Long Island City Reveals Its Tallest Residential Tower

Described as a “sleek, monolithic structure,” the 800-condo building boasts 360 degree views of Manhattan.

By Jeff Vasishta January 10, 2017
Rendering: MAQE, via Hill West Architects.

As the rest of NYC scales back on new developments, Long Island City keeps charging forward, filling its skyline with shimmering steel and glass. The latest tower to stretch upwards to the stars will become the tallest of all L.I.C.’s new constructions. Known as Court Square City View Tower, the 66-story, 984 feet tall building had its plans filed a year ago. But new renderings have only just become available.

Described as a “sleek, monolithic structure” by architects Hill West, the 800-condo building boasts 360 degree views of Manhattan. The lower portion fans out into broader base with retail space. The tower will also have some pretty sleek amenities—a fitness center, pool, sauna, spa, yoga room and storage.

The developers will use two shades of glass—“neutral blue” on the broad faces and “clear green” along the edges. It results in “a building that appears to expose its special interiors beyond its glassy exterior.” Flushing-based developer Chris Jiashu Xu (under the name CityView Tower LLC) is the developer behind the project. According to 6sqft, work is already underway.

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Long Island City has long become synonymous with glassy high-rises—a kind of Dubai on the East River. Recently, the proliferation of such structures in cities around the world has come under criticism. Glass is a great conductor of heat and cold. Thus, it can use a lot of energy to keep a comfortable temperature throughout the year, particularly in hot climates.

Famously in 2013 a glass tower at London’s 20 Fenchurch Street was accused of melting cars below as it’s glass facade reflected powerful sunlight. The developer later added a sunshade. We’re assuming that the two-tone glass in Court Square City View Tower will prevent any such mishaps in L.I.C.?

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Glass buildings can be a double edged sword. In a moderate climate, the amount of added natural light is a big draw, reducing electricity costs. However, those costs don’t really matter when temperatures become extreme. British architect, Ken Shuttleworth helped design the “Gherkin”—one of the most recognizable glass structures on the London skyline. He told the BBC that because of the environment, he has completely rethought the way he designs buildings.

“Everything I’ve done for the last 40 years I’m rethinking now,” he says. “If you were designing [the Gherkin] today… it wouldn’t be the same product all the way around the building. “We need to be much more responsible in terms of the way we shade our buildings and the way we thermally think about our buildings.”

Shading could be the answer to to many of glass’s detractors. Pro-glass bodies, such as Glass For Europe, have pointed to sustainable glass buildings. The glass has been fashioned into corridors that don’t require central heating and solar panels that can seamlessly fit into a design. Glass is also fully recyclable, they point out.

Andrea Charlson of engineering firm Arup concurs. “There have been a lot of advancements in glass technology in the last few years and it’s amazing what we can do now in terms of putting coatings on glass. Some of them can be a heavy color tint that will provide some shading. Others will be almost invisible but will still keep a lot of the heat and solar gain outside a building,” she says.

The positioning of a building, so as not to directly absorb south facing sunlight, is also pivotal in limiting how much a glass structure will heat up. However, perhaps the more pressing question for L.I.C locals concerns the sheer volume of glass buildings that now overwhelms the area. Sky high glass upon glass can become rather sterile and soulless. Potential residents may want to ask themselves if such a city is truly for them.

Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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