Plans for SHoP’s 10-story wooden condo tower squashed

Posted On Fri, February 24, 2017 By

Posted On Fri, February 24, 2017 By In Chelsea, condos, New Developments

SHoP’s proposed wooden tower has gotten the axe, reports The Real Deal. The wood high-rise which was slated to rise along 18th Street in Chelsea has been scrapped, as a downturn in the market has forced developer Sy Ghassemi to change course.

As 6sqft previously reported, SHoP was awarded a $1.5M prize for the project in 2015 following a competition hosted by the United States Department of Agriculture. Architecture firms were asked to design a wood structure of at least 80 feet tall and SHoP delivered a 120-foot tower design using engineered wood.

SHoP was one of two firms given the hefty sum for research and development, but the cash windfall in the grand scheme appears to have provided little more than a drop in the bucket; Developer Ghassemi paid $10.6 million for the site alone in November, and with a tight lending market weighing down developers, “The project just wasn’t feasible,” Ghassemi told TRD.

475 West 18th Street, 475 West, Chelsea development, SHoP Architects, wooden buildings, wood construction

The news is certainly a blow for proponents of wood buildings who tout the material’s environmental benefits and financial advantages and who hoped that the wood structure would inspire more of its kind in NYC. TRD, however, is also apt to point out that current NYC building codes don’t even allow for wood constructions of more than six stories, so irrespective of capital, the high-rise would still have encountered major hurdles.

In a statement to TRD, a SHoP spokesperson expressed disappointment but maintained optimism, “While we had hoped the Chelsea project would move forward, we remain enthusiastic about mass timber technology and continue to evolve the technology through other potential opportunities.”

[Via TRD]

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