Posts tagged with "Gansevoort Market Historic District":

CetraRuddy designs an 18-story office building in the Meatpacking District

The Meatpacking District will soon to be the home of a new 18-story office building designed by New York–based architecture and interior design firm CetraRuddy. Due to changes in market conditions, the client requested that CetraRuddy transform their initial hotel design into an office building with over 144,000 rentable square feet of space. Located at 412 West 15th Street, the project also features the renovation of two adjacent buildings at 413-435 West 14th Street. These structures add an additional 110,000 rentable square feet of space to the project. Ensuring a connection between the new building and the adjacent 413 West 14th Street was a major goal in the design process, said John Cetra of CetraRuddy. A yard—not visible in the renderings—runs the entire length of the new building and will connect it and the neighboring structure on the ground level. The existing structure, a pre-1910 “rational, no nonsense” building, was built as three stories with a fourth story later added. To build atop it, Cetra found inspiration in the nearby High Line's exposed steel structure. The new construction is similarly designed to create “an elegant structure,” he explained, with metal cladding and open floors exposed by glazing. The new building's steel frame was designed to reveal its cross-bracing. (While the firm thought masonry was more appropriate for a hotel, they switched to steel when it became an office tower.) Decorative metal panels cover the project's elevator and stair shafts. The new structure will have a relatively small floor plate but offers expansive views and plenty of natural light. Cetra said that his team worked “[to design] the superstructure and systems within the space so that it wasn’t necessary to suspend the ceiling within the spaces.” The building has a distinct context: the office tower on West 15th Street falls just outside of the Gansevoort Historic District but the existing building on West 14th Street is within its boundaries. The new building features more contemporary styling while the West 14th Street structure aims to fit into the existing environment.    In regards to sustainability, all of the roofs for this project will be blue roofs, retaining stormwater. The building will also boast rooftop conference rooms and terraces. Cetra noted the open, flexible design for the ground floor retail space will allow customization for whichever tenant rents it. An open lobby with floor-to-ceiling glass and high ceilings aims to create a “gallery-like experience.” Terrazzo floors and black and stainless steel and darker metals fit well with the neighborhood, said Charles Thomson, the project's manager. A luminous canopy outside the new building’s entrance differentiates the office tenant's entrance from the retail storefront. The building is currently under construction with the beginning of tenant fit-out scheduled for some time mid- to late-2017.

Is this the end of New York City’s landmarks approval process as we know it?

One downtown preservation group claims that New York has reached the "end of the landmarks approval process" with one crucial decision this week. At Tuesday's Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), the commission voted 8–2 to approve a building plan on Gansevoort Street between Greenwich and Washington streets. Some neighborhood activists, though, are not happy about the plan. In a 94-page document submitted to the LPC in advance of Tuesday's public meeting, the developers, William Gottlieb Real Estate and Aurora Capital, presented designs prepared by New York–based BKSK to modify 60-68 Gansevoort and 70-74 Gansevoort, two market buildings that date from the late 19th century (but have been modified substantially over time) and are some of the last vestiges of this type of commercial architecture in New York. The buildings fall within the Gansevoort Market Historic District, which was established in 2003. Plans call for the restoration and preservation of buildings at 46-48 and 52-58 Gansevoort Street, as well as restoring the existing facade and expanding the second floor at 50 Gansevoort. Three stories will be added to an existing two at 60-68, and 70-74 Gansevoort will host four-story (62 feet) and six story (around 83 feet) buildings, respectively. 70-74 is a "loft-style" building that, the architect's plans suggest, conform to the typology of surrounding lofts and warehouses, but not 46-48 and 50-58. These plans were modified per suggestions from the LPC in February 2016, although the developers disregarded suggestions to lower the height of 60-68 and 70-74 to conform fully with their more diminutive neighbors. The advocacy organization Save Gansevoort believes that the LPC's green light spites the historic district, whose historic value rests on the row of intact market buildings. In a statement, Save Gansevoort noted that the group is “deeply disappointed in the Landmark Preservation Commission's decision today to accept this massive building plan, disregarding the Gansevoort Market Historic District's designation report and more than 75 years of history. The Commission's ruling will not only destroy the last intact block of one-and two-story, market-style structures in Manhattan, but it is also the latest sign that unrestricted development is killing the unique character of so many of our city's most beautiful neighborhoods. In this day and age, it is disconcerting that even our landmarked areas are no longer protected." The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) decried the lack of opportunity for public testimony at Tuesday's meeting in an email to supporters. In a letter to LPC commissioner Meenakshi Srinivasan submitted in advance of the hearing, Andrew Berman, executive director of GVSHP, noted that the row of buildings, even with alterations in 1916, were 50 to 55 feet in height, including cornices. Although the developers backed away from new construction that included a 120-foot-tall building at 70-74, the group claims that plans for 70-74, and approved plans for a 62-foot-tall 60-68 Gansevoort Street, don't mesh with historic neighboring buildings, whose heights averaged 56.5 feet. 70-74 is modeled on a "warehouse," not "loft," with an attendant height difference: 70-74 will be taller than any loft in the neighborhood and 25 to 40 feet taller than the average building in the historic district, said GVSHP. Overall, preservationists believe this week has not been kind to the historic built environment. The day after the Gansevoort decision, the city council adopted Intro 775A, 38–10. The controversial bill was designed to expedite the LPC's landmarks approval process by imposing deadlines on consideration of items. If a property is not voted on within one year (or a district in two), it is removed from consideration. While the law provides more flexibility within one and two-year deadlines for designation, and a possible one-year extension for individual landmarks under consideration, it removes the 5-year moratorium on landmarks and districts that were nominated but not voted on by the LPC. Among other concerns, groups like GVSHP fear that Intro 775A will encourage developers to try to "run out the clock" so properties are not landmarked. In an email to supporters, the Historic Districts Council called Intro 775A "unnecessary," noting that "[no] one likes a backlog but internal LPC rules would have been the preferred route towards a more accountable designation process." There are potential loopholes, however. The LPC thinks it can de-calendar and de-calendar an item before the deadline hits, ad infinitum, to avoid the moratorium and give items more time for consideration.

