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

Carter's View

The New York City Department of Buildings partially lifted yesterday a stop work order for the Trump SoHo Hotel at 246 Spring Street it had issued December 12 after human remains were unearthed during excavation work.

Christopher Santulli, borough commissioner, Manhattan, of the Buildings Department wrote a letter yesterday to Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, in which he said that "work will resume at the site in a phased program which will allow isolation and recovery of the remains in a supervised and respectful manner," adding that "in addition, once specific site areas have been studied and cleared by the archeologists, construction activities may resume in those areas."

"The Buildings Department, in consultation with the Landmarks Preservation Commission..., has requested that the owner submit a work plan to address the proper handling of the human remains," the letter continued, also noting the project's owner "has retained the firm AKRF, Inc., and URS Corporation to perform the necessary work" and that on December 15 the owner submitted a work plan that is "presently under view, with consultation by Landmarks."

The letter also stated that the owner "has agreed to have their consultant contact the Presbyterian Church to assist with identification of the remains and in determining the appropriate burial in consultation with descendent communities." The owner has represented that an archeologist will be onsite to monitor the progress of the work through completion of the archeological study," the letter maintained.

Mr. Berman replied by letter to Santulli to register his "strong objections to the Department's decision, which does not conform to the guidelines prescribed by the State Environmental Quality Review Act?and the City Environmental Quality Review..., adding that "there should be a formal evaluation of the significance of the archeological resources on this site, (in this case a historic burial ground) which would inform how those remains would be treated, including the possibility that the project would have to be redesigned in order not to disturb the archeological site." "No such evaluation has yet been given, or shared with the public," Mr. Berman's letter continued. "Further, the Department has not presented any evidence that other potential archeological resources such as an a connection the Underground Railroad have been researched ad evaluated....I strongly urge the department to reconsider yet another decision which will so highly favor this developer at the expense of the pubic interest and the public processes which were intended to protect it."

The remains were found about 10 feet underground near the corner of Varick Street.

The property, which was acquired in September, 2005, by Bayrock/Sapir LLC, a partnership of the Bayrock Group, Tamir Sapir and Donald Trump, had been a parking lot and apparently several decades before it had been the site of a Presbyterian Church.

Construction began at the site November 1 over the objections of several community organizations, including the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, that have argued that the 454-foot-high project is a residential hotel and is not permitted in a manufacturing zone, where transient hotels are permitted.

The building will have 410 hotel condominium units and three suites.

The building would be the tallest between Madison Square and the Civic Center in Lower Manhattan. The project have an outdoor swimming pool on the top floor of its five-story base, a Cornelia Spa, a restaurant and catering facility.

The project has frontage on Spring, Varick and Dominick Streets and is not far from the Holland Tunnel and the Hudson River Park.

The proposed project is close to several new residential condominium projects to the west on Spring Street.
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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.