The Landmarks Preservation Commission has again turned back a proposal for a six-story residential building — this time with a setback penthouse — to be built on the footprint of an existing two-story garage on Jane Street, with one commissioner likening the new design to a generic hotel. Developer Edward Minskoff bought the building for $26 million in 2014.
In July, the landmarks commission rejected a proposal for a glass facade set in concrete for the site at 11-19 Jane, near Greenwich Avenue. Commissioners at the time said that the proposed building was “intimidating” and did not fit in with the character of the neighborhood.
On Tuesday morning, representatives from the David Chipperfield Architects firm presented plans for a redesigned building of the same general shape and height, but of red brick. They also modified earlier window designs and changed the street-level entryways. The new version includes a small, gated balcony on the second floor and two recessed doors to supplement the central entrance in the middle of the first floor. A subtle garage entry is next to the main door in the middle.
The commissioners were not overly impressed, with one saying the new design “still screams ‘Marriott.’” Another said he couldn’t “find much about [it] that enhances Greenwich Village.”
While the commissioners agreed the redesign was an improvement over the July proposal, the shape and nature of the new windows concerned them. The two-paneled sliding windows were, to the commission, reminiscent of a hotel, and some complained about the windows’ verticality in a horizontal building. Ultimately, the commission took no action on the new proposal and sent the designers back to the drawing board to address its concerns.
The few Greenwich Village residents on hand at the hearing were relieved. As they were in July, they remain unsatisfied with the architect’s latest attempt and would like to see the project scaled back. “We would have liked the [commission] to have gone further, and asked for more substantial reductions in the proposed building’s height and further improvement to the façade,” Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said. “But we are grateful that they have not approved a design that would be so patently out of place on Jane Street and in the Greenwich Village Historic District, and that they are continuing to push the applicant to improve the project.”
11-19 Jane Street is one of several recent redevelopment proposals in Greenwich Village opposed by residents. 85-89 Jane Street, 46-74 Gansevoort Street and a huge residential complex planned for 500 Washington St., involving the transfer of air rights from Pier 40, were all heard by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in the second half of 2016. Some, like Berman, fear that this signals a wave of change in the neighborhood that will detract from the Village’s historical make-up of low-lying brownstones and culturally significant buildings.
Madeleine Thompson can be reached at mailto:email@example.com