Townhouse Expansion Complete at 78 West 3rd Street in Greenwich Village

78 West 3rd Street. Looking west. Photos by the author unless noted otherwise.

Construction has finished at 78 West 3rd Street in Greenwich Village, where a pre-war, three-story townhouse received an extra floor and a horizontal extension. Permits call for a 2,997-square-foot commercial space on the lower levels. Five residential units take up 3,825 square feet on the floors above, averaging 765 square feet per unit. CEJ Properties LLC is the owner.

According to a January permit, the renovated property rises 45 feet. The project respects the established urban scale, with a 3.44 floor-to-area ratio that is underbuilt for the generously-zoned R7-2/C1-5 residential/commercial district. A steel-framed extension rises along the building rear, atop a low-rise portion previously occupied by a laundromat. The additions boost the total floor area from 4,012 to 6,822 square feet.

The permits filed over the past seven years list a variety of architects. The most recent filing, submitted last week, lists Conklin Costantin Architects.

The original structure, built around the turn of the twentieth century, held minimal architectural value, unlike many of its distinguished neighbors. An external fire escape, which sat upon the West 3rd Street façade according to historical photos, was removed long ago, leaving the brick structure unadorned and featureless.

Image via Google Street View.

Image via Google Street View.

The redesign improves upon the original. Traditionally-styled, gridded windows replaced their double-hung predecessors, with stone sills and lintels added above and below. Full-height ground floor windows, contained in black steel frames, reference adjacent restaurants. A rustic texture distinguishes the restored brick. Weathered copper panels cap the cornice and add a modern touch without compromising historic character. Roof-level railings indicate an outdoor terrace, which offers views of the Washington Square Arch, one block north up Thompson Street.


The West 4th Street station, for the A, C, E, B, D, F and M trains, sits three blocks northwest.

Looking northwest along West 3rd Street.

Looking northwest along West 3rd Street.

The building sits at the southwest corner of West 3rd and Thomson streets, across the street from New York University School of Law. The future retailer would join a lively nightlife district, noted for its abundance of comedy clubs. Hopefully the new tenant would engage the neighborhood as successfully as the former ground floor occupant, the West Third Street Deli, which greeted pedestrians with food and flower displays.

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