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123 Baxter Street: Review and Ratings

between Hester Street & Canal Street View Full Building Profile

Carter Horsley
Review of 123 Baxter Street by Carter Horsley

This very interesting condominium development has a very central downtown location in Little Italy, very close to SoHo, TriBeCa and Chinatown.

It is distinguished by its unusual fenestration pattern, some rounded corners and its automated parking facility.

Its garage maximizes space by sliding cars closer together to minimize space lost in driving lanes, access ramps and behind columns by using a turntable to provide convenient access in narrow and limited spaces.

The seven-story building has 26 condominium units and was completed in 2005 by the American Development Group, of which Perry Finkelman is the managing director.

In an August 22, 2004 article in The New York Times by Vivian Marino, Mr. Finkelman was quoted as remarking that another major advantage of the "automated" parking is that "there s no tipping." Drivers park their cars on a metal platform and check in at a nearby kiosk while the vehicle has its license plate and interior scanned, according to Mr. Finkelman, "to make sure there's no sleeping babies in the back seat."

The parking experience is estimated to take about three minutes and the process works in reverse when the driver wants to pick up the car. Residents can swipe a card in the elevator and find their car waiting for them when they get to the bottom. The garage can accommodate 64 cars, or about twice what a non-automated facility can fit. Residents can get monthly permits for about $375, the article maintained.

The building's design by Adam Kusher of Kusher Studios Architecture + Design is a little reminiscent of a container ship's command tower. Its rather streamlined, low-rise residential portion has an intriguing façade highlighted by a circular "mouse-hole" entrance, a roofline with a slight arc and a first-floor "line" with a similar but upside-down arc. Furthermore, the façade has about a dozen different window sizes and they are not all aligned vertically and horizontally. In addition, each apartment has a rounded wall.

Mr. Kushner has explained part of his design philosophy for this project as follows:

"By simultaneously exploring from 'within' and 'without' of the site, we developed the idea of a 'pinwheel' to guide our design decisions. Each of the units slides counter clockwise about a central core, allowing most of the units two direct, natural sources of light, air and outdoor spaces. The idea of the pinwheel was also applied to the general siting of the building. The 'forces' of the adjacent façades of neighboring streets and courts were 'pinwheeled' onto the proposed façades of our project, giving us the raw templates to draw our inspiration from as they originated from the immediate context itself, in essence 'locking' our building into the site. These applied façades take the form of a randomly placed series of penetrations placed within a masonry façade that itself curves and pinwheels in towards the core of the building. The façades alternate their appearance between an extreme sense of exposure, via the all-glass frontages and that of the more protected masonry openings, fleshing out the idea of the juxtaposition of one's sense of place within the urban context allowing one to choose between voyeurism and isolation."

The design is more complex than Kushner's excellent façades for the 7-story apartment building at 159 Lexington Avenue.

Part of the building, which was erected on the former site of a parking lot, is a triplex townhouse with a private garden initially priced at about $5 million. One-bedroom units were initially priced at about $850,000, two-bedroom units at about $1.3 million and penthouses at about $4 million.

Another unusual feature of the building is that the kitchens will have refrigerators with computers built into their fronts. The LG Internet fridge has a notebook PC built in and the electronics including a TV tuner and a pair of speakers are housed at the top and its software includes a diary, a phone number database and a recipe book. Apartments will have home dry cleaning units, central vacuum cleaners and walk-in closets.

Rating

27
Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 27 / 44

+
21
Out of 36

Location Rating: 21 / 36

+
18
Out of 39

Features Rating: 18 / 39

+
8
=
74

CityRealty Rating Reference

 
Architecture
  • 30+ remarkable
  • 20-29 distinguished
  • 11-19 average
  • < 11 below average
 
Location
  • 27+ remarkable
  • 18-26 distinguished
  • 9-17 average
  • < 9 below average
 
Features
  • 22+ remarkable
  • 16-21 distinguished
  • 9-15 average
  • < 9 below average
  • #13 Rated condo - NoLiTa/Little Italy
 
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Key Details
One Manhattan Square
between Pike Slip & Rutgers Slip
Lower East Side
Enjoy breathtaking views and unparalleled amenities, including spa with 75-foot saltwater pool, hot tub, sauna and a tranquility garden.
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