Owner/Developer: The Related
Construction Manager: Plaza
Construction Corp., NYC
Architect: Costas Kondylis &
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
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
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
"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