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Thread: A new crop of signature buildings

  1. #1

    Default A new crop of signature buildings

    From the September 08, 2002 issue of New York Magazine.
    Gotham Real Estate
    Outside the Box
    Developers try a novel sales pitch: top-notch architects and good buildings.

    By Aric Chen

    Martha Stewart's biotech portfolio isn't paying off, but her eye for architecture still looks like a good thing. The unfinished penthouse she bought for $6 million in 2000 is back on the market -- at about $15 million. And it doesn't take insider knowledge to see why it's been such a good investment: The duplex is in the striking new Richard Meier buildings at 173–176 Perry Street.

    Have developers finally figured out what Stewart built her empire on -- that design can sell? A new crop of signature buildings seems to say yes. "They're unique and special, so they can command a high price," explains developer Richard Born. Meier's glass-skinned towers have attracted not just Martha but fastidious types like Calvin Klein and Nicole Kidman, who've been willing to pay nearly $2,000 a square foot, easily twice the market rate.

    New York, for all its design savvy and money, has for decades been a rotten place for architecture, thanks to developers who see beauty in terms of return-per-square-foot. Name architects often get the blahs here (witness Robert A. M. Stern's Chatham on East 65th Street, or Michael Graves's Impala on East 76th), and we won't discuss Philip "I am a whore" Johnson's gaudy extravaganzas. "You don't pass those buildings and say, 'Wow, look at that,' " says Born. (Except with a wince.)

    This next wave of buildings seems to break the mold, and while developers are far from becoming tastemakers, they're making the city safe for better building. "If you've got a commodity everyone else has -- a brick box -- you can only compete by price," says first-time developer Jonathon Carroll, who, unshaken by market uncertainties, broke ground on an eleven-story condo at 497 Greenwich Street in January. "Ours will be so differentiated that I don't think we'll have to do that." The building, with an arresting façade of undulating glass (pictured), is by the local firm Archi-Tectonics, whose Dutch-born principal, Winka Dubbeldam, is a rising star. "We haven't even really begun to market it," says broker Richard Cantor of Cantor & Pecorella. As units go for $1.2 million to $7.1 million, "it's literally selling itself because of the quality of the design."

    Others hope to follow. Developer Stephen Touhey's plan for a residential tower in the meatpacking district is controversial for its size and location, but its catchy design by renowned French architect Jean Nouvel has also earned it fans. And even the nonagenarian Johnson's plan for 328 Spring Street (killed off by community opposition) was surprisingly handsome. "There's so much garbage being built," says one entrepreneur who's itching to buy into the Greenwich Street building. "But this is great architecture. Very little would tempt me to move right now. Except maybe the Richard Meier buildings."

  2. #2

    Default A new crop of signature buildings

    Do you know if the is a website for the Richard Meire Building on Perry St? Also do you know which brokerage firm is selling the units? Thanks so much in advance.

    - Batfish

  3. #3

    Default A new crop of signature buildings

    Excellent. This is obviously very heartening.

  4. #4

    Default A new crop of signature buildings

    New York, for all its design savvy and money, has for decades been a rotten place for architecture, thanks to developers who see beauty in terms of return-per-square-foot.

    Even if this is true about developers, how can they say that architecture in NYC is rotten? *I think there are some really awesome sites to see, far better than any other major city!

  5. #5

    Default A new crop of signature buildings

    This is related and discusses the new Meier buildings in particular:

  6. #6

    Default A new crop of signature buildings

    here is the site that *marketed the buildings:

  7. #7

    Default A new crop of signature buildings

    Good news on the Nouvel buiding. It seems more likely to be built now.

    848 Washington Street
    Washington & West 18th Streets
    31/32 stories *433/489 ft
    Jean Nouvel

    From the Villager:

    Market tower now planned to be a hotel

    By: Albert Amateau March 07, 2003

    Stephen Touhey, who proposed to build a slender 32-story residential tower designed by Jean Nouvel in the Meat Market, this week withdrew his application for a zoning variance for the site zoned for manufacturing and commercial use. *
    Instead, Touhey intends to put a hotel of the same size and design, which is allowed by existing zoning, on the site at 848 Washington St. according to a March 3 letter from his lawyer, Howard Hornstein, to the Board of Standards and Appeals.

    Preservation advocates and Community Board 2 who had opposed the residential variance were pleased but remained concerned that a 450-ft.-tall hotel is to be built in the low-rise neighborhood, which is likely to be designated as the Gansevoort Market Historic District.

    "This is a tremendous victory for the community," said Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. "It's a case where a tremendous outpouring from the community has made a developer say, 'Hey, I've lost,' and change his plans. It shows we can win sometimes."

