The Landmarks Preservation Commission recently approved work at 12 West 19th Street, allowing the over century-and-a-half-old Manhattan building to be renovated, expanded both vertically and horizontally, and have an increase its residential unit count.
The building is located on the south side of the street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues. The Italianate style structure was built as a dwelling in 1859, but altered for commercial use in 1910. It fell under the LPC’s jurisdiction in 1989, with the designation of the Ladies’ Mile Historic District.
It currently has four occupied levels, including the basement. There is a basement commercial unit (most recently B&N Hardware), an extra-tall first floor commercial unit (most recently Idlewild Books, previously Upstairs Downstairs Antiques and Stanley Slacks), and residential units on the second and third floors.
When reconfigured, the basement will become the first floor, and its commercial space will have a mezzanine level. Both of those levels will be extended on the building’s rear. The second and third floors will have two one-bedroom apartments each. After that, a new, set-back fourth floor will be constructed, containing a three-bedroom apartment, for a total of five residential units.
The reconfiguration will include a slightly modified fenestration pattern for the storefront. There will still be a row of six square windows at the top, but below them will be three larger windows instead of the existing six tall windows. The ground floor will have residential entrance and cellar egress on the left and the commercial entrance will be in the storefront. Existing brick piers will remain, though the cornice over the storefront will be replaced. The existing windows on the upper floors will be replaced with six-over-six wood and glass windows. Lintels will also be replaced and the upper cornice will be repaired. On the rear, an existing first floor iron gate will be enshrined on-site.
LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan called the proposal “appropriate” and said it “makes the façade better.”
Manhattan Community Board 5 approved the proposal. The lone piece of testimony came from Patrick Waldo of the Historic Districts Council. “Our committee is concerned about the visibility of the proposed rooftop addition. The applicant has provided no mock-up to indicate whether or not the addition would be visible from the public way,” Waldo said. “We look forward to seeing a revised application that includes this mock-up and proves the proposed addition would not be visible.”
In the end, the commissioners approved the plan as presented. The March 28 vote was unanimous.