Checking In: 61 Fifth Avenue

61 Fifth Avenue

Work is nearly complete at the Alta Indelman-designed 61 Fifth Avenue, which is why reports of a facade-makeover were surprising. The commentary followed a broker’s post on Instagram, which was re-posted on a marketing website, then subsequently spread through the blogosphere; renderings are pointless when buildings have already been completed, which is why YIMBY reached out to the building’s architect for comment.

Per Alta Indelman, “Absolutely no change whatsoever is planned for the exterior! [61 Fifth Avenue] changed sales brokers, that’s all. The new broker’s rendering looks darker because of the colors they used.  The building is not changing at all!”

61 Fifth Avenue

61 Fifth Avenue

Pictures speak louder than both words and renderings, and work is clearly complete on the exterior of 61 Fifth Avenue, which stands ten stories tall, and has four units in total, atop ground-level retail. YIMBY toured the building and interviewed the architect back in December, and the facade’s Indiana Buff limestone — which is the traditional cladding for buildings along Fifth Avenue — will most definitely remain.

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Posted in 61 Fifth Avenue | Alta Indelman | Architecture | Downtown | New York | Residential

New Renderings: The Greenwich Lane

The Greenwich Lane -- image by Hayes Davidson

New renderings are up for the multi-component Greenwich Lane development, which will consist of five buildings and five townhomes. The site is located between West 11th and West 12th Streets off of Seventh Avenue, and is the former location of St. Vincent’s Hospital, which was recently demolished. Construction is also making significant progress, and foundation work for the largest of the complex’ buildings — at 155 West Eleventh Street — is now beginning.

The Greenwich Lane

The Greenwich Lane — overview & 155 West 11th Street

The Greenwich Lane will keep the facades of several of the site’s former occupants, which is evident in the latest construction photos; the old buildings along West 12th Street have been reduced to exteriors and supports, with the insides completely gutted. As concrete begins to be poured, the overall form of the project will become much more cohesive, eliminating the visual disconnect left in the absence of St. Vincent’s.

The Greenwich Lane

The Greenwich Lane

All aspects of The Greenwich Lane will look contextual, though the new-build portions will be ‘glassier’ than the restored components. Still, the entirety of the development will blend into its surroundings, and incorporating masonry into the new buildings will ensure a timeless look, while also proving FXFowle’s versatility; the firm is also responsible for 35 XV — located just a few blocks to the northeast — and while the two projects look incredibly different, both designs are top-notch.

The Greenwich Lane

The Greenwich Lane — image by Hayes Davidson

With 200 units in total, sales at The Greenwich Lane have already been swift; Curbed reported that 87 out of 200 units had already gone into contract as of last December, and 50% had been sold by February at an average price of $3,500 per square foot. Completion of the development is expected by 2016.

The Greenwich Lane

The Greenwich Lane — image by Hayes Davidson

The Greenwich Lane

The Greenwich Lane — 150 West 12th Street

The Greenwich Lane

The Greenwich Lane — 140 West 12th Street

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Posted in 140 West 12th Street | 145 West 11th Street | 150 West 12th Street | 155 West 11th Street | 160 West 12th Street | Architecture | Construction Update | Downtown | New York | Residential | Rudin Management | The Greenwich Lane

Revealed: 17 East 12th Street

17 East 12th Street

On-site renderings are up for 17 East 12th Street in Greenwich Village, which is yet another conversion in the works. The building was formerly occupied by a parking garage, but sold to Rigby Asset Management last August for $50.2 million. Given that netting, fencing, and signage are up, re-development appears to be well underway; Bromley Caldari is heading the design of the project.

17 East 12th Street

17 East 12th Street

Permits for the site were partially approved last month, and indicate that the structure will only see slight alterations to its envelope, with the square footage remaining unchanged. The building will see three levels added to its roof, bringing its height to 11 stories and 137 feet.

In total, the development will comprise 48,583 square feet, with 4,541 square feet on the ground level to be dedicated to commercial use. With only nine condominiums in the residential portion, that translates into an average unit size of nearly 4,500 square feet, which is practically unheard-of in Manhattan.

The only real comparison is located to the rear of the site, at 12 East 13th Street, which is also a garage-to-residences conversion — though that overhaul appears to be significantly more substantial than what’s occurring at 17 East 12th Street. The block has another super-luxe addition at 61 Fifth Avenue — designed by Alta Indelman — and momentum in the neighborhood is seemingly shifting towards ultra-high-end real estate.

