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Carter's View

The city's Board of Standards & Appeals voted 3 to 0 with one abstention this morning to grant an extension of time to complete construction for the enlargement and alteration of a property at 163 Charles Street in the Far West Village.

The owner of the site, Barry Leistner, had started construction of a new 8-story building with two duplex apartments and a triplex apartment, but some community groups protested that the work was being done in violation of a recent rezoning of the neighborhood and the Department of Buildings issued a stop work order last fall.

Meenaskshi Srinivasan, chairperson of the board, said that the Buildings Department notified the board yesterday that an audit of the objections had been completed and the "issues resolved."

Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society Historic Preservation, told after the board's decision, however, that his organization had not yet seen the report from the Buildings Department and would investigate and that if it finds any "improprieties" with its findings about "the very serious issues" it would seek to have the report revoked.

The building has been designed by Daniel Golder Architects for Mr. Leistner who acquired the site for about $5,900,000 from Kenny Schacter, who had previously commissioned a 9-story, 6-unit building from Zaha Hadid, a winner of the Pritzker Prize for Architecture.

The site is just to the east of 165 Charles Street, the third of three mid-rise condominium apartment buildings designed by Richard Meier in a row fronting on West Street for two different developers.

The handsome design has a two-story base with a step-down entrance and four balconies. The facade has floor-to-ceiling windows with a Mondrianesque-pane pattern. Its clean-cut, modern lines complements the design of the Meier buildings, but the project ran into opposition from the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation that argued that the property and several others should be landmarked by the city.

The building that had been on the site was originally built for a cartman and a carpenter in 1832 and included a rear stable that had been converted to an art gallery by Vito Acconci facing Charles Lane, a narrow cobblestone street with no sidewalks.
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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.