project is emblematic of true equity in development,” said Don Peebles, CEO The Peebles Corporation. “A symbol for all who visit New York, cementing in brick and mortar that New York is serious about economic inclusion.”
The team made its presentation to the Empire State Development Corporation on Thursday, October 14, 2021 in response to the RFP for the 1.2 acre lot, which will not only change New York City’s skyline and landscape, but will be a powerful economic engine for minorities and women with the team’s commitment of 35 percent in contracts to people of color totaling more than a billion dollars.
Bounded by 35th and 36th Streets, 11th Avenue and Hudson Boulevard West, Site K sits one block from the High Line, Hudson Yards and the Number 7 subway line.
The project will include a 1663-foot tower, two hotels, an observation deck and skating rink as well as commercial office spaces with the NAACP headquarters.
More than 30,000 New Yorkers will be hired over six years including 15,000 permanent jobs, bringing in more than $5 billion in new tax revenue for the city and state over 30 years.
Peter Ward, former president of New York’s Hotel and Motel Trades, said the project will be a well-needed economic boost not only to the city’s workforce, but also the tourism industry.
“This project will provide $4.4 billion of new economic output per year, bringing thousands of jobs in the construction, design and development as well as millions of people across the globe who will be excited to see this iconic skyscraper,” said Ward.
The project’s inclusive team has not only attracted citywide support from the African-American business and civic communities, but the also the Black clergy.
“Unfortunately for most of New York’s history, African-Americans and people of color have been rendered as mere economic tourists who gaze upward at one of the greatest skylines in the world with the intrinsic knowledge they will never be able to participate in what really makes New York unique,” said Rev. Dr. Charles Curtis, Sr., pastor Mount Olivet Baptist Church and Head of NY Interfaith Commission For Housing Equality. “The awarding of this project to this team will send a statement across the globe that architects, developers, engineers and financial professionals of color are now full participants in this great miracle of global capitalism called New York City.”