It might be time to say buh-bye to the big billboard on Lafayette between Bond and Great Jones and the long and skinny Noho lot it has occupied for years: The Buildings Department has partially approved a plan from BKSK Architects for 363 Lafayette Street. This could bring a six-story commercial and retail building clad in glass and stone to a corner that was once home to the handy Jones Diner, but more recently has been the cause of a nasty spat between the owner of the site, Olmstead Properties, and artist Chuck Close, who has painted in the light-filled studio next door at 20 Bond Street for the past 30 years and had been holding the developer's feet to the fire.
The proposed building will rise on a wedge-shaped plot with a southern face that measures under 7' wide at one end. That odd lot is the result of some real estate wrangling by descendants of John Jacob Astor, who, when property prices demanded it, extended his very lush and luxe Lafayette Place through to Bond Street and points south back in the 1880s. Later, Lafayette was widened, the subway put in underneath and bare brick walls were left behind, pretty much the way they look today. The new building will hide some of that old brickage when it rises but, in accordance with zoning and light, not too much. And it should cover a chunk of the cinder-block wonder at 25 Great Jones (aka the Great Jones Hotel) that has been slowly inching upwards for the last three years. Given the pace of things, this new one?with an alternate address of 23 Great Jones Street?could be finished before #25 ever opens.
· 363 Lafayette [BKSK Architects]
· If Chuck Close Can't Beat 'Em, He'll Pay $5.95M to Join 'Em [Curbed]
· 363 Lafayette coverage [Curbed]