Apple shows love to New York’s historic neighborhoods and the Landmarks Conservancy takes notice

The New York Landmarks Conservancy is honoring Apple with its 2016 Chairman's Award. The award, to be given at a fundraising luncheon where individual tickets start at $500, honors the company for "their contribution to preserving, restoring, and repurposing notable historic structures in New York City." Although Apple's New York flagship store, on Fifth Avenue between 58th and 59th streets, is recognized widely for its modern glass cube, the company has four stores in historically significant locations around the city. Apple has a shop in Grand Central Terminal, a New York City landmark, and stores within the Soho, Gansevoort Market, and Upper East Side historic districts. With 700,000 travellers passing through Grand Central Terminal, that store is the most heavily trafficked of the historic four, Apple Insider speculates. In March, the NYLC will recognize the company's commitment to historic preservation (or locating stores in historic areas, as there is no explicit preservation agenda in the stores' design). The Chairman's Award was started in 1988 to recognize "exceptional commitment to the protection and preservation of the rich architectural heritage of New York." The NYLC is different from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission: the latter is a city government group that decides which districts and structures receive recognition for the historic, cultural, or architectural merits and subsequent protection under local historic preservation laws. The former is a nonprofit advocacy organization that protects the architectural heritage of New York City by advocating for preservation-friendly policy at the state, local, and national level; running workshops and providing technical assistance; and providing loans and grants for preservation of individual structures, sites, and neighborhoods.

Moderne Twist Update

It's been few months since Morris Adjmi presented plans for his twisted tower at 837 Washington to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. He returned on Tuesday with a scaled-down version of the original design. The architect brought two 3-D models to better illustrate the before and after versions. The body of the exoskeletal steel structure still pivots clockwise atop a 1938 art moderne market building, but now it does so at a reduced height of 84 feet, instead of 113. Still, lopping off two of the seven stories from the original design may not be enough to satisfy commissioners who seem to be scratching their heads over how to address the major mood changes in Gansevoort Market Historic District, which sits within the ever expanding design glow of the High Line. For some commissioners the historic district's line of demarcation remains sacred and even renderings showing views of the new building from the perspective of the park strikes them as misleading. Nevertheless, the building does sit beside the Highline and several commissioners argued that park's influence should be embraced.  Commissioner Michael Goldblum suggested that while the commission's objective was to preserve the district, they were participating in a dialogue with the surrounding area. To that end, he said, the building worked fine, as though the building were saying, "I'm not of the period; I'm sitting in it." Embracing the Highline was a cornerstone of William Higgins's segment of the presentation. Higgins, a consultant for preservation issues, was blunt. "The Highline is very much a part of this site," he told the commissioners, adding that the railroad park provides the diagonal from which the structure's twist spins off of. Later, Commissioner Pablo Vengoechea concurred that the newly added green elements respond to the spontaneous greening of the former railroad. But Commissioner Robert Tierney concluded that it didn't yet look like the board had enough votes to move the project forward. He sent the architect back to the drawing board with a few words of encouragement. The original building "reads legibly", he said, but the addition was still slightly out of scale. He then warned the architect not to over-restore the original building. It would seem that there's still room for meat hooks and grit in the district.