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Thread: 90 West Street - by Cass Gilbert - Post 9/11 Restoration

  1. #46

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    This is a great building! I am glad it was able to be restored!!

  2. #47

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    So how much are they charging for 3-bedroom apartments? $3700 or $5500?
    Could be that the added publicity allowed them to up the rents on the high-end units.

  3. #48
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    Iti s a wonderful restoration, but an absolute crap location. That section of West Street with all the BBT traffic is not residential stock.

    (However, were I offered a 3 bedroom at $1500 / Month - I'd snap it up.)

  4. #49

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    Yea right ! a studio is $2000 a month.
    It still is a good location actually there are alot of familys around here.
    It's right next to a hotel where there is always something going on.
    O yea buy the way it's across the street next to 130 liberty so there might be contamination dust. No one really cares though. They live there life now.

  5. #50

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    The dust of the bank, and the constant construction across the street would hinder me renting one of these units.

  6. #51

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    Hey Zippy, could you re-post the pics, becasue it says "missing image file"

  7. #52

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    NEWSDAY

    Landmark building restored, ready for business

    By ROBERT KAHN
    March 6, 2005

    After Cass Gilbert's copper-topped landmark at 90 West St. was pulverized by debris from the World Trade Center, debate raged over whether the 1907 tower, then a commercial property, could even be saved.

    Monday morning, the apartment rental office at the converted building opens for business, conclusively answering that question, and making way for more heartening, less consequential ones: Should the track lighting in the model one-bedroom be angled to flatter the GE stainless steel oven, or adjusted to accentuate the bamboo-plank floors?

    Some $150 million -- part from Liberty Bonds and tax incentives, part from owners Kibel Co., Brack Capital and BD Hotels -- has gone into replacing 7,000 pieces of terra-cotta façade, repairing the iconic roof and gutting the neo-Gothic property's scarred interior.

    Move-ins at the 410-unit complex begin May 1, with full occupancy expected by late July.

    Pets are welcome.

    "I've worked here so long now I'm almost immune to this view," said Andrew Gordon, construction project manager for Levine Builders, as he looked out a window of Unit 6D and into the bathtub at Ground Zero.

    Architects and engineers say the 24-story 90 West survived Sept. 11 partly because its northern façade was already covered in scaffolding for a two-year renovation nearing its end. They also credit the four-story granite base, heat-resistant terra-cotta paneling and marble-and-steel stairwells.

    Still, the steakhouse on the ground floor was destroyed by cascading steel. On the north face, fixtures and ornamentation of lions and eagles were blown away. Copper sheets on the sloping mansard roof were peeled off like the tab on a coffee-cup lid. Inside, fire burned for three days.

    In their efforts to rebuild, project executives, led by H. Thomas O'Hara Architects and Levine Builders, have far surpassed in expenditures and detail the interrupted renovation.

    The top floors of 90 West are home to dozens of gargoyles -- owls, goat heads and griffins, more than 100 of which needed replacement -- but the building's most identifiable feature is the 45-foot mansard roof. The Seaboard Weatherproofing Co. reproduced every detail of Gilbert's original, spending more than $4 million in copper decoration alone. (The entire building cost $2 million to construct a century ago.)

    When contractors took down the block walls and flat ceiling in the lobby, they discovered vaulted arches and dozens of decorative cast iron eagle talons, which had been covered for half a century. They are all now exposed.

    Peter Levenson, a principal of Kibel, deflects questions about the emotional impact of the project and its 9/11 wounds, preferring to dwell on going forward, or looking back even further in time, to the engineering decisions master architect Gilbert made.

    "It was solidly built 100 years ago," Levenson said. "Obviously, it's withstood quite a lot."


















  8. #53

    Question

    Whats going to be on the ground floor? Perhaps another steakhouse?

  9. #54

    Default 4-17-05 top of the back




  10. #55

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    Posted on Fri, Jul. 01, 2005

    Reborn 9-11 building gives WTC district breath of new life

    BY STEVENSON SWANSON
    Chicago Tribune


    NEW YORK - (KRT) - The graceful gem of a skyscraper at 90 West St. has no name apart from its address, but if it did, it surely would be "The Phoenix."

    Like the mythical bird that rose from the ashes, this 98-year-old landmark is coming back to life after a fiery passage that left it practically a burned-out hulk, written off as one of the casualties of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history.

    Standing next to the World Trade Center, 90 West was pummeled by falling steel girders and chunks of concrete when the trade center's south tower collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001. The blaze that the flaming debris ignited inside the 23-story building burned for almost two days.

    Now, nearly four years after the attack, the former office tower has been converted into an apartment building. The first tenants began to move in earlier this month, bringing new life to a part of Manhattan that witnessed the deaths of more than 2,700 people.

