New Broadway Tower-and-Landmark 'Ensemble' Approved for Tribeca

Rendering of the proposed 14- and 20-story residential building at Broadway and Thomas Street next to 5-story 315 Broadway, an individual landmark. Morris Adjmi Architects

Dec. 29, 2020

The city gave its go-ahead for a new L-shaped residential tower that will wrap two sides of a five story, 1861 landmark at 315 Broadway.

The proposed design, by Morris Adjmi Architects, was approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Dec. 17. It calls for a new building in two parts: a 14-story portion that fronts onto Broadway at the corner of Worth Street (the site of a former McDonald’s at 317 Broadway), and a taller, 20-story section that is set back behind the landmark, which will be restored as part of the project and remain a commercial building. 

The original proposal by the developer, United American Land, included demolishing 50 feet of the rear half of the landmark, an alteration that did not sit well with the commission at the project’s first hearing, in September. The second, approved, version would instead lop off 16 feet of the back of the building. The commission also had objected to the two sections of the new building, designed to look like separate structures with contrasting colors, window treatments and other features. They wanted the residential tower to have a more unified appearance and be architecturally compatible with the 315 Broadway landmark and other nearby 19th century buildings.

Most commissioners lauded the redo. They voted 9-1 to approve the plan.

Commissioner Jeanne Lutfy described the revision as “a wonderful design that works well as an ensemble. And yet the two buildings, on the corner and the original landmark structures also stand on their own. That is wonderful because that is what the streetscape is all about.”

“The Landmark will still stand out,” added the commission’s chair, Sarah Carroll, “and the responses to make this more of a comprehensive ensemble will really support the individual landmark.”

Commissioner John Gustafsson, the lone dissenting voice, said he had “nothing bad to say” about the new building’s design, but opposed the concept of the project. “It buries the individual landmark, and the individual landmark is overwhelmed,” he said.

In its 2016 landmark designation report, the Landmarks Preservation Commission called 315 Broadway “an example of the palazzo-inspired commercial store and loft buildings that once lined Broadway and shaped the streetscapes of antebellum New York. It is one of the few store-and-loft buildings from that era to survive on Broadway south of Franklin Street.”