    The variance, under consideration for more than a year, was scheduled for a March 25 B.S.A. decision, and March 4 was the last day for written submissions to the appeals board concerning the project.

    Touhey was quoted in the March 4 issue of Crain's New York Business as saying the B.S.A. would probably turn him down, so he had decided to build the slender Nouvel-designed tower as a 200-room hotel. Touhey told The Villager the hotel will have between 170 and 220 hotel rooms. Under the original residential plan, the building was to have 34 apartments, planned to market for more than $1 million each.

    Touhey's hotel would be the third in the neighborhood. The Hotel Gansevoort, 14 stories with 188 rooms, is under construction on the irregular-shaped lot between Little W. 12th St., Hudson St. and W. 13th St. A British operator is proposing Soho House, a hotel with 24 units, for the former Hanover Moving and Storage Company, an eight-story building on Ninth Ave at 13th St.

    Opponents of Touhey's residential tower said the upscale apartments would have had a devastating impact on the gritty character of the neighborhood, eventually forcing out the remaining meat wholesalers as well as the bars, restaurants and clubs that have moved into the district.

    Opponents also were - and still are - concerned about the size of the project in the midst of a low-rise area. But the height and the floor-to-area ratio coverage of the Nouvel design are allowed as-of-right and were not under consideration by the B.S.A.

    "We've won the battle but we recognize the war isn't over," said Berman. "We're concerned with anything Mr. Touhey develops; he has an eye for very large, outstanding structures. While a hotel would not have the same devastating impact of a residence, it might still create significant problems for the existing businesses."

    Although Touhey is determined to find an operator for the proposed hotel, real estate sources noted that prospects for a third hotel in the district are problematic in a down economy and a decline in tourism.

    Touhey, however, said the construction of the Hotel Gansevoort has created new confidence in the market. "We began negotiating with hotel operators last year, with W Hotel for one, but nothing came out of it. Now, with the Gansevoort going into the ground, there is more interest and we're re-opening talks with several operators."

    The Nouvel project, which incorporates a section of the High Line, the long-unused elevated railroad that runs from Horatio St. to W. 33rd St., is just outside the boundary of the proposed Gansevoort Market Historic District, which will be the subject of a hearing by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The hearing will be at 9:30 a.m. hearing on March 18 on the ninth floor of One Centre St.

    The G.V.S.H.P. and the affiliated Save the Gansevoort Market Task Force had originally called for designation of the entire Meat Market district between Ninth Ave. and West St., from 15th St. to Horatio St.

    But the Landmarks Commission omitted the area along Washington St. and to the west of where the High Line runs because the eventual fate of the High Line has not yet been determined.

    ©The Villager 2003 *

  8. #8

    Default A new crop of signature buildings

    Not to bad yet not to good. This building is unique

  9. #9

    Default A new crop of signature buildings

    It looks weird. I'm skeptical about its very dark color.

  10. #10

    Default A new crop of signature buildings

    Does anybody else here think the idea of a "meat market historic district" is a little absurd? *Put up plaques if you want, but the drab warehouses have little value once the meat-packing is gone. *Sometimes I think people aren't going to stop until the Museum of the City of New York = Manhattan Island.

    Jean Nouvel is a cool architect. *I like the proposal, and I hope they do something cool with the High-Line. *It's potentially a fantastic link to the City's plans for the west Side, because it connects to the site where the Jets stadium is proposed.

    (Edited by dbhstockton at 2:25 pm on Mar. 8, 2003)

  11. #11

    Default A new crop of signature buildings

    Also by Jean Nouvel, the well-known Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, with the *aperatures that can narrow or widen:

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    The Nation's Capitol (DC)

    Default A new crop of signature buildings

    I think that historic preservation is one of the most imprtant factors in making cities desireable and healthy. *I also think that big buildings belong in spaces that have other big buildings. *This district might need revitalization but not by these means.

  13. #13

    Default A new crop of signature buildings

    Quote: from dbhstockton on 2:24 pm on Mar. 8, 2003
    Does anybody else here think the idea of a "meat market historic district" is a little absurd? *
    Yeah, I do. It's just like when people complained about the closing of the Fulton Fish Market.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    NYC - Hoboken

    Default A new crop of signature buildings

    I have always liked this building and I think it will be a real success in that neighborhood. *This building will really stand out in the skyline since there is nothing else near it.

    (Edited by Zoe at 10:02 pm on Mar. 8, 2003)

  15. #15

    Default A new crop of signature buildings

    Another well-known, unbuilt project by Nouvel :

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