17 East 12th Street

17 East 12th Street

While many de-cry ‘gentrification’ and its supposed ills, the conversions of 17 East 12th Street and 12 East 13th Street will be beneficial to The Village; even though the buildings will have few units, they used to be parking garages, which contributed nothing to the neighborhood and were aesthetically unappealing.

Completion of 17 East 12th Street is expected in the fall of 2015.

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Posted in 17 East 12th Street | Architecture | Bromley Caldari | Construction Update | Greenwich Village | New York | Residential

Construction Update: 12 East 13th Street

12 East 13th Street

Construction is making quick headway at 12 East 13th Street, which will soon become a 12-story building with only ten condominiums. The project’s architect is CetraRuddy, while the developers are DHA Capital and Continental Properties. DHA and CetraRuddy are also working together on 546 West 44th Street.

12 East 13th Street will fall squarely within the super-luxury category, as units will average over 4,000 square feet. The entirety of the project will have approximately 46,000 square feet of space; building permits indicate that 3,411 square feet on the first level will be dedicated to commercial uses.

12 East 13th Street

12 East 13th Street

The development is a conversion, though the scope of the renovation is significant, and it appears most of the original structure has been removed. Still, renderings depict a building that will blend into its pre-war surroundings, and it will be re-clad in red-orange Roman brick. Residences will be ‘loft-like’ — given their average size, more like mini-manses — and most of the units will be full-floor.

12 East 13th Street

12 East 13th Street

The most significant aspect of the old building’s transformation is the addition of the rooftop floors, which will extend the former 8-story garage to its new pinnacle; the top three levels will be dedicated to the triplex penthouse, which will span 5,700 square feet. That unit will naturally be the project’s most impressive, set within the “crown of curved luminous glass,” that “rises from behind the cubic form of the original structure.”

Completion of 12 East 13th Street is expected in March of 2015.

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Posted in 12 East 13th Street | Architecture | CetraRuddy | Construction Update | DHA Capital | Downtown | Greenwich Village | New York | Residential

Inside Look: 214 Lafayette Street

214 Lafayette Street

While YIMBY typically does not cover interior renovations, the story of 214 Lafayette Street is particularly unique — and touring the renovated sub-station was a sight to behold. The structure was originally built in the 1890s; it eventually fell into disuse, was first renovated in the 1980s, and only transitioned into its current form in 2008.

214 Lafayette Street

214 Lafayette Street

214 Lafayette’s exterior is relatively normal, blending with its pre-war surroundings, but the inside is a significant departure from typical Manhattan abodes. The building was originally converted by an artist in 1981, before once again falling into disrepair; the current owners purchased the site in 1996, and the renovation process took twelve years to complete.

214 Lafayette Street

The great room, complete with drop-down movie screen

Inside the manse, there are a variety of unusual features, including a dungeon-like basement and an indoor poolThe current owner is the director of several notable horror movies — including the Texas Chainsaw Massacre re-make — and memorabilia is displayed prominently throughout the residence, in addition to work by a variety of prominent artists; even the front doors of the home are regularly covered by commissioned graffiti.

214 Lafayette Street

214 Lafayette Street’s old front doors, now wall-mounted with Banksy’s art

The indoor pool is definitely the residence’s most unique feature, and it was apparently built without the knowledge of city planning; walking into the home, one immediately sees a window that looks into the actual pool.

214 Lafayette Street

The entry way window into the pool

214 Lafayette Street

Another porthole into the indoor pool

214 Lafayette Street

The indoor pool

The renovation of 214 Lafayette Street shows the potential of dilapidated structures, and why conversion can sometimes be a better option than demolition; even though the sub-station was never intended as a residence, its transformation has resulted in a very unique property — and while the building obviously isn’t suited to most tastes, it certainly has character.

214 Lafayette Street

The top-floor living room and terrace

214 Lafayette measures 13,000 square feet in total, and was originally listed for $100,000/month; the price has since dropped to $80,000/month, or $20,000 per night, if used as an event space.

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Posted in 214 Lafayette Street | Architecture | Downtown | New York | Residential | Soho

Interview: BKSK’s George Schieferdecker on One Vandam

One Vandam -- Penthouse, image from March

Construction is in full swing at One Vandam, which was designed by BKSK Architects; YIMBY sat down with the firm’s George Schieferdecker to discuss the project’s specifications, context, and overall design concept.

