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

Carter's View

From Archives Raise the facade, Hal!
By Carter Horsley Friday, September 29, 2006
The mid-block building at 224 East 14th Street between Third and Second Avenues is being converted into four residential condominium apartments by The Brownstone '05 LLC, of which William Peterson is a principal.

Marketing has just begun for the project, which is known as The Brownstone East Village and which will be distinguished by having several "retractable" facades, that will be operated like garage doors and when opened rise up and fold inside the apartment beneath the ceiling.

Linea LLC, of which Lisa Vangelas is the principal, is the architect for the project, which calls for recladding the building with an ultra light brownstone facade.

The "garage door" feature is to be used on the front of the building on the second floor and on the 6th floor setback. It will also be employed at the rear of the building overlooking a garden, as shown in the rendering at the right.

Documents on file with the city indicated that the project is being financed at least in part by the Builders Bank, which is based in Chicago.

The building will have keyed elevator access, parcel-sized mailboxes, central heating and air-conditioning, video intercom, washing machine and dryer hook-ups, and a custom glass storefont with rusticated porcelain screen.

Apartments will have original brick walls, polished concrete floors, SubZero refrigerators, Viking appliances, Duravit wall-hung toilets, Lefroy Brooks lavatory sinks, and Zuma bathtubs.

The garden triplex apartment will have 1,971 square feet, 12-foot-high ceilings, a decorative fire-place with wiring for plasma TV, 400 square feet of south-facing garden with private 100-square-foot conservatory, a fully-retractable wall/facade on the parlor level and an "air curtain bug screen, thermal and noise barrier."

There will be two full-floor apartments with 890 square feet of space each, one with 10-foot-high ceilings and the other with 9-foot-ceilings and both with decorative fireplaces. One of these units is priced at about $980,000.

The penthouse triplex apartment will have 1,788 square feet of space with 12-foot-high ceilings, a 160-square-foot setback terrace at the opening from the kitchen, a 608-square foot rooftop terrace with roof cabana and a fully-retractable glass garage door. It is priced at about $2,495,000.

"High performance versions of original materials like brownstone and porcelain, used in conjunction with glass curtain walls, air curtain walls and garage doors," proclaims the project listing at Corcoran.com, "open the once dark Victorian interior spaces of the building to light, air and the energy of the city. The result is brownstone living for the 21st Century: sleek, sophisticated, ultramodern, unmistakably urban, and absolutely one of a kind."

Cobblestoner, a poster at Curbed.com, noted yesterday that the garage-door design was "not exactly the most pet or child friendly creation," adding that "you can't exactly hang picture frames or art and such on or near that wall."

Bkynhome, another poster at Curbed.com, however, loved "the idea of the building - it's amazing! C'mon, it's pretty slick¿It's just a shame that we can't have these kind of ideas in the lower end of the market."

The building would not be the first in the city with movable facades as 40 Mercer Street designed by Jean Nouvel now nearing completion employs huge, broad windows that slide open.

The building faces on a tree-lined street and is very close to the great Con Edison Building and around the corner from a new condo tower being erected at 110 Third Avenue by Toll Brothers and not far from New York University buildings that replaced Julian's Billiard Academy and the Palladium disco with Trader Joe's. This site is convenient to the East Village and the Union Square districts.
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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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