By Carter B. Horsley
47-story condominium apartment
building in the Financial District is distinctive for its unusual
façade of dark gray and yellow bricks and for its initial
marketing campaign of a tuxedo-clad beaver, the building's mascot,
holding a martini glass.
rendering for the
project indicated that stylistically the building falls into the
"racing car/flying cab/Fifth Element" category of spirited
but elegant mayhem.
& McKown is the architectural
firm for the project.
yellow bricks cascade partially
down the facade from the top in random fashion. The base of the
building is covered in ipe, a reddish-brown wood.
building, which contains
319 apartments, was developed by SDS Investments, of which Tamir
and Alex Sapir and S. Lawrence Davis are principals, and Andre
Balazs, who developed the Mercer Hotel, 40 Mercer Street in SoHo
and One Kenmare Square.
project is known as the
William Beaver House because it is located at the intersection
of William Street and Beaver Street. It is across the street from
Investments acquired the
site from the Manocherian family for about $90 million.
building has 10 duplex
"townhouses" with terraces, three penthouses with terraces,
48 custom furnished units as well as many studio, one- and two-bedroom
ceilings, eight-foot-high windows, Burmese teak floors and washers
building has an outdoor
dog-walking garden, a 30-person combined screening room and disco
lounge with lavender chaise "cinema beds" and wet bar,
and a Penthouse Sky Lounge with catering kitchen and private dining
room and sun deck.
lobby entrance has a see-through
ceiling supporting a glass-encased, lighted outdoor Jacuzzi that
is part of a second floor amenity center. The notion of looking
up at people sitting in a Jacuzzi as one enters the building at
the bottom has amused some posters on some websites.
amenity center will also
have a 60-foot lap pool, outdoor basketball court with bleachers,
a squash court, a gym and handball and tetherball courts.
building, which opened
in 2008, has a driveway paved with the same marble used in the
lobby, which has a large, oval, sunken "conversation pit"
with fireplace, and the lobby is open to the public and offers
have sliding backsplashes
that conceal the faucet and sliding butcher-block panels that
conceal the sink or cooktop.
have bathrooms that
open fully into the bedrooms.
Balazs was quoted in an
article by Steve Cutler in The Real Deal as saying that "We
wanted to back off of an all-glass building and make it contextual,
yet fun and somewhat distinguished at the same time."
article by Julie V. Iovine
in The New York Times quoted Mr. Balazs as saying
you have children, go to Battery Park City."
prominent New York City developers whose projects include the
Caroline at 58-74 West 23rd Street, had planned a 38-story rental
tower with about 345 apartments with a 100-car garage.
Manocherian plan, about
15 percent of the apartments in the project were to used for
residents in the building and the project was also supposed to
create "affordable" housing off site as well. Mr. Davis
said the project does not involve such units.
Sapir is a Russian émigré
who came to the United States in 1975 and is a former taxicab
drive who eventually invested in a small electronics store and
then bartered electronics to Soviet enterprises in exchange for
oil contracts and then began buying real estate in Manhattan starting
with the $2.3 million purchase in the early 1990s of a 20-story
building at 80 John Street, which was followed in 1995 with the
purchase of 2 Broadway, a 1.6-million-sq.ft. office building for
about $20.5 million. Last year, his organization acquired Eleven
Madison Avenue, the 2.3 million sq.ft., 29-story office tower
that was originally planned to be about 100 stories and which
can support such an expansion. The Sapirs also own 260 and 261
February 10, 2009, it was designated an offricial New York City
landmark. Its designation report provided the following commentary:
with simmering panels of natural color and black-enamel aluminum,
H-shapped mullions and glass, One Chase Manhattan Plaza is among the
largest and most important 20th century skyscrapers in New York City.
The project was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill...with J.
Walter Severinghaus as partner in charge, Gordon Bunshaft overseeing
the development of the design and Jacques E. Guilton as lead
designer....Chase merged with the Bank of the Manhattan Company in 1955
and the new headquarters was planned to consolidate 8,700 employees
under a single roof. David Rockefeller played a leading role in the
project; as executive vice president he convinced Chase to remain
downtown and hire SOM, resulting in a 813-foot-tall slab-like tower
that dramatically altered the skyline and character of the financial
district....One Chase Manhattan Plaza signaled a new start for this
historic area. Not only did it stand out sharply from its older
masonry neighbors, but the planning of the site, incorporating an
irregularly shaped 2 1/2 acre plazsa, established a welcome break from
the narrow, twisting streets that characterize much of the
neighborhood. Construction started in 1957 and was mostly completed
by 1961. The south plaza and basement levels were dedicated in 1964,
incorporated a 'Sunken Garden' by the sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Resting
16 feet below the plaza, theis serene work of art is visibile from
above and through curved glass windows that separate it from the bank's
main branch located on the concourse level.....As hoped, One Chase
Manhattan Plaza did lay a significant groundwork for a downtown
reniassance in the 1960s, leading to construction to a succession of
corporate towers immediately west, from the Marine Midland Bank
Building in 1967, to the World Financial Center complex in 1985-88."
View from the west
Balazs has long been known
as a hotelier, but recently he has begun to branch into residential
real estate. He was a developer of One Kenmare Square, a 53-unit
condo building on Lafayette Street in SoHo, and he is a developer
of 40 Mercer, a new 40-unit building, also in SoHo, designed by
the architect Jean Nouvel.
the initial marketing
this tower drew some guffaws for its blatant appeal to a young,
"sexy" crowd of downtown workers, it soon became the
subject of some snide remarks on the Internet about its seemingly
garish design. In mid-2009, however, it was clear that such remarks
were largely unjustified. The tower clearly was not a major new
architectural masterpiece but its seemingly random drip of yellow
masonry cascading down from the top was a major eye-catcher that
had considerable appeal. Granted that appeal might have been more
had the masonry been glazed which might have given the illusion
that this was a gilded tower, but clearly this was no mere checkers
its location directly
across from the elegant low rise Delmonico's Restaurant building
and the great Art Deco skyscraper known as 20 Exchange Place made
this one of the city's most spectacular groupings.