“Crappy New Construction”

11NMoore diptychNo sooner had I expressed admiration for the new buildings by architect Morris Adjmi—from his own firm and as part of Adjmi & Andreoli—than a reader who works in design and construction emailed an illustrated rant about two of them….

Can you please do a piece on crappy new construction?

Thanks for reporting on how hideous 56 Leonard is. The mirror-finish reflective glass curtain wall with natural aluminum trim pieces is really suburban office park.

But how about 11 N. Moore? It was supposed to have the largest single-pane windows downtown (larger than 40 Bond). Now the windows are this oddly mullioned, badly proportioned, awkward twin openings. Bad bad bad!!! What happened? [The one pictured below was touted by broker Frederik Eklund as an example.]

11 NMoores touted windowsLet’s move on to the Sterling Mason. How horrible is the modern “twin”? The cast concrete facade just looks like plastic. And it’s a few different colors of gray.

The sidewalk (poured at different times) around the modern twin isn’t even the same color concrete.

They did a terrible job reinstalling the cobblestones around the new sidewalk too. And the windows…. They didn’t get an arched window! The developer completely cheaped out and went with an off-the-shelf rectangular window with filler piece. It’s just such a miserable job. 250 West splurged on the arched windows, and it was built in much leaner times!

UPDATE 6/18: Someone who was involved with the Sterling Mason says that the rectangular windows with headers were actually insisted upon by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, because they’re historically appropriate. (Whether that’s aesthetically pleasing is another matter entirely.) And they’re made by Kolbe, which I understand is impressive (and not cheap).

LPC really needs to hold developers to a certain quality. [Note: See the update below.] Looking at stuff in-plan and being sweet-talked by fancy presenters and renderings leaves our neighborhood short of great architecture. I feel like $3000/sqft condos had better deliver inside and out.

I’m flaming here because I feel like the neighborhood deserves better, not that I’m a nimby about new construction.

I couldn’t decide whether to run this as a post or not, but the more I thought about it, the more I was curious what people thought. I happen to really like the 11 N. Moore windows, but they certainly aren’t what was promoted. And I like the Sterling Mason, too, new side and all—but I hadn’t noticed the stuff described above, and I sure wish I could unsee the windows. I hold out hope that some smoothing out will still occur with the facade.

If nothing else, it’s one more reminder about the importance of materials and how renderings must be taken with a boulder of salt.

UPDATE 6/18: I should’ve pointed out that 11 N. Moore is actually not in a historic district, so it never had to go before the LPC.



  1. The facade/ window combination of the Roger Sterling/Anthony Mason is an unmitigated disaster. No wonder it took so long to install- after two or three pre-fab pieces went up, they must have realized the fiasco they had created.

  2. I agree entirely. It’s refreshing to see someone with knowledge tell it like it is. New construction is usually not very well done but nobody paying those prices will ever admit it. I once bought into new construction and lived to regret it. Never again. Too many details get changed and overlooked and the honeymoon lasts about four weeks. Four weeks! Before you start to see beneath the curtain of marketing n Everyone wants a condo these days (and I get it, and not all condo buildings are new construction, of course) but for me, it’s coop all the way. Better regulated as a living space, better taken care of, more interesting historical quirks – in general.

  3. The huge wraparound promotional banner at 11 N. Moore declaring “Anticipated opening winter 2014-2015” is embarrassing. Doesn’t seem like it would be that far out of the budget for a building like that to replace it with an updated “anticipated opening”. If I had or was planning on buying there, I’d start wondering what else the developer doesn’t care about enough to fix. Bugs me every time I see it.

  4. I’d love to hear the perspective of someone who bought an apartment in one of these buildings BEFORE it was constructed, based on the promises of the architect, real estate agent, etc. Is there any kind of abatement for the changes made?

  5. As far as 11 N Moore, the rendering of the entire building is a bit misleading but you can see in the individual listings for the apartments that the windows are compartmentalized. I think the only part of the building that actually uses those large windows they were boasting about are some of the penthouses.

    And for Sterling Mason… eh. For the longest time that was my “if I won the lotto” building. But after seeing the finished product and the poor details, I’m glad I didn’t win the lotto! Sort of… =T

  6. The author hit the nail on the head re: Sterling Mason. The execution is just crap. The pre-fab brick panels should have been the first red flag, but the windows are just a terrible value engineering compromise. I guess when your pre-construction basis is so high, you need to value engineer everything regardless of the sellout prices.

    Should we hold out any hope for 443 Greenwich or the Stern building on Vestry / West?

  7. So glad this was posted. And yes, LPC must hold developers accountable. The more developers get away with is crap, the worse it will get.

  8. As a TV-famous broker (pictured w/ the giant uninstalled window) cries out exuberantly during each episode… “It’s all about Record Prices!”

    Developers continue to buy up land at very high prices which does not leave as much space for construction costs despite these record prices.

    There is so much work going on in Tribeca (and NYC in general) that there is a serious lack of skilled trades to do all the work.

    And finally.. let’s be honest.. There is a mad dash to finish – the clock is ticking ’cause everyone knows the RE sky is falling … It’s just a question of when.
    So everyone is trying to get done and sell before this happens.

    And then the silly cycle will start all over again in a few years time..

    In the long run of course NY Real Estate is a good investment, just don’t know about right now..

  9. 11 North Moore is an unmitigated disaster and an insult to Tribeca.

    As for Sterling Mason: it is such poor quality it is unfathomable, and the cheapness and low quality undermine what might have been a perfectly fine design. The color is all wrong. The only good that can be said about it is that it follows the architectural language of Tribeca and the height and massing fit Tribeca fine. But of course, LPC did not hold them to a high quality standard, as others have noted.

    It would not have helped to change the design, the developer would have been just as cheap. It could have been a lot worse, when I think about it.

    And as for the windows, I doubt LPC said it was okay to use square ones in an arched opening. The staff generally say no to that, unless of course the staff were over-ruled by the commission itself. These designs were approved a long time ago, before Tribeca Trust was in existence. Alas, the real opportunity to complain would have been when the designs were being reviewed.

    • Bravo, Lynn! Your objectiveness is an unmitigated disaster and an insult to Tribecans throughout greater Tribeca. It’s unfathomable that any one would take you serious. Your rants provide comic relief to a world filled with real problemos. Thanks for being you.

    • I disagree about 11 North Moore. After seeing the scaffolding come down, I think it’s a masterpiece that enhances our neighborhood. What don’t you like about it?

  10. I think the Sterling Mason looks great. Wish I had a condo there.