Construction Update: 15 Leonard Street

15 Leonard Street15 Leonard Street

Excavation is well underway at 15 Leonard Street, which is one block away from the significantly more prominent 56 Leonard. The building’s design phase was full of complications given the requirement that the project go through the Landmarks Preservation Commission – the neighborhood is historic, after all – but now that construction has begun, everything has clearly been resolved.

The project will be quite small, rising only nine floors, and it will house a total of six units – obviously every unit will be luxurious and amazing, given the building’s prime Tribeca location. The facade isn’t exactly contextual, but what was approved is attractive, and the project will be quite short, so aesthetics are not an enormous concern. Despite Tribeca’s expensive reputation, much of the neighborhood is still dominated by stocky warehouses and empty lots, so 15 Leonard is a definite improvement.

The Tribeca Citizen has a ridiculous letter from a neighborhood NIMBY on their site complaining about the project, decrying its aesthetics and context, despite the fact that it is replacing two parking garages. NIMBYism is rarely justified, but in this instance, 15 Leonard is quite small to begin with, and presents no threats to views, land values, or aesthetics – though the issues have been resolved, the development stands as another testament to the stupidity of NIMBY groups and the absurdity of their demands.

Private developments are exactly that, and standards may exist for landmark historic districts, but developers and New Yorkers at large – all of whom pay the price for the anti-development attitude of the few, through exponentially more expensive real estate – should not be held accountable to frivolities and petty disputes, which were obscenely evident in the approval process for 15 Leonard.

The best illustration of how idiotic the NIMBY arguments against this tower are – which hinge on ‘scale’ – is the fact that 56 Leonard, which will be over 800 feet tall – is literally one block away. Fortunately, common sense has won out, and 15 Leonard is now well on its way to completion.

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