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Contested Tribeca apartment building finally clears Landmarks

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The plan was sent back to the drawing board several times before it was finally approved on Tuesday

Rendering by Paul Castrucci Architect

UPDATE 1/23/18: The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission resoundingly approved a proposal to replace a set of low-rise commercial buildings on Canal Street with a seven-story residential building, on Tuesday.

The Commission liked the revised approval presented by the architecture firm Paul Castrucci Architect, which reduced the height of the building from nine stories to seven stories, and reduced the facade material from red brick to terra cotta, to be more in line with the buildings in the neighborhood (more details on the latest iteration of this project below).

The Commission praised the firm for heeding all of its advise from a previous hearing in July last year, but still had a few pointers. The Commissioners agreed that the architect should either do away with the current glazing on the building’s facade or try to pick a more muted version of the color they’re presently going with. They also asked the architect to reduce the ceiling height on the building’s penthouse to make it less visible from street level.

The architect will now work with the Commission’s staff to rectify those concerns as this project moves forward.

Seven months after the Landmarks Preservation Commission decided to take no action on the proposed new buildings at 312-322 Canal Street, a revised proposal for the project is due to be presented before the LPC at tomorrow’s meeting. It’ll be the third time that plans for this parcel of land will appear before the LPC.

Let’s back it up a bit: Paul Castrucci Architect, the firm behind the (now stalled) revamp of ABC No Rio, has been trying to get plans for a new Canal Street building approved since 2011, when changes to the storefronts those addresses encompass were made without LPC approval. (The buildings are part of the Tribeca East Historic District.) The 2011 proposal was nixed, and it took the firm until last year to come back with revised plans—which were summarily rejected by the LPC for being “completely inappropriate.”

What did the commission have an issue with? Just about everything: “There is a real problem with the monolithic aspect of this application, and it takes away from the granular nature of Canal Street,” LPC chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said during June’s meeting, where she noted that the site deserved a building that is “new and contemporary.”

It remains to be seen if the revised plans, which will be presented during tomorrow’s LPC meeting, will fit the bill. One of the biggest changes concerns the building’s height; the previous proposal put the roof height at 97 feet high, but the revised one takes it down to a bit over 86 feet (with the street-facing wall going to 76.6 feet). And rather than having a flat, brick facade, the revised plans now include a facade made from terra cotta, not so dissimilar to that of Annabelle Selldorf’s 10 Bond Street.

The building will still be home to more than a dozen apartments (most of them one-bedrooms, with one four-bedroom penthouse), with three ground floor retail spaces. Maybe, as the old adage goes, the third time’s the charm?

Take a look at the full revised plans here. We’ll update with more information on the LPC vote as it becomes available.