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SoHo 25 in SoHo: Review and Ratings | CityRealty

76
Carter Horsley
Review by Carter Horsley
Carter Horsley Carter B. Horsley, a former journalist for The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Post. Mr. Horsley is also the editorial director of CityRealty.com.
 

 

This attractive, 9-story, red-brick, condominium building 25 West Houston Street in SoHo was designed by H. Thomas O Hara and Beyer Blinder Belle and developed by Metropolitan Housing Partners.

It was completed in 2004 and has 32 apartments.

Known as SoHo 25, this building was the first new residential construction project in SoHo in about two decades and it occupies the full blockfront on West Houston Street between Mercer and Greene Streets.

Bottom Line

 

A handsome, asymmetrical residential building that manages to be contextual and original at a very prominent SoHo location across Houston Street from I. M. Pei’s great University Towers.

Description

 

The building, which has 200-foot-frontage on Houston Street, 50-foot-frontage on Mercer Street and only a 25-foot-frontage on Greene Street, has been designed to look like two separate but very similar buildings along West Houston Street, seven stories tall at Greene Street and nine stories tall at Mercer Street. The developers intended to "marry the building to the downtown tradition of constructing rooftop aeries on top of existing structures" and as a result the three penthouses are made to appear as additions to the building, which also has an exposed rooftop watertank.

The eighth floor of the red-brick building has an unusual window/cornice treatment.  The sides of the windows have a dark metal triangular panel that is wider at the top than the bottom and it supports a narrow “trellis”-like metal element that serves visual as a cornice for the window bays.

Amenities

 

The building has a 3,000-square-foot, landscaped roof "retreat" with a reflecting pool and outdoor shower. It has a attended lobby and individual storage bins.

Apartments

 

 

The apartments range in size from 825 to more than 1,500 square feet and there are three-bedroom duplex penthouses with 3,200 square feet. The initial prices ranged from $600,000 to $4.5 million. The apartments have broad windows and deep bathtubs.

Most apartments have ceilings that are more than 10 feet high and one of the penthouses has a ceiling of more than 13 feet. Open loft kitchens have Subzero refrigerators, Miele dishwashers, Viking ranges, and wine refrigerators. The apartments have washers and dryers.

Apartment 5A is a two-bedroom unit with a foyer that passes an enclosed kitchen and opens onto a 38-foot-long living area

Apartment 5D is a two-bedroom unit with a 16-foot-long entry foyer that leads past a 27-foot-long living room to a 21-foot-wide dining room with a 14-foot-wide open kitchen with an island.

Penthouse A has a long foyer that leads to a 28-foot-long living/dining room with an open kitchen and island and a 25-foot-long terrace/  The lower level also has a 31-foot-long breakfast/family room, a bedroom a 15-foot-long play area and a 15-foot-long gym.  The upper level has three bedrooms and a 19-foot-long terrace.

 

History

 

Metropolitan Housing Partners, bought the property for about $9 million from Hank Sopher and Ian Bruce Eichner, who had sought to develop it in the mid-1990s. Metropolitan Housing Partners was also the developer of 505 Greenwich Street, 160 Wooster Street and the Sycamore at 250 East 30th Street.

This site was formerly a parking lot. The $35 million project was opposed by the local community board because it did not require that its residents be certified by the city as "artists-in-residence" and as such threatened to destroy "SoHo's character."

In their magnificent book, "New York 2000, Architecture and Urbanism Between The Bicentennial and the Millennium," Robert A. M. Stern, David Fishman and Jacob Tilove, provided the following commentary about this development's background:

"Of SoHo's open sites, some seemed well suited for hotels, particularly given that new residential construction in the area was prohibited by zoning. In 1984 a proposal for a five-story, eighty-room hotel at 35 West Houston Street, between Mercer and Greene Streets, designed by Der Scutt to echo in aluminum the cast-iron frame aesthetic of many of SoHo's historic buildings, met with the strong opposition of the SoHo Alliance, a neighborhood group dedicated to preserving the area's industrial character. Plans stalled for the next decade, but in 1995 Scutt's client, Hank Sopher, acquired an additional block-long sliver of land to the west on Houston Street between Greene and Wooster Streets so that he could build more guest rooms, deemed necessary to an economically viable hotel. To realize the efficiences of greater size, Sopher proposed to connect the two hotels with a nine-foot-wide underground tunnel below Greene Street. Because Scutt had already received the Landmarks Preservation Commission's approval for the first building, he proposed to complement it with a clone on the new site. After local residents sued to block the zoning variances that would permit the hotel's construction, a new developer, Ian Bruce Eichner, proposed to build apartment houses on the two sites, which, as the result of a decision of the Court of Appeals, would not be required to house city-certified artists. Beyer Blinder Belle's design for the buildings, 25 and 55 West Houston Street, prepared in association with H. Thomas O'Hara Architect, called for better than run-of-the-mill six- and eight-story buildings but with none of the authority of Scutt's earlier project. Both were completed in 2004."

Location

 

This is a prime location in SoHo and is directly across from the Angelika movie theater on West Houston Street and two blocks west of the famous Puck Building on Lafayette Street. It is also across West Houston Street from the three high-rise University Towers designed by I. M. Pei for New York University that are clustered about a tall Picasso sculpture.

While there is considerable traffic on West Houston Street, this area has undergone significant improvement and in 2004 a handsome and modern, commercial low-rise building replaced a car-wash on the northeast corner of Broadway. Dean & DeLuca is one block south on Broadway at Prince Street.

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