It appears that the Harsen House won’t be the only LEED-certified project that will rise along West 72nd Street. According to a report that appeared in Friday’s Real Deal, 200 West 72nd Street will seek an unspecified level of LEED certification for 196 luxury rental units and 48,000 square feet of retail space which the building will offer across its bottom 5 floors.
The $200 million, 19-story tower, which was designed by Handel Architects and is being developed by the Gotham Organization, will rise on the southwest corner of 72nd and Broadway and should be completed sometime in 2009; leasing for the apartments will open early next year. The Real Deal reports that Gotham is “pretty close” to inking three tenants for the retail space, which ranges in price from $100 per square foot on the lower sub-ground floors to $550 per square foot on street level.
200 West 72nd Street is the former site of the Colonial Club, which dated from 1892 and was designed by Henry Kilburn. Efforts in 2005 to landmark the site were unsuccessful, and demolition only recently wrapped up. Zoning restrictions cap the height of the project at 210 feet and, at least as of this past August, no community space was planned for the building. David Picket, the head of the Gotham Organization, told The Real Deal that the building’s retail space should fare well thanks to both its visible, wide angle corner location and continuous glass walls. “It’s a highly visible corner because of the nature of the geometry,” he said. “It’s not a right angle; it’s an obtuse angle, which allows for greater visibility.”
A few blocks north on the west side of Amsterdam Avenue and 76th Street, the Related Companies’ Harrison condominium project is currently drilling foundations. While these green construction efforts are important to note, it should be kept in mind that two different hundred-year old buildings were demolished to clear the way for this new construction to proceed. (At the Harrison, a Romanesque former carriage house failed to earn landmark status and was razed despite significant local protest).
New development, of course, is inevitable, particularly in a city like New York which is constantly tearing itself down and building itself back up. Still, any celebration of LEED certification should be tempered by a reminder that the energy embodied by new construction- LEED-certified or not- dwarfs that in efforts to rehabilitate and retrofit existing buildings. Here’s hoping that 2008 is the year where this consideration comes to the forefront of any discussion of sustainable construction and green design principles, both locally and across the rest of the country.