Revised plan for Superior Ink site approved

Architect Robert A.M. Stern’s new design reduced needed variances. The Related Companies applied to BSA to alter its February 2006 variance approval for a 15-story, mixed-use development to replace the Superior Ink building on West Street between Bethune and West 12th Streets. 3 CityLand 8 (Feb. 2006). The design change originated from Related’s replacement of the original project architect, Charles Gwathmey, with Robert A.M. Stern.

When Related first sought approval from BSA, the site’s zoning restricted uses to manufacturing. During the review process, the City rezoned the Far West Village, altering the site’s zoning to one that permitted residential units as of right. Related’s proposal faced significant controversy from groups that wanted to save the Superior Ink building and its 195-foot-tall smokestacks. Community groups pushed Landmarks to add the building to two proposed historic districts under consideration for the West Village. 3 CityLand 79 (June 15, 2006). Ultimately, BSA approved a new building with 64 residential units, including five townhouses, with a total height of 186.9 feet.

The new design lessened the degree of the height and setback variances and eliminated the approved commercial space. The commercial space would be replaced with housing, increasing the units to 84. Along West Street, Stern’s design reduced the approved 83.5-foot set back to 66 feet, complying with the site’s zoning. The setback depth changed along West Street from a varying 12- to 17-foot depth in the Gwathmey design to a ten-foot depth, which reduced the waiver’s degree. The building’s total height remained unchanged.

BSA approved the amended variance application on January 9th, noting that the revised design reduced the extent of the zoning waivers needed for the structure. The approval noted that no one opposed the new design.

BSA: 469 West Street (48-05-BZ) (Jan. 9, 2007) (Wachtel & Masyr, LLP; Robert A.M. Stern, for Related).

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