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Carter's View

A 27,000-square-foot site at 115 Norfolk Street between Delancey and Rivington Streets has been bought for $10 million by 115 Norfolk Realty LLC of which Nathan Vinbaytel is a principal from Yabba LLC of which Zeyad Aly is a principal.

According to Michael DeCheser, the Massey Knakal Realty Services broker for the seller in the transaction along with Brian Hanson, the sale includes fully approved plans for a residential condominium building on the site designed by Grzywinski Pons Architects, the same firm responsible for the nearby THOR (The Hotel on Rivington Street) at 107 Rivington Street, a handsome, green-glass, 20-story mid-block tower that has a "womb-like" entrance, and interiors that are both wild and elegant.

The plans call for 16 one-bedroom units, 5 two-bedroom units and 3 three-bedroom duplex penthouses. Ground floor apartments will have private rear yards and 13 of the apartments will have balconies or terraces.

A buildings permit was issued February 22, 2008 for the 7-story building, which will have a roof garden with a lap pool and a garage.

Mr. DeCheser said that the property sold for $370.37 per square foot to a Brooklyn developer and that "Ultimately nearly 40 offers were procured." Caitlin Hughes of The Corcoran Group represented the buyer in this transaction.

This block of Norfolk Street has two other recent new condo developments: the "Switch" building at 109 Norfolk Street, a 7-story building designed by Narchitects with a zig-zag facade of angled floors; and "Blue" at 105 Norfolk Street, a 16-story building, designed by Bernard Tschumi, with an angled facade of different shades of blue glass.

115 Norfolk Street will be distinguished by an open-top atrium entrance and by its random design of fretted glass windows.

The atrium is slightly off-center to the south of the building's frontage on Norfolk Street. The atrium will be enclosed in glass on Norfolk Street but its west wall is angled upwards and towards the west and rises a bit above the roofline. The atrium's top is open to the sky and the angled west wall is somewhat reminiscent of the Austrian Cultural Institute at 11 East 52nd Street designed by Raimund Abraham and opened in 2000.

Apartments that overlook the atrium will have the same fretted glass windows as the Norfolk Street facade. Mr. Grzywinksi told when plans were first disclosed for the project that these windows will have random "cloud" shapes in angled fretted designs. This decorative touch is somewhat reminiscent of Lindy Roy's sinuously-shaped balcony "amoeba-shaped" scrims for a new project now under construction at 519 West 23rd Street known as Highline 519.

Mr. Grzywinksi said that his firm had been working on the project before it learned about the "Blue" project. "When we saw it, we chuckled," he said, adding that the street's "concentration" of new projects is "a hot bed for progressive architecture."

The street will now compete with Bond Street west of the Bowery as "the" destination street downtown for lovers of contemporary architecture.

Mr. DeCheser told today that the original plans will be used and only slightly modified.
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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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