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

Carter's View

The city's Board of Standards & Appeals held a hearing today on a proposal by Lela Goren and Extell to erect a nine-story building with 25 condominium apartments at 74-88 Avenue of the Americas in SoHo.

The site is also known as 11-15 Thompson Street and 27-31 Grand Street. A massing model, at right, shows the view from the Avenue of the Americas.

Richard Cook is the architect.

The site is in manufacturing zone that has a maximum F.A.R. (floor-to-area) ratio of 5 and the developers are seeking permission to build residentially to an F.A.R. of 6.5.

Paul Selver, a land-use lawyer with Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, told the board that the project has financial hardships that justify the change based on soil conditions, very deep bedrock, a covered-over subway stairwell, mature trees that are planted along the building line, difficult logistics of traffic conditions for construction equipment, and the adjacency of a subway.

A previous design for the project called for one side of the building to be cantilevered for most of its height by about five feet and for a courtyard. The present design, Mr. Selver said, "is a much simpler design" without a cantilever and without a courtyard.

Meenakshi Srinivasam, the board's chair, questioned Mr. Selver about the project's financial assumptions including a land acquisition cost of $12.5 million and projected revenues. Mr. Selver noted that while the acquisition cost should be based on existing zoning fair market values often involved some speculative components such as the likelihood of a change in zoning from manufacturing to residential uses.

Mr. Selver said that an affiliate of the developer recently completed the "black book," the approved offering plan for a condominium, for two condominium projects that he later said were on 99th Street on the Upper West Side and that the "average price" for the bottom ten floors in one was $1,038 a square foot, and the other was $1,101. The buildings are the Ariel East and the Ariel West that are being built on opposite sides of Broadway at 99th Street by Extell. Mr. Selver suggested to the board that those buildings were in a "considerably better neighborhood" than the SoHo project.

As presented, the project has very high ceiling heights, ranging from 15 to 17-and-a-half feet. The south end of the building overlooks a playground on the same block.

Ms. Svirinasam said that the board had "concerns about going higher than 5.0" F.A.R., but added that "the shape and form of the building are not an issue." She continued the hearing to January 24, 2006.

Richard Cook, the architect, told that renderings were not yet available.
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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.