68 Charlton 8-20

Excavation has started in earnest at Extell Development’s 68 Charlton Street in Hudson Square, as evidenced by the huge pile of rocks cresting the construction fencing in the photo above.

Earlier this year, the developer announced plans to build a 22-story through-block project with 116 total units — 91 market-rate co-ops and 25 affordable rentals, the Villager reported. The rent-subsidized units would be Hudson Square’s first-ever crop of affordable apartments; the neighborhood’s major rezoning last year includes an inclusionary housing bonus that would permit Extell to build a taller development.

The developer’s proposal, as presented to Community Board 2 in February, called for two separate 22-story towers, one facing Charlton Street and one facing Vandam Street. The entirety of the affordable units — 22 two-bedrooms and three studios with rents from $830 per month to $1080 per month — will be in the Vandam Street building. All residents will enter a lobby located in the structure on Charlton, and a ground-level breezeway will connect to an elevator serving the Vandam side. This sidesteps the “poor door” controversy of Extell’s under-construction One Riverside Park, which will have separate entrances for the 219 luxury condos and 55 affordable rentals.

Since more than 20 percent of the residences will be affordable housing, Extell is applying for a 421a tax abatement. The inclusionary-housing bonus provided for in the Hudson Square Special District bonus bumps up the F.A.R. from 9 to 12. Community Board 2 voted unanimously in favor of the development, with the condition that all residences will have equal access to amenities, including the lounge, courtyard, basketball court, bicycle parking and children’s room. The pool, gym and steam room, which all residents would have to pay for, will be offered at a discount to rent-subsidized tenants. Extell agreed to the amenities request, but did not respond to the board’s concerns about keeping all of the affordable apartments in one part of the project.

The site had originally been slated for a 35-story hotel in 2009, the Observer reported. The 180,000-square-foot hotel was to have 300 rooms, with a plaza at its base and Lucien Lagrange on design duty, an Extell spokesperson told the Observer.

However, those plans fell through, and in October 2013, permits were filed for a 13-story, 79-unit building measuring 115,296 square feet, with Beyer Blinder Belle as the architect of record. Those permits were granted partial approval and issued earlier this month. We’ve yet to see permits for the 22-story, 116-unit building duo that Extell brought to Community Board 2. This zoning diagram below shows two structures, complete with breezeway between the Charlton and Vandam sides. The diagram indicates that the buildings are 13 stories tall.

68 Charlton diagram

Construction photos from yesterday:

68 Charlton 2

68 Charlton 3

68 Charlton 4

Here’s a photo from August 13th, before that new fencing was erected:

68 charlton

And one from May 15th, #tbt amen:

68 Charlton May 15

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