New office buildings are a rarity in SoHo, because a combination of landmarking and incredibly high property values normally push developers to build condos if they want a return on their investment. But one builder has bucked the trend and filed plans for a seven-story office building at 134 Wooster Street, between Houston and Prince Streets.
The 100-foot-tall structure would replace a single-story storefront in the heart of the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District. Retail would fill the cellar and first floors, followed by six stories of offices. When construction finishes, the building will hold 18,736 square feet of commercial space.
The property is only 38 feet wide, but SoHo’s relatively generous manufacturing zoning allows new buildings to have a floor area ratio of five. So this small development will be about as big as zoning there allows.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission has the final say over new buildings and facade alterations in historic districts, and the developer will need to create a contextual design that fits in with the 19th century manufacturing buildings on this block.
Morris Adjmi Architects, who have already negotiated landmarks approval for a major office building expansion in the Meatpacking District, will handle the design. The developer is Premiere Equities, who own another large loft building on the block, 151 Wooster Street. Premiere picked up 134 Wooster for $10.87 million in 2009, paying roughly $580 for each square foot of their planned building.
This particular SoHo block is no stranger to new construction. A modern condo building was completed across the street at 139 Wooster in 2006, and the LPC recently greenlighted plans for a six-story residential project at 146-150 Wooster.