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42 Wooster Street: Review and Ratings

between Grand Street & Broome Street View Full Building Profile

Carter Horsley
Review of 42 Wooster Street by Carter Horsley

This handsome, 7-story apartment building at 42 Wooster Street between Grand and Broome streets in SoHo was erected in 42 Wooster Street, an 1883 cast-iron building designed by Jarvis Morgan Slade.

It has 14 apartments. 

It was converted to a condominium in 1997 by Tony Leichter, Axel Stawsky and Charles Blaichman along with the adjoining building at 50 Wooster Street to form The Wooster Street Condominium.

The buildings have ground-floor retail space.

Bottom Line

This is one of SoHo’s finest conversions of a commercial building into a luxurious residential loft building.

Description

The red-brick building has a two-story base with four blue-green columns.

The windows have stone tops that continues on the façade.

Amenities

The building has fireplaces, balconies, central air-conditioning, outdoor entertainment space, a keyed elevator, a full-time superintendent and a mail room. and in-unit washers and dryers.

Apartments

The penthouse is a four-bedroom duplex unit with 5,000 square feet of interior space and 2,500 square feet of outdoor space and was designed by interior designer Thomas O’Brien.  The living room has 11-foot ceilings and a wood-burning fireplace.

Apartment 4 is a two-bedroom unit with a 15-foot-long entry foyer that leads to an 85-foot-long “great room” that includes a 24-foot-wide living room, a 29-foot-long dining room with on open 16-foot-wide kitchen.  The unit also has a 15-foot-long office and a 24-foot-wide master bedroom with a bathroom with a curved niche for its rounded bathtub.

Apartment 5 is a three-bedroom unit with a 37-foot-long living/dining room with an open kitchen with an island and a 15-foot-long study.

History

A December 18, 1994 article in The New York Times by Mervyn Rothstein provided some history about the building:

“Earlier this year, in the southern part of the historic district, the landmarks commission had a problem. It involved 46 Wooster Street, a six-story Romanesque cast-iron structure built in 1895 and designed by the architect F. S. Baldwin. The building had been vacant for more than 15 years, and the top two floors had collapsed after a construction crew replaced some beams.

“The Department of Buildings issued an unsafe-building notice against the property, and the owner at the time, Simon Elias, whose renovation plans had been derailed by the real-estate recession and who was concerned about any further collapse, sought to have the building torn down.

“A compromise, though, was reached with the commission, which agreed to allow Mr. Elias to remove just the top three floors. Then new developers came along interested in 46 and its next-door neighbor, 42 Wooster Street, an 1883 cast-iron building designed by Jarvis Morgan Slade that had been vacant for more than 12 years.

“"We decided to ask him to hold up on demolition," Tony Leichter, co-developer with Dr. Axel Stawski (whose buildings include 565 and 579 Fifth Avenue) and Charles Blaichman. "We decided to go informally to the commission and see if they would be interested in our attempting to save the top three floors of the building and if they would work with us on the use changes we required to make it financially feasible. They seemed to indicate they would work with us."

“Mr. Leichter and his partners worked with Brian E. Hogg, the deputy director of preservation, and with Jennifer J. Raab, the new commission chairwoman. Engineers studied the building's foundation and decided that it could be stabilized. In September, the commission approved a design for façade restoration.

“The developers' plan involves 10,000 square feet of retail space and 50,000 square feet of residential space, for about 18 loft units. As part of the agreement the landmarks commission itself is applying to the City Planning Commission for a modification-of-use permit for joint living-work quarters and for retail space under Section 74-711 of the Zoning Resolution. The section gives landmarks very wide discretion to apply to the Planning Commission for modifications of use and bulk.

"I'M really excited about this project," Ms. Raab said. "This application gave us a chance to make preservation come to life by bringing a building back to life, by providing artists' residences and workplaces. Section 74-711 is very useful, because it allows us to say to another city agency that we believe there's a strong preservation purpose here and we support the applicant."

“Lawrence B. Bogdanow, the architect for the project and a longtime SoHo resident, said the renovation would maintain the separate architectural identities of the two buildings, with each having its own access and egress.

“We will be restoring the original façades, cornices and architectural details of both buildings, with set-back penthouses added to both," Mr. Bogdanow said. "We will repair the masonry, mortar and terra cotta and replace virtually all the windows. In addition, at 46 we plan to add an atrium that will descend five floors down from the roof, with a terrace at the fifth floor and an outdoor walkway around the atrium on the sixth. We will also have basically new storefronts, basing them on precedents in the neighborhood and what remains of the old storefronts."

“Mr. Leichter said that he hoped the applications would be before the Planning Commission in January and that final approval would be received by summer. He added that he had nothing but praise for the landmark's commission's role in the process.

"I can't emphasize enough what a surprise it was to me as a developer to find a city agency that was so receptive and cooperative," he said. "My initial reaction was always that the fewer governmental agencies one has to deal with the better. But our experience was totally favorable."

Rating

21
Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 21 / 44

+
28
Out of 36

Location Rating: 28 / 36

+
13
Out of 39

Features Rating: 13 / 39

+
9
=
71

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
  • #38 Rated condo - SoHo
 
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at York Street corner of Front Street
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Manhattan views and Brooklyn character, 1 - 4-bed condos from $995K, 150,000-sf of indoor and outdoor amenities.
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