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LPC Gives Thumbs Down to a Duct Tape Fix Up on Canal Street

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A sorry stretch of Canal Street just west of Broadway in the Tribeca East Historic District, where storefronts were redone last year without the required approvals from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, won't be getting a facelift anytime soon following yesterday's No Vote for a fixer-upper plan. The no-go proposal comes from the team at Paul Castrucci Architect, the creative crew behind the reconstruction plan for ABC No Rio. Their job description on Canal is a bit tougher: Undo the damage done by a sneaky gang of undercover masons that managed to completely rebuild the crumbling facade without proper permits. To add to the fun, the Castrucci crew has to fix it all on a very tight budget.

What's seen today at 312-322 Canal is a uniform two-story row of bricks, stretching for 120 feet along the south side of the traffic clogged thoroughfare. Behind the running bond that went up last year are the remnants of a pair of 19th century structures, chopped down in the 1960s and transformed into taxpayers. The entire strip was shuttered last year as part of the NYPD's counterfeit crackdown. Now a battalion of illegally installed roll down gates greets the streets and DOB has slapped the site with Stop Work Orders and past-due fines totalling $15,000.

The presentation of a new proposal to fix the mess, showing a series of aluminum-framed storefronts and looking somewhat like the face of a suburban strip mall, was met by the commissioners with nary a smile. One described the plan as "sad" and "neither here nor there." Others repeatedly termed it "not appropriate" while one commissioner quietly stated, "I don't know what to say." The lack of enthusiasm for the design was best summed up as "one solid piece of duct tape running along Canal Street." Snap! Commissioners One, Castrucci Zero. Needless to say, the proposal was not approved, and the architects were sent back to the drawing board in search of something that's livelier and better expresses the crazy urbanity of Canal Steet.
· Five Landmarks Along Canal Street Go Under the Knife [Curbed]
· Canal Street Crackdown [Curbed]