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East Village gas explosion site building sent back for revision by LPC

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The seven-story condo will have to come back to the Landmarks Preservation Commission for approval

Morris Adjmi Architects

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 9, 2018.

UPDATE 7/10/2018: The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission sent back a Morris Adjmi-designed proposal for the East Village gas explosion site for revision, on Tuesday. Commissioners took issue with the “morose” color of the brick, the glass windows on the corner of the building, and the visibility of the penthouse.

Commissioners debated on whether to have the proposal dealt with at a staff level, but after some discussion determined that it was best if the architect came back with a revised proposal.

Tuesday’s decision followed public testimony, most of which dovetailed with the suggestions of the LPC Commissioners. Nixon Figueroa, the father of Nicholas Figueroa, one of the victims of the East Village gas explosion, urged the Commission to ask the developer of the site to create a permanent plaque that would commemorate the tragedy.

The Commission agreed, and acting LPC Chair Frederick Bland concurred with Manhattan Community Board 3’s suggestion to create a permanent bronze plaque on the front facade of the building. He asked the owners determine the location and the nature of the plaque in conjunction with the LPC staff and the families of the victims.

The proposal will now come back to the Commission at a later date for second review.

The corner of Second Avenue and East Seventh Street could soon sprout a new 21-unit condo, three years after the gas explosion that felled several buildings there. This week, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will review a proposal from Nexus Building Development to erect a seven-story building, designed by Morris Adjmi, on the site.

Presentation materials that will go before the LPC offer a glimpse at what Nexus has planned for the structure: The building itself will rise 78 feet, though the bulkhead will take that up to just under 100 feet. The facade would be made from custom L-shaped bricks, cast stone, and corrugated zinc, all in muted shades of gray and beige. Some apartments would have corner exposures, and there would be one penthouse with roof access.

The Historic Districts Council has weighed in on the proposal, saying the building “could fit in quite well in the East Village/Lower East Side Historic District”; however, HDC takes issue with the corner windows, which they call “extremely out of place,” and the color of the cladding.

As we previously reported, the Nexus Group purchased the sites at 119 and 121 Second Avenue for $9.15 million last year, and filed plans for the condo in February.

The third site that was leveled in the 2015 explosion, at 123 Second Avenue, sold for $6 million in 2016, but there are no development plans for that site yet. Two people died in the 2015 explosion, and the owners of the site are facing manslaughter charges.

The LPC will review the proposal during its weekly meeting, which takes place on July 10 at the Manhattan Municipal Building, ninth floor.