Permits Filed: 414 West 15th Street

414 West 15th Street's vacant site -- image via Google Maps

New plans have been filed for a hotel at 414 West 15th Street, which will become one of the most prominent buildings in The Meatpacking District; the latest iteration will stand 24 floors tall. Evidently CetraRuddy has taken over the site’s designs, given permits list the firm as the architect of record; the developer is The Legacy Group.

The site’s previous plans — which included renderings — were by Stonehill & Taylor. CetraRuddy’s schematics should end up somewhat similar, as the project’s massing seems to have undergone minor changes. 414 West 15th Street is ideal for boutique hotel development, and its location is at the heart of the Meatpacking, across the street from Chelsea Market.

414 West 15th Street

Old version of 414 West 15th Street via Stonehill & Taylor

Proximity to Chelsea Market is interesting for another reason, as that site saw significant NIMBY opposition to expansion plans that were approved in 2012. Contrasting the two developments highlights the oddities of City Planning, and why so many developers take an ‘as-of-right’ route; 414 West 15th Street will stand 264 feet tall, yet it has met no neighborhood opposition, while the relatively meager height of the Chelsea Market addition was a major point of contention.

All told, 414 West 15th Street will have nearly 110,000 square feet of space, with 225 rooms. The Schedule A reveals two penthouse suites to be located on the 24th floor, while a rooftop bar and lounge will also be located on the 23rd and 24th levels.

No completion date has been announced — and the site has been stalled for years — but with momentum increasing along The High Line, it looks like construction is finally about to begin, especially given the new permits.

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Posted in 414 West 15th | Architecture | CetraRuddy | Chelsea | Chelsea Market | Hotel | meatpacking | Midtown | New York | Stonehill and Taylor

Excavation Begins: 860 Washington Street

860 Washington Street

Machinery is on-site and digging has begun at 860 Washington Street, which is the latest project to begin construction adjacent to The High Line. The 10-story and 175 foot tall building is being developed by Romanoff Equities, and the architect is James Carpenter.

860 Washington Street will be primarily office, with retail occupying the first two floors, keeping in character with its pedestrian-oriented surroundings. The project’s approval process took several years; ultimately, the height was shortened to the current version, which will contain 116,000 square feet of space.

860 Washington Street

860 Washington Street

Comparing 860 Washington to its surroundings – which include several new buildings – offers an interesting take on city zoning and historical districts. The Morris Adjmi-designed 833 Washington was also height-chopped, though the initial version of that structure was actually shorter than the final design of 860 Washington; the reasoning behind arbitrary planning decisions seems unsound when it cannot be applied consistently.

Though Romanoff used The High Line as an excuse for 860 Washington’s height, as it bisects the lot, the developer should have been allowed to build the initial, 215-foot version. Indeed, the Standard Hotel is across the street, and it stands 261 feet tall; the ‘preservation’ of the ‘historic’ Meatpacking District is, at best, a hodge-podge of non-commitment.

860 Washington Street

860 Washington Street

Indeed, the buildings that are supposedly ‘historic’ are anything but; they were literally warehouses used for slaughter and the sale of live produce. Low-slung structures of significance are certainly worthy of preservation, but that is not the case for most of the Meatpacking District, which is under-utilized despite excellent transit accessibility.

Buildings like 860 and 833 Washington represent a natural transition for the neighborhood, but they should be built to sizes that can actually satiate demand. Instead of preserving aesthetically unfortunate warehouses that were never meant for enjoyable human occupation, the neighborhood should become a vibrant and dense node of modern, forward-thinking architecture that enhances the city, and contributes to its growth.

860 Washington is certainly a step in this direction, though it is a shame that the site is not being built to its full potential. Completion is expected in the summer of 2015.

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Posted in 860 Washington Street | Architecture | Construction Update | Downtown | James Carpenter | meatpacking | New York | Office | Romanoff Equities

Construction Update: The Whitney Expansion

The Whitney Expansion

The Renzo Piano-designed expansion of the Whitney Museum is making continued progress, with much of the building’s cladding now in place. The facade is simple and modern; some have criticized it as Soviet-esque, but the open windows and generous floor plates inside The Whitney definitely contradict that observation – the chief point of the new building is the display of art, not exterior aesthetics. While the new Whitney fails to compare with contemporary rivals in Abu Dhabi, it will make for an adequate and prominent end-point to The High Line.

Completion of the new Whitney is expected in 2014, and with the current state of progress, it would seem that most of the remaining work is on the inside. The 50,000 square foot outpost will energize the southern end of The High Line, offering a natural conclusion to the elevated park, which is already sprinkled with high profile art pieces. In addition to the ample street-graffiti featured on The High Line, the Whitney expansion will offer 13,000 square feet of outdoor exhibition space.

