The size of the community space is not the only point of contention for Manhattan's Community Board 1 in regards to the condo conversion of 346 Broadway. The landmarked building, an 1898, two-block-long Renaissance Revival that was formerly the New York Criminal Courts, is being convert into condos by the Elad Group and Peebles Corporation, who recently presented their plans (at multiple meetings, to multiple committees) to the local board. During the landmarks committee meeting, the developers, along with architect John H. Beyer of Beyer Blinder Belle, outlined their design for the building, and while they will be preserving multiple interior elements, as they are interior landmarks, the board still found issue with a few thingsmainly the penthouse addition, something that is never popular with preservationists.
Historic spaces that will be preserved and restored include a grand curved staircase, a conference room on the fourth floor, the Banking Hall, and the clock tower on the roof. Beyer noted that he was adhering to 1968 building codes instead of 2008 codes, which makes it easier to potentially move and alter parts of the building. For instance, under the 1968 code, it will be simpler to move the historic staircase to the first floor to make it more accessible to the public without having to add a second core to the building or make large changes to the existing core.
Other alterations proposed included scaling down the garage doors on the building from one to two, fixing many of the closed off windows to look like they originals, and removing the fire escapes and converting them into private balconies for residents. The alterations will take the building from about around 400,000 square feet to 427,000 square feet according to Beyer.
The proposal also highlighted the complete renovation of the 13 floor, which is not landmarked, and two subtle penthouses on the roof, along with a green space for the building's residents and making the building's famed clock tower into a private residence.
The community board members objected to the visibility of the roof's alteration and the removal of the fire escapes. A few members feared that the balconies would become a potential eyesore along the building's facade. Members of the board were also concerned about placing landmarked areas such as the fourth floor office near new residences, due to the restrictions landmark spaces place on alterations. Some members suggested that the office space should be moved closer to the community area that is slated for construction along the Broadway side of the building to make the historic room more accessible to the public and less of a potential hassle for buyers.
The board didn't completely reject or accept the proposal due to the many minute details and the ongoing concerns about the penthouse visibility and the facade alterations. The Landmarks Preservation Commission will take the boards concerns into consideration when it hears the project on November 18. Beyer Blinder and Belle and their clients seem confident in their plans and said that construction is slated to begin this coming May.
· 346 Broadway Conversion Hits Snag Over Community Space [Curbed]
· All 346 Broadway coverage [Curbed]