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Thread: 150 Charles Street - by Cook + Fox

  1. #1
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Default 150 Charles Street - by Cook + Fox

    15-story building set to rise above Whitehall site

    By Patrick Hedlund
    November. 07 -,13 2007

    Construction of a large residential building planned to rise above the Whitehall warehouse in the Far West Village will begin early next year, according to the property’s developer, but the addition won’t be as large as some had feared.

    The planned 15-story building will house nearly 100 residential units in the waterfront neighborhood, confirmed Scott Alper, a partner with the Witkoff Group, the site’s developer.

    Witkoff’s decision to build on top of the warehouse — located at 150 Charles St. and also fronting on W. 10th Street — accompanied the developer’s successful spurring of a zoning resolution to preserve older buildings converted for residential use.

    The community had previously expressed concern that the developer would choose to build up to a 32-story high-rise in an area known for new, innovative — and often strongly opposed — architectural statements.

    But the Witkoff Group opted not to maximize the building’s height, even after the city in 2005 decided to exclude the swath of land containing the warehouse in its downzoning of the Far West Village.

    Alper said they kept their word after pledging not to build to the maximum allowable height in the C1-7 zone, which permits a residential F.A.R. (floor-area ratio) of 6.02, according to Department of City Planning records.

    The decision to keep a lower profile, Alper explained, stemmed from the developer’s and architect’s desire to preserve the Whitehall base instead of demolishing the historic warehouse. Building a massive tower would “stick out like a sore thumb here,” he added of the property, which lies just south of Richard Meier’s trio of West St. buildings facing the Hudson River.

    Project designer Cook + Fox Architects has a strong reputation for green design and wanted to maximize available roof space for green features. In order to do so, however, the architect needed to amend the zoning resolution to waive open-space requirements for the portion of the building being converted to residential use, according to City Planning. That change would allow for the maximum F.A.R. to be achieved and an enlargement of the project’s bulk — creating a squatter building — resulting in fewer stories and more roof space.

    The building will also feature a series of setbacks above the existing four-story structure, according to the developer, including an initial setback of 30 feet. Ten four-story townhouse units will fill the former industrial space, which “puts eyes on the streets,” as well as maintaining the mammoth warehouse’s facade, Alper noted.

    Community members upset over the city’s failure to include the property in the 2005 Far West Village downzoning showed skepticism then over the developer’s intentions for the project. That feeling still exists for some awaiting construction, despite the developer’s assurances that it will respect the character of the neighborhood.

    “It’s striking how far out of their way the city went to accommodate this development,” said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, of the property’s exclusion from broader downzoning that would have likely made the building less tall. “None of us are really going to know how well this building will fit into the neighborhood until it’s built.”

    Berman acknowledged that the just-implemented zoning resolution affecting residential-conversion sites like the Whitehall warehouse will encourage “less egregious developments” by preserving older structures and reducing building heights. G.V.S.H.P. has not, however, taken a position for or against the amendment.

    © 2007 Community Media, LLC

  2. #2
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Witkoff plans 97 condo units at 150 Charles Street


    The Witkoff Group is planning a 97-unit residential condominium building at 150 Charles Street in the Far West Village.

    It has commissioned Cook + Fox to design a 12-story addition to the existing three-story storage facility at the site and the building will step down toward the Hudson River from the east.

    The site was one of two large properties that were not included in the city's 2005 rezoning of the area. The other is the former Superior Ink plant that is being redeveloped by The Related Companies and designed by Robert A. M. Stern.

    The Cook + Fox design retains the masonry facades of the former storage facility and its addition is masonry and glass. The building, which is to the south of the three mid-rise glass towers facing the Hudson River designed by Richard Meier, is expected to seek a gold LEED rating from the U. S. Green Building Council. The project will include 10 four-story townhouse units.

    According to the Cook + Fox website, "portions of the warehouse will be carved out to make light and air available to the residences and to create green, open space. Planted areas, including both private and communal terraces on multiple levels, will account for more than 50 percent of the site area.

    The tower will be set back from the street by 30 feet above the existing street well to increase light and air to the street. The project is expected to use "significantly less energy than a typical building and the residential lofts will incorporate highly filtered fresh air" and non-toxic materials....Rainwater captured on-site will be used for landscaping, making use of the natural environment of 1.4 million gallons of water that fall on the site every year."

    "The historic brick architecture of the West Village will be echoed in the terra cotta cladding of the new building," the website also proclaimed.

