The new hotel at 32 West 29th Street is well above ground, with concrete already at the 11th floor; foundation and excavation work began earlier this year, and progress has been swift.
32 West 29th’s developer is John Sharma, and no hotel operator has been announced. Permits indicate the tower will rise 21 floors, though the number of rooms is not on-file; the building will be on the smaller side of new developments in Chelsea.
The project’s basic form looks similar to the Kaufman and Poon hotels that have proliferated through the rest of Chelsea, and the architect of record is Matt Markowitz. 32 West 29th Street has a significant setback from the streetwall, which detracts from the neighborhood’s urban fabric – and the problem will be compounded by another new hotel underway at 44 West 29th Street, which will probably have a similar design.
Block by block, Chelsea is being physically re-organized in an anti-Gotham way. The problem has gone completely unnoticed through the Bloomberg years, but it will become glaringly obvious as rows of the new hotels become prevalent. If zoning for the neighborhood is not modified to accommodate preservation or integration of historic, New York City-minded facades – and the necessity of an urban built form – Chelsea’s identity will be decimated.
Completion of the new building is set for 2014.
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