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Modern mansions of Manhattan include 134 Charles Street, 11 Hubert, 241 West 17th Street, 829 Greenwich Street Modern mansions of Manhattan include 134 Charles Street, 11 Hubert, 241 West 17th Street, 829 Greenwich Street
Updated 12/3/2019 with new listings and information about 11 Hubert Street

New York's prewar townhouses are undeniably beautiful to walk by on the street, but they may not necessarily be at the top of the modern buyer's wish list. Ceiling heights, windows, amenities, and layouts are limited, and even the most accomplished architect can only go so far amid such constraints. For that reason, the city's wealthiest and most creative are often happier to build a mansion from scratch--this way, the only limit is their imagination.

Of course, those planning to build in a historic district cannot proceed without the approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission ("Landmarks"). A prime example of that can be found in the Tribeca West Historic District, where the design for a 17,000-square-foot, 70-foot-tall mansion at 11 Hubert Street is being presented today. Acclaimed architect Maya Lin was originally tapped to design the mansion, but the owners sold the site to an anonymous buyer, who then hired Seattle-based architect Eric Cobb. Between the immense proportions, the cellar-level basement-level basketball court and gym, the private courtyard, and the rooftop hot tub and wet bar, it is more reminiscent of a suburban mansion than a New York City home.
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According to a Landmarks presentation, Mr. Cobb has done his homework, citing examples of similar materials, details, and contemporary designs throughout Tribeca. But according to The Tribeca Trib, the local community board is not impressed, calling it hostile and unwelcoming with no connection to other neighborhood buildings. While we wait for the commission's ruling, we take a look at similarly grand mansions and townhouses on the market and under construction.

An Architectural Apex
23-Beekman-Place-1 All images of 23 Beekman Place via Sotheby's
23-Beekman-Place-2 Living room
23-Beekman-Place-3 Interior cross section
23-Beekman-Place-4 Rooftop terrace
This Beekman Place townhouse was originally built as a single-family home, and the new buyer could certainly take it back to that. In between, though, renowned Modernist architect Paul Rudolph purchased the townhouse, embarked on a multi-year renovation of the original five floors (now three duplex apartments), and added a four-level penthouse that became his primary residence and design laboratory. Its four levels and five private terraces boast breathtaking river views, a wood-burning fireplace, and a chef's kitchen. The current owners updated "the Rudolph House," as it is popularly known, in a manner consistent with the architect's award-winning vision. See floor plan and full details here.

Single-Family Splendor
332-West-11th-Street-1 All renderings of 332 West 11th Street via Compass
332-West-11th-Street-2 Possible interiors
332-West-11th-Street-4 Possible roof deck
332-West-11th-Street-5 Views from the site
Currently the site of a garage and car wash, this stately red brick building is situated on a tree-lined block less than two blocks east of the Hudson River between Washington and Greenwich Streets. Renderings show timeless architectural details like loft-style windows and a corbelled arcade at the top being restored to the glory of the past. However, concept renderings depict the modern buyer's must-haves in the form of open-plan layouts, luxurious finishes, an elevator connecting all levels, a backyard, and a private roof deck with sweeping skyline and river views.

Modernist Mansion on Museum Mile
Sherman Fairchild Manhsion courtesy of Christie's International Real Estate
17-East-65th-Street-03 Photos of the Sherman Fairchild Manhsion courtesy of Christie's International Real Estate
One of the first modernist townhouses in Manhattan, this iconic 1981 property was built by Sherman M. Fairchild, a noted inventor and businessman. Architects William Hamby and George Nelson sought to create a home as adventurous as he was, thus creating an architectural tour de force unlike any other in New York. The 25-foot-wide mansion features a red granite façade and the interior is defined by a three-story great room, with a span of travertine walls illuminated from a glass and steel skylight. A zigzagging system of ramps facilitates the movement through the light-filled home. The result is an airy alternative to a traditional townhouse and the perfect setting for a world-class art collection. See floor plan and full details here.

A Treasure in Turtle Bay
211-East-48th-Street-1 All images of 211 East 48th Street via Leslie J. Garfield
211-East-48th-Street-2 Dining area with courtyard access
211-East-48th-Street-3 Den
211-East-48th-Street-4 Private courtyard
This New York City landmark was once the home and studio of architect William Edmond Lescaze, and comes with the distinction of being the city's first modern residence and the first to have central air conditioning. Recent updates include a glass-enclosed hydraulic elevator, new structural steel inside and out, Boffi kitchen, and north-facing courtyard with solid glass block skylights. See floor plan and full details here.

Serene Chelsea Manse
357-west-17th-Street-04 Photo credit: WorkshopDA
357-West-17th-Street-1 All images of 357 West 17th Street via The Modlin Group
357-West-17th-Street-2 Kitchen and private terrace
357-West-17th-Street-3 Screening room
This newly constructed mansion is located in an especially exciting neighborhood that offers easy access to the best dining, shopping, culture, and nightlife that both Chelsea and the Meatpacking District have to offer. But between the terraces, yoga studio, pool and hot tub, wine cellar, and elegantly designed interiors, one almost doesn't need to leave the house at all. Its best features include a dramatic living room with gas fireplace, a custom chef's kitchen with terrace access, a full-floor master suite, and a roof deck with iconic city views. See floor plan and full details here.

Soho Sanctuary
Sullivan-Street-Townhouses-03 20-50 Sullivan Street Townhouses (via Montroy DeMarco Architecture)
40-Sullivan-Street-1 All images of 40 Sullivan Street via Douglas Elliman
40-Sullivan-Street-2 Master bath
40-Sullivan-Street-3 Private roof terrace
From the lower level with a gym and wine cellar to the roof deck with city views and an outdoor kitchen, every floor of this newly built mansion offers incredible attention to detail, the latest technologies, and everything the modern buyer could possibly need or want. Luxe interiors offer grand proportions, abundant natural light, and access to over 1,600 square feet of private outdoor space. See floor plan and full details here.

