SL Green Realty Corp. today broke ground on One Vanderbilt Avenue, a state-of-art office skyscraper that will anchor the modernization of the East Midtown business district and stand as the second tallest tower in New York City. Rising adjacent to Grand Central Terminal, One Vanderbilt will include direct connections to its network of mass transit, improved by $220 million in upgrades that SL Green is implementing as part of the project.

To mark the construction milestone, SL Green Chief Executive Officer, Marc Holliday, was joined by elected officials and partners, including New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, Congresswoman, Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President, Gale Brewer and Councilmember, Dan Garodnick, at an on-site groundbreaking ceremony.

“One Vanderbilt will be a high-performing addition to the Manhattan skyline serving as a blueprint for 21st century commercial development,” said SL Green CEO Marc Holliday. “As the largest commercial property owner in New York, we are proud to partner with the City to create a model for unsubsidized development that drives our economy and makes a critical contribution to its infrastructure.”

“This new office building, transit upgrades at Grand Central, and expanded pedestrian space are what I call smart growth. We demanded and secured private investments into important City infrastructure that put hundreds of thousands of straphangers first. This strategy helps to keep our city competitive while improving the lives of New Yorkers,” Mayor de Blasio said.

Designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF) Associates, One Vanderbilt will encompass an entire city block, bounded by Madison and Vanderbilt Avenues to the west and east, and East 43rd and East 42nd Streets to the north and south. Standing 1,401 feet tall, the building’s tapered form will pay tribute to New York’s iconic skyscrapers, while its sharp lines and bold angles will punctuate Manhattan’s skyline with an elegant, 21st-century articulation. At its base along 42nd Street, the building will set back at an angle to permanently reveal Grand Central’s majestic Vanderbilt cornice – a view that has been obstructed for nearly a century.

Expected to achieve the highest possible LEED certification, the trophy tower will offer 1.7 million square feet of Class-A office space across 58 floors, featuring column-free floors and stunning views through floor-to-ceiling windows. One Vanderbilt will also offer tenants floor to ceiling slab heights ranging from 14’6″ to 20′, a 30,000-square-foot tenant-only amenity floor and world-class dining.

“One Vanderbilt will not only emerge as an elegant, tapered new icon on the New York skyline, but will also serve as a leading example of a global trend of connecting train stations to tall towers,” said James von Klemperer, FAIA, RIBA, President of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. “This building will change its neighborhood for the better. It will provide a new gateway to the city made possible only through the unusually harmonious partnership between architect, developer, and the City of New York.”

Through SL Green’s unprecedented $220 million public infrastructure investment, One Vanderbilt hopes to transform the commuting experience for hundreds of thousands of travelers commuting through Grand Central each day. Specifically, this package of infrastructure upgrades will create a new jewel box transit hall in the base of One Vanderbilt, a new 14,000-square-foot pedestrian plaza on Vanderbilt Avenue, and enhanced access into and out of the Grand Central complex for riders of the city subway system, Metro-North and future Long Island Railroad East Side Access.

SL Green has secured TD Bank as an anchor tenant, set to occupy approximately 200,000 square feet of office and retail space in One Vanderbilt, including a flagship store at the corner of 42nd Street and Madison Avenue. Hines is SL Green’s development manager and AECOM’s Tishman Construction is the construction manager. Construction is expected to be complete in 2020.