CITYREALTY Press : Design Phase/Pending Approval for 312-322 CANAL STREET / by Paul Castrucci

CITYREALTY, "Nine-Story Passive House May Be Replacing Decrepit Stretch of Retail at 312-322 Canal Street"

By SANDRA HERRERA

The stretch of stores on 312-322 Canal Street is finally being revisited by Paul A. Castrucci Architect after the team's first proposal was denied by the Landmark Preservation Commission in 2011. Back then, the plan was to keep the retail but the design was deemed too bland for the lively area. This time around, their design is a for a residential, multi-family project that is slated to become Passive House-certified, much like their other buildings at 951 Pacific Street and ABC No Rio. Passive House principles stipulate that buildings must be primarily heated by passive solar gain and internal gains from people or electrical equipment, which saves up to 90% of space heating costs.

The proposed project will rise nine stories in the East Tribeca Historical District and will likely be rentals. According to Castrucci's site, the facade's repetition recalls the district's "notable palazzo-style, cast-iron facades, but avoids replicating or reproducing their forms, details, or material choices." In an attempt to fit in with the area, the firm chose practicality and utility over extravagance and went with a standard red-brick facade. The Passive House will have optimized energy consumptions with high-efficiency heat pumps to condition the interior units on an individual basis, while Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) will supply the apartments with filtered and conditioned fresh air. The virtually air-tight building will feature exterior brick panels backed with 4" layer of insulation.

Although permits have yet to be filed, this sad brick row of 2-story buildings is begging for a change. Illegal repair work was done to the storefronts in 2010 without the approval from the LPC and the site is plagued by past-due fines and stop-work orders. This isn't the firm's first time around the block either - literally. Paul A. Castrucci Architect also got denied by the LPC for their residential proposal next door at 308 and 310 Canal Street.