Winning the chairmanship of the Metropolitan Museum hasn’t slowed developer Daniel Brodsky down. Architect John H. Beyer of Beyer Blinder Belle revealed the Brodsky Organization’s proposed plans for the next phase of its remake of parts of the General Theological Seminary in Chelsea into a new condo community. The historic brownstone-and-brick oasis was founded in 1817 as the first seminary of the Episcopal Church. DNAinfo reports that the “news sparked concerns around Chelsea because the landmarked institution’s grassy enclave, bounded by Ninth and Tenth Avenues and 20th and 21st Streets, is a rare pocket of serenity in lower Manhattan.”
All things considered, the community was pretty gentle in criticizing the makeover of the WASP landmark. In fact, they found Brodsky’s approach artful and the little bit of sniping hardly stung at all. A new six-story building with two duplexes and elevator equipment plunked above, to be erected over a portion of the yard now used as a tennis court, drew scorn as looking “funky” and “out-of-scale,” but generally, commenters at Community Board 4’s landmarks committee meeting on the plans praised them as thoughtful and consistent with the seminary’s overall design. Committee chair Edward Kirkland even agreed with the developers’ plan to remove ivy covering–and damaging–the decrepit West Building, the oldest in the complex, prior to restoring it. “This is not an Ivy League institution, so the ivy is an intrusion,” he said. The plans must still be approved by the Landmarks Commission, though, so reports of the ivy’s demise may be premature.