Volume 73, Number 46 | March 17 -23, 2004

Luxury apartments rising on 23rd St.

A new 14-story residential complex, replacing two early 20th-century industrial buildings, is rising on W. 23rd St. just east of the Chelsea Waterside Park and is expected to open next April.

The $120 million project being developed by Levine Builders between 10th and 11th Aves. will have 337 luxury apartments with retail shops at street level on 23rd and 24th Sts.

The project will include on-site parking, a 24-hour doorman and concierge services and wireless Internet access.

In the fall of 2002, The Historic Districts Council and Community Board 4 urged the developer to preserve the two industrial buildings, one at 555 W. 23rd St., designed by Ernest Flagg for the U.S. Express Co. and completed in 1904, and the other at 545 W. 23rd St. designed by Henry Hardenbergh for Dominick & Haff, a silverware manufacturer, and completed in 1903.

But Levine demolished them at the end of last year, despite a finding that they were eligible for inclusion on the state and national Registers of Historic Places.
“It was very depressing,” said Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, regarding the loss of the old buildings. “They were designed by distinguished architects. Flagg did the rectory of St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery where H.D.C. has its office, and Hardenbergh designed the Dakota.”

Levine originally applied for financing to the New York State Housing Finance Agency for a project 80 percent market rate and 20 percent for low- and moderate-income tenants. The agency, however, put off a decision after the state Office of Preservation called for exploring ways to include the original buildings in the new project.

Levine decided saving the two buildings was not feasible and chose to proceed as a market-rate project.


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