Ever a magnet for talent in every field—from media, film and entertainment to banking, real estate and finance—New York City has always attracted the best and brightest. Yet with technology now changing the way people work around the globe, new types of businesses constantly emerge, as do new kinds of work environments to support them. As such, the visionaries invested in sustaining the city’s competitive edge continue to reach even higher to create both residential and commercial settings that elevate and adapt to the lives of its industrious and creative urban denizens. And a reimagined building under construction at 15 Laight St. exemplifies much of the best of the city’s workspaces of the future.
Developed by an affiliate of Vanbarton Group and designed by powerhouse global architecture firm Gensler, the building is emerging at the nexus of a trio of the city’s most coveted and dynamic neighborhoods, making its setting one of its primary assets. “15 Laight St. is situated at the highly desirable and dynamic location where three great New York City neighborhoods intersect: Tribeca, Soho and Hudson Square,” says Jeremy Sedrish, senior vice president of Vanbarton Group. “While Tribeca and Soho have long been established New York City neighborhoods, in recent years, Hudson Square has undergone a renaissance with the development of several luxury residential and commercial buildings and an influx of technology and media companies. Additionally, the redeveloped building will offer an unmatched branding opportunity for its ultimate tenant, as it’s positioned on a block where approximately 3 million people pass by each month.”
Constructed on the site of a former commercial printing house that was built in the early 1900s and later served as the home of the Tribeca Film Festival for more than a dozen years, the new approximately 100,000-square-foot, eight-story building deftly blends aspects of its historic context with modern elements that poise it for the future. Gusty blackened metal structural spandrels that recall the former industrial grit of the neighborhood frame swaths of glazing that open to views of the river and cityscape and give the building its character. At the same time, generous ceiling heights, broad terraces on every floor, an expansive roof deck and other amenities like bicycle storage and hospitality inspired food and beverage areas along with spaces that can be customized into lounges or workout facilities promise an upscale setting designed to attract and retain the city’s best talent.
The developer also emphasized sustainability in its quest to create a building that looks to the future. “15 Laight St. is on track to achieve a minimum of LEED Silver certification,” says Sedrish of the eco-friendly standards the building was designed to meet. He also says the building, which is slated for completion in spring 2020, was designed to meet the International WELL Building Institute’s standards, a newer set of criteria aimed at enhancing the health and wellbeing of a structure’s occupants. With neighbors like Google, which recently signed a lease to occupy 1.3 million square feet of space at the former St. John’s Terminal; Microsoft, which also signed a lease for about 70,000 square feet of space at 300 Lafayette; and Disney, which plans to develop a media campus at 4 Hudson Square, 15 Laight is set amid what has become “an innovation corridor and hub for technology, advertising, media and information companies,” says Sedrish, who believes its future tenant or tenants are likely to come from these business segments, though he sees fashion or financial companies as prospective occupants too. Either way, given its inspired planning, 15 Laight’s future occupants are sure to be happy and productive. 15laight.com; vanbartongroup.com
It’s hard to imagine a time when Tribeca wasn’t considered one of the most sought-after corners of the world to live in, but the neighborhood has changed dramatically since its colonial establishment in the 1630s. With another transformation on the horizon for the neighborhood, we nod to its past.
The once-swampy marshland where Tribeca (and 15 Laight St.) stands today, originally called Lispenard Meadows, was used as farmland before being leased to Trinity Church in 1700.
Responding to concerns of malaria, the city built a canal to drain the oft-flooded land, which made development possible. The neighborhood became desirable after Trinity Church built a border of posh brick mansions around St. John’s Chapel, creating “Hudson Square,” centered around the private St. John’s Park.
Lured by the many vacant commercial spaces left after the vanishing of the textile industry, artists began migrating into the neighborhood. Warehouses were converted into lofts, and Tribeca slowly became desirable again.
The Tribeca Film Festival was founded by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff, as a way to offset the damage done to industry in the area after 9/11. In 2003, 17 Laight St. began serving as the film festival’s headquarters until it was purchased in June 2016 by Vanbarton.