One of the most frequent problems members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission have with a proposal is its size, and the expansion and single-family conversion plan for 318 West 20th Street, in Chelsea, was no exception. Now, with the volume reduced, the work has gained the commissioners’ blessing.
The three-story Greek Revival structure, between Eighth and Ninth avenues, was built in 1837. The LPC got say over its fate with the designation of the Chelsea Historic District in 1970.
It was most recently a 24-unit single room occupancy building, but the current owner wants to expand it in the process of converting it into a single-family home. The design comes from Red Hook-based CF Studio, and Park Slope-based architect Barry Berg is the architect of record.
The plan presented on May 9 called for a full height, four-story rear yard extension, as well as a rooftop addition set back from both facades. The commissioners and several members of the public objected, particularly to the rear yard extension.
The applicant came back on May 23 with a proposal that chopped one floor from the rear extension and set the rooftop addition further back from the rear. Since this means the third floor will now have a rear terrace, the design includes a railing, as well as new fenestration patterns for both the second and third floors. The roof railing has also been redesigned, and the third floor rear cornice now has a metal band.
The proposal for the building’s front, which was mostly a restoration, is basically unchanged in the revised proposal.
Though the Council of Chelsea Block Associations sent the LPC a letter noting it still objected to the proposal, LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan said she found it “very consistent” with the existing context. The commissioners present on May 23 voted unanimously to approve the proposal.
According to floorplans, the house will still have five bedrooms, four full bathrooms, five half-bathrooms, a steam shower, a sauna, and an elevator.