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Features

Rendering of 16 Fifth Avenue (Madison Realty Capital via LPC) Rendering of 16 Fifth Avenue (Madison Realty Capital via LPC)
The Landmarks Preservation Commission will hear a proposal to raze a five-story apartment building at 14-16 Fifth Avenue and redevelop it with a 19-floor, 241-foot-tall residential building. The mid-block parcel, situated between West 8th and 9th Streets, is in the heart of the Greenwich Village Historic District, just north of Washington Square Park. To assuage concerns regarding height and exterior design, developer Madison Realty Capital commissioned Robert A.M. Stern Architects along with Hill West Architects and Acheson Doyle Partners Architects to pen a contextual design. After a series of tweaks relating to the tower's design and scale, the team will present Landmarks the scheme this coming Tuesday, March 9. Their approval is necessary for the project to forward.
14-16 Fifth Avenue in 1925 and today
According to The Real Deal, Madison Realty Capital acquired the property in 2015 for $27.5 million and filed preliminary permits for a new building in 2019. An online presentation explains that the existing building is the vestige of two houses built by Henry Brevoort in 1849 that were once part of a row of four. Sometime after 1925, the remaining houses were shorn of past Gothic detailing, stoops, and other noteworthy architectural features and combined into a single multifamily building. To make their case for demolition, the team notes other "no-style"/non-contributing buildings in historic districts that were allowed to be demolished to make way for new development. They also cite from the Greenwich Village Historic District Report (1969) that the then-commissioners held the expectation that new buildings would be built in the district on the sites of less distinguished structures.

“The Commission hopes that these buildings will be well designed so that they can enhance the charm of the community” - Greenwich Village Historic Designation Report

Citing numerous nearby precedents, the team conceived of a facade of buffed limestone and brick with articulated lintels, stone accents, some ornamental metalwork. The rooftop bulkhead will be concealed in a faintly Classical enclosure whose materials will seamlessly match the tower below. Stone facing will clad much of the lower floors. Accents include a central arched main entrance, fluted pilasters, and ground-floor planters.
The tower will be among the tallest buildings in the immediate area though substantially shorter than the 350-foot-tall 1 Fifth Avenue catty-corner to its site. Unapproved building permits suggest the development will be steered to high-end buyers, with only 17 floor-through and duplex units spread across its 19 floors.

Greenwich Village remains one of the most expensive neighborhoods to live in the city and a recent analysis by the Department of City Planning found that many wealthy neighborhoods, including parts of the Village, lost housing units in the past decade mostly due to apartment combinations outpacing the number of new units constructed. There are only 43 condos for sale in Greenwich Village with a median asking price of $3.85 million or $2,145/ft2. New residential construction is few and far between in the area, with that last major residential building being the 22-floor, 52-unit condo, 21 East 12th Street.
 
 
 
 
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