That empty lot next to MoMA on West 53rd Street isn't exactly aesthetically pleasing (unless there are prefab houses in it!), but would an 85 story tower be any better? Many fear that could be a reality, and are battling against the proposed development.

NY1 reports that real estate developer Hines purchased the lot from MoMA and plans to make the tower part hotel and part residential, but it would also house three gallery spaces for the museum (expanding their space by 39%). Even though zoning laws in the area prohibit such a large project, the developer also bought air rights which would allow it. One local declared, "The zoning laws were put into place to prevent canyons from developing. By that I mean having these enormous buildings on the side streets so that the light and air can't get down to the sidewalk."

The law firm repping the tower released a statement saying, "To clarify, the height of the new [MoMA/Hines] building at its very top is 1,250 feet. There will be 85 total stories, but only 82 occupiable stories. The top three stories contain mechanical elements. As a comparison, the top floor of the Empire State Building (102nd floor) is 1,250 feet in height, but the top of its spire is 1,454 feet." At a recent meeting concerning the project, architect Jean Nouvel declared, "I have the ambition to create a new landmark in the city---a landmark of our epoch."

The proposal has been approved by the Manhattan Borough President already, with the City Planning Commission expected to vote on September 9th, prior to going before the City Council.