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

Carter's View

The TriBeCa committee of Community Board 1 voted last night to recommend that the Board of Standards & Appeals approve a requested variance for a mixed-use building planned for 1 York Street provided that the developer agrees to stipulate that its retail spaces will not be leased to a bar or restaurant and that he not add a 2,000-square-foot penthouse that would add 12 feet to the building's height.

The project had been approved by the City Council last fall, but subsequent construction work has revealed structural problems with one existing 19th Century wall that has necessitated minor revisions to the overall plan.

Those revisions will require that the project get a variance.

The project consists of an existing 6-story structure bounded by York, Canal and Laight Streets, the Avenue of the Americas and St. John's Place, to which 6 setback stories will be added.

Stanley Perelman of JANI Real Estate is the developer. TEN Arquitectos, which is headed by Enrique Norten, is the architect.

The project, which will have 43 condominium apartments and community space for the Chinese American Planning Council, has a very visible site in the north part of TriBeCa.

Mr. Perelman told the committee last night that the design revisions include relocating the garage from the southeast to the southwest corner of the site, a 500-square-foot reduction in space for the Chinese American Planning Council but a relocation of that space within the project for more efficient layouts, and adding 12 feet to the height of the building to provide for a new penthouse floor. The building's floor-to-area ratio remains under the approved 6.5.

Bruce Ehrmann, a member of the committee, said that while he admired Mr. Norten as "one of the five or six greatest young architects," he found it "bothersome in principle" that the project is coming back with a revised plan. "I don't want to be a stickler," he continued, but "there's a lot of height creep going on." He invoked Mel Brooks' "Engulf & Devour Inc." to suggest, with a bit of humor, that many developers ask for something and then nibble away and come back for a little more, again and again.

The building will also have an automated parking system for 47 cars in which residents can retrieve their cars from computer terminals in the garage or their own loft.

Norten, whose firm is based in Mexico City and has an office here, is the architect of two other projects now in planning that are likely to become quite sensational and extremely important: Harlem Park, a 380-ft.-high, mixed-use project with an undulating facade on 125th Street and Park Avenue, and a new Brooklyn Public Library for the Visual and Performing Arts. His firm was the subject of a major exhibition last year at the Museum of the City of New York.

The lower base of York Street building will be reclad but will retain much of its existing architectural style while the addition will be largely glass and slightly angled at its center where its facade will extend to the street. Part of the east side of the existing building is windowless because the building was reduced in size when the Sixth Avenue subway was built in 1927.

There will be 25 apartments in the older building and 15 in the new one that is setback from the lower one and has several balconies.

The fourth floor will have a swimming pool and gym.

Prices are expected last fall to range from about $1 million for a one-bedroom apartment to $2.4 million for a two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath apartment with about 1,820 square feet to about $15 million for a double-height penthouse.

The board voted separatedly on issue of whether restaurants and bars should be not permitted, and whether the additional 12 feet in height should be permitted. The final vote on the resolution was 12 in favor and four against.
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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.
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