Proposed Restaurant-Bar Building Called Too White for Tribeca

Rendering of proposed design for a hotel's restaurant-bar at 456 Greenwich St. Rendering: Gene Kaufman Architect

Sep. 13, 2014

Saying that bright white doesn't fit the color palette of north Tribeca, Community Board 1's Landmarks Preservation Committee last week gave an advisory thumbs down to the proposed design for a new restaurant-bar at Greenwich and Desbrosses streets.

Kurt Goodrich, representing architect Gene Kaufman,  presented the plan for the conversion of a former garage at 456 Greenwich St. into a one-story "eating-and-drinking establishment" that would connect to an 11-story hotel slated to rise at Desbrosses and Washington. The proposed one-story converted building, located within the Tribeca North Historic District, needs Landmarks Preservation Commission approval. The hotel, as yet undesigned, lies just outside the district and is not subject to Landmarks approvals.

The architect's plan calls for restoring and painting the brick of the dilapidated building and installing a glass and steel canopy that would extend over the Greenwich Street sidewalk. A 1,500-square-foot terrace would be enclosed by a six-foot-high wall, and interior stairs and an elevator would lead to the roof and, apparently, more seating. 

Goodrich tried to convince the committee that there are precedents in the neighborhood for the building's color. But the few photos of cream and off-white exteriors he showed as examples failed to convince them.

"It just stands out," said committee member Jeff Ehrlich. "The sign should say 'White Castle.'"

Another committee member, Susan Cole, was even more direct.

"I can't stand the color," she snapped. "It's going to be yucky and dirty and everything else!"

"I'm sure the hotel would make sure that it is maintained," Goodrich responded.

"The color is just out of character for me," Cole shot back.

"It absolutely clashes so badly with the adjoining properties, which are beautiful," added another committee member, Bruce Ehrmann.

Committee chair Roger Byrom called for a vote opposing the proposed design, and it was unanimous.

"In the 21st century and with the importance of the historic district there is a lost opportunity here to do something more imaginative," Byrom said.

The proposal is scheduled to go before the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Sept. 23. 


Too White?

How could anything in Tribeca be too white?

Daniel Pelavin