The Landmarks Preservation Commission gave rave reviews to the designs for a six-story retail building at 529 Broadway yesterday afternoon, with Commissioner Michael Devonshire calling it "as exciting a building as I've seen [in my time] on the committee," and Commissioner Fred Bland declaring it "a brilliant piece of architecture."
The conglomerate of big-time real estate players who are developing the project—Bobby Cayre of Aurora Capital Associates, Jeff Sutton of Wharton Properties, Joe Sitt of Thor Equities, and the Adjmi family—acquired the 1936 warehouse building that currently stands at the site in December of 2012 for $147.9 million. Their plan to tear it down and replace it with a building based on its predecessor, the Prescott House hotel, constructed in 1853 and demolished during the Great Depression, was met with some trepidation from the preservation crowd and the Commission itself. Everyone was so impressed by the new building, however, that the plans were ultimately approved with only a few suggestions.
Designed by BKSK Architects, the new building, which be six stories and contain 34,000 square feet, recalls the Prescott House's window patterns and features a transforming terracotta facade—from left to right on Spring Street, each masonry opening becomes two inches wider until the final bay, at Spring and Broadway is vision glass.
The Landmarks Commission gave its approval with three caveats, that 1) the architects work with staff to address the color of the building, which was meant to be cream but appeared white in some of the renderings, 2) that the size of the retail signage be reduced, and 3) that the architects work with the Judd foundation to make sure the building wouldn't block light to the newly renovated Donald Judd house.
· 529 Broadway plans revealed: PHOTOS [TRD]