Tribeca's crowded townhouse corner: West Broadway at N. Moore + White

the only one in Tribeca?
The news come from the Tribeca Tribune this morning, via Curbed, that the long-delayed project at the corner of West Broadway at the beginning of N. Moore Street is in an "active" phase again. When (if?) completed, that project will fill in the empty NW corner of the almost-but-not-quite single intersection of West Broadway at N. Moore and White Streets.

If there is another Tribeca intersection with townhouses at each of the four corners, it does not come to mind. Indeed, I wonder if there is another intersection anywhere in a prime Manhattan loft neighborhood that has townhouses on all four corners….

The new project used to be "240 West Broadway", but seems to be re-branding as One N. Moore Street. It will be nice to get full use of the sidewalk and streets here, once the constuction is done, as they’ve been blocked for quite a long time. Although the lot is hardly small at 53′ x 78′, every time I go by there when the construction gate is open I marvel at how comparatively deep the basement / foundation is being dug for the size of the lot. Maybe (most likely) that is just an ilusion, and there is nothing unusual about the digging.

own it = build any design you want
Aside from the fact that it is coming back from the dead, the big story is that the facade is changed from the original design. Both Trib Trib and Curbed have new and old renderings. We’ll see what it actually looks like as-built (if!), but I am not getting a warm-and-fuzzy from the new facade; I am getting a vibe that is more generic-UWS than new-but-classic Tribeca, a la the Fairchild or Pearline Soap (see those architect renderings here). Curiously, the old rendering for 240 West Broadway is still on the architect’s website (click Projects, then Under Construction), but I don’t find the new one there. The old rendering certainly is different, perhaps in a Bowery-near-Delancey kind of way, which is not to say that I love it.

The New Guys have the right to do pretty much anyting they want on this lot (respecting zoning regs, of course), as this lot is just outside the land-marked district. I wish they had done something more interesting than the new rendering, but it is their money.

a lot of their money
The guys who started this project at this site bought it in March 2007 or August 2006 for $12.5mm (there are deeds for $12.5mm in both months, which may just reflect corporate structure changes). They put some additional money into it (design, permits, that digging), before bailing out this past April for $8,757,15. That is an expensive shirt to lose, no?

With a lot of 53′ x 78′ and FAR (per Property Shark) of 5, we are probably looking at a roughly 20,000 sq ft building, which will have separate entrances for a 6-story townhouse and a 6-unit condo topped by a 3-story penthouse. if that rough math is right about the size of the to-be-built townhouse+condo, the April price of $8,757,15 is roughly $438/build-able foot for The New Guys.

coincidence? you decide
i can’t help but think that The New Guys were motivated by the Ridiculous Single Family townhouse across the street at 2 N. Moore Street ("our suburb", which the building suburbanites ended up selling without even moving in; did they move to The [Real] Suburbs??), which finally sold in July at $24mm but went into contract in February, two months before The New Guys bought One N. Moore. (Curbed coverage here. The New York Post identified the buyers on June 10, before they closed.)

Of course, that thing is 11,000 sq ft, so probably much larger than the One N. Moore townhouse will be. And I suspect that the level of workmanship and design was higher on the south side of the street than it will be on the north side townhouse, though it is easy to be distracted by the $2,000+/ft sale of the south-side townhouse.

across, and down to White Street for 2 other townhouses
N. Moore Street butts into West Broadway from the north just a few feet from where White Street ends at West Broadway from the east, forming my almost-but-not-quite single intersection. Stick with me (and cross West Broadway with me) to see the other two townhouses at this ‘intersection’.

The John Lennon mythologized One White Street sold for $3.25mm in June. Curbed coverage here. There is ground floor retail with a three-story single family home on top; the building is a tidy (I believe the babble word is "cozy") 15′ x 43′. (Does anyone remember the name of the shop at this address that sold terrific chicken pot pies during the 1980s?) At just under 2,000 sq ft, the residential portion of this house is definitely three floors worth of ‘cozy’. There is retail rent being paid here, of course, so the $3.25mm purchase price does not simply translate to $1,260/ft, but that (pretty quick) sale (March 3 to April 27 contract) shows a healthy townhouse market in this Tribeca micro-nabe.

Speaking of retail rent being paid, the late and lamented Liquor Store bar was in the two-story building at 235 West Broadway, at the NE corner of White Street, making it the fourth ‘townhouse’ at this ‘intersection’. It has been (gasp!) a J. Crew since 2008. See this 2006 story from the Tribeca Trib about the liquor license travails of the (then) new owner of Liquor Store, who ended up not getting his license ($250,000 later). Here’s the New York Magazine babbling about that unique retail location:

J.Crew’s first menswear-only boutique takes the place of the former Liquor Store Bar, a longtime Tribeca favorite. The brand preserved both the name and authentic sensibility with help from Andy Spade, who consulted on the comfortable, set-like design of the narrow space. Liquor Store breaks away from the standard mall-like J.Crew setup with dark paneling and antique displays, plush leather chairs, and art-directed knickknacks strewn about: a model ship, a miniature airplane built from Tecate beer cans, and cloudy liquor bottles long since tapped.


Tribeca purists (and other lovers of Manhattan loft ‘authenticity’) might well scoff at this adaptation of a classic old space (I am looking at me, actually), but if you read the 2006 Trib Trib story, you will see that one of the long-time neighbors of the Liquor Store (as a bar) who is quoted in opposition is the (now former) owner of One White Street.

Yes, it is a stretch to call 235 West Broadway a townhouse, but it is a single-family residence. Is there another Tribeca location with four townhouses on (roughly) opposite corners?

© Sandy Mattingly 2010

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