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Thread: MacDougal Lofts - 171-173 MacDougal Street - Greenwich Village

  1. #1
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002

    Default MacDougal Lofts - 171-173 MacDougal Street - Greenwich Village

    I think this restoration is amazing, and the building is gorgeous, especially considering what was done to it .

    Architect: Renwick, Aspinwall and Russell
    Year Built: 1891

    Big Reveal: 3BR Romanesque Revival Loft in the Village

    October 27, 2011, by Kelsey Keith

    Location: 173 MacDougal Street #4E
    Asking: $4,800,000

    Eagle-eyed commenters know precisely which building this unit is in (MacDougal Lofts, let the sun shine in!) and figure correctly that the first purchaser is flipping the apartment. Several guesses put the 3-bedroom spread (folding walls and all) in the $5+ million range, while guest #7 narrowed it down to the actual ask. NB: one commenter points out: "I'm pretty sure these are not photos of the actual apartment but of the fifth floor (unit above). The agents are using photos from the original conversion a couple of years ago. The actual unit does not have the arched windows but has huge windows nonetheless." The more you know!

    Listing: 173 Macdougal Street #4E [StreetEasy]

    MacDougal Lofts Let the Sunshine In

    June 4, 2009, by Joey Arak

    The scaffolding has finally come down at 171-173 MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village, the Christian Scientist Church that decided to brighten things up a bit by pulling down the stark brick wall that had covered the building's historic facade since 1986. The upper floors were sold off to a developer, who is now shopping the 10 units as the MacDougal Lofts. Despite prices cracking $2,000/sf, StreetEasy shows that four units are in contract. Is it a miracle, or is it the makeover?

    MacDougal Lofts [Official Site]

    Christian Science Church Brightens Up in Greenwich Village

    March 10, 2009, by Lockhart

    A Curbed tipster emails, "This is that building on MacDougal Street (between 8th Street and Washington Place North) that used to be a Christian Scientist Church with a stark modern façade that is now being restored and converted to apartments. Scoffolding just coming down revealing a really interesting (I think) glass cornice."

    The building, 171 MacDougal, dates to 1891—the work of architecture firm Renwick, Aspinwall and Russell. The Christian Science Church acquired the place in the 1920s, and in 1986, undertook the radical renovation that left the majority of the facade bricked up. Little surprise that a proposal by the Church to de-brick the facade and return it to something more approximating its original look won Landmarks approval in 2006. Work on the facade began in May 2007.

    see also interior photos and read more on Archello

    more pics on Preserv

  2. #2


    That is stunning.

    And to think this building seemed forever ruined.

    I love the smart mix of the old with the new windows.

    Immagine if this kind of taste (mix of historic and modern) had been applied to the building at 1775 B'way, instead of the ghastly new glass skin.
    Last edited by Fabrizio; October 29th, 2011 at 08:30 AM.

  3. #3
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    in Limbo


    ...or the hack job at 365 Broadway. We lost those two to poor taste but regained one back here.

    Lessens the pain a little.

  4. #4


    Beautiful restoration: and funny to know the original loft building was at one point converted into a Church - by Christ. (LOL)

    Excerpt from article posted above: The Romanesque large-scale loft building, designed by Renwick-Aspenwall and Russell Architects in 1890, was converted by Victor Janer Christ in 1966 into a Church.
    In order to reuse the building for worship, the building was stripped of all its architectural detail and a new façade and interior was constructed. The three top floors were closed off, seemingly in perpetuity.

  5. #5



  6. #6
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Creative Conversion

    By Sheryl

    View from MacDougal Alley

    In an earlier post we cleared up some common misconceptions about landmarking, one of which is the notion that landmarking “freezes a building in time.” Every Tuesday the Landmarks Preservation Commission meets to review and work with architects on major alterations to historic buildings. We find it especially gratifying to see creative conversions that satisfy both the building owner and the historic context of a neighborhood. The building at 171-173 MacDougal Street is one such conversion.

    Owned by the Tenth Church of Christ Scientist since 1927, the building has been altered substantially since it became part of the Greenwich Village Historic District in 1969. The original Romanesque building was designed by Renwick-Aspenwall and Russell Architects in 1890-1891.

    The first redesign of the original building came in 1966. It was a radical conversion by architect Victor Christ-Janer. The modernist design emphasized the grand scale of this loft-style building, creating a solid red-brick exterior with only a single narrow window. In 1969, when the Landmarks Preservation designated the Greenwich Village Historic District, they described Christ-Janer’s design as “handsome but severely simple” (for more, see Part 1 of the Greenwich Village designation report, available on our Resources page).

    Original facade from the c. 1940 tax photo (left); 1966 Christ-Janer alteration (right)

    The second restoration was completed in 2009, and was initiated by the Tenth Church of Christ Scientist’s need to make necessary improvements to the church. They sold the upper portion of the building—which had been unused for many years—to a developer to help finance the costs.

    The modernist facade being removed

    The 2009 renovation is an exceptional example of a sensitive re-imagining that integrates modern elements into the original façade while satisfying the needs of both owners. The two lower floors are veiled with a glass curtain wall that helps identify the public nature of the church’s street-level space, while the upper residential floors take full advantage of the surviving pilasters and arches, with new windows that reinterpret the original design. The new cast glass cornice memorializes the Romanesque cornice that was removed in 1966, but is updated using modern materials.

    The renovation involved the successful cooperation of many players, including the architecture and design firm TRA Studio, who headed the project for the developer, Property Markets Group; Hanrahan Meyers Architects for the Church; architectural firm Walter B. Melvin Architect, who oversaw historic preservation of the remaining masonry; and the preservation contracting company Preserv, Inc. The community was so enamored with the conversion that the project team was awarded a Regina Kellerman Award at GVSHP’s 2009 Annual Awards – a happy ending for this wonderful Greenwich Village landmark conversion.

  7. #7


    Now That's the way to do it!

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by Merry View Post
    In an earlier post we cleared up some common misconceptions about landmarking, one of which is the notion that landmarking “freezes a building in time.”
    LOL at this commentary.

    Andrew Berman, the one-man lobbying organization known as GVSHP (there is no "we", notwithstanding the text; the only other workers are interns), is pretty much 100% committed to freezing everything in NYC in time. That's basically his job description. Change nothing anywhere, no matter what. It has nothing to do with landmarks or historical appreciation.

    And Berman disingeneously implies support for the renovation at MacDougal lofts. His lobbying organization played no role whatsoever in the renovation. If he had known about it in advance, he probably would have opposed it.

    After all, the renovation represents everything in opposition to his lobbying. It represents gentrification, phyiscal change, increased density and improved streetscape.

    It's a beautiful building, though. One of the best in the Village. I'm thrilled it was approved.

  9. #9


    Gee... I wonder if the Village had not had it's share of Preservationists and Nimbys, what it would have looked like by now.

    Any ideas?

  10. #10
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Quote Originally Posted by ASchwarz View Post

    Andrew Berman, the one-man lobbying organization known as GVSHP (there is no "we", notwithstanding the text; the only other workers are interns), is pretty much 100% committed to freezing everything in NYC in time.
    Have you ever been to an LPC hearing and listened to the often well considered testimony offered up by the GVSHP reps? "Freezing everything in NYC in time" isn't what they usually put forth. In egregious situations GVSHP does oppose projects. But in many cases they are supportive of restoration work, and work that will enhance a property, but are sticklers for details that many owners want to get around or simply don't pay any attention to.

    Like him or not, Berman is incredibly effective. And the putdown of him, saying that there's no "we" there, implies that he is self-funded, rather than that he is well supported by any number of backers.

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