    The building occupies the block bounded by West, Washington, Charles and West 10th Streets and the developer agreed not to build to the maximum size permitted under zoning.

    Copyright © 1994-2008 CITY REALTY.COM INC.

  3. #3
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    WV residents move to block 150 Charles condos

    Suit claims developer Witkoff Group illegally switched construction plans


    By Leigh Kamping-Carder

    August 14, 2012

    150 Charles Street in June

    A group of West Village residents has gone to court to block the construction of 150 Charles Street, the Witkoff Group’s 98-unit condominium conversion of the former Whitehall Storage building. The 11 plaintiffs, who all live near the site, are claiming that the developer has run afoul of zoning rules.

    The residents say that Witkoff won special permission to enlarge the existing structure because the project is a conversion, rather than ground-up construction. But now, the developer has demolished the warehouse, waiving its right to the extra floor area, the residents allege in a complaint filed Thursday in New York State Supreme Court.

    The suit also names
    Robert LiMandri, commissioner of the Department of Buildings, alleging that he failed to enforce zoning regulations.

    “It’s outrageous that the developers tell the city one thing and then just go and do whatever they want,” said Barry Mallin, the plaintiffs’ attorney. “The DOB has not been enforcing the law here and allowing [the developer] to get away with things they should not get away with,” he added.

    long-awaited project – which occupies an entire block between West 10th, Charles, Washington and West streets — is set to hit the market in the upcoming months, with Prudential Douglas Elliman power brokers Leonard Steinberg, Raphael De Niro and Darren Sukenik handling sales.

    Pricing has not yet been released, but plans for the Cook + Fox-designed development call for increasing the height to 15 stories, adding 338,284 square feet of space, while preserving the existing four-story façade, according to DOB records. Steinberg has called the project “the ultimate Village experience.”

    But the residents allege that Witkoff has switched gears and “destroyed” the Whitehall building, meaning the company can no longer take advantage of a waiver allowing it to build higher and larger than what is normally allowed at the site.

    Mallin cited recent photographs of the construction site that allegedly demonstrate Witkoff has torn down the existing structure (see above) A source familiar with the project said that plans for the development had not changed.

    The plaintiffs also filed a complaint with the DOB, but the agency has not moved to halt construction or revoke Witkoff’s building permits, Mallin said.

    Hence, the residents have asked the court to order the construction to stop and to effectively rescind LiMandri’s approval of the project.

    The development has raised hackles in the neighborhood in the past. Another group of West Village residents posted an 11-minute YouTube video, entitled “The Rape of the West Village,” that lambasts the development for failing to fit in with the neighborhood’s character.

    The plaintiffs had initially wanted the land at 150 Charles Street to be turned into a community park. “[B]ut if that can’t happen, then for the developers to adhere to the zoning rules,” Mallin said of the goal of the lawsuit.

    The 150 Charles Street development is not the only Village development to generate controversy. In the past, locals have challenged Rudin Management’s conversion of
    St. Vincent’s Hospital and sought to curtail the scope of New York University’s expansion plans. Both projects have been approved by city council.

    Craig Murphy, Witkoff’s director of project development, was travelling and unavailable for comment. Steinberg declined to comment. A spokesman for DOB did not immediately provide a comment.


  4. #4


    The residents say that Witkoff won special permission to enlarge the existing structure because the project is a conversion, rather than ground-up construction. But now, the developer has demolished the warehouse, waiving its right to the extra floor area, the residents allege in a complaint filed Thursday in New York State Supreme Court.
    Well, now it makes sense.

    I walked by here a month ago, and couldn't figure out what the hell they were propping up. It looked like Berlin in the late 1940s.

    So I guess any court argument will be that, technically, the building remains.

  5. #5
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    I would (sort of) buy that technical argument if they retained the perimeter floors as seen in the frozen image on the vid above. But now that little amount of pre-existing floor area has been razed. All that remains of the prior structure are portions of the facade facing onto the street.

    The minimal structure that remains is probably not able to carry any load. It seems to serve only to meet some technical notion of a building. That might allow the developer to label this an "alteration" rather than a "new building" as outlined by DOB.

    What's standing on this lot now looks precarious at best. A document filed at DOB for this project in 2011 states that the original building contained over 40,000 sf, but that "the area will be reduced to 12,500 sf after the partial demolition occurs." That description seems to be in line with how the building looked when the video was made in mid-2011, not what's there now. Presently it's just a rubble strewn lot.

