June 26, 2023
Sarah Carroll, ChairLandmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10007
RE: 277 Canal Street, aka 418-422 Broadway – Soho Cast Iron Historic District Extension (LPC-23-09351)
Dear Chair Carroll:
The Lower East Side Preservation Initiative – LESPI – is generally reticent to support large additions to buildings in historic districts. In this case, however, the scale of the historic building is substantially lower than surrounding structures and its vernacular design does not, in our opinion, prohibit a sensitively designed addition.
That said, LESPI objects to the height of the current proposal. At 12 stories—with a set-back 13th story—it is overpowering for this location, particularly next to the five adjacent historic buildings on Canal Street, which are 5-6 stories in height. A tower of substantially fewer stories would be more appropriate here.
Also, importantly, we believe that any addition should be set back somewhat from the historic building’s street facades to give that building a greater presence. In the current proposal the original structure gets lost and barely reads as a building.
We support the use of textured brick on the proposed façade, as it harmonizes with the historic building, as well as with the building next door, and others on the Canal Street block. However, we believe there should be further study of the top portion of the addition. A stronger termination could give it a more distinctive appearance.
Finally, we support the planned restoration of the historic building, including the improvements to the subway entrance with areas for artworks.
Deborah Wye, Chair
Architectural Design Review Committee