The West Village is already home to many-a-megamansion: the Annie Leibovitz compound (now owned by Lauren Bush Lauren), the West 12th Street bunker that was formerly home to oil heiress Hyatt Bass. And now, with the approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, it will become home to the palatial Jane Street nest being built, allegedly, for pharma scion Jon Stryker.
An amended proposal to convert the two buildings at 85-89 Jane Street into a sprawling single-family home was approved yesterday by the LPC, allowing the project to move forward uninhibited.
It isn’t the first time the conversion of the historic garage and former Steinway showroom has come in front of the committee; Steven Harris of Steven Harris Architects first presented a proposal to convert the buildings in the Greenwich Village Historic District in July. That proposal, which included two 90-foot protrusions that both the community and landmarks board found inappropriate, was quickly sent back to the drawing board.
And it seems that Harris heard the board’s requests loud and clear. The proposal returned without the 90-foot tower that would have held a study and dual-height library. A shorter, set-back tower still protrudes from the top and holds elevator mechanicals, but is barely visible from the street. Other main tweaks to the proposal include a small penthouse addition in place of the library tower atop no. 85 and a facade recess on no. 89. One of the megamansion’s main elements, its glazed window wall, has been lowered by about 13 feet too.
All in all the tweaks make the project scalable to the street, and more relatable to surrounding neighborhood. But the commissioners took issue with Harris’s attempts to endear the project to the historic district. The inclusion of a parapet along no. 89 had the commissioners riled up. "We have a skilled designer creating a very unusual residential complex in a sensitive part in our city...but these garages were not the reason this district was designated and I don’t think saving pieces of it matters to me," Commissioner Bland opined.
"It really was a major rethinking of the project and the result is quite beautiful," Commissioner Chapin said. LPC Chair Commissioner Srinivasan agreed, saying she thought the changes were "very successful." Only one commissioner, Devonshire, opposed the project.