The 76-story Beekman Tower topped out today in Lower Manhattan, just months after developer Forest City Ratner stopped work on the site and threatened to cap the structure at 40 stories because of high project costs.

The 1.1-million-sq-ft Beekman Tower is one of the earliest success stories of New York City's Recovery PLA.
Photo: Staff
The 1.1-million-sq-ft Beekman Tower is one of the earliest success stories of New York City's Recovery PLA.

The Frank Gehry-designed residential high-rise is a major victory for New York City’s Construction Industry Partnership (CIP), which, in May, agreed on a project labor agreement designed to keep troubled projects moving during the recession. Beekman Tower, helmed by construction manager Kriesler Borg Florman, Scarsdale, was one of the first projects to qualify for the PLA, which was negotiated by the Building Trades Employers’ Association (BTEA) and the Building and Construction Trade Council of Greater New York (BCTC) early last year when construction activity had begun to considerably decrease.

Thursday’s topping out makes Beekman Tower the first project under the PLA to reach the milestone. According to a Ratner press release, the ongoing construction of the 867-ft tower to its original specifications has created 2,500 construction jobs. Since the PLA was announced in May, 37 projects totaling more than $6 billion have been approved and executed under the deal, creating nearly 20,000 jobs. An additional six projects are approved but have not yet begun construction and six more are in the early application stages.

“Quitting on New York City’s future and our working men and women is not an option,” says BCTC President Gary LaBarbera. “Even under the most difficult economic circumstances in decades, the best developers, contractors and union work force can continue to build the greatest skyline in the world. And Beekman Tower is proof of that.”

From the start, Beekman Tower has been one of the highest-profile projects in Lower Manhattan and all of New York City. Gehry’s first-ever residential high-rise, the $680 million tower will become the city’s tallest residential building while, with its shimmering, silver stainless-steel curtain wall, redefining the downtown skyline.

“Beekman Tower … will forever stand as an inspiration for achieving what sometimes seems impossible,”
says Louis J. Colletti, BTEA president.