Studio Gang’s first New York City tower appears to be moving forward, albeit a little shorter than originally envisioned. Initial plans called for a 213-foot tall, 180,000-square-foot office tower—known as the “Solar Carve”—that would have been 34 percent larger than what is currently allowed on the site. After it became clear that wasn't going to fly with the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), the Carve's developer, William Gottlieb Real Estate, withdrew its application leaving the fate of the project in jeopardy. But fear not Jeanne Gang fans, there's good news. Today, the BSA voted in favor of the developer’s revised application (its fourth), which does not request any additional bulk at the site. The Board also approved the developer's request for “a relatively minor height and setback waiver." “We were excited to receive the Zoning and Setback Waiver from the BSA,” said Jeanne Gang, in a statement to AN. “This important decision will preserve the design and enhance the experience along the High Line for residents of New York and the greater community of visitors to the site. The Solar Carve Tower project is ongoing with an anticipated design completion in 2015.” That's certainly an ambitious deadline, but the Gang team can now watch from up close as the Chicago-based firmed recently opened an office in Manhattan.
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Chicago’s Studio Gang Architects announced plans for their New York debut in late 2012. The proposed building, located near the High Line along 10th Avenue between 13th and 14th streets, features a serrated edge that maximizes daylight on the elevated park next door—Jeanne Gang called it “solar carving.” But the legal path to realizing that faceted glass facade had some unexpected kinks of its own. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) was “thrilled to report” that the building’s developer withdrew their application for a zoning variance for the building. At 213 feet tall, the tower would have been 34 percent larger than current zoning allows. After a few appearances before the Board of Standards and Appeals, the project's land use attorney told the New York Observer that the zoning request had fallen flat. The developer, William Gottlieb Real Estate, is apparently moving forward with a modified application, but for now the project remains blocked. The High Line intersects the site, which is currently an empty meatpacking plant. Gang’s design placed the tower near the Hudson River, abutting the High Line. GVSHP contested the developer’s position that sandy soils and the High Line’s proximity constituted a “hardship” worthy of a zoning variance. The 186,700-square-foot office tower was planned to open in 2015. If a revised application seeks different setbacks, the “Solar Carve” tower might meet less resistance from neighborhood groups. “We have no objections to the proposed development setting back differently than the zoning requires, as this would have no negative impact upon the surrounding neighborhood,” wrote GVSHP’s executive director, Andrew Berman. “Increasing the bulk of the proposed development, however, would have such a negative impact.”