By Brian J. Pape
If you haven’t taken a walk around the West Village lately, then you are in for a shock. Block by block, foot by foot, the West Village is going through a transformation that is both rapid and radical.
Hudson Yards, that city within a city just a little north of us on the west side of Manhattan, gets most of the media attention for its mammoth new development, but the West Village changes are just as dramatic.
Greenwich Village would seem to be protected from major changes by its many historic districts and landmarks, but there are still large areas not protected, especially close to the water, historically a working industrial area, but now a magnet for open-view seeking homeowners.
WestView has been covering many changes in previous issues, and now we focus on the larger developments in one area, the far southwest part. One could say it started with the three glass-clad Richard Meier-designed condo towers along West Street, Charles and Perry Streets, in 2000 to 2006, and One Morton Sq., designed by Costas Kondylis on West St. in 2004, followed by R.A.M. Stern’s Superior Ink condos at 12th St. in 2009, and 150 Charles St. by CookFox in 2015.
Neither of the latter sites were covered by the 2005 “downzoning” of the Far West Village. It is noteworthy that all examples after Meier’s buildings integrate street-level “townhouses” into their larger developments, an attempt to “blend into” the residential streets.
Now, we are about to witness the completion of a spate of projects here.
160 Leroy (see WestView’s August 2017 & December 2017 issues) is Herzog& DeMuron’s gracefully curved 14-story plan for 57 units priced at $3000 to over $6000 per SF.
601 Washington, a.k.a. 127 Leroy St., 111 Leroy at Greenwich St., 627 GW aka 90 Morton, and M.S. 297 (formerly IS323) at 75 Morton St. (all in the August 2017 issue) are each “topped off” and progressing quickly to completion.
127 Leroy St. is designed by BKSK Architects as a nine-story condo for only eight units, plus parking for 12 vehicles and recreation space in the cellar. Units are large, but are not yet priced.
Property Markets Group’s condo and townhouse complex at 111 Leroy, designed by Workshop/APD, is priced at over $3000/SF and will be brick clad to fit the area.
Holland-based Brack Capital’s 35-unit conversion and addition of 90 Morton will turn the 8-story industrial printing loft, ca. 1912, into a 12-story condo, priced at $3000 per SF and up, and designed by Gottesman Szmelcman.
On September 5, 2018, Jacqui Getz, principal of the progressive new Middle School #297 at 75 Morton St., will welcome her three grades of almost 300 students, more than doubling its former size, culminating what started more than a decade ago by community activists. The 177,000-square-foot, seven-story handicap-accessible building—with an outdoor playground on the corner lot of Greenwich and Barrow Streets, has border landscaping and full accessibility—will eventually have up to 900 students, including some from the city’s special-education specific District 75 students.
John Ciardullo Associates is the project architect. The former ca. 1919 warehouse with high ceilings has gotten 36,000 SF of stunningly attractive red terracotta rainscreen façade added, the first time this façade system has been used on a NYC public school.
When all these new developments are selling at over $2000 per SF, that eliminates probably 90% of American homeowners from moving here. What does that mean for a neighborhood’s character? Will the new residents become community supporters, or the catalyst for its becoming Hudson Yards South?
Soon to follow all these construction projects will be 40-story, 1,586-unit 550 Washington, formerly St. John’s Terminal, and several others, 20-30 stories high, in nearby Hudson Sq. (see the December 2017 issue). At least we won’t be getting one like the 68-story 50 West St. further downtown.
Brian J. Pape is an architectural consultant in private practice, serves as Co-chair of the American Institute of Architects NY Design for Aging Committee, and, as WestView News’s Architectural Editor, is a regular contributor of writing & photography. He is an officer of EnJOY Life!, a health consultancy firm.