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Landmarks Commission Approves Four Story Addition to Meatpacking Warehouse

By Serena Solomon | July 19, 2011 9:36pm | Updated on July 20, 2011 10:20am
A rendering of the proposed addition looking east from the Highline.
A rendering of the proposed addition looking east from the Highline.
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Courtesy of Rubenstein

MIDTOWN — The Landmarks Preservation Commission approved a controversial addition to a Meatpacking District warehouse on Tuesday.

The approved changes to the building, located in the Gansevoort Market Historic District at 837 Washington Street, will see a four-story glass addition tower over the original two-story warehouse. The initial proposal was for seven stories, but was reduced after demands from preservationists, according to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

“We are glad the advocacy over the last couple of years has resulted in the size of the proposal being reduced significantly,” said Andrew Berman, the executive director at the society. “However, we still have a fundamental concern of turning buildings in historic districts into pedestals for larger developments.”

Late designer and party planner Robert Isabell once owned the building. After his death in mid-2009 Isabell's lenders, Taconic Investment Partners and Square Mile Capital, announced plans to add to the original building, according to Curbed.

A spokeswoman for the LPC said the addition was approved by an 8-2 vote, with commissioners Michael Devonshire and Elizabeth Ryan opposed on the grounds that the "proposed addition is too tall, and would overwhelm the Moderne building." 

LPC Vice Chair Pablo E. Vengoechea praised the design for its “interplay between the old and the new,” adding that it "respects the identity of the Moderne building, while echoing the industrial history of the district with its horizontality and window patterns," LPC spokesman Elisabeth de Bourbon said in a statement.

While Berman described the proposed design and materials as “thoughtful,” he remained concerned the additions would dwarf the original building.

The design from Morris Adjmi Architects will feature a metal and glass wall set within a twisting framework of dark gray steel to reflect the industrial history of the neighborhood, according to design notes.