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New Four Seasons will block Woolworth condo views

Kenneth Horn

By Orlando Lee Rodriguez

The unobstructed views to the west that the Woolworth Building has enjoyed since it was completed in 1913 as the world’s tallest building are about to disappear.

The direct westward view will end once the 82-story Four Seasons Downtown Hotel goes up next door.

That means that residents of some of the 40 luxury apartments planned on the top 35 floors of the Woolworth will not enjoy the same sunsets over New Jersey and the Hudson River that workers in those same spaces have enjoyed for the last century.

“I don’t know if the Woolworth folks are too happy,” said William Dacunto, senior vice president of Silverstein Properties, Inc. speaking at the Citrin Cooperman and Building Trade Employers Association “Roundtable of New York’s Owners” given by Citrin Cooperman at the Scandinavia House last week. “The views from the west will be completely blocked by the new tower.”

However, the Woolworth’s residential developer disagreed, saying the blockage will only have a minimal effect.

“Their tower is going to be right up against Church Street,” Kenneth S. Horn, president of Alchemy Properties, told Real Estate Weekly. “The tower, I think, is only going to be 75 [feet] by 75 [feet]. It’s a pretty thin tower.”

Horn said that the “huge distance” between the western windows of the Woolworth Building and the Four Seasons Tower will still allow plenty of light to get in to apartments that have west facing windows.

“It’s not like their tower just abutts ours,” he said.

“We don’t have the enveloping view of the New Jersey land, so to speak,” Horn said. “But we estimated that it’s only going to be five of our windows that are going to be impeded.”

Horn says that the Four Seasons going up next door will not change how any of the apartments planned for the Woolworth Building will be designed.

“None of the units will only have one view,” Horn said. “They’ll have multiple views, so [The Four Seasons] will not change the layouts at all.”

Horn said that when the $68 million deal between Alchemy Properties and the Witcoff Group for residential development on the top 35 floors of the Woolworth were in discussion, he was aware of Silverstein’s plans for the hole in the ground behind them.

“We knew that the Four Seasons was going up,” Horn said. “It was always in the back of our mind when we were developing [plans]. We always design our units to capitalize on multiple views. We’re not chopping this thing up into one bedrooms and studios.”

Horn said the plan is for around 40 apartments in total and the most apartments any one floor will have will be three. Over 35 floors, that would mean that most floors would have only two apartments each, with a few being full floor units.

The building’s amenities, which include a gym and storage areas for residents, will be located in the basement, where views will not be an issue.

However Horn did emphasize which views would not be obstructed at all because of the building’s shear height. To the east it faces the lower end of City Hall Park, so obstruction will never be an issue. To the South and North the Woolworth Building towers over its neighbors.

For the latter locations, Horn said he does not fear anyone building taller towers at those sites.

“We don’t anticipate anyone blocking us at all going north because our lowest residential floor is 400 feet up,” Horn said. “The likelihood of that happening is not great. When you design your units, you base them on what you have, not based on what could potentially take place.”

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