A city block next to Grand Central Terminal has been cleared to make way for a 63-story glass tower, giving those working in that part of Midtown East a small consolation prize for enduring years of construction: A nice view of the historic building's western side.

One lawyer whose office is in the neighborhood told the NY Times, "Just look at it. Grand Central has never looked so grand."

With a legal battle over air rights settled, a groundbreaking ceremony will be held tomorrow for One Vanderbilt, the new tower that will take up the block between Vanderbilt and Madison Avenues and 42nd and 43rd Streets, the cornerstone of the "Vanderbilt corridor" rezoning that will see part of Vanderbilt become a pedestrian plaza. The Wall Street Journal reports that there are very high hopes for the skyscraper, which will "soar over the Chrysler Building. New York City planners also see the $3 billion tower as the first step in modernizing the area around an important gateway—Grand Central—and throughout the aging East Midtown office district."


City Council Member Daniel Garodnick said, "With this development we are sending a clear signal that East Midtown is on a new path. For too long, the area has been stuck in outdated building regulations that have kept growth from happening." Now, with the rezoning, Crain's says the city expects "the creation of 16 new towers, which translates into an additional 6.6 million square feet of office space with 26,507 workers. Currently midtown east consists of 70 million square feet of office space, less than 5% was built within the past two decades."

One Vanderbilt, which is being marketed as the "most extraordinary new skyscraper," was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC. President James von Klemperer, who said, "The challenge was how can a 1,400-foot glass building relate with this palatial stone box of a neo-Roman design. The two buildings couldn’t be more different, but they still share a bond."

He also believes, "It’s going to brighten the neighborhood and give it a sense of prosperity and relevance."

Here's video of neighboring buildings being taken down at the site of One Vanderbilt:

One Vanderbilt's completion date is expected to be in 2020.