The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is reviewing proposals from J.L. Ramirez Architect to transform a 12,500-square-foot apartment building into a single-family home. Formerly known as the James P. Warburg Mansion, the historic property is located at 34 East 70th Street on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
The five-story townhouse was constructed in the early 1900s by James Paul Warburg, a member of the Warburg family banking dynasty who would go on to become Franklin D. Roosevelt’s leading financial adviser. More recently, the property sold for $18.25 million in a deal brokered by Brown Harris Stevens. At closing, the multi-unit building was delivered fully vacant and included eight bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, and eight half bathrooms.
Proposals to repurpose the historied structure include modifications to both the front and rear façades as well as the interior floor plan.
Beginning with the front of the structure along East 70th Street, the architects will reinforce the dark brownstone façade that is beginning to crumble with age. The façade will then be painted over in a sandy-hued stucco material. The existing windows, black wrought iron railing, and Spanish-tiled roof will be refurbished or replaced where required.
The rear elevation, which faces an interior courtyard, will receive more dramatic alterations including a grand rear entrance that opens out into a patio and yard space, an open-air terrace at the second level, and a protruding bay window above the third floor. It also appears that the rear walls will be expanded outward several feet, increasing the building’s floor space.
The roof of the structure will also be reorganized to include what appears to be outdoor lounge space and a new bulkhead enclosure for the building’s elevator.
Within, the architects will completely rework the floor plans, which currently are designed to accommodate multiple units. If approved by the LPC, the final design will boast sweeping interior spaces that are now a rarity in the borough of Manhattan.
The project’s public hearing took place on Tuesday, April 28, and it remains to be seen if the LPC will deem the renovation appropriate for the surrounding neighborhood. Considering the building’s status as an Upper East Side relic, the dramatic changes to the structure’s exterior will be sure to draw considerable commentary from the preservationists and the LPC.