YIMBY in bold.

How many floors is One Vandam?

The building has fourteen floors, and the first floor is double-height. The building has three penthouses — including a triplex — which are all located on the upper floors.

One Vandam

One Vandam, image from March

And how did you balance the development with its ‘historic’ surroundings?

Well that’s an interesting discussion; sometimes the press tells us that we’re very tall, compared to our surroundings.

Which is ridiculous. The building across the street is fifteen floors tall. 

That to me is really obvious. We’re on the fourteenth floor [of the sales center across the street], and we’re going to be level with their penthouses — or maybe lower. So what it’s doing I think, is sort of modulating the scale of the city. What is historical about this area is kind of difficult to pin down; I mean you’ve got some SoHo, which is a wonderful neighborhood, but we’re on the edge of SoHo. And you’ve got where we’re sitting right now — which is Avenue of the Americas –

Which is also ‘Hudson Square,’ yes? What exactly is the neighborhood here?

And that’s the thing; I think we’d like to think we’re part of SoHo, but we’re at the edge of SoHo. We’re also a part of the Village a little bit, sort of bleeding down Sullivan Street, and we’re also on Avenue of the Americas, which has a different scale. It’s what you might call a cusp neighborhood, or a boundary, and so I think it draws inspiration from all of those. But at the end of the day it’s kind of itself. Its massing tries to be — it’s kind of locked into the neighborhood, but it’s going to be taller than the adjoining buildings because of the FAR.

If you look around Hudson Square, you look back at the square itself; you see a lot of buildings with a cream color to them, a lot of limestone vocabulary. And then if you go to SoHo you see cast iron, and I think, to that degree, there are rhythms of cast iron architecture in our design. It’s about the scale encompassing SoHo, and it’s epitomized by the generous floor to ceiling windows.

Then, massing-wise, what people tend to miss is that there’s a scale on Avenue of the Americas that is slightly lower except for [One Vandam], but we pick up that scale with the first portion of our building, which comes out from the street-face, and is roughly the same size as the adjoining tenement — and then we lock this mass into the tower, and rise up. So I think it plays off the immediate scale of the neighborhood and then rises up.

What are the facade materials?

The facade materials are metal, glass, and stone.

One Vandam -- Facade

One Vandam — Facade, image from March

And where is the stone from?

It’s limestone, and it’s from a quarry in Alabama. We chose it specifically because it has a lot of activity; there are a lot of limestones that don’t have graining — limestone is generally more prized for its consistency.

So basically it adds depth that other stones could not.

It’s got a lot of pattern; the panels are arranged in three types for most of the facade. There’s stone, which is exposed to the weather, and then there’s glass — and then we have an in-between panel, and that panel has glass in front, and stone behind. So it’s what we call a back-pan panel.

What does [the back-pan panel] do?

It mediates between the two [glass and stone]. If you slide the stone behind the panel, the appearance shifts depending on if the sun is hitting the glass. The idea was to have a kind of continuous pattern of glass and stone and metal that had various different readings to it — and a sort of dynamism. And in order for the stone to really read, we wanted it to have a certain level of activity.

Have you had to modify anything with the building next door — they had some leaning issues when drilling began?

It had never leaned — at one point they had an alarm because someone’s door didn’t shut. There was concern over it, and the laws in New York are very strict now — and the Buildings Department monitors it on a daily basis — so there are a lot of protections in place to make sure everything is done properly.

How did you accommodate the subway — what are the noise-dampening measures?

That was done in the very beginning; there are all sorts of ways to mediate that noise, but it turned out not to be an issue with the mass of our structure and the configuration of the base.

One Vandam - Terrace

One Vandam – Terrace, image from March

What about the God’s Love re-design; have you seen the renderings, and do you wish you could have had input?

At one point in time we were actually thinking of switching sites, and there was a scheme that had everything linked in together. But that can’t happen because there are certain regulations in place regarding God’s Love’s deal with the city, that don’t allow a move to any other location.

Overall, what was the biggest design challenge?

There were a lot of logistical issues making sure everything worked with God’s Love; they’re a very respected institution in the neighborhood and have to make sure they do right by what they contribute to the area. The challenge of the building and its site were what we worked on all the way through — the interior folks, ourselves, the broker, and the client — to take advantage of the opportunities of this site, which are a lot.

