In February, YIMBY reported on an application to convert an Upper West Side building to single-family use by one of the producers of the Broadway hit Hamilton. At the time, the Landmarks Preservation Commission was not satisfied with the renovation plan. On Tuesday, the applicant’s team returned to the LPC with a revised plan and received the commission’s blessing.
36 Riverside Drive, located between West 75th and 76th streets, was part of a quartet of houses when it was designed by Lamb & Rich and constructed between 1888 and 1889. The two northern houses were demolished in the 1920s. What remains of no. 36 is an altered structure, missing its stoop, among other things. It fell under the LPC’s jurisdiction with the designation of the West End-Collegiate Historic District in 1984.
Now, it has been purchased by Joshua Lehrer, who plans to live there with his partner, Tony-winning Broadway producer Jeffrey Seller, who worked on Hamilton, In The Heights, Avenue Q and Rent, and their two children. That will bring the structure from an eight-unit apartment building to a single-family residence, with renovations requiring the LPC’s approval. The designer is Greenpoint-based architect David Bers, but the presentation was made by Financial District-based preservation consultant Ward Dennis of Higgins Quasebarth & Partners.
The five-story, plus entry level, house will grow by one story vertically, plus the first floor would be built out on the rear, raising the yard by one story. The house will end up with five bedrooms, six full bathrooms, and three half-bathrooms, according to plans presented in February. The design revisions made between then and now would not impact that plan.
The entry level, or basement level, will be reconstructed so the entrance is centered on the building. Unsympathetic alterations to the first floor will also be removed, leaving it with a five-segment bay of windows. Work on the second floor will be limited to restoration.
The third floor plan was the biggest sticking point in February’s presentation, which called for the non-original curved cast stone to be replaced by large, glassy, copper-clad bay window. Now, the plan is for the curve to remain, in the form of masonry with five punched openings. There will still be copper in the cornice above that floor, but less than before, and the cornice will line up with the one at 35 Riverside Drive. On the fourth floor, the balcony doors have been changed from French style to single doors.
The fifth floor work will be limited to restoration. The new sixth floor will now have a sloped roof, but still not be visible from the public way.
Commissioner Michael Goldblum said the revised proposal was better, but still a little busy. Commissioner Jeanne Lutfy called it “an improvement” and the two buildings left of the quartet will now speak to each other. The proposal was approved unanimously.