Bonkers 8-Story ‘Monarch Sanctuary’ Proposed for Cleveland Place

Posted on: February 27th, 2020 at 5:00 am by

When the popular restaurant, The Cleveland, closed its doors back in November 2014, the owners blamed the landlord. And also cited potential plans in the making for luxury hotel on the spot.

Now, over five years and several retail businesses later, the battle continues for the development of this unique commercial stretch. One that might eventually yield, not a hotel, but an ambitious office building that doubles as a monarch butterfly terrarium.

Owner-developer Kenmare Square LLC teamed up with Terreform One to plan the eight-story Monarch Sanctuary atop 23-25 Cleveland Place. The new development will boast retail and office space, yet also “aims to be ecologically generous, weaving butterfly conservation strategies into its design through the integration of monarch habitat in its facades, roof, and atrium.”

Below is more about the project:

This project will vitally serve as a large-scale Lepidoptera terrarium. It will bolster the monarch’s presence in the city through two strategies: open plantings of milkweed and nectar flowers on the roof, rear façade, and terrace will provide breeding ground and habitat for wild monarchs, while semi-enclosed colonies in the atrium and street side double-skin façade will foster monarch population growth. The insects will have fluid open access to join the wild population, enhancing overall species population numbers.

Our connection the community of NYC is essential. The prime location will attract attention and educate the public on Monarch extinction. It has a total area of 30,000 square feet and is to be located in the heart of Nolita, between Soho and the burgeoning art district along the Bowery, and a few blocks west of the New Museum. The site is just around the corner from the Storefront for Art and Architecture and currently exists as two plots occupied by small residential buildings, which will be combined into a single property.

To accomplish this feat, the developer seeks a zoning amendment that effectively expands the boundary of Area C of the Special Little Italy District twenty-five feet north to include 23-25 Cleveland Place. As it stands, the property resides in Area A, a preservation area under zoning protections. Changing the text would eliminate these restrictions and allow this development.

City Planning is scheduled to discuss the zoning amendment at its review session next Monday (March 2), at which point the aim is to certify the application. It then heads to Community Board 2 a week later for a 60-day review period as per ULURP timetable.

Of course, the victims in this are the existing two buildings, which date back to about 1840. And the large rear yard would also be filled in. It’s also worth remembering that 23 Cleveland Place was gutted in 2007 and its roof torn off.

Cleveland Place, circa 2007

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