The Real Deal New York

Landmarks approves banker’s plan to turn Chelsea’s oldest home into “megamansion”

Advocates angry that plans don't preserve side yard
August 02, 2016 02:30PM

From left: The existing rear facade and the approved rear facade at

From left: The existing rear facade and the approved rear facade at 404 West 20th Street in Chelsea

The Landmarks Preservation Commission last week approved plans to turn the oldest home in the Chelsea Historic District into what preservationists have derided as a “megamansion.”

Ajoy Kapoor, who founded the private equity firm Saffron Capital Advisors, plans to expand his home at 404 West 20th Street into the side yard of the property, DNAinfo reported. The renovation has angered community advocates and officials, who argued that more of the historic side yard should be preserved.

At a meeting in June, Landmarks TRData LogoTINY sent Kapoor back to the drawing board, asking that he scale back the expansion. The commission approved the altered design on July 26.

“The commission previously asked the applicants to reduce the scale of the addition in order to preserve a sense of the original building volume at the roof and top floor, and the applicants made these changes,” an LPC spokesperson told the news website.

Advocates railed against the approval, arguing that Kapoor’s plans should’ve retained more of the house, especially the height and depth of the building’s side yard.

“The proposed construction [will] fundamentally change what this house is and has been for nearly two centuries,” Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation executive director Andrew Berman told DNAinfo. “This will be a loss not only to Chelsea, but for preservation in New York City by the disturbing precedent it will set.”

The home was built in 1830, and Kapoor bought it for $6.5 million last year. [DNAinfo]Kathryn Brenzel