    "It's a way to support downtown," said new resident Matt Cairns, 44, referring to lower Manhattan. "I'd rather spend my rent money in an area that's trying to come back."

    In the months after the Sept. 11 attack, vacancy rates for commercial and residential space in the neighborhood shot up. Apartment buildings have since filled back up, but demand for office space has stayed low.

    Security concerns about the design of Freedom Tower, the 1,776-foot centerpiece of the plan to rebuild the trade center site, have delayed construction and added to the lingering sense of uncertainty in the neighborhood.

    New York Gov. George Pataki has promised to unveil the redesigned Freedom Tower by the end of the month, but in the meantime, the rebirth of 90 West St. has been a shot in the arm for the area.

    "It's a morale boost for the community," said Judy Duffy, one of the managers of a citizen advisory board for lower Manhattan. "It's very symbolic, because it's such an old, cherished building."

    The 1907 neo-Gothic skyscraper was designed by Cass Gilbert, the Ohio-born architect whose work includes the Woolworth Building, the U.S. Supreme Court and the Minnesota State Capitol. Like the Woolworth Building, 90 West abounds in terra-cotta ornament and also includes a medieval menagerie of fanciful creatures, including grimacing gargoyles and ferocious griffins.

    Despite raging fires that burned out whole floors and raining debris from the towers, 90 West survived the tragedy of Sept. 11. Engineers found that only a few structural steel beams on the upper stories of the building had buckled. The rest appeared to have been saved by the fireproofing tiles that were used in early skyscrapers, made of the same terra-cotta material used to create the elegant ornamentation on the building's facade.

    Although the building was sound, its fate was uncertain for more than a year because restoring it as an office building no longer made economic sense. Business tenants increasingly demand office space with sprawling, unobstructed floors, not the thickets of columns found in older buildings.

    "It's not very competitive as an office building," said project manager Peter Levenson of the Kibel Companies, a residential developer and one of the building's owners. "This was a building that really needed a new life."

    After Kibel and its partners bought 90 West in early 2003 for $12.5 million, work began to restore the exterior and to convert the interior into 410 apartments.

    The building's old copper roof, which Levenson called "a mangled, charred mess," was replaced with a new $4 million roof, also of copper, and an upstate New York company supplied 7,000 new terra cotta pieces, many of which were computer-designed to match the originals.

    Stone carvers in New Hampshire, Utah and Italy chiseled replacements for the damaged arches, capstones and decorative pieces on the building's three-story granite base.

    Because of the intricate connections between stones, undamaged pieces had to be removed with the broken and scarred ones and then reassembled with the new stones to ensure a precise fit.

    "Every building he did involved an enormous amount of decoration and sculpture," said Cass Gilbert's great-granddaughter Helen Curry, whose voice catches as she talks about the rebirth of her ancestor's building. "It makes me cry to think about the amount of time and money and effort the developers were willing to put in to save that building."

    But the $150 million restoration will not erase all traces of building's brush with destruction. On one corner, a crude "90 WEST" that was spray-painted by rescue workers after Sept. 11 remains visible, its original florescent orange now faded to a light gray.

    And stones that were only slightly chipped have been left in place.

    "That's the original Cass Gilbert," Levenson said. "And the idea is not to make a Cass Gilbert reproduction. We were doing a restoration."

    But the new owners allowed themselves a bit of artistic license in some of the replacement gargoyles that stare down on West Street from the 15th floor. The heads were carved to resemble Levenson and other principals involved in the project.

    Even that touch has a precedent in Gilbert's work. A few blocks away, the lobby of the Woolworth Building features likenesses of Gilbert clutching a model of the skyscraper and dime-store magnate F.W. Woolworth counting the change that made him wealthy.

    The restoration, which was financed in large part by $106 million in tax-exempt bonds aimed at speeding the recovery of lower Manhattan, is still under way, but tenants started to move into completed units in early June, drawn by the building's 10-foot ceilings and new appliances. And with studios that start at $1,600 a month, the rents are relatively cheap by Manhattan standards.

    As a newcomer to New York, Paula Guedes, did not realize at first that her new home was next to ground zero. But now the fledgling investment banker sees herself as taking part in writing a new chapter in the area's history.

    "I do think it's a real big thing to help bring this area back to life," said Guedes, 23, who moved here after her recent graduation from the University of Southern California. "That's a very positive thing, after so many bad things have happened here."

    And Curry, Gilbert's descendant, hopes the survival of 90 West spurs the preservation of other buildings by her ancestor.

    "They are worth renovating and saving," she said. "The one thing I would point to about his work that stands out more than anything else is that it's beautiful but it's also structurally sound. And that's something we tend not to honor very much in our culture anymore. We tend to cut corners. And we pay for it in the long run."

    ---

  11. #56

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    Braced to live in shadows of 9/11

    First tenants begin moving in to building next to Ground Zero


    BY PAUL D. COLFORD
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER


    Marla Goldwasser (above) unpacks as she moves into new flat at
    90 West St., an apartment with a view of Ground Zero (below).



