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Carter's View

The 57-story residential condominium tower planned for 56 Leonard Street in TriBeCa and designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the architects of the "Bird's Nest" stadium in Beijing and 40 Bond Street in NoHo, will have 145 apartments and is expected to be completed in late 2010.

Alexico is the developer. It is headed by Ivan Senbahar and Simon Elias, who are converting part of the Mark Hotel on the northwest corner of Madison Avenue and 77th Street to residential condominiums and who are also the developers of 165 Charles Street, a Richard Meier-designed apartment building on West Street.

Alexico acquired the from the New York Law School and the new tower will be on the 12,500-square-foot site of the Mendik Law Library building on the northeast corner of the block bounded by Church, Worth and Leonard Streets and West Broadway. The school's property was not included in a 1995 rezoning of the area.

Herzog & de Meuron's design for 40 Bond Street included huge green glass cylindrical elements and a graffiti-inspired gate. Recently, the firm showed a flamboyant design for a major new philharmonic hall in Hamburg.

The tall, new tower is a rectilinear version, in principle, of the very handsome, curved, mid-rise project known as One Jackson Square that is now under construction and has been designed by Bill Pedersen of Kohn Pedersen Fox. Both projects feature glass curtain walls and irregular floor plates.

Every floor in the new Herzog & de Meuron tower is different and rotated from the floors above and below. The press release for the project described it as "a thoughtful, daring and ultimately dazzling new alternative - the iconic American skyscraper re-envisioned as a pixilated vertical layering of individually sculpted, highly customized, graceful private residences opening to the atmosphere." In other words, every apartment in the shimmy-shimmy-shake form for the tower will have a balcony.

The press release also noted that the project "updates the relationship between private tower and public streetscape with an articulated base whose cantilevers generate a sense of movement and permeability," adding that "Here, the building's defining corner will be the site of a major commissioned sculpture by internationally celebrated London-based artist Anish Kapoor."

"Fully integrated into the architecture itself as if to say that culture and the city are indivisible," the press release continued, "Kapoor's massive, reflective stainless steel piece - an enigmatic balloon-like form that appears to be combating compression from above - will be a new cultural landmark in TriBeCa..."

The artist's dazzling and very impressive "Cloud Gate" sculpture in A. T. & T. Plaza in Millennium Park in Chicago is very similar but much, much larger and free-standing.

Apartments in the tower will range in size from 1,430 to 6,380 square feet and in price from $3.5 million to $33 million.

The building will have a double-height lobby sheathed in "gleaming" black granite with a concierge and doorman and seven elevators. Above the lobby will be several floors of "townhouse" residences and then two floors of amenities including a 75-foot "infinity edge" pool, a sundeck, a fitness center, a spa, a library lounge, a screening room, a conference room and a TriBeCa Tot Room.

Floors eight through forty-give contain the building's two- to five-bedroom apartments, each of which will have 12-foot-high glass doors leading to private outdoor spaces with travertine pavers. Fireplace "hearths soar from floor to ceiling, crafted by the architects in high-gloss white-enameled steel," and kitchens will have a high-gloss black lacquer island with black granite countertop "accompanied by a custom hood either sculpted from the wall or descending from the ceiling."

The building will have 8 full-floor penthouses and two that occupy half floors, all with 14-foot-high ceilings.
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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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