Volume 76, Number 3 | June 7 - 13, 2006

Villager photo by Robert Kreizel

The new Avalon Bay building on E. Houston St. was constructed without destroying a redwood, center, and cedar, right, in the Liz Christy Garden.

For rent: Apartments with garden (and redwood) view

Before the construction of Avalon Bay’s new building on the north side of E. Houston St. at the Bowery, gardeners at the Liz Christy Garden were anxious that the work would harm their beloved sanctuary. But the building has gone up and damage to the garden has been minimal, according to Fred Harris, Avalon Bay senior vice president.

The new nine-story, 206-unit rental building — which will have 20 percent affordable apartments — is now the only building in Manhattan with a giant dawn redwood next to it. The 100-foot-high tree, which survived the project unscathed, in fact, is taller than the new building. Also, the garden’s smaller Atlas blue cedar, which was even closer to the new building and whose survival couldn’t be assured before the work, is O.K.

“Despite predictions of various garden people that we were going to kill them” both trees are doing well,” Harris said. “We took a lot of care. For the very large one, we set the project back from the property line. I don’t think there’s a bigger dawn redwood in Manhattan,” Harris said. “It was planted by Liz Christy.” Avalon Bay will also add a new fence around the garden.

Because the project was set back 10 feet, the two first-floor apartments on that side will have terraces, he said.

Harris said the redwood’s presence shouldn’t dampen interest in renting the apartments behind it. He said the tree is actually pretty far away from the building. He said it’s an Asian variety and he has no idea how much more it will keep growing.

“I would think that it might be kind of neat” to have an apartment behind the tree, he said. “For the most part, you’re only going to see across the street, anyway,” he said, noting that Avalon Bay’s other building on the south side of E. Houston St. is actually taller than the one on the north side.

In addition to the borough’s largest redwood, the Avalon Bay complex will boast Manhattan’s largest supermarket, a 70,000-square foot Whole Foods Market, to open after the start of next year in the completed building on the south side of E. Houston St. Retail and restaurants are also planned for the building on the north side of E. Houston St., which will be completed in a few months.

Lincoln Anderson

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