West Village Haven
134-Charles-Street-04 134 Charles Street redone exterior (via Bespoke real Estate)
134-Charles-Street-1 All images of 134 Charles Street via Bespoke Real Estate LLC
134-Charles-Street-2 Chef's kitchen
134-Charles-Street-3 Private pool
Upon entering this West Village mansion, one is immediately struck by the massive proportions, airy atmosphere, soaring ceilings, and seamless flow from indoor to outdoor space. All levels are connected by both a stylish staircase and a dramatic elevator. The crowning glory is a roof deck that boasts east- and west-facing terraces, a 40' infinity pool, hot tub, showers and changing rooms, outdoor living room, and grilling/dining area. See floor plan and full details here.

A Triumphant Townhouse
829-Greenwich-Street-03 829 Greenwich's rust-colored facade via Modlin Group
829-Greenwich-Street-1 All images of 829 Greenwich Street via The Modlin Group
829-Greenwich-Street-2 Kitchen
829-Greenwich-Street-3 Roof deck
Single-family townhouse on the cusp of the West Village and the Meatpacking District is immediately distinguished by its steel facade and three-story glass curtain wall. Interiors boast luxurious materials, custom-designed details, double-height entertaining room, magnificent skylight, fireplaces, open kitchen, and wine cellar. The rooftop terrace looks out on historic architecture and cobblestoned streets. See floor plan and full details here.

Ultimate in Chelsea Chic
241-West-17th-Street-06 241 West 17th Street, Sotheby's International Realty
241-West-17th-Street-1 All images of 241 West 17th Street via Sotheby's
241-West-17th-Street-2 Kitchen and dining area
241-West-17th-Street-3 Roof terrace
Five-story townhouse in the heart of Chelsea masterfully combines prewar details and modern luxuries with an impressive layout, soaring ceilings, exposed brick walls, wood-burning fireplace, custom lighting, and in-ceiling speakers. One floor up from the grand-scale living room, a state-of-the-art chef's kitchen is outfitted with top-of-the-line appliances, granite center island, and abundant cabinetry and dining space. The top floor is reserved for the luxurious master suite, and a multi-level roof garden is right above it. See floor plan and full details here.

Historic Sensitivity in Hudson Square
78-Morton-Street-04 Photos courtesy of Leslie A. Garfield
78-Morton-Street-1 All images of 78 Morton Street via Leslie J. Garfield
78-Morton-Street-2 Den
78-Morton-Street-3 Garage
On a tree-lined West Village street, a onetime firehouse has been transformed into a five-story single-family townhouse. All levels are connected by elevator and showcase excellent proportions and intricate craftsmanship. Additional features include exposed brick walls, home gym, den/screening room, private outdoor space, and four-car garage. See floor plan and full details here.

A Standalone Smash
37-Clarkson-Street-1 All images of The Printing House via Leslie J. Garfield
37-Clarkson-Street-2 Living/dining area
37-Clarkson-Street-3 Bedroom
37-Clarkson-Street-4 Private roof terrace
With the privacy of a townhouse and access to the amenity offerings of The Printing House, this listing offers the best of all worlds. The loft-like layout boasts enormous entertaining spaces, soaring ceilings, gas-burning fireplace, and incredible light from south-facing floor-to-ceiling windows. A private rooftop terrace is accessed via a flexible level that can be used as a guest room, study, or gym. See floor plan and full details here.

East Village Eclectic
56-East-1st-Street-1 All images of 56 East 1st Street via Leslie J. Garfield/ CTA Architects
56-East-1st-Street-2 Great Room
56-East-1st-Street-3 Kitchen
56-East-1st-Street-4 Master bedroom with terrace access
Industrial-chic property on the cusp of the East Village, the Lower East Side, and Nolita offers endless potential and configurations, including that of a sprawling single-family home. Features include 20' ceilings, a private terrace, and a roof deck. See floor plan and full details here.

A Flatiron Fantasy
34-west-21st-03 Renderings of 34 West 21st Street via Karl Fischer Architect
34-West-21st-Street-1 All images of 34 West 21st Street via Karl Fisher Architect
34 West 21st Street rooftop
34-West-21st-Street-2 Master bath
34-West-21st-Street-3 Spa
Last fall, an opulent townhouse in the Ladies' Mile Historic District topped out at six stories high. The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the design because it fit in with the streetscape, but a representative from the Historic Districts Council pointed out the rarity of single-family homes in this area. Indeed, townhouses like this one, with its planned outdoor hot tub, basement spa area, garage, and private garden, are all but unheard of in this neighborhood. See further details here.

New Construction in Nolita
233-Mott-Street-1 233 Mott Street via Leslie J. Garfield
This lot stands vacant now, but the Department of Buildings has approved an application for a seven-story single-family townhouse with a glass and brick facade and two-story setback. It promises double-height entertaining spaces and private outdoor space. The nightlife of the Lower East Side, the shopping of Soho, and the dining and culture of Nolita can be found practically right outside the front door. See full details here.

The Billionaire's Bunker
145-Perry-Street-1 Rendering of 145 Perry Street via Leroy Street Studio
Construction is underway on hedge fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen's mega-mansion on the corner of Washington Street. Its location in the Greenwich Village Historic District meant it had to go before the Landmarks Preservation Commission, but the project ultimately passed muster with both the body and the Department of Buildings. Plans call for a brick-clad four-story home with a grand staircase, fireplaces, and a private rear garden. A separate townhouse for Mr. Cohen's children is also in the works next door. See further details here.
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