Volume 75, Number 44 | March 22 -28 2006

The two buildings at left, shrouded by a construction sheet, are being renovated as Diane von Furstenberg’s new design studio and home. In the two buildings immediately to the right of them, von Furstenberg plans a theater, restaurants and event space.

Furstenberg’s Market designs; plans studios, event complex

By Albert Amateau

Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg intends to convert two adjoining buildings in the Meatpacking District into a complex that includes theaters, event spaces, studios, offices and an enclosed roof space.

The designer’s staff presented the plans for a four-story building at 444 W. 14th St. and a three-story adjoining building at 446 W. 14th St. to the Landmarks Preservation Commission on March 21.

Because the two buildings are in the Gansevoort Market Historic District, alterations must receive a certificate of appropriateness from the L.P.C. But von Furstenberg’s people had neglected to go to Community Board 2 first for a recommendation.

Doris Diether, Community Board 2 Landmarks Committee chairperson, was attending the commission’s March 21 hearings when the von Furstenberg project came up and she pointed out the procedural lapse after the presentation.

“I was seething,” Diether said later. “I think I lost it. They said they didn’t know it had to go to the community board, but I could have believed them if they represented some little developer who had never done anything before.”

L.P.C. Chairperson Robert Tierney advised the presenters to go before Community Board 2 for a recommendation and the commission deferred a decision on the project.

Diane Jackier, L.P.C. spokesperson, said, “They didn’t go to the community board beforehand. The commission has a policy that the application go to the community board before they come here to the commission.”

Plans for the building at 444 W. 14th St., with a sign identifying it as the DvF Event Space, include a ground-floor event space, a large retail space, offices and an enclosed rooftop studio. The building at 446 W. 14th St., with a sign proclaiming it to be DvF Theatre, will be converted into performance spaces, according to the plans submitted.

Listed as current occupants of 444 W. 14th St. are Food Warehouse, MFP Metro and River Meats and Provision. Current occupants of 446 W. 14th St. are listed as Eastern Meats and Strassburger Meats.

In 2004, Gachot & Gachot, a meat wholesale firm, sold the two adjacent buildings on the corner of 14th and Washington Sts. to von Furstenberg for $10.5 million. She is currently renovating these buildings for her new design studio and living space.

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