  6. #6


    Is this thing currently under construction?

  7. #7
    Forum Veteran
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    As of last week there was nothing new above grade.

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    PHOTO CREDIT: DNAinfo/Andrea Swalec


  9. #9


    New York Post

    Unfinished business

    The foundation is still being poured, but buyers are swarming to the West Village

    • Last Updated: 11:40 PM, March 27, 2013
    • Posted: 11:23 PM, March 20, 2013

    More than $560 million in sales and 12 price amendments up . . . in six weeks. Welcome to the new pre-construction frenzy.
    The building is 150 Charles St., a 91-unit, 16-story, ground-up condo that’s currently pouring its foundation. Since the development went on sale in February, its Douglas Elliman marketing team has signed contracts on more than two-thirds of its residences — at prices upwards of $3,000 per square foot — including one of two penthouses, which was on the market for $34 million.
    This is what happens when new elite housing stock — residences at 150 Charles come in more than 75 different layouts — is built in the West Village.
    Lorenzo Ciniglio; Hayes Davidson (top)
    A rendering (top) shows the promise of 150 Charles St., which is selling at a breakneck pace.

    “There’s limited supply and increasing demand” in the NYC market overall, says Tricia Hayes Cole, executive managing director at Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group. And the West Village, “happens to be in a sub-market where there is even less supply . . . It’s a limited opportunity, so they’re coming in and snapping up units.”
    Indeed, 150 Charles is just the latest in a line of ultra-luxury new construction developments that have conga’d their way through the West Village, breaking records and selling like wildfire. The neighborhood’s introduction to high-end new construction and starchitecture came by way of the Richard Meier buildings, which appeared on Perry Street in 2002. They were followed by 165 Charles St., also by Meier. After that came 385 W. 12th St., One Jackson Square and Superior Ink.
    “Last year there was 130 W. 12th St. That sold quickly. A couple years ago it was Superior Ink, and now 150 Charles is the new guy in the neighborhood,” Cole says.
    What all these buildings have in common is not only their level of luxury, but also the scale of their units.
    “The West Village has been coveted for decades, and the issue has been that there haven’t been enough big, loft-like products to serve the needs of the demographic,” says Wendy Maitland, senior managing director of sales for Town Residential, which has done multiple deals at 150 Charles. “What [developer Steven Witkoff] did with 150 Charles is he created large loft-like spaces with high ceilings and amenities.”
    Layouts at 150 Charles go from one- to six-bedrooms, 1,400 to 5,800-plus square feet. The amenities include park-like green space and a club level with a 75-foot lap pool and hot tub.
    “Not only do we have units with up to six bedrooms, but we planned our project so we could do combos,” says Steven Witkoff, chairman and CEO of the Witkoff Group. “Where we anticipated combinations, they have all combined. Those asking for larger apartments are all families.”

    Also contributing to the fast sales pace in these buildings has been the dearth of competition. It’s so difficult to develop in the West Village that new buildings appear one or two at a time, lessening competition.
    “It’s hard to find development sites, and that’s the challenge; there is no vacant land, so you’re acquiring other buildings and doing gut rehabs,” says Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel.
    Cole is selling the other newly released condo development in the West Village. Really, the only other.
    The Printing House is the redevelopment of 100 of the original homes in 421 Hudson St. — converted into condos in the late ’80s — into 60 loft-style apartments. The development consists of a main building and two townhouses and three maisonettes with entrances on the mews behind the property. Units will range from 900 to over 3,300 square feet in the main building. The townhouses will be larger.

    If early interest is any indication, it’s likely that the Printing House, which just started sales, will wind up with a feeding frenzy of its own.
    “We’re up to about 1,000 inquiries,” says Cole. “A market is in an equilibrium if there is six to nine months supply, now in the West Village there is 3 1/2 months of supply. There are 77 residences that are listed, and last year the market absorbed 265 units, so you can sell out what’s available in 3 1/2 months. The market is very under-supplied; it’s the tightest in the city.”
    The Printing House is priced more modestly than 150 Charles, with opening numbers ranging between $1,750 to $1,800 per square foot. But as Cole notes, with so little product in the area, comparisons are difficult.
    “There’s no direct comparable, but the pricing in the Village has been consistently strong and increasing,” Cole says. “The last 12 months in the West Village, residences from brand-new glass towers to resales have been trading from $1,800 to $1,900 a foot, and the newer things are well north of $2,000, but we wanted to go out to the market and see how it’s received.”
    As for what’s next, there isn’t much on the horizon: 130 Seventh Ave. South is reportedly slated for development into a seven-story condo building. And Maitland says that Town has something forthcoming in the area, but not of the scale of a 150 Charles — though she does say it will be new-construction and “of that echelon.”
    And interest will only remain high.
    “The area has only gotten more desirable with the Hudson River Conservancy and with Pier 40,” Maitland says. “Bleecker Street went from little mom-and-pop shops, anchored by Magnolia Bakery, to Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, every major label angling to get a spot between Bleecker and Eighth Avenue. There’s Cole’s, David Rabin’s restaurant. There’s something about the West Village, including the light, that’s just different.”

