Volume 20, Number 47 | THE NEWSPAPER OF LOWER MANHATTAN | APRIL 4-10, 2008

Mixed Use

By Patrick Hedlund

Parker top-off
A new residential development in Tribeca will celebrate its topping off on Friday despite a history of setbacks at the square-block “super structure.”

The pair of buildings, by Jack Parker Corp. at 34 Desbrosses St., started rising on Watts and Desbrosses Sts. between Washington and West Sts. after the developer won a rezoning of four blocks in Northern Tribeca in 2006. So far, the company has kept quiet on details surrounding the project, not releasing an official name or revealing whether the units will be condo or rental. “It’s going to be very interesting when it opens,” said Marisa Zafran, a spokesperson for 34 Desbrosses, which constitutes 290 total units in two buildings linked by a glass bridge. “The architecture and design are going to be very different from what’s down there.”

The community initially wrangled over the size of the Parker project, successfully getting the developer to reduce the total height of the buildings, which suffered from a fire at the site last February.

“We still feel it’s out of context with the community,” said Carole De Saram, president of the Tribeca Community Association and chair of Community Board 1’s Tribeca Committee. She admitted, however, that the community’s ability to reduce the project substantially—cutting 20 feet of its street wall and reducing its total height on West St.—amounted to a “coup” for local residents. “In view of the fact of what we were able to do, that was pretty extraordinary,” De Saram added.

A parking garage and auto repair shop formerly inhabited the property, which will be unveiled in its new form Friday—including announcements of its official name and nature of the units.

FiDi’s District moving
Nearly three-quarters of the penthouse units at new luxury Lower Manhattan development called District have been sold since hitting the market just over six months ago.

The 10-story condo building at 111 Fulton St. also recently announced that over 75 percent of its total units had been sold, including a two-bedroom penthouse for $3.4 million—District’s most expensive property in the 163-unit building. The Lev Leviev-developed, Andres Escobar-designed project contains one- and two-bedroom penthouses, of which only six of the total 19 remain unsold.

“The rate of sales for our penthouses is unprecedented,” said Joseph Klaynberg, a partner of developer Leviev Fulton Club, L.L.C. “All of the apartments in this building are exceptional, but the penthouses are truly distinctive thanks to eco-friendly glass walls, generous outdoor space and wonderful views.”

Two of the building’s 10 floors are devoted to penthouse units, no doubt a strategy to encourage the type of high-end tenants the project has been “discreetly marketed [to] and popularized primarily through the buzz among cognoscenti,” read a recent release.

The units include, among other amenities, in-wall touch screens for lighting, “mood settings,” multi-room music systems, motorized solar shades and customized Italian wardrobe closet systems.

Even the bathrooms drip of luxury, with frameless glass showers, stone/porcelain wall tiles, cascading showerheads and thermostatic controls, “accentuating the sensuality of these unique spaces.”

Mixed Use can think of no more sensual neighborhood than Fulton St. in the Financial District, especially for those who find the constant din of jackhammering desirable.

Trump Soho’s genesis
We at Mixed Use and Downtown Express have paid close attention to the Trump Soho project since its earliest incarnations, but now it seems everyone has sought to spotlight the seemingly cursed project, from bits of hearsay in the tabloids to a sprawling profile in New York magazine published this week.

Inside the New York Post’s “Page Six” section on March 18, a report proclaimed The Donald “sick” of his project and considering a sale. Not surprisingly, a high-ranking spokesperson for the building vociferously denied the rumor to Mixed Use, calling the charge “unequivocally not true.”

Julius Schwarz, executive vice president of Bayrock Group, a partner on the project, equated the constant gossip surrounding the condo-hotel to a sardonic “Monty Python” skit.

“You keep making something up to see if finally something will stick,” he said. “I find the whole thing really just ridiculous.” Schwarz acknowledged, though, that “the things that have happened have been unfortunate.”

New York magazine delivered an expansive, nearly 5,000-word exegesis on the project just this week in the article “Trump Soho is not an oxymoron,” which includes a bit of participatory journalism on the part of reporter Michael Idov in assuming the role of a potential buyer.

Idov even approached this publication a few weeks back in an attempt to sniff out any possibly surreptitious connection between us — with our offices sitting adjacent to the project — and Trump himself.

Had Idov read our ongoing coverage of the project first, he’d have probably sussed out our relationship as purely subject-journalist. (Granted, in our coverage, we do benefit from the luxury of proximity.)

But as responsible journalists, Downtown Express understands his intents — and his curiosity, which, like ours, seems to grow with each new floor stacked onto the project.

mixeduse@communitymediallc.com



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