Disney/ABC Building Set to Become Life Sciences Complex


A rendering of 125 West End Avenue by Viewpoint Studios.

Walt Disney decided to sell several buildings in their Upper West Side campus as part of their deal to buy assets from Fox. And the fate of one of those buildings is now becoming more clear. The 8-story structure at 125 West End Avenue — once a Chrysler auto plant — will be redeveloped into a life sciences complex, according to developer Taconic Partners, which is working with Nuveen Real Estate. Disney is expected to vacate the property in January 2021.


125 West End Avenue now.

It’s expected to be completed in 2023, according to the Times. The paper says the building will be “part of an emerging life science cluster on Manhattan’s West Side.”

Taconic says it is “building into a state-of-the-art, purpose-built research and laboratory complex, which will meet the growing and unmet needs of the rapidly expanding life sciences sector in NYC. The repositioning of the building will feature open floorplates, a high performance façade, robust mechanical infrastructure, and unique amenities serving future tenants.”

There are two clusters of buildings in the Disney portfolio that are likely to be rebuilt or redeveloped. One is farther east between 66th and 67th Street, and between Columbus and Central Park West.

Landmark West has been tracking the area and put together the image below of the buildings that could be developed.

They also put together a map of the West End Avenue cluster, which stretches from 64th to 66th and West End to Riverside.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 28 comments | permalink
    1. Ish Kabibble says:

      Love me some open floorplates!

    2. Al N. Clusivo says:

      I’ll just get this started. The design of these buildings is out of character with the neighborhood and will rob the neighboring buildings of sun and fresh air. Further, they will disrupt the quality of life of the neighborhood for years during the construction phase. They will overtax the neighborhood’s already overtaxed infrastucture, including utilities, mass transit, free on-street parking, protected bike lanes, luxury substance abuse housing, and eco-friendly dog runs. Finally, and most importantly, they include no provisions for affordable housing. These deplorable, monstrous abominations MUST be stopped in their tracks before craven real estate interests can coerce city leaders into approving a dubiously zoned development. Anyone who loves the Upper West Side as it has been for the last 70 years MUST stand in opposition to any change.

      • LL says:

        It includes no provisions for affordable housing?

        Why would it? It’s not housing. Thus is commercial real estate. It currently it is commercial real estate, and it will be.

        And yes. Affordable housing would be great – we need more in the neighborhood – I’m not sure what a research building has to do woth that.

        I DO agree that the quality of life of the nearby tenants will suffer for years.

        I also wonder if they will maybe have an internship program for the local high school kids. That would be great. Like from MLK or Environmental Science

      • AC57 says:

        Dude I’m all for this. Something totally new to the UWS, loving it.

        Kinda wish they proposed a skyscraper for 320 West 66th’s site, and for them to do something with that vacant lot to the south, but this is definitely a good start.

      • AC57 says:

        But hold on a second…

        @Al it seems like you didn’t read the article. This is a facade redesign, no new building is being built. Can’t be too tall if it’s literally using an existing skeleton that’s shorter than almsot every surrounding building.

        And why would a life science facility include affordable housing? That’d be nice but it’s nonsensical

        Also, think about the opportunities it could bring to the neighborhood, and to local high school kids.

        Disliking the design is one thing, but if you’re really going to try and fight this, I’m genuinely concerned.

      • YIMBY says:

        Very clever put-down of all the NIMBY arguments against anything new!
        Ummm…it WAS a sarcastic put-down, yes?
        You were NOT being serious…right…right?

      • Nat says:

        Sarcastic much?

      • JJJAmeson says:

        This is the kind of satire I look for on this site.

      • GeezLouise says:

        If this is satire, this is phenomenal.

      • nycityny says:

        Al N Clusivo – People here are too serious and obviously aren’t getting your humor, including your chosen name. You’re just reiterating every claim folks make on WSR whenever a new building is proposed.

      • denton says:

        This is satire, right? lol

      • Scott B says:

        Have you fallen asleep for the last year? NYC is a disaster. Overtax the subway? The Subways are empty and MTA may go bankrupt. Also if there is any tax increase the average NYC professional will be paying 40%+9%+4%+the proposed SS tax of 12% which is 65% tax. Nobody who makes more than $400,000 per year will stay in NYC and those people pay 90% of the NYC budget. Game over.

      • rick says:

        Well played, sir.

      • Gregg says:

        It’s a redesign of the existing buildings. It’s not new buildings. I worked for ABC for 9 years in that complex. The complex is almost its own little city. The redesign doesn’t look like it’s taller than the apartments that surround it, so how is that the air and sun? Do you even know this area? Seriously, the apartment complexes that were put up in the 1950’s are 12 stories and the 125 WEA complex is only 8 stories.

        The overly dramatic tone of your comment had me laughing. Relax a bit. Would you rather have another 20 Storey tRump pile of $hit rise up in its place

    3. Wijmlet says:

      Bldg looks better nw than in projected form.

    4. LL says:

      “one a Chrysler auto plant”? I’m thinking the correct word is “once, ” no? As in “once a Chrysler auto plant.”

    5. annon says:

      @ Al N. Clusivo:

      What? this is a low rise life science / lab commercial building. It will bring high paying jobs to a somewhat remote location. I assume your rant is sarcastic given your comment about eco-friendly dog runs.

    6. LK says:

      Could we please research some live viruses in these new facilities? What could possibly go wrong?

    7. charles becker says:

      Upper West Siders have a well deserved reputation for complaining about everything.
      The UWS has more than enough low-income housing and homeless shelters.

      Creating a cluster of science building is a wonder addition to the UWS which will enhance the intellectual atmosphere of the neighborhood.

      • Buddy Revell says:

        There is enough know it all intellectuals on the UWS already….

      • World Peacenik says:

        Are you complaining about Upper West Siders complaining about everything AND about excessive low-income housing and homeless shelters?

        Because that would be a new complaining record.

        Congratulations!

    8. Evan Janovic says:

      It will bring many more jobs to the UWS, create more opportunities for local retail businesses to revive and florish. It will even bring in a group of tenants for unsold and unrented apartments. Is NYC now unwilling to have brilliant researchers as neighbors? What is the matter with you people?

    9. Fred Garvin says:

      Anybody know what will happen to the Gracefully supermarket?

    10. Robert says:

      Life sciences are a great thing. NYC needs to diversify its economic base and life sciences are the future. They drive Boston’s economy which is doing much better than NYCs. If you want more affordable housing move further out. No one has a “right” to affordable housing in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country. Affordable Healthcare and health insurance for all yes. Affordable housing in luxury markets no. Wa$te of tax payer money.

    11. Colleen says:

      Life sciences is great, but I’m kinda bummed about abc by 66th and Columbus. They just built that news window a few years ago. Now they’re going to turn it back into construction. Sigh.