Monday, June 3, 2013

Office Building & Retail to Replace SoHo Gas Station

From gas pumps and beer steins - to shopping bags and fashions, Houston Street is about to get a little bit trendier A SoHo property owner is planning to tear down the Puck Fair bar and the BP gas station at Lafayette and Houston streets, to make way for a mixed-use office and retail building. Since the 1930s, the site has remained home to giant billboards and a gas station, although the sidewalk surrounding the lot houses two of Manhattan’s busiest subway stations—Bleecker Street and Broadway-Lafayette—making it one of the most frequented spots in the city. 

LargaVista Companies —which owns the lots used by the gas station, bar and a former garage now used for retail — revealed plans for a seven-story, 91-foot-tall building on the southwest corner of Lafayette and East Houston streets.

Cook/Fox Architects has designed a bold structure that intersperses gardens and glass, offering greenery on multiple balconies and the roof top. The building would be made of limestone on the first floor up until about eye level. The rest of the structure would be covered in white terra-cotta with silver metal details.

Because of the bustling nature of the intersection, the first two floors of the building, plus the basement level, are slated for retail. The space could house a single store as big as 30,000 square feet or could be broken up into several stores.

Though the development would demolish two buildings and a gas station that fall within the landmarked SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District, they have low levels of integrity or significance, and have little individual value say preservationists.

LargaVista president Marcello Porcelli, who is a second-generation owner of the gas station, has said that developing the space was a longtime dream of his. “Ever since I was a little boy I've wanted to expand this site for a higher and better use," he said.