NYC developers looking for the old in the new

Materials that were popular centuries ago are making a comeback in new development projects

TRD New York /
Jul.July 11, 2016 02:16 PM

In an era of soaring glass skyscrapers, some developers are using a vintage look to set their buildings apart and close deals in a tightening market.New York City developers are increasingly turning to terra cotta and other natural materials to court buyers seeking authenticity and old-world charm, despite costs that often approach $100 more per square foot than modern glass.

“It’s clearly cheaper and more efficient to mass produce something that comes off a factory line instead of craft something by hand and have masons install,” said JDS Development Group chief Michael Stern, whose company is developing the 14-unit Fitzroy in Chelsea with a terra cotta façade and copper-framed windows.

Buyers are attracted to materials selected and installed by artisans that have a different look and feel, Stern told the Wall Street Journal.

“People love diversity,” added Carol Loewenson, president of the New York chapter of American Institute of Architects. “What do people love about the city? It’s a mix of buildings from different times and a mix of materials.”

Other new development projects that draw inspiration from the terra cotta heyday of the 18th and 19th centuries include CBSK Development’s condo at 301 East 50th Street and Madison Realty Capital’s 1 Great Jones Alley, designed by BKSK Architects.

Meanwhile, SHoP Architects is designing a 10-story condo made entirely of wood at 475 East 18th Street, which will be the first of its kind in New York. [WSJ]Miriam Hall

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