A 223,229-square-foot residential complex is nearing completion at 70 Charlton Street in Hudson Square. A pair of 22-story towers, one on Vandam Street to the south and another on Charlton Street to the north, connect through a ground level breezeway, which runs past a courtyard atop a shared basement. The traditionally-styled project, developed by Extell and designed by Beyer Blinder Belle, contains 122 residences, 29 of which qualify as affordable housing.
The residential component spans 177,513 square feet, resulting in an average unit size of of 1,455 square feet. The affordable housing component, the first of its kind in Hudson Square and a product of the city’s Inclusionary Housing Program and 421-a tax incentive, enabled the developer to build to a floor-to-area ratio of 11.92. Seven studios, two one-bedroom- and 20 two-bedroom units were allocated via a lottery that launched in May 2016.
A 2,828-square-foot retail space will occupy the ground level.
The project sits upon a 15,143-square-foot, L-shaped lot stretching 200 feet along the block. The massing is contextual with the neighborhood, where recently built high-rises and pre-war factory lofts create a dense urban environment. 70 Charlton fits snugly between its neighbors, which average 20 stories in height.
The 100-foot-wide Charlton Street tower is twice as wide as its Vandam Street counterpart. Fifteen-foot-deep, 14th floor setbacks fit within the zoning envelope and roughly align with neighbors. Single-story dormers, which protrude past the setback line as permitted by code, add rigor to the massing and smooth the transition between lower and upper floors.
Each building measures 210 feet from the sidewalk to the rooftops, which hold penthouse terraces. Metal-sheathed bulkheads boost the structural height to 250 feet.
The 3,660-square-foot courtyard aligns with the similarly-sized light well of 330 Hudson Street to the west, which adds light and air to the shaded green oasis. Skylights nestled within the garden illuminate basement amenities such as the gym, a swimming pool, and the playroom.
The design team at Beyer Blinder Belle describes the traditionalist design as a “contemporary interpretation of the neighborhood’s printing house heritage.” Floor-to-ceiling casement windows, spaced between piers of rusticated red brick, emulate the loft aesthetic characteristic to the neighborhood. Black steel accents, which include window mullions, a lobby awning, and horizontal channels that run across the façade, represent the neo-industrial aesthetic popular in former manufacturing neighborhoods such as DUMBO and Long Island City.
The project replaces a three-story property clad in white brick, which stretched from street to street, and a three-story red brick building on Charlton Street. Both were torn down soon after the first demolition permits were filed in April 2008. In June 2009, permits were filed for a 234,595-square-foot, 35-story hotel. The 300-room Charlton SoHo was scheduled to rise 372 feet to the main roof thanks to a public plaza that granted bonus building rights. The design would have come from the architecture firm of Lucien Lagrange, best known for traditionally styled high-rises and historic renovations in Chicago.
The project was halted, like many high-rise buildings planned around the 2008 economic downturn. The fenced-off lot sat fallow for five years, and the only activity associated with the property was Extell’s attempt to sell the site in 2011.
The first comprehensive permit for the current iteration dates to October 2015. Construction pace picked up rapidly at the start of 2015. The concrete structure rose halfway up by August. The façade was generally complete by the end of the following year. At this point, the exterior is complete aside from minor work that remains at the ground level. The developer promise of 2017 completion appears plausible.
The 2013 Hudson Square rezoning promises continued residential growth in the neighborhood. 70 Charlton Street, which respects local context while introducing ground-level retail and a mix of market-rate and affordable housing, sets a positive example for future development.