It’s a narrow building, which means you’re forced into a configuration that’s interesting — at every level, there are different views — so how do you design a structure that takes advantage of that? The whole facade expression came from a desire for each unit to be different, and the need to accommodate those differences.

Who else is involved with One Vandam at BKSK?

We are a six partner firm, including two partners — Todd Poisson and Julia Nelson — who are not in the initials. We’re teams of people, and our firm — and the product we’ve produced — has come from many hands. There are a lot of people involved in this particular project; we like that collaborative approach both with our clients and brokers, and amongst ourselves.

One Vandam -- Lobby

One Vandam — Lobby, image from March

What are the common themes between One Vandam and your other recent projects?

We really try to do buildings that are very individual, that are about taking the problems that exist with a particular site and making them into advantages. That’s what produces individuality; if you recognize the particular issues of an individual site and turn them to your advantage, you create a unique product.

One Vandam -- Rooftop

One Vandam — Rooftop, image from March

Are there any skyscrapers in the near-future for BKSK?

We don’t have a skyscraper — not on the horizon. I think one of our specialties is smaller scale, where it’s a complex formula between zoning and client relationships — in this case, with God’s Love and landmarks — which often pushes you into looking at a site in an innovative way.

Posted in Architecture | BKSK Architects | Construction Update | Downtown | Greenwich Village | New York | One Vandam | Residential

Interview: Alta Indelman on 61 Fifth Avenue

61 Fifth Avenue

YIMBY sat down with architect Alta Indelman to discuss her latest major work, 61 Fifth Avenue. The building is Indelman’s first ground-up project in Manhattan, and the result does not disappoint. Built with pre-war sensibilities in mind, 61 Fifth stays true to its inspiration, using real materials to create something better than the past – an addition to lower Fifth Avenue that is more ‘Gotham City’ than many of its older neighbors.

Y: 61 Fifth is your first new building in New York, yes?

A: It’s my first building from the ground-up – it’s a special opportunity.

What are the chief materials in the facade?

The stone is Indiana Buff limestone – and that’s original 5th Avenue limestone. The base is Deer Isle Granite – also an original 5th Avenue granite, and many of the bases of nearby buildings on 5th have that stone. They’re both domestic stones, they’re both American stones.

And the transition between the brick and the limestone is nearly seamless; was that intentional?

The brick is as close to the limestone color as we could get it, and the trim around the windows is also real limestone – it’s not a thin veneer. The cornices are also solid limestone. And the top of the building is clad in pre-patinated copper – it’s real copper, and there’s a process that speeds up the natural patination process. But that is a natural patina; it’s the same as it would be if it had been sitting here for thirty years. It’s a Scandinavian product and they just do all the necessary preparation in their factory.

61 Fifth Avenue

61 Fifth Avenue

The double-height windows are a very nice feature.

The windows are casement, and they span two floors, so there’s a spandrel glass panel in the middle that conceals the floor structure. There are casements, and there are stationary picture windows – and these are aluminum – but they are custom made so as to have the slimmest-possible profile, and we are closer to what one might expect a steel window profile to be.

It’s 10 stories?

It is, including the triplex. There are three duplex apartments and the triplex.

You don’t see such efforts with small projects in New York, typically.

We certainly made efforts to pay complete attention to detail – as Mies van der Rohe said, ‘God is in the details.’

View from the roof of 61 Fifth Avenue

Looking up 5th Avenue from 61 Fifth’s roof

What would you like to see more of in New York’s architecture – in terms of new buildings?

I have a very open view, but I’m an architect so I enjoy creativity and innovation; I also understand the need to respect context, and to choose very carefully when one does not. I think that there are ways to incorporate contextual elements that are not stifling in architecture, and I think each site has to be evaluated very carefully, and that people should take their time to figure it out, and to look, and to think, and observe, and to detail. People must choose materials carefully and use them well – and to pay attention to scale, and also the cityscape as a whole, not just to the individual building. You have to ask – what will this do for the city?

Do you see yourself designing any skyscrapers?

As an architect I like to have opportunities of varying types, and of good practice; anyone who is interested in good design or good purpose, I’m interested in doing that work. We’re very careful about how we detail, we’re very careful about what maneuvers we make – and try not to do any one-liners. We want something that will stand the test of time. It’s like the ‘Whole Foods’ movement; but rather, the ‘real materials’ movement. And I really believe in that.