    When Marla Goldwasser first checked out the sunny apartment overlooking Ground Zero, the art dealer wasn't sure she could handle the dramatic view day after day.

    "I didn't know if it would be morbid or depressing," she said.

    But she returned several times to the spacious one-bedroom, and her sister suggested that renting in the doorman building might even be patriotic.

    "I also thought it was important to bear witness to what happened," Goldwasser added.

    With a two-year lease in hand, Goldwasser is among the first few tenants who moved this month into 90 West St., a former office building that now offers the closest housing to Ground Zero.

    Rents in the century-old city landmark range from about $2,700 a month for a one-bedroom to $3,600 for a two-bedroom.

    For Goldwasser and others who choose units on the north side, their new home will provide front-row seats to years of construction in what's now a 16-acre hole in the ground.

    After the planes hit the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, most workers managed to flee 90 West St., except for two who died in a broken elevator.

    Despite heavy damage from fire and falling debris, the 23-story Gothic beauty remained standing, mainly because of its old-world design.

    Thick terra cotta shielded its steel columns, and a dense layer of tile between floors is believed to have prevented even worse ruin from the blazes.

    A $145 million restoration of renowned architect Cass Gilbert's design has transformed the office space into 410 apartments.

    "I love the architecture of the building - that's what appealed to me in the first place," Goldwasser said while taking in her 10th-floor panorama.

    Another newcomer, Matthew Cairns, a Web developer with Standard & Poor's who took an apartment on the building's southwest corner, said he considered a unit facing Ground Zero.

    "But I was a little concerned about looking out at a construction site for the duration of my lease," said Cairns, who moved from nearby Broadway, where he was frustrated by the nighttime noise of jackhammers.

    About 175 of the 410 units have been leased, but not all the new tenants have moved in, according to David Tannenbaum, leasing manager for the building, which BCRE 90 West St. LLC purchased in 2003.

    The rebirth of 90 West St. is part of a trend that has turned lower Manhattan into "the most rapidly expanding residential area in New York City," according to a recent report from the Alliance for Downtown New York.

    Besides the 18,810 existing housing units south of Chambers St., an additional 3,115 are under construction and 4,000 more are proposed.

    Goldwasser, who moved to New York from Atlanta in 1990 and started her own fine art consultancy five years ago, had been living in nearby Tribeca.

    After settling in to 90 West St., Goldwasser hung a friend's painting of the World Trade Center between two windows that frame where the twin towers stood.

    "I also think I have the best view in the whole city," she said. "The sunrise and the sunset are beautiful from up here.

    "It doesn't trouble me to be here. It really doesn't. I'm going to stay here as long as I can."
    Originally published on June 27, 2005

  12. #57

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    Beauty, Strength in the Details at 90 West Street
    www.lowermanhattan.info
    June 27, 2005

    The best part about 90 West Street is that it is getting the attention it deserves. A classic example of "they don't build them like that anymore," the 1907, Cass Gilbert-designed building has the elements that make it not only rare among skyscrapers, but extraordinary even among the modern marvels of New York City.

    Think 23 stories of century-old carved limestone, with smooth swaths of the façade adorned with the faces of lions, eagles, American Indian chiefs, and other symbolic Americana (all favorites of Gilbert). Look up to around the 18th floor to see colonnade finials and the undersides of arched windows, where yellow, green, blue, and red terra cotta pieces are patterned like bouquets. Above them is the copper mansard roof that conjures images of classic Parisian walk-ups.

    In other words, it is clear why the exterior of 90 West Street was designated a historic landmark in 1998. And still, there is so much more to the structure, which sits between Cedar and Albany Streets, due south of the World Trade Center site.

    The building's innovative design, along with Gilbert's super-solid structural sense, prompted owners Kibel Companies, Brack Capital Real Estate, and BD Hotels to invest $150 million in its restoration after September 11, 2001. With the help of Liberty Bonds, tax incentives, and other downtown rebuilding benefits, the owners pulled together financing that lets them re-piece the structure's battered façade and restore its interior.
    *
    "We crawled across and raked around every stone in the building for structural stability," says Peter Levenson, a principal of the Kibel Companies and the architect who is overseeing the restoration. He explains that at the time of the attack, 90 West Street was about 90 percent done with a two-year renovation, and its north side was covered in scaffolding that, fortunately, protected much of its stonework from falling debris.

    The roof, however, took the brunt of the damage, with most of its copper sheets torn and melted beyond repair. But being one of the building's most distinct features -- even emulated by Cesar Pelli's firm, who designed One World Financial Center's lower copper rooftop in its image -- Levenson and the exterior-construction team at Seaboard Weatherproofing Company have worked to reproduce every original detail.

