NEW YORK | 8-10 West 17th St | 208 FT | 16 FLOORS

Permits Filed: 16-Story Condo Building at 10 West 17th Street


10 West 17th Street, image from Google Street View

Wedged between two early 20th century buildings on 17th Street, just west of Fifth Avenue, is a squat, three-story postwar structure at Nos. 8-10. Owned by the Catholic Medical Mission Board, the structure is far underbuilt according to its zoning, which allows a floor area ratio of 10, making it the second-most liberal zoning designation in the city.

With the property market in Midtown South heating up, the building is likely not long for this world – a new building permit has been filed for the site, calling for a 16-story, 48,000-square foot structure to rise 183 feet into the air at 10 West 17th Street.

The building would contain just 15 units spread over almost 41,000 square feet of net residential space. With full-floor units and an average unit size of 2,700 square feet (including a duplex penthouse), condos are very likely. The project includes no parking on the 45-foot-wide lot.

The project’s owner is Bhatia Development, led by Arun Bhatia. He was very active building condo towers on the East Side in the 1980s, and the most recently project indicated on his website is 137 Wooster Street, a handsome but sedate 10-story modern condo building in SoHo.

Like 137 Wooster, 10 West 17th Street will be designed by Beyer Blinder Belle, according to the permit application. The property lies within the Ladies’ Mile Historic District, so the design will have to past the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s muster.

Landmarks Approves 16-Story Building For 8-10 West 17th Street


Rendering of 8-10 West 17th Street

On Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission gave the okay to demolish the existing building at 8-10 West 17th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenues) and construct a new one in its place.

Rendering of 8-10 West 17th Street entrance

The existing building, designed by Belfatto & Pavarini, is three-stories-tall and home to the Catholic Medical Mission Board, but is no longer adequate for them. The new building is being developed by Sherwood Equities and Arun Bhatia Development, with Richard Southwick of the preservation architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle as designer. Southwick called his design “contemporary,” yet “sympathetic” to its neighbors.

The new as-of-right building will be 16-stories-tall, with the top two floors being a duplex penthouse. The penthouse will be setback 15 feet in the front and zoning requires that it also be set back 10 feet in the rear. It will be 174 feet to the top of the penthouse, but a total of 208 feet to the top of the rooftop mechanical unit.

Rendering for 8-10 West 17th Street

When it came time for the commissioners to decide on the project, a lot of time was spent on the current building. Commissioner Roberta Washington said it was “not as distinctive” as some of the architects’ other work, but it was “not ugly.” Commissioner Diana Chapin echoed that, saying it was “not such a notable example.” Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan called it “fairly plain” and said it was not the type of building the Ladies Mile Historic District was created to protect. Commissioner Michael Goldblum had no problem with the demolition, but said he was happy to see an in-depth discussion of it. In the end, they decided it was fine to demolish the building.

When it came time for them to discuss the proposed new building, little time was necessary. Srinivasan called the new building “sedate” and said it will “enrich the district.” Goldblum encouraged future applicants to go above and beyond Tuesday’s proposal, but called it “completely appropriate.” The proposal was approved unanimously. The texture of the screen over the mechanical units will, however, be refined at the LPC staff level.

8-10 West 17th Street, now and as approved

The Historic Districts Council also approved of the demolition. “8-10 West 17th Street appeared in pallor compared to the examples provided of the fanciful Ladies Mile-quality buildings in the district,” HDC’s Kelly Carroll said. “Further, it is demonstrated that this building is not a colleague among the urbane, Modern buildings completed by architects Belfatto and Pavarini.” Carroll did add that the “design for the new building left something to be desired.”

Schematic of 8-10 West 17th Street

The project got the support of Community Board 5 and the Real Estate Board of New York. The New York Landmarks Conservancy also backed the demolition.

A resident of 12 West 17th Street complained about the expenses his building has incurred to maintain the lot line windows. The counsel for the LPC said that while buildings in historic districts are required to maintain their lot line windows, there is no expectation that their existence should continue in perpetuity. The project team said people with lot line windows are enjoying them on “borrowed time.”