  10. #10
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    So the condo owners of Printing House elected to sell to the developer and move out?

  11. #11
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    150 Charles on the CookFox website (images + info):


    Over 30,000 square feet of landscaped space occupies the site - more than Abingdon Square Park, Christopher Square Park and the Jefferson Market Garden combined.

    New York, NY
    The Witkoff Group
    Featured / Residential

    A remarkable site overlooking the expanse of the waterfront, 150 Charles Street is sited between the activity on the Hudson River and the history of the West Village.

    The building incorporates the abandoned Whitehall warehouse, a massive, utilitarian structure of concrete, brick, and glass. The grid of the warehouse is maintained in the new building, with each bay defining separate townhomes on Charles and West 10th Streets. Individual, residential entries create new connections at the street level, activating the sidewalk with foot traffic. Retaining the streetwall as both a connection to the pedestrian scale and the neighborhood’s past, 150 Charles creates a vibrant streetscape and the highest-quality living environment for its residents.

    A vision of weaving new development into the natural and historic environment of the West Village has shaped this project from the outset. Modern logic typically would balance a residential tower within a park, yet 150 Charles asserts that new growth can thoroughly integrate nature into the built environment. The resulting building is a careful composition of stacked volumes that gradually setback, preserving the neighborhood’s scale and romantic character. Where the warehouse’s tarred roof once occupied the majority of the block, two terraced, landscaped volumes now surround a lush central courtyard.

    Incorporating ideas of biophilia – our inherent connection to the environment - access to nature throughout the building is related to themes of prospect (wide, open views) and refuge (safe and protected interior spaces). 150 Charles combines the best of the West Village townhouse garden view and the waterfront high-rise river view with cascading terraces designed as a “fifth façade.” Integral to the experience of the building, 150 Charles has over 30,000 square feet of landscaped space distributed throughout lush green rooftops, planted terraces and courtyards - truly defining the term “superior landscaping.” This is more composed green space than Abingdon Square Park, Christopher Square Park and the Jefferson Market Garden combined.

    150 Charles is more than a sum of its parts; it is a building crafted for a particular time and place, evoking a scale and texture characteristic of the neighborhood. Just as good streets are needed to bring neighborhoods to life, 150 Charles embodies an essential engagement with nature and the vibrancy of the West Village streetscape.


    Serge Appel / Nicole Blasetti / Mark Canfield / Pam Campbell / Zachary Craun / Simone De Conno / Ryan Doyle / Caroline Karlsen / Eugene Kwak / Fred Metzger / Chelsey Morar / Will Robinette / Nadia Samuelson / Giovanni Sidari / Luciana Spinola / Susie Teal

  12. #12


    This is a very beautiful project. I love the windows.

  13. #13


    Yes, nice looking windows: that 'grid' of mullions gives 'texture' and 'visual depth' to the facade - a opposed to one large pane of plate glass. Those are not entirely floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall windows; but getting very close to what I call the "fish bowl" affect of a room with full 'window walls'.

    This building design is as good as it gets: attractive exterior, and optimal light, views, room proportions/layouts for the interiors. It is so rare to see 'well done' architecture these days - so this one is really exceptional.

    BTW: I think the AIA and the entire architecture 'profession' needs to be abolished; it has been failing too badly, and for too long. There has to be a better way to design buildings: open the field up to graphic designers, industrial designers, interior designers, ect.

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  15. #15
    Fearless Photog RoldanTTLB's Avatar
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    The crane for this has been towering over the West Village for days, as seen from my office. This is the second eh, topkit maybe? tower crane going in the city. Is there some new regulation/deregulation that these are now allowed, or are cranes just so hard to come by that some sites are using these?

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