    "The exterior work is being done with materials that aren't used much today," Levenson says. "We've put in $4 million in copper for the roof -- just the decorative parts, not the flat top -- while the entire building cost $2 million to build originally."

    Every fixture and ornament of 90 West Street is a testament to both the Beaux-Arts-style training and engineering skill of Gilbert, whom Levenson calls "one of the more important fathers of the skyscraper." The artful elaborations and structural precautions Gilbert would later take to the hilt in creating the Woolworth Building (completed in 1913) are everywhere in 90 West Street.
    *
    Two stand-out elements of Gilbert's design schemes include handcrafted, interlocking terra-cotta bricks between floors and marble-and-steel stairwells -- both fireproofing measures. The events of September 11, 2001, revealed that they work even in extreme circumstances.

    Another reason the building withstood the blow of the collapsed towers was its reinforced steel and massive, solid-granite base, which suffered dents and chips, but nothing that threatened the building's foundation. Rather, it was the extensive façade damage -- coupled with the landmark status that requires the exterior be restored to its original appearance -- that put 90 West Street on the brink of demolition.

    "The costs are huge," Levenson explains. "And even though the restoration is hugely gratifying and exciting, at the end of the day it's a business." Which is why, he says, the owners are converting the former office building into 410 state-of-the-art apartments -- a plan that perfectly suits the building's modest footprint and Hudson River views.

    Inside, the foyer's restored Gothic-arched ceiling and carved-stone pillars will welcome tenants, who will have access to a garden courtyard, gym, recreation room, and all the modern amenities -- from central air and heating to high-speed Internet access and a large underground garage. "It will be 1907 on the outside, 2005 on the inside," says Levenson.

    And while 90 West Street is no longer a waterfront property (as it was when constructed in 1907, six decades before Battery Park City was built), Levenson is confident that tenants will enjoy the building itself, as well as the growing residential neighborhood.

    "West Street was a busy transportation and shipping hub, and this was a highly commercial area when this building went up," says Levenson, adding that the parks and promenades of Battery Park City are a huge draw for new downtown residents. "And the more residents who move down here the better, because it creates a neighborhood," he says.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ©2005 Company 39, Inc.

  13. #58

    Default New, Proud Resident of 90 West

    I just wanted to say hello to the thread and to let you know that my wife and I are one of the proud renters of 90 West Street. The building is beautiful inside, and out. The lobby's gothic arches and marble accents are some of the reasons that we picked such an amazing place. If you haven't been in the lobby yet, I recommend that you stop in when you get a chance - Even just to say hello.



    We're extremely proud to be in this building, as it signifies resilience, and the continuation of life and living. To be witness to a part of history and to help rebuild what Lower Manhattan had lost makes it all worthwhile.



    We did question whether our hearts and minds could take the constant reminder just outside our doors? But when the work day’s troubles weigh heavy on your shoulders and mind, seeing the WTC site on a daily basis will put all work-related issues into perspective. Instead of coming home and complaining to your spouse about "Henry in accounting" again, you won't even think about it. You'll hug your wife or husband a little extra, take more walks, and live each day to its fullest. We'll live our lives knowing that over 3000 innocent people can't - And through their spirit, the love of NY, and our own determination...we'll stay at 90 West Street as long as possible.



    Cheers, Jordan Buntain

    jordan_buntain@hotmail.com




  14. #59

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    I love that they have used copper on the roof without preoxidising it whatever its called and it will go green naturally. Kind of makes you think your back in the day when all buildings were like that. Im really glad this building has been saved and rejuvanated, i remember seeing it a year or two ago and i remember thinking of it as a haunted building im glad its no longer like that.

  15. #60

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jbuntain
    I just wanted to say hello to the thread and to let you know that my wife and I are one of the proud renters of 90 West Street. The building is beautiful inside, and out. The lobby's gothic arches and marble accents are some of the reasons that we picked such an amazing place. If you haven't been in the lobby yet, I recommend that you stop in when you get a chance - Even just to say hello.



    We're extremely proud to be in this building, as it signifies resilience, and the continuation of life and living. To be witness to a part of history and to help rebuild what Lower Manhattan had lost makes it all worthwhile.



    We did question whether our hearts and minds could take the constant reminder just outside our doors? But when the work day’s troubles weigh heavy on your shoulders and mind, seeing the WTC site on a daily basis will put all work-related issues into perspective. Instead of coming home and complaining to your spouse about "Henry in accounting" again, you won't even think about it. You'll hug your wife or husband a little extra, take more walks, and live each day to its fullest. We'll live our lives knowing that over 3000 innocent people can't - And through their spirit, the love of NY, and our own determination...we'll stay at 90 West Street as long as possible.



    Cheers, Jordan Buntain

    jordan_buntain@hotmail.com




    Do you have any pictures of the lobby?

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