The go-to move for building taller than zoning allows is snatching up some air rights, but at 180 East 88th Street in Yorkville, developer DDG Partners found an obscure loophole to increase their building’s height. Back in 2014, as the Times explains, DDG received approvals to slice off a four-foot-wide lot from the 30-foot-deep site. This became an official taxable lot, but because it provided a buffer between the building and the street, it allowed the building to avoid typical zoning for structures touching the street, rising to its 521-foot height (60 feet taller than would have been permitted otherwise) and having its entrance on Third Avenue. Now that the motive has become clear, local residents and elected officials are not happy, and adding fuel to the fire is the fact that DDG contributed at least $19,900 to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Earlier, we gave you a look at DDG’s rough-cut, bluestone facade at 12 Warren Street in Tribeca, and now, just a few blocks north within the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District, the team has de-shrouded the skeletal exterior of their upcoming condominium XOCO 325. Rising from a through-block site at 325 West Broadway, the 48,000 square foot development will house 21 light-filled residences upon its completion early next year. DDG picked up the site for $38.5 million in 2012, and in typical fashion, souped up the design with organic and environmentally inspired elements that charmed the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Fully-integrated design and build firm DDG has raised the curtain on their highly anticipated condo development 12 Warren Street. Designed by their in-house architect Peter Guthrie, its facade of roughly-hewn Pennsylvania bluestone is meant to evoke the natural uneven stacking of the material. In what must have taken quite the effort to detail, variously dimensioned slabs, ranging from standard-sized bricks to large lintel blocks, protrude from the exterior at varying depths. While more commonly seen underfoot as sidewalk pavement, here the brittle stone’s soothing tone softens the building’s ogreish form, whose still-shrouded cliff-like top will incorporate a wild display of projecting volumes and terraces. As simply stated by architecture critic Carter Horsely, “DDG continues its elegant campaign to make New Yorkers lust after bluestone rather than brownstone.”
Plans for a Second Avenue subway have been on the drawing boards since flapper dresses were all the rage. But not until now has this pipeline dream started to take shape.
One of the hottest discussions among the locals is undoubtedly the new line, and according to the MTA, 65 percent of Phase I is now complete. When it debuts in December 2016, it is slated to carry 200,000 straphangers, which in turn will reduce overcrowding on the Lexington Avenue Line by as much as 13 percent (that’s 23,500 fewer passengers on an average weekday). Phase II will extend the line from 96th to 125th Street, and the MTA just announced that $1.5 billion (only a third of the total estimated cost) is now set aside with the hope that the federal government will chip in, too. But those who wonder when the 8.5-mile stretch of tracks (125th Street to Hanover Square), you’d better hold onto your hat—it’s 2029! Though this is still 15 years away, that hasn’t stopped the prices of properties flanking the SAS from riding high in anticipation.