Downsizing seems to be the theme for all of 837 Washington Street's encounters with the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Developer Taconic Investment Partners was asked twice by the LPC to decrease the height of its expansion before the design for a four-story glass and steel tower was approved in 2011. This week, the Morris Adjmi building made a cameo appearance, but the discussion centered on the proposed Samsung signage on the second story of the building. The Commission ended up approving the proposal, with slight changes.
The applicants presented renderings of the building with two modifications: consolidating the building's many entrances into just two entrancesone on Washington Street and the other on 13th Streetand the addition of three signs that read "Samsung," the building's sole tenant. Two would be placed just above the new entrances, with eight-inch-tall lettering. Meanwhile, the third would glow from the upper left corner of the second-story facade facing Washington Street. With lettering that stands approximately 26 inches high, the sign would be meant to "brand" the building so that passersby standing farther awayviewing the building from the High Line, for instancecould still see the Samsung name, according to a representative from Samsung. The applicant said he saw this as a better option than installing screens with constant, flashing lights on the side of the building.
The commissioners took no issue with the removal of entrances to the building, but they questioned why the second-story sign needed to be so large. Speakers from the Historic Districts Council and the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation echoed this concern, calling the signage "excessive." The commissioners deliberated for a while on whether or not the larger sign could be moved, either below the second-story or onto the recently constructed part of the building, but the applicants responded that a different placement could decrease visibility and therefore defeat the purpose of having a "branding" sign.
Ultimately, size was the concern. "It could be smaller and still be seen," said commissioner Roberta Washington. The Commission asked that the applicants make the larger sign just 18 to 20 inches tall, while otherwise approving the rest of the proposal.
837 Washington currently.
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