61 Fifth Avenue

61 Fifth Avenue

It seems your philosophy – and 61 Fifth – ultimately come down to context, and sensitivity for it.

I think when architects design – I mean, my goal is for a project to be part of the urban fabric, as well as an entity unto itself. I don’t think you can separate the two, I think they have to be entwined, either in an architectural way or in a decidedly not, but in an informed way. I enjoy the challenge.

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Posted in 61 Fifth Avenue | Alta Indelman | Architecture | Construction Update | Downtown | Greenwich Village | New York | Residential

Excavation Update: 10 Bond Street

10 Bond Street

Excavation has begun at 10 Bond Street, which will soon be home to a seven-story mix of residential and retail space. Designed by the consistently fantastic Annabelle Selldorf, Curbed has the details from the building’s progression through the approval process – the final product will be clad in a mix of terracotta tile and Corten steel.

Mixing classic and forward-thinking materials is quite bold, though the building will still look contextual to its NoHo surroundings, and both terracotta and Corten are becoming trendy for new facades in New York City – especially among luxury developments. Terracotta’s resurgence is most notable in Stern’s soon-to-be 111 West 57th Street, while Corten’s poster-child is the Barclay’s Center, as well as The New School’s addition at 65 Fifth Avenue.

Permits for 10 Bond Street indicate the structure will hold ten units, and though no signs have been posted indicating a completion date, the lot’s small size should signal a relatively brief construction timeframe. The small number of units also signals the building’s ’boutique’ status, and if it hasn’t sold-out already, it will soon.

SK Development’s page on 10 Bond has additional information on the project, though whether the building is completed by spring remains to be seen. Most interesting of all is Gene Kaufman’s involvement, and it is surprising and refreshing to see the architect working on a project that is actually attractive.

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Posted in 10 Bond Street | Construction Update | Downtown | New York | NoHo | Residential | Selldorf Architects

Construction Update: 209-211 Sullivan Street

209-211 Sullivan Street

Excavation is complete and foundations are being poured at 209-211 Sullivan Street, in Greenwich Village. Curbed reports that Broad Street Development has refrained from releasing any renderings prior to the sales office opening next year, and that seems to be the case – though the construction site offers a vague massing diagram.

DOB permits for the site indicate the new structure will hold 25 units, and rise a total of seven floors, which will keep the project contextual to its Greenwich Village surroundings. Regardless of what it looks like, it won’t be large enough to be ugly – and its luxury credentials give hope that the final product will be more than adequate.

Signage on-site indicates the development will be completed by the fall of 2014, so the units will come to market relatively soon. Douglas Elliman is handling sales.

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Posted in 209-211 Sullivan Street | Architecture | Construction Update | Downtown | Greenwich Village | New York | Residential

Construction Update: 27 Wooster Street

27 Wooster Street

YIMBY reader Scott sent in the above photos of The Stawksi Group‘s 27 Wooster Street in SoHo, which is now topped-out and awaiting its cladding. Designed by Kohn Pederson Fox, the building rises eight floors, and holds sixteen units; though the development is very different from its historic surroundings, it will contrast in a positive manner. The materials to be used are decidedly more modern than the cast iron that predominates the district, and renderings show seamless integration; the structure’s profile also respects the neighborhood street-wall.

While 27 Wooster will be a great building, the lack of density – not the fault of the developer, obviously – is dissatisfying. One can access 27 Wooster and most of SoHo from several different subway lines, and the neighborhood is one of the most transit-accessible in the city. Its cast-iron character should definitely be preserved, but 27 Wooster’s scale could easily be doubled without impacting its surroundings to any significant extent; indeed, the development sits just a few hundred feet from The James Hotel, which is significantly taller. Arbitrary distinctions in zoning are part of the city’s problem with soaring prices, which – if NIMBY groups continue to have their way – will displace most native residents as land values continue to rise.

Up-zoning SoHo and surrounding, transit-accessible neighborhood to accommodate the massive demand for new development would be a wise decision, especially as the area will soon be totally built-out. If no changes are made, SoHo will soon become completely static – and that eventuality will be to everyone’s detriment, as the only steps after growth are stagnation, followed by decay.

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Posted in 27 Wooster Street | Architecture | Construction Update | Downtown | Kohn Pedersen Fox | New York | Residential | The Stawski Group

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