Third Time’s the Charm for SoHo Project

Corner lot at 42 Crosby Street. Image Credit: Google.

Corner lot at 42 Crosby Street. Image Credit: Google.

Instead of a tower on a base, the revised project would rise to six stories at the streetwall, with a minimally visible penthouse. On May 14, 2013, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to approve a proposal to construct a new building at 42 Crosby Street in the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District. The meeting was the third time the Commission addressed the proposal, and the Annabelle Selldorf-designed project underwent significant changes in its design since its initial proposal. The building will replace a parking lot and garage currently occupying the corner lot. The building will be primarily residential, with retail uses at the ground floor.

At the first hearing on the item, on December 11, 2012, the applicants presented a plan for a nine-story building clad in aluminum with a four-story tower setback from a five-story base. The plan called for horizontal bands of nine-foot-tall, double-hung horizontal windows. Selldorf said the design reflected the industrial character of the neighborhood, and that the use of aluminum in the facade related to SoHo’s historic cast-iron architecture. Some of the commissioners objected to the building’s massing, and others asked for revisions to the facade materials. Chair Robert B. Tierney asked the applicants to revise the design in light of the commissioners’ comments.

The applicants returned on February 12, 2013, with a proposal that raised the cornice line of the building’s base six feet, set the tower off from the rear party walls, and modified the facade windows and columns making a more vertically emphasized pattern. Commissioners generally praised the design, but some still voiced discomfort with the project’s massing and scale. Chair Tierney asked the applicants to revise and return.

At the May meeting, Selldorf presented a plan for a building with a six-story streetwall, and only one set back penthouse story, which Selldorf said would be “virtually invisible.” The retail-oriented ground floor was also reduced in height, and the windows were changed from double-hung to sliding doors with glass guardrails. The revised structure would rise to a total height of 85 feet, down from the 125 feet of the original proposal. The structure would possess a steel cornice, thinner spandrels than prior iterations, and round columns.

Chair Tierney said that the applicants’ revised plan was “totally responsive,” and that the issues hindering earlier approval were “completely resolved.” Commissioner Michael Goldblum found the plan “lovely” and approvable, but lamented that “the challenge of the first scheme” could not be met. Commissioner Margery Perlmutter called the project “beautiful,” and found it to reflect the character and materials of the historic district. Commissioner Diana Chapin commended “the subtle use of textures” and found the plan’s massing much more appropriate for the neighborhood than previous proposals. Chair Tierney led a unanimous vote in approval.

LPC: 42 Crosby Street, Manhattan (13-6801) (May 14, 2013) (Architect: Selldorf Architects).

One thought on “Third Time’s the Charm for SoHo Project

  1. Now that the building is in the last stages of construction, the neighbors are finding the building to be painful to look at in bright sunligt, leaving after-images in ther vision and making it necessary to buy andlower shades.

    I had questioned the applicants about this at the community board hearing and was told it would not be reflective.

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