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2002 Top Projects

Armory Place

Development Team

Owner/Developer: The Related Companies, NYC
Construction Manager: Plaza Construction Corp., NYC
Architect: Costas Kondylis & Partners, NYC
YMCA Architect: Richard Dattner & Partners Architects PC, NYC
Structural Engineer: DeSimone Consulting Engineers, NYC
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Cosentini Associates, NYC
Excavation and Foundation Contractor: Laquila Construction Inc., Brookyn, N.Y.

For generations 14th Street has been crammed with discount stores from which merchandize spilled out onto the crowded sidewalk and hawkers competed to lure working-class shoppers into their stores.

While much of that character remains, the redevelopment around Union Square and the increasingly upscale residential neighborhood of Chelsea just north of 14th has begun to impact on the look and feel of the street.

Armory Place, The Related Cos.' new $100 million, 420,000-sq.-ft. residential building extending from 14th to 15th streets on the block between Sixth and Seventh avenues, continues that trend.

The new complex - at 125 W. 14th St. and 130 W. 15th St., each with its own entrance and lobby - was ready for residents in the middle of 2002.

In designing the project, the architects at Costas Kondylis & Partners LLP attempted to address both the commercial bustle of 14th Street and the more relaxed feel of the tree-lined residential block on 15th Street. They decided on two separate buildings, one fronting 14th and the other fronting 15th joined by a common, mid-block courtyard.
A 13-story building on 14th houses 213 rental apartments over the McBurney YMCA (relocated from 23rd Street) on the street level. On 15th Street, a seven-story building steps down to five stories, putting it in sync with the other residential buildings on the block. It contains 62 two- and three-bedroom apartments reserved for the families of New York University faculty.

The structural design of the project was based on spread footings on rock, but when the development team started digging at the site of the former armory, it discovered a very uneven 40-ton rock.

"The highest rock on the site occurred where the deepest part of the swimming pool would be for the YMCA," said Robert Schartz, a senior project manager with Plaza Construction Co., the project's construction manager. "Because we couldn't blast, we used a hydraulic hoe ram attached to a large excavator and chipped away at the rock until the elevation and profiles we need were reached."
Then groundwater began to flood the northeast corner of the site, and LaQuila Construction Inc., the project's Brooklyn-based excavation and foundation contractor, discovered that a number of the surrounding buildings were not underpinned from previous construction. A dewatering system was created to pump out the water, and 43 minipiles for the western side of the foundation were installed and load tested, eliminating the risk of having to go under the adjacent buildings to underpin them in the presence of groundwater.

Then the foundation was built from 15th Street south to 14th, allowing construction of the superstructure to start on the 15th Street building while excavation for the YMCA pool could continue on the 14th Street side. As the northern building went up, the southern foundation was completed, allowing for a smooth transition of the concrete operation from one building to the next.

The two buildings were connected at the second-floor level. The connection consists of steel seats embedded in the concrete beam on the second floor, which then received 38, 65-ft.-long steel beams. The connection eventually became a landscaped courtyard.




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