Owner of 100 Franklin St. says he’s selling to D.D.G. because they were the “most competent” developer to bid

A rendering of the building proposed for 100 Franklin St., courtesy of D.D.G. Partners.

BY SAM SPOKONY | The owner of a hotly debated Franklin St. site told this newspaper on Thursday that he is selling the lot to the “most competent” developer to have bid on it.

The 100 Franklin St. site, at Sixth Ave. — which currently exists in the form of two small, triangular parking lots — has been the center of a recent debate over the future of the Tribeca East Historic District.

D.D.G. Partners, the developer that has entered into a contractual agreement to buy 100 Franklin St., has put forth a proposal to build an eight-story, glass-front building on the site, which lies within the landmarked district. Many local residents have come out strongly against the design of D.D.G.’s proposed building, calling it an architectural affront to the district’s many famous buildings, some of which date back to the mid-19th century.

D.D.G. presented its plan for 100 Franklin St. to the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Nov. 12, seeking approval to build on the landmarked lot. An L.P.C. decision on that issue is still pending.

But, of course, D.D.G. does not yet own the site.

The 100 Franklin St. site is currently owned by the Matera Management Company (also known as the Matera Family Limited Partnership), which also owns several Tribeca buildings, including some within the Tribeca East Historic District.

The Matera Management Company was, for four decades, owned and operated by John Matera, Sr., until his death in 2009 at the age of 81. After that, the company was left under the primary control of his son, Peter Matera.

In an exclusive interview with this newspaper on Thursday, Peter Matera said that 100 Franklin St. has actually been available on the open market since he first offered it for sale in 2007.

“After a long, exhaustive search for the best possible developer for that irregular parcel, I decided that D.D.G. would be the most competent developer, and that they would put up the most appropriate building on that site,” said Matera. He added that he chose the developer particularly because he believes that Peter Guthrie, D.D.G.’s lead architect, has a “strong” track record for putting up “quality” buildings within landmarked districts.

Matera said that numerous developers had expressed interest in the 100 Franklin St. site since it was put on the market in 2007.

“Every active developer in Lower Manhattan wanted that site, based on its location,” said Matera.

He also stressed that D.D.G. was not the highest bidder on the site, and that he rejected at at least three higher bids from other developers that he believed were “not up to D.D.G’s standards.”

In addition, Matera explained that D.D.G. originally expressed interest in the site about 18 months ago. The developer walked away from it at first, but then came back and signed an agreement to buy it, according to the owner.

Matera declined to comment on any of the terms of his current agreement with D.D.G., and did not say when he plans to close the deal with the developer.

Joe McMillan, the chief executive officer of D.D.G., said at a Nov. 7 Community Board 1 that the closing date for his official purchase of the site is “coming up soon.”

McMillan has also not answered any questions about the sale agreement, and declined to tell C.B. 1 members the exact closing date because he said it is “irrelevant.”

When this newspaper asked him again about the closing date on Nov. 7, McMillan said that he didn’t want to disclose the exact date because, “I don’t want a bunch of people coming to my office to protest on the closing date.”

In addition to L.P.C. approval, D.D.G. will require authorization from other city agencies before it can begin building on the 100 Franklin St. site.

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5 Responses to Owner of 100 Franklin St. says he’s selling to D.D.G. because they were the “most competent” developer to bid

  1. The designers should give up on trying to make a heroically modern statement with this design. The solution is right in front of them and apparent in the photo for this article. Repeat the white street historic facade by running it down 6th avenue. It would abstractly complete the symmetrical appearance of the white street building which was forever altered by the construction of 6th avenue. We do not need a modern reinterpretation.

  2. The architect needs to use load bearing masonry construction, preserve the alley to sidewalk views, make two buildings, not one, and use brick and stone with normal windows and cornices. This is a historic district and the form language all around here is not dead. It should be used rather than merely "alluded to".

  3. DDG has a very good reputation. Perhaps the design could be changed, but to question the sale to them is absurd.

  4. Lynn, alot of people respect your passion to preserving Tribeca and its historic integrity, but I have personally lost alot of respect for the circus you created with 100 Franklin St. Although you deny allegations that the real momentum was rallying with the illegal lot line tenants of the surrounding properties who have enjoyed light and air for decades, I beg to differ your true motivation. The fact that your cronies would attempt to "buy" the site from DDG and turn it into a park, without having any proof of funds or bonafide backing, in an effort to selfishly maintain their "quality of life" enjoyed by the lot lined windows, is absurd. Either you actually wanted to interfere with the sale of an "as of right" development site where a legitimate sale is taking place between a seller and buyer, or you want the design to be changed. Which one?? LPC exists for a reason but the noise you generated with bait and switch tactics and amateur behavior from your supporters at CB1 second meeting was embarrassing. Im a resident in Tribeca and respect the evolving growth of modern architecture and design and how it can be incorporated with 150 year old buildings. I agree that there could be some tweaks to DDG's proposal, but I also understand having 200 ft long frontage on Church St opens up exciting opportunities to present something fresh that could create a beautiful building on these dismal lots.

  5. I think it was a good decision. My sisters husband works at DDG and says that they had some good and reputable projects in the past.

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