Developer obtained building permit for thirteen-story building before Landmarks extended NoHo Historic District to include site. On January 19, 2010, Landmarks considered Louis Greco and SDS Great Jones LLC’s application to alter the proposed exterior of a partially built, thirteen-story hotel at 25 Great Jones Street in the NoHo Historic District Extension. The lot’s former owner initially obtained building permits to construct a ten-story building on the through-block lot in 1997. After changes in ownership, building construction began in 2007, and the current owner obtained a new permit for a thirteen-story hotel in Januaryof 2008. Under the approved permit, the narrow structure will set back from the street with entrances on Great Jones and Bond Streets.
The property came under Landmarks’ jurisdiction when Landmarks approved the NoHo Historic District extension in May 2008. 5 CityLand 76 (June 15, 2008). Landmarks does not have control over the proposed hotel’s height and massing because of the valid 2008 permit, but its approval is required for any changes to the design approved by Buildings in 2008.
At the hearing, architect Henry Smith-Miller described the proposed redesign of the hotel’s exterior aesthetics, explaining that a stainless- steel scrim, etched with a botanical design, would cover the hotel’s north and south facades. Smith- Miller said a 30-foot tall picket fence, consisting of asymmetrical metal slats, would separate the hotel’s deeply set back Bond Street frontage from the sidewalk. A courtyard on the Great Jones Street frontage would be separated from the sidewalk with a planted bamboo stand.
The proposal attracted a great deal of opposition. Some area residents opposed aspects of the hotel that were outside of Landmarks authority, with one resident describing the hotel as “a rogue building” that was too tall and “set back too far.” Nadezhda Williams, of the Historic Districts Council, acknowledged that Landmarks could only consider the hotel’s exterior, but called the proposal a “selfish design” and suggested that the developer extend the “skin” out to the block’s street wall in order to “hide what has been built behind.” A representative of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation called the scrim a “shower curtain.”
Commissioner Margery Perlmutter expressed support for what she termed “an extremely difficult project,” and said it was “thoughtfully designed.” Commissioner Libby Ryan also praised the facade’s “inventiveness,” but expressed concern over the use of bamboo on Great Jones Street. Commissioner Christopher Moore said the proposal was “mostly awesome” and “a small part awful,” expressing reservations about the bamboo and the metal-slat fence.
Chair Robert B. Tierney said the proposed design was “heading in the right direction” and asked the applicants to return with a refined design.
LPC: 25 Great Jones Street, Manhattan (10-3725) (Jan. 19, 2010).