Volume 17 • Issue 26 | Nov. 19 - 25, 2004

C.B. 1 backs De Niro group’s taller hotel plan

By Ronda Kaysen

Community Board 1 gave a nod of approval to actor Robert De Niro for his revised Greenwich St. hotel designs.

The actor appeared at the board’s Landmarks Committee meeting on Nov. 15 seeking support for his David Rockwell-designed upscale hotel, which has undergone major changes since the committee originally approved it a year ago. Twelve feet taller than the original design, at 96 feet, the building in the landmark district boasts skylights and simple, bold brickwork, metal ornamentation and the use of multi-pane metal and angled windows, according to Roger Byrom, the committee’s co-chairperson. “There was a feeling that the original design was overly complicated,” said Byrom.

When De Niro and partners Ira Drukier and Richard Born presented a revised version of their original design to the Landmarks Preservation Commission last September without consulting the community board, they drew heavy criticism for “minor revisions” that included a two-story addition and less expensive materials. The commission declined to rule on the revisions — in effect rejecting them — and sent the team, Downtown Hotels, back to the drawing board.

The $43 million hotel, located at 377–383 Greenwich St. on the corner of North Moore St., is being funded with $38.9 million in tax-free Liberty Bonds and will cater to long-term guests, particularly those in the film industry. The hotel, now the site of a vacant lot, will sit next-door to De Niro’s famed Tribeca Grill and the headquarters of his Tribeca Film Center.

According to Byrom, De Niro commented at the meeting that the new design would better compliment the historic neighborhood. Architecturally, the board was concerned with the skylights facing the Tribeca Film Center, which, because of the Film Center’s substantial height, “did not work well,” said Byrom. The board was also concerned with the additional height and 8,500 sq. ft. of added bulk, which will now require an additional Board of Standards and Appeals variance.

Executives for the Downtown Hotels declined to comment for this story.

Architects are scheduled to appear before the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Nov. 23 for review.


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