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14 Projects Changing The Face Of American Cities

Faster, higher, stronger. All across America, developers, designers and urban planners are turning the Olympic motto into architectural reality, reshaping the face of American cities in the process. We selected the 14 most eye-catching projects underway in the country. 

One Vanderbilt - New York City

Rendering of the One Vanderbilt skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan.

The striking One Vanderbilt aims to be NYC's second-tallest building. Proposed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and developers SL Green Realty and Hines as part of a planned Midtown East rezoning, the supertall 57-story structure will have 1.6M SF of Class-A office space. Unlike other behemoths in the city, One Vanderbilt is seen as a gentle giant, as the design was not focused just on profit, but also easing pedestrian and transit flow in the nearby area, which includes Grand Central. It will deliver in 2020.

Salesforce Tower - San Francisco 


Residents of the Bay Area have been watching Salesforce Tower take shape for years. The supertall 61-story tower has been under construction since 2013. The 1.6M SF building was originally built on spec, breaking ground without commitment from a major tenant. In 2014, Salesforce signed a 714K SF lease, valued at $560M, to occupy 30 floors. Designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, developed by Boston Properties and Hines, and built by a joint venture between Clark Construction Group and Hathaway Dinwiddie, the building will open this year. It has received sharp criticism for its lack of a public viewing deck, though the city has no lack of alternatives.  

Vista Tower - Chicago 


Breaking ground last September, Vista Tower represents the largest real estate investment by a Chinese firm in the United States. A joint venture between Magellan Development and Chinese partner Dalian Wanda Group, the $1B development designed by Studio Gang Architects will feature 406 luxury condos and 192 five-star hotel rooms across 98 combined stories. One-bedroom apartments start at $1M. 

Wilshire Grand Center - Los Angeles 


The City of Angels will soon have a new 73-story tower watching over it ... but not accepting helicopters. Hanjin Group worked with Thomas Properties Group on the enormous mixed-use development. The design from AC Martin is unique for two reasons: It will be the tallest building in LA, and it will be the first to be built without a flat roof since 1974, when the fire ordinance was changed to require helipads after a devastating fire in São PauloThe Wilshire Grand was granted an exception by the Los Angeles City Fire Department, as the building will include advances in fire safety and building technology. Plans include 900 InterContinental hotel rooms and 400K SF of office space. 

609 Main - Houston 

609 Main at Texas

Hines is at it again in Houston, this time with the 50-story 609 Main at Texas mixed-use tower Downtown. Designed by Pickard Chilton, the project's north and south façade extend skyward, creating a dramatic diagonal crown that serves as a highly visible landmark. In addition to the 1M SF of mixed-use space, the development also includes a whopping 1,700 parking spots in a 13-level garage. Chances are Houstonians will need every last one of them. 

Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences One Dalton Street - Boston

The Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street

Boston's Back Bay skyline is in for another shakeup as Carpenter & Co.'s 61-story project continues to rise. The project designed in collaboration with Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and Cambridge Seven Associates will be Boston's third-tallest building when completed in 2018. The combined luxury hotel and residential tower is a major change for the city, which has not built this big since the Hancock in 1976. 

Resorts World - Las Vegas 


Not to be outdone, Sin City is also cooking up its own megaproject. In 2007, Boyd Gaming tore down the famed Stardust, but redevelopment into Echelon Place was halted during the 2008 crisis. Boyd sold the 87-acre tract on the Las Vegas strip to Genting Group, which brought on Steelman Partners to redesign the development. It came up with a staggering $7B Chinese-themed resort casino packed with four hotel towers with 6,583 rooms, 175K SF of gaming space, a 4,000-seat theater, a panda exhibit and an indoor water park. The gargantuan development will be 21M SF at completion. 

Panorama Tower - Miami 


Previously known as 1101 Brickell, Panorama Tower initially got tied up in the drama of the Great Recession and was delayed for years. The project was revived when the new owners, Florida East Coast Realty (FECR), brought on Moshe Cosicher to redesign the plan. A portion of the project's funding came from EB-5 visas. Upon completion later this year, the tower will be Miami's tallest, but it will not hold the title for long. One Bayfront Plaza, also by FECR, will overtake it in 2019, as could another proposed condo project from FECR called The Towers, a sign of just how hot development is in Miami. The building will still hold the title of the largest building in Miami, with a gross floor area of 3M SF, including the existing structure. 

The Independent - Austin 


The Jenga-style design from Rhode Partners is certainly an eye-catcher. The 58-story, 685-foot-tall building will be Austin's tallest when completed in 2018. The project is a joint venture between Austin-based Constructive Ventures and Aspen Heights. Three hundred seventy condo units will be spread across roughly 950K SF. Need a place to crash next time you attend ACL, SXSW or the Formula One United States Grand Prix? Prices range from $400K to $3M. 

Hudson Yards - New York City

Hudson Yards in Manhattan

The Hudson Yards redevelopment program is one of the most ambitious projects undertaken in NYC in recent years. Combining the city, state and private developers, the project's cost is expected to reach north of $20B. The centerpiece will be the 28-acre mixed-use development from Related Cos. and Oxford Properties. The master plan from Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates includes 16 skyscrapers with more than 12.7M SF of office, residential and retail space. The project will be completed in various phases over the next seven years and is estimated to attract 65,000 daily visitors. 

Central Place - Rosslyn 


Height restrictions prevent buildings from dominating Washington, D.C.'s skyline, but in neighboring Rosslyn, Central Place is reaching upward. The project designed by Beyer Blender Belle Architects & Planners features 570K SF of office space, 44K SF of retail and 350 high-end condos. The 31-story mixed-use tower from JBG Cos. will include a public bus tunnel to connect it to the bustling metro surrounding it. Construction on the residential tower started in spring 2014, and CEB Tower broke ground just five months later. The apartment building opened last month, while the developer expects to open CEB Tower, which will be topped by a public observation tower, early next year.

Comcast Innovation And Technology Center - Philadelphia 


It's always sunny in Philadelphia, unless you are in the shadow of the 60-story Comcast Innovation And Technology Center. Next door to its HQ, Comcast is constructing its future, a building that will be the ninth-tallest in the U.S. The design by Foster + Partners features 1.7M SF of rentable space. On a clear day, it is expected the view from the top will be over 40 miles. Comcast is working with Liberty Property Trust on the $1.2B project.

The Mark - Seattle 


Designed by ZGF Architects, The Mark is set to deliver later this year. A SLS Hotel will be on the fifth through 15th floors, topped by 528K SF of office space for a total of 43 stories. Construction complications caused by leftover cables and shoring mechanisms for the nearby Columbia Center led the project's developer, Daniels Real Estate, to file a lawsuit against the Columbia Center's owners. 

1144 Fifteenth - Denver 


Buildings in the Mile High City are getting even higher. Pickard Chilton designed 1144 Fifteenth, the tallest building to be built in Denver in 30 years. Hines' 40-story skyscraper is already attracting major attention in the capital of the No. 1 economy in the United States. According to JLL, leasing on the building's 670K SF of spec space is well ahead of schedule.