Next up for Soho’s last empty parcel of land: a glassy Minimalist box with two soaring stories of (likely) retail rising 52 feet high. The proposal is courtesy of a company controlled by Ralph Bartel, an investor in fashion retailers such as Lanvin and Devi Kroell, which filed plans with the city Department of Buildings for the project yesterday.
Additionally, The Real Deal obtained full-color renderings of the proposal filed as part of the developer’s recent application to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.
The structure faced with 14 panes of glass approximately 26-feet-high each, resembles the well-known Apple store on the General Motors Building plaza at 767 Fifth Avenue. That should come as no surprise, since the Soho project’s plans were designed by the American architecture firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, which designed that Apple store and many others around the world.
Bartel, the founder of travel website Travelzoo, purchased the plot in July 2012 for $24.7 million.
His company 144 Spring Street LLC filed preliminary plans with DOB to construct the two-story building that will also include mezzanine levels on each floor, the records show. The building is within the Soho-Cast Iron Historic District so the plans must be submitted and approved by the LPC.
It is one of several new structures proposed for Soho. The LPC this month gave its nod to Madison Capital’s planned six-story, glass-enclosed retail-focused building on a triangle-shaped plot at 19 East Houston Street between Broadway and Crosby Street. And a joint venture between Jeff Sutton, Joseph Sitt, Bobby Cayre and the Adjmi family in August submitted plans to the LPC, for its proposed six-story retail building at 529 Broadway, at Spring Street.
Bartel, who could not be reached for comment, has not previously announced plans for the parcel. However, retail insiders said they expected one of his brands to occupy the space, as opposed to a third-party retailer. Adding to the unusual nature of the project, the owner has not taken out any debt on the property, a review of city records reveals.
The site has development rights for up to 8,000 square feet, data from real estate information firm PropertyShark reveals, giving the 2012 purchase a price of more than $3,000 per square feet. Yet the plans call for a mere 3,000 square feet of floor area, with each floor about 1,500 square feet, plus a first-floor mezzanine with 330 square feet and a second-floor mezzanine with 253 square feet.