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Posted in Architecture | Construction Update | New York | Renzo Piano | The Whitney Expansion

Construction Update: 837 Washington Street

837 Washington Street

837 Washington Street has topped-out, and – while far from prominent – the twisting, metallic structure will be a fixture on The High Line walk. The building, designed by Morris Adjmi Architects, will feature 28,000 square feet of retail on the first two floors, while the upper stories will have 27,000 square feet of office space; 837 Washington’s website has all the figures, along with additional information.

The project’s developer is Thor Equities, and 837 Washington is part of the larger boom surrounding The High Line, though most new construction is residential rather than commercial. The building is in a prime Meatpacking District location, and – accordingly – the design had to go through the lengthy Landmark Preservation Commission approval process, which resulted in the loss of its top three floors.

Despite the height reduction – which was ridiculous given the development’s proximity to the significantly taller Standard Hotel – the building is a pleasantly subdued modern addition to the historic neighborhood, even integrating the site’s former warehouse, which will hold the retail space.

Posted in 837 Washington Street | Architecture | Construction Update | Downtown | meatpacking | Morris Adjmi Architects | New York | Office

Construction Update: 345 Meatpacking

Construction is wrapping up on 345 West 14th Street, which has been dubbed 345 Meatpacking by the developer and architect, DDG. The tower is a great addition to the neighborhood; its Kolumbia brick facadefrom Denmarkcompliments its historic neighbors, while bronze-cladding on the upper floors adds a distinctive flair uncommon to New York.

345 Meatpacking even looked great during construction, as the project was covered in a shroud designed by Yayoi Kusama. Luckily something did emerge from the polka dots, and the final product is excellent. The building contains a total of 37 units, and should open this year.

345 Meatpacking
345 Meatpacking

345 Meatpacking NYC
345 Meatpacking

345 Meatpacking NYC
345 Meatpacking

345 Meatpacking NYC
345 Meatpacking

Posted in 345 Meatpacking | 345 West 14th Street | Architecture | Construction Update | DDG | meatpacking | New York | Residential | Yayoi Kusama

Construction Update: The Whitney Expansion

The Whitney’s expansion is entering the final stages of construction, and the first elements of the project’s facade are now visible. The Renzo Piano-designed building marks the beginning of The High Line, and will anchor a section of the Meatpacking District that’s still fairly dead during daylight hours.

One highlight of the expansion is the enormously high ceilings, which give the new Whitney a much larger presence than a typical seven-story building. Per The Whitney’s website, “Mr. Piano’s design takes a strong and strikingly asymmetrical form—one that responds to the industrial character of the neighboring loft buildings and overhead railway while asserting a contemporary, sculptural presence.”

That assertion looks valid, given the elements of the project that have already been completed. The exposed concrete will remain—it’s above the white facade in the below photos—definitely harking back to the Meatpacking’s industrial past. The Whitney expansion epitomizes the ‘industrial chic’ aesthetic that architects in the neighborhood are striving for, but it’s already obvious that Renzo Piano’s touch lends the project a uniqueness that will be very hard to mimic.

In short, the new museum will be iconic.

The project will open in 2015, the same year as the Culture Shed, twenty blocks to the north. The West Side is about to get much more cultured.

The Whitney Expansion
The Whitney Expansion

The Whitney Expansion
The Whitney Expansion

The Whitney Expansion
The Whitney Expansion
The Whitney Expansion
The Whitney Expansion, Image via The Whitney from the Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with Cooper, Robertson & Partners

Posted in Architecture | Construction Update | meatpacking | Renzo Piano | The High Line | The Whitney Expansion

New 25-Story Hotel Soon to Rise at 414 West 15th Street

Permits filed with New York’s Department of Buildings show a new hotel is set to rise at 414 West 15th Street, which is possibly confirmed by these renderings from Stonehill Taylor. The project, which is in the heart of the Meatpacking, adjacent to Chelsea Market, will rise to 25 stories and 284 feet, and have 158 rooms.

No discussion exists regarding this project, as it has likely flown under the radar for quite some time–there isn’t any other way to have sizeable buildings go up in the Meatpacking, where NIMBYism is very fierce.

In this case, NIMBYism is somewhat justified given the historic character of the neighborhood. The Meatpacking is an outstanding collection of pre-war (and in many cases, pre-twentieth century) architecture, and the low-rise nature of most of the neighborhood gives it a very charming feel .

It’s especially surprising that no protests have occurred given the struggle Chelsea Market is facing against its expansion immediately across the street. While Chelsea Market’s planned addition is much bulkier than the future hotel at 414 West 15th, the height of 414 West 15th will be much greater than anything nearby.

Renderings of the future project aren’t fantastic but they certainly aren’t bad, and the hotel will make nice filler along 15th Street. The immediate vicinity of the future building is somewhat desolate at the moment, so density here isn’t a problem, as long as most of the neighborhood is kept at its historic scale.

No firm dates of construction have been given, but with renderings only recently discovered & permits in place, work could definitely be underway at any time.

Image from Stonehill & Taylor

Posted in 414 West 15th | Chelsea | Chelsea Market | Hotel | meatpacking | NIMBYs

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