Monday, March 24, 2014

Triangular Glass Building to Rise on East Houston Street

A developer is planning to build a 26,700-square-foot, six-story office and retail building on a prominent triangular lot between Broadway and Crosby streets in Soho. The design, which envisions a glass wall of along Houston Street, and a brick facade on Crosby Street, has been approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. 

Madison Capital bought the 6,190-square-foot parcel at 19 East Houston Street from the MTA in last July for just under $26 million.

The new triangular building will end in a sharp angle at Broadway, the corner of which will become a six-story glass atrium.

Up through the 1920s, Houston Street was a narrow little passageway through the lower Manhattan trenches, no bigger than Spring Street is today.

It was not until the 1930s, as part of Robert Moses' overhaul and modernization of New York City, that it took on its current form as a multi-lane thoroughfare.

The transformation from urban lane to city highway involved the demolition of quite a few buildings, and resulted in a number of odd-shaped and sliver-like lots that would only appeal to a developer in the city's current real estate reality.

One such oddity is a triangular plot on the south curb of Houston bordered by Broadway and Crosby Street-a prominent location that for years has been home to a fruit stand, a subway entrance, and an MTA parking lot.

The brick wall of the building bordering the lot has been used as a billboard for much of this time, home for an age to an iconic DKNY advertisement, and now branded with the logo of the clothing company Hollister and a distressed rendition of the California state flag.

This awkward patch of land is now being developed by New York City-based real estate investment company Madison Capital.

The plan calls for 4,700-square-foot of ground floor retail space with an option for another sliver of a retail space at Broadway. That tiny space, separated from the larger retail floor by a subway entrance, will be only measure about 150 square feet. The building will have a total of 14,900 square feet of above-ground retail on three levels, and 11,900 square feet of office space on floors four through six.

Earlier designs for a triangular building at 19 East Houston Street drew the ire of the both the community and the Landmarks Commission, so Perkins Eastman made significant changes.

While the original design had called for a primarily glass facade - which furious SoHo residents panned as better suited to Midtown than Downtown, the new design features a 63 foot brick facade on Crosby Street.

Click to enlarge
 A completely separate facade of staggered glass and metal panels - inspired by SoHo's historic cast iron facades - along 203 feet of East Houston, addressing commissioners' concerns that the building would appear out-of-context for the neighborhood.

The building's first three floors, are all dedicated to retail, and faced with transparent glass panels.

These change on the top three office floors, where the glass panels become increasingly more opaque with a ceramic pattern.

The heavy interest in the site — currently a parking lot for New York City Transit emergency vehicles — underscores the demand for retail in Soho. Madison beat out competitors which included six other bidders.

The MTA, which controls the city-owned parcel through a master lease, will turn the property over to the city, which will in turn hand over control to Madison Capital.  The company is expected to take possession of the space in August 2014.

Just east of the development site, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved plans for a seven-story retail and office building on the current site of the SoHo BP gas station and the bar Puck Fair, as ElectricWeb has previously reported.

Structural Engineer
Severud Associates

Civil Engineer
Vollmuth & Brush
MEP Engineer
Cosentini Associates

Technical Engineer
Langan Engineering

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