Landmarks twice approved designs for new building on Tribeca site, but development stalled. On November 1, 2011, Landmarks approved a proposal to replace a two-story 1947 brick building with a nine-story residential building at 403 Greenwich Street in the Tribeca West Historic District. Landmarks in 2002, and again in 2009, approved buildings for the site, but neither proposal went forward. The 2009-approved proposal called for a six-story building designed by Joseph Pell Lombardi featuring glass-brick facades.
Architect Morris Adjmi presented the current proposal, which would rise seven stories at the street wall with two setback floors that would not be visible from the street. The front facade would be composed of blackened steel framing with three-over-three windows and a large metal cornice on top of the seventh story. The building’s base would feature a glass lobby with a steel canopy. Decorative flanges on the window surrounds would project from the front facade. Staggered balconies proposed for the building’s rear brick facade were intended to be reminiscent of historic fire escapes.
Chair Robert B. Tierney noted that Manhattan Community Board 1 supported the proposal after Adjmi strengthened the building’s cornice. The Historic Districts Council’s Nadezhda Williams opposed the proposal. Williams acknowledged that Landmarks had previously approved the existing building’s demolition, but she testified that the removal of these types of buildings had changed the district’s scale and removed a layer of its history. She also testified that if a new building was to be built, it should have an even deeper cornice, thicker spandrels, and a stronger finish.
Commissioner Michael Goldblum called the design beautiful, but said that it might be more appropriate in a different location, noting it looked like a building in SoHo. Commissioner Fred Bland disagreed, finding it to be an appropriate building that took its cues from the cast-iron architecture found throughout lower Manhattan. Commissioners Diana Chapin and Libby Ryan said the proposal worked in the district, although Ryan recommended increasing the height of the lobby. Commissioner Michael Devonshire found the design appropriate, but wondered if the base could be strengthened. Commissioner Joan Gerner suggested putting a bulkhead at the bottom to give the building a more solid base.
Landmarks unanimously approved the proposal, but asked the owner to work with staff to refine design elements.
LPC: 403 Greenwich Street, Manhattan (12-3741) (Nov. 1, 2011) (Architect: Morris Adjmi Architects).