While escalating prices are a bad thing, zoning limitations and historic districts are quickly turning the Lower East Side into one of the only parts of New York City where attractive and occasionally avant-garde architecture is legitimately feasible. YIMBY can now reveal the design for one of the neighborhood’s dwindling number of development sites, at 57 Orchard Street, where DXA Studio is designing a 15-story condominium tower.
When reached for comment, DXA said the project is indeed moving forward. The design features a “razor-sharp copper-clad facade,” which “is a contemporary foil to the turn of the century context, and at night the perforated facade will be a back-lit lantern that will highlight the activity inside.”
The renderings show the copper-clad tower rising over its historic neighbors, which will be restored under a larger redevelopment plan. While exact specifics are not yet available, the tower will comprise just under 24,000 square feet of space, most of which will be for condominiums.
The assemblage extends to 59-63 Orchard Street, as well as to 319 Grand Street, with the entirety selling for $27 million back in 2013, per The Real Deal. Orchard Street Equities was the buyer, but the Great Neck-based Continental Worsteds is the actual developer.
Striking contemporary design is certainly a good thing, especially if it adds to the neighborhood’s aesthetic value as 57 Orchard will, but it’s an unfortunate signal that the Lower East Side continues to become more expensive. Along with sites like 215 Chrystie Street and 204 Forsyth Street, projects like 57 Orchard show how historic districts and restrictive zoning can quickly push up neighborhood prices, accelerating the gentrification spiral into the stratosphere.
Still, 57 Orchard will be a major aesthetic gain for the area, further assisted by the refurbishment of the Ridley Department Store, which comprises the rest of the site. While the residential will likely be super-expensive, some new product is better than none, and the fault for this ultimately lies with New York’s politicians, not developers, who merely charge what the extremely under-supplied market allows.
While New York’s politicians may not understand how to run a city, DXA Studio certainly knows how to design attractive buildings. Despite the site’s relatively limited scope and short height, 57 Orchard will still be a stand-out structure, and if the copper cladding in the renderings translates into reality, it may even become a neighborhood icon.
In the meantime, the site sits vacant and permit-less, though completion is apparently anticipated for 2017.