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

Carter's View

The New York Board of Standards & Appeals approved an amendment Tuesday to a recently granted variance for a new residential building at 469 West Street, which is also known as 70 Bethune Street, the former site of a Superior Ink plant.

The site is just to the north of Westbeth in the Far West Village and the proposed development by The Related Companies was the subject of controversy with some preservation groups.

Related had originally proposed a 270-foot-high, 23-story structure with residential condominiums for the site and that design was similar in its configuration to its development at 445 Lafayette Street designed by Gwathmey Siegel.

In 2005, Related went to the Board of Standards & Appeals for a variance for a 20-story and three-story mixed-use project with a 6.5 F.A.R. for 469 West Street/70 Bethune Street on a lot zoned for manufacturing and a 5 floor-to-area ratio (F.A.R.).

The project outraged preservationists who had desperately tried to save the old factory building and its 195-foot-tall smokestacks, urging the city to include the site in the West Village rezoning and historic district landmark districts. Community Board 2 voted against the project on the basis that all the findings necessary to obtain a variance had not been met and that its scale was out of context for the area.

In January 2006, Related modified the design and won a variance for a 15-story tower on West Street with a three-story townhouse row on Bethune Street, with a maximum height of 186 feet 9 inches, including a bulkhead on the tower roof, and setbacks of 10 feet on West Street and 15 feet on Bethune Street. (Three residential towers with mostly glass facades that were designed by Richard Meier a few blocks to the south on West Street have a height of 199 feet.)

Last month Jerry Johnson of the law firm of Wachtel & Masyr LLP presented revised plans for the project to Community Board 2, which unanimously approved them.

The resolution of the board community board, which has long opposed replacing the former Nabisco factory built in 1919, noted that "the major change in the building is the exterior design, changing what had been designed as an industrial style building into what looks like a residential building, and making the townhouses independent of each other as they usually are on townhouse Village streets."

The new design has more masonry than the previous design that employed a lot of glass. Apartments are smaller but the number has increased from 64 to 84 and commercial space on the ground floor of the tower has been eliminated and basements have been added to the townhouses that will now have different rather than similar facades.

Other changes include the addition of a pool, a lounge, a children's playroom and gym and moving the car parking to the mezzanine level above the first floor.

The new plans were designed by Robert A. M. Stern, who has worked on previous residential buildings for Related. Mr. Stern is the dean of the Yale University School of Architecture and a co-author of the monumental series on New York architecture and planning including "New York 1880," "New York, 1900," "New York, 1930," "New York, 1960," and the recently published "New York, 2000."

Charles Gwathmey had designed the previous plans for this project.

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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