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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)

Carter's View

The through-block residential condominium development at 139 Wooster Street in SoHo is nearing completion.

The major facade of the 16-unit project is on Wooster Street between Houston and Prince Streets and is distinguished by its broad, dark metal spandrels in contrast with its narrower, beige-masonry facade of its frontage at 455 West Broadway.

The two 8-story buildings are connected by a Japanese garden with bamboo, a maple tree, and a water feature with a Brazilian Ipe wood deck.

Beyer Blinder Belle is the architect and the Arun Bhatia Development Corporation, whose other major residential projects in Manhattan include The Strand, The Capri, The Dunhill, The Whitney, The Park East, and The Chelsea Regent, is the developer.

The two- to four-bedroom units range in size from about 1,447 to 4,252 square feet and have 11-foot-high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, Bosch washer and dryers, and Brazilian wide-plant, white oak floors.

Bathrooms have Wenge wood vanities with Lagos Azul slab stone counters, Oyster beige marble floors and walls and Neptune soaking tubs.

Kitchens have Cashmere Gold granite counters, very sleek cabinetry, and SubZero, Miele and Bosch appliances.

The lobby has a 24-hour concierge and Venetian plaster walls of warm iridescent gray, burnished cherry wood, back-painted fluted glass and Vellebois Jaune limestone flooring.

The building will have a fitness center and ground-floor retail spaces on both West Broadway and Wooster Street.

Occupancy is anticipated for early next year.

Prices range from $1,920,000 to $7,995,000 and about two-thirds of the units have already been sold.

The site was acquired from Hyatt Hotels for $9,800,000 in 2004.

At a September 21, 2004 hearing before the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Historic Districts Council expressed some concerns that the tall windows on Wooster Street might lead "to the unnerving prospect of seeing people and interiors in a strange 'display' like view."

"Of greater concern, though, is the preponderance of unadorned metal on the Wooster Street facade," the council's statement continued. "Simply put, there is going to be 44 feet of gunmetal grey metal paneling along the street - which is a serious architectural statement and not altogether appropriate one for this historic streetscape. While metal is of course appropriate for the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District, the color and flat, inarticulate quality of this facade treatment will make it jar with its historic neighbors. Indeed, the overall dark palette chosen will make this building stand out all the more in contrast to its light neighbors. Finally, with all this metal going on the facade, there's no reason to stint on the cornice. The impressionistic cornice proposed is a nice gesture, but too slight and too ephemeral for both the district and this building."

The project's design was approved by the commission.

The metal "paneling" on the Wooster Street facade, shown in the rendering at the right, has not yet gone up, but its color is not that much out of context as there are somewhat similar facades in SoHo and its strong detailing and proportions are reminiscent of some of the best small "black" buildings designed by Philip Johnson.

The street it is on has a very lively retail presence.

"Soho vibrancy intersecting tranquility," proclaims the project's brochure beneath a rendering of the very handsome garden courtyard, adding that "where urban commotion gives way to botanical transcendence and the serenity of nature surrounds stoic concrete and iron."
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Additional Info About the Building

Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.
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