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Adjmi-Designed Residential Conversion Fails to Woo Board

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Since its completion in 1890, the five-story building at 41 Great Jones Street in Noho has been a sandblasting factory, artist space, gallery space, and office space. Despite its industrial past, the vacant structure is now being eyed by Blumfeld Development Group for—what else—a residential conversion. The proposal to convert the former sandblasting factory into three apartments was heard in front of Community Board 2's Land Use Committee on Wednesday, and unsurprisingly, consent towards the project was far from unanimous.

The plan was designed by architect Morris Adjmi and presented by attorney Jerald Johnson of Fox Rothschild LLP. In addition to the commercial-to-residential conversion, the plan calls for a one-story as-of-right addition to the five-story building, bringing the total square footage to 13,500. If granted the addition, one apartment would occupy the cellar and first floor, a second would occupy the third and fourth floors, and a third would occupy the fifth and sixth floors. The sixth floor would have a terrace and hot tub.

Because the building is in the Noho Historic District Extension (PDF!), the exterior changes had to be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Although the LPC approved the changes on January 21, the building still needs approval for its conversion. In executive session, Community Board 2's Land Use Committee could not agree to vote on the project. Some members seemed didn't like that the conversion would create only three units, while others were bothered by the idea of losing space for artists. In a jab at the spacious and likely pricey apartments, CB2 First Vice Chair Terri Cude referred to units like those proposed as "Russian oligarch housing." Vying for his client, attorney Jerald Johnson wanted to know if the committee could say it was leaning towards approval, to which they responded they could not. Johnson said he has a little under 60 days to get his ducks in a row, which means the conversion will likely be voted on at the next committee meeting.
—Evan Bindelglass is a local freelance journalist, photographer, cinephile, and foodie. You can e-mail him, follow him on Twitter @evabin, or check out his personal blog.
· All Landmarks Preservation coverage [Curbed]
· All Morris Adjmi coverage [Curbed]