By Ananth Sampathkumar, 
Partner NDNY Architecture + Design

27 Christopher Street has been home to some illustrious residents. The beautiful Neo-classical building was built in 1911. Designed by Joseph Duke Harrison for the Switzer Institute and Home, the structure was a Catholic school till the New York Foundling took it over and named it the Vincent J. Fontana Center for Child Protection in memory of Dr. Fontana’s work to prevent child abuse. The Foundling began its life in 1869 in a brownstone on East 12 Street, when three Sisters of Charity started a mission to rescue abandoned babies in New York City. Over the last 149 years, the non-profit has evolved to provide a host of community support services to the less fortunate and vulnerable children and families of New York.

SINCE NEWS OF THE SALE OF 27 CHRISTOPHER STREET WENT PUBLIC IN 2014, THERE HAS BEEN PLENTY OF BUZZ AROUND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SITE: Existing and Proposed North Elevation excerpt from LPC Presentation from April 2016. Credit: © H.S. Jessup Architecture.

In a historic sale worth $45 million, the non-profit sold one of its most valuable assets in 2014, to billionaire Steve Baker, managing partner at Baker Brothers Investment. The 60’x70’ corner lot has four floors above grade, two below and a total of 19,000 square feet of interior space. Since the news of the sale of the property went public in 2014, there has been plenty of buzz around the development of the site. Gerner Kronick & Valcarcel Architects prepared initial conceptual plans for the real estate company that was marketing the site as a mansion. Since then, HS Jessup Architecture has been the Architect of Record and construction has been underway since early 2017. According to the drawings available on the Architect’s website, the new single family home will consist of at least six bedrooms, two kitchens and several living, dining, entertaining areas around the periphery with a grand stair and glass elevator anchoring the center of the house. The basement will provide living and sleeping quarters for staff while the cellar will house a 50-foot lap pool. Two generous terraces, one on the 2nd floor and the other on the roof, will connect the indoors with abundant access to the private outdoor space.

Manhattan has always been about extremes and nowhere is it more evident than in the West Village. This charming neighborhood has caught the attention of big money and they are steadily moving in to set up house and shop here. Rent stabilized apartments now sit next to multi-million dollar townhouses, mom and pop shops have been slowly taken over by high-end boutique stores. This trend is sure to continue into the New Year. We will wait to see if the Village survives the new influx or becomes a victim of its own success.

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