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Carter's View

Demolition of a four-story, pink-granite-and-reflective-glass commercial building is expected to start soon at 241 Fifth Avenue between 27th and 28th Streets.

The property was acquired July 19 by 241 Fifth Ave. Hotel LLC, of which Dan Shavolian is a principal, for $26,500,000 from 241 5th Ave., LLC, of which Avraham Sibony is a principal and which had acquired the property for about $10.8 million in 2005.

Mr. Sibony's concern obtained approval last year from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to erect a 19-story, 76-unit, residential condominium building on the site of the present building that was erected in 1968.

Eran Chen of Perkins Eastman Architects told today that the new owner is retaining the approved design of the building but its use will be changed to a hotel and he estimated that it would have about 100 rooms.

His bold design for the building was described by many of the commission's members as "intriguing" and "interesting" and it employs four materials: a "rainscreen" terracotta system, an opaque baked and painted glass, clear glass and silver-colored metal panel coping.

The building will a symmetrical facade on the avenue but an asymmetrical facade on its south "party" wall, which has considerable exposure.

In addition, it "floats" its setback upper floors in a form that a couple of commissioners described by "Cubist."

Mr. Chen said that the design attempts to make a meaningful transition between a higher building just to its north and the 7-story building just to its south and the 5-story Museum of Sex on the northeast corner at 27th Street.

The property falls within the Madison Avenue North Historic District.

The building will rise 14-stories, then has a setback for one floor and the remainder of the top of the building is cantilevered 6 feet forward towards Fifth Avenue. The building is 210 feet tall, not counting an elevator and staircase housing on the roof that adds an additional 8 feet or so.

The Fifth Avenue facade is "regular," he continued, but the south facade has a staggered fenestration pattern in part reflecting regulations about "lot-line windows" that limit the number of windows above adjoining buildings on a gradual basis.

The commission recently approved plans for another new, "modern," mid-block building at 224 Fifth Avenue, which is across from the former Gift Building at 225 Fifth Avenue that is being converted to apartments.
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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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