[Above, the house as it stands now.]
It's official: a starchitect-designed local landmark will remain the sameat least from the outside. The new owner of a townhouse at 18 West 11th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues, where 1) a Merrill Lynch founder once lived, 2) activist group Weather Underground accidentally detonated a bomb in 1970 while preparing for Vietnam protests 3) Hugh Hardy designed a hard-won, angular facade after the blast that narrowly won Landmarks' approval, and 4) the most recent tenant used the front window as a neighbor-loved display case for a Paddington Bear stuffed animal wearing various seasonally appropriate outfits, is not going to modify the exterior.
Justin Korsant of Long Light Capital, shelled out $9.25 million for the history-rich building late last year, and just talked in public for the first time about his plans for it. There was a scare that the home, well-known by passersby from near and far for all those reasons, would be gutted, but that's not the case. After the purchase, Korsant hired Hugh Hardy's modern-day firm, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, to come up with a redesign for the house, which involves a penthouse addition and a complete internal reconstruction that will even out the currently split levels to create an even-floored six-bedroom, seven bathroom home for the current bachelor.
Above, an old version of the redesign that didn't pass muster with the Landmarks Preservation Commission, in part because it included disliked adjustments to the rear facade. Current plans, as described by the Times, don't include any changes to the rear facade. Whether Korsant will carry on the Paddington Bear tradition remains to be seen, but as of last Monday the bear remains in the window, sporting a summer-flaunting Santa outfit.
· Reconstruction Planned for Infamous Townhouse in Greenwich Village [NYT]
· Village House With Kooky History & Facade Is Saved, For Now [Curbed]
· Famed Exploded Greenwich Village Townhouse Sells for $9.25M [Curbed]
· All 18 West 11th Street coverage [Curbed]