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8-10 West 17th Street, Application for the demolition of a commercial building in the Ladies’ Mile Historic District and the construction of a new residential building.

WHEREAS, 8-10 West 17th Street is a three-story mid-block brick office/warehouse building between 5th and 6th Avenues, commissioned by the Catholic Medical Services, designed by Joseph H. Belfatto and built from 1961-1963; and

WHEREAS, The building is located within the Ladies' Mile Historic District, which is defined by three distinct waves of construction, beginning with the early 19th Century development of residential buildings, continuing with the erection of large retail and manufacturing facilities on corner lots in the late 19th Century, and concluding with the early 20th Century construction of tall, mid-block residential buildings; and

WHEREAS, The original designation report labels the existing building at 10 W 17th Street as a "Mid 20th Century commercial" building, does not give it an architectural style, and does not categorize it specifically as contributing to the Historic District; and

WHEREAS, This building is not a conversion, and as such does not refer to any of the three major eras of construction that define the District; and

WHEREAS, This building is unrelated to any of the District's historic trends; and

WHEREAS, Architecturally, this commercial building has more in common with contemporary buildings outside of the District than with its mid-block neighbors; and

WHEREAS, The likely reason for its inclusion in the Historic District is merely its mid-block location; and

WHEREAS, This building does not demonstrate any of the architectural or historic characteristics for which the Ladies' Mile Historic District was landmarked; and

WHEREAS, The proposed building will be 14 stories tall with an additional 2 story penthouse and mechanical closet stacked on top and arranged against the side wall of the taller adjacent building to the East, behind a front setback of 15 feet and a rear setback of 10 feet; and

WHEREAS, The design calls for a 20 foot setback from the rear lot line as per zoning requirements; and

WHEREAS, The proposed building would have small south-facing balconies on the rear of the building; and

WHEREAS, The penthouse and mechanical equipment are incidentally visible and can only be seen from a very small section of Fifth Avenue and the rear of the building can only be seen from a small section of 16th Street; and

WHEREAS, The proposed design of the front façade of the building calls for a limestone and cast aluminum base with terra cotta rain screen panels and cast aluminum spandrels on the higher floors and a 2-3-2 window layout; and

WHEREAS, The design's three-story base with a limestone crown and the painted aluminum cornice at the 14th story recall similar constructions of residential buildings in the District; and

WHEREAS, The proposed materials and color scheme are contextual with the Historic District; and

WHEREAS, The Applicant's proposed new residential building demonstrates a clear relationship to the immediately surrounding mid-block buildings and to the District as a whole; and

WHEREAS, The proposed building design is harmonious with its immediate neighbors and consistent with mid-block residential buildings throughout the District; and

WHEREAS, The bulk and use for the proposed building are as-of-right and the Applicant is not seeking any special permit or waiver in connection with this development; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the application to demolish a non-contributing building in the Ladies' Mile Historical District and the construction of a residential building at 8-10 West 17th Street.

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