305 West 16th Street

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305 West 16th Street, New York City, NY

305 West 16th Street

The dark grey cladding of 305 West 16th Street
Building Information
Developer Centaur Properties
Architect SLCE Architects
Number of Units 53
Number of Floors 7
Year Built 2012
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof IRMA
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305 West 16th Street, New York City, NY, United States
Distance to Public Transit Less than one block
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning C1-6A
Title of Land Condominium



305 West 16th Street is a seven story mid-rise modern building clad with a dark grey metal façade. Some descriptions have called it "sleek and rather dashing", where other words like "elegant" and "chic" have also been used.

The dark grey cladding of 305 West 16th Street
Still other expressions of its design leaned toward a death star reputation, likely due to low interest in the rental market and partly due to its dark grey cladding.

As with some other developments in Chelsea, the initial concept for this building was for it to be a rental property. But demand for ownership was high and Centaur Properties, the developer, secured some financial security by leasing the ground level retail space to two big tenants, the Bank of America and Duane Reade.

So the shift to ownership was made, but not as condominiums. Rather, the building is a condop which is a building that incorporates cooperative units but follows an operating model that resembles those found in condominiums. Residents own their apartments collectively, but do not control the rest of the building.

Where condops differ from conventional Cooperative Housing is that the co-op owns only the units available for residential use as opposed to the entire building. Condops are a hybrid of condominiums and cooperatives in that the suites are still collectively owned, though the bylaws put in place resemble those found in condominiums. Condops are not very common with just over 300 listings in New York City.

The other main difference with this development is that the land beneath the building is not owned. Instead, it is leased which goes against the 1964 law that created condominiums which states that the land under the building must be owned. Therefore, any residential structures atop leased land become condops by default. This hybrid anomaly does not seem to deter buyers, though, and sales were brisk.[1]


A roof top evening event
305 West 16th Street, or 305W16 as the marketing brochures call it, is located in lower Chelsea, almost at the edge of the Meatpacking District. The building is also know by the address of 131 Eighth Avenue.

The generally accepted boundaries of Chelsea go from 14th Street on the south to 34th Street at the north. On the west, is the Hudson River and the Avenue of the Americas to east, or Sixth Avenue.

The view over Chelsea towards the Empire State Building
Koreatown and the Flatiron District flank the east edge with the Garment District and Hell's Kitchen to the north. Greenwich Village shares the southern edge of Chelsea with the Meatpacking District.

The neighborhood itself is well established with restricting the heights of buildings throughout Chelsea.

Eighth Avenue is dotted with restaurants and coffee places as well as a few bars for that aprés-work cocktail, or pre-theater drink, as the case may be.

Several cinemas are also within a quick walk of the building along with a few galleries and the Rubin Museum of Art.

Green spaces include the High Line Park about two blocks west, Jackson Square in the 'Village', and the Doctor Gertrude B Kelly Playground just around the corner, that is, if the roof top deck is not enough.[2]


Curbed NY whimsically labeled 305W16 as the Chelsea Death Star, probably due in part to its dark grey coloring.

Lofting the roof top sculpture, "Perhaps", into place
The label may be whimsical, but so too, is the 37 foot tall daisy sculpture on the roof that weighs 5,800 pounds and is made with concrete and steel.

Harlan Berger, a principal of Centaur, saw the sculpture at a "Burning Man" festival in Nevada in 2007. He managed to track down the artist, Robert Buchholz, to obtain the sculpture and rescued it from storage at a Reno warehouse. The sculpture is titled "Perhaps".

The addition of the sculpture on its roof top certainly adds an interesting quirk to the structure, but the piece is well regarded by most of the residents - art is not always universally appreciated.

The building stands 80 feet tall with a frontage of 138 feet along Eighth Avenue, with 96 feet running along 16th Street. It contains 53 units and has retail space at the ground floor.

The frontage along Eighth Avenue is set back and there are more setbacks on the sixth and seventh floors creating terrace and garden spaces.[3]

Layout and Features

Condop maintenance costs can be high owing to extra ground rent. However, good news for buyers is that Centaur will cover 80% of those costs for the first decade.

There was a complicated procedure to go from rental to condop, more than just filing some paperwork. Once it was determined that the ownership structure was to change, the quality of the interior finishes was raised.

Kitchen appliances were changed from single unit General Electric ranges to separate stove tops and ranges from Bosch. Counter tops in the kitchens are of Caesar Stone and apartments are floored with carbonized bamboo.

Fisher & Paykel refrigerators were chosen, washers and dryers, and Cerused Wenge cabinetry was installed. In the bathrooms, fixtures were upgraded to use Grohe and finishing tiles were upgraded.[4]

Floor Plans

More than 40 floor plans are published for 305W16. With only 53 units, that makes many of them unique. Here are a few highlights:



  • Concierge
  • Doorman
  • Prime Chelsea location
  • Washer/Dryer in building
  • Fitness center
  • Garden
  • Roof deck
  • Roof deck large sculpture
  • Convenient public transportation


  • No sidewalk landscaping
  • No garage
  • Considerable traffic


305 West 16th Street Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes

  • Pets are permitted
  • Rentals have been recorded for this property
  • Pied-à-terre allowed, as are sublets


Some green space on the roof lessening the heat island effect

305W16 is not considered a "green building".

However, certain steps have been taken during its construction and finishing to reduce the overall impact of the building on the environment. Energy efficient appliances have been installed and the flooring is bamboo, a natural product that is easily renewable.

Residents will notice the building does not have parking, as most new developments now have. The reasons for that are unclear, but it does discourage the use of a car to some extent, easing the carbon output a bit.

New York City also has a comprehensive recycling program that all citizens and visitors are encourage to participate in.


Modern Chelsea is a peaceful and affluent neighborhood in Manhattan which is centrally located to amenities and entertainment.

Artist's depiction of events of the Slaughter of Eighth Avenue
However, it was once an industrial area with large numbers of people working in factories and along the piers of the Hudson River. In 1847 the Hudson River Railroad separated Chelsea from the Hudson with its right-of-way tracks.

By the time of the Civil War, factories and distilleries produced turpentine and camphene, a lamp fuel, converting bituminous coal into gas along Ninth Avenue and 18th Street.

This industrialization brought large immigrant populations together including many Irish. The Irish dominated the work at the Hudson River Piers, truck terminals, and the freight railroad line.

As well as the piers, warehouses and factories, the industrial area west of Tenth Avenue also included lumberyards and breweries.

Tenements were constructed to house the working population. With crowded conditions came ethnic tensions. A riot between Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants on July 12, 1871, led to the deaths of around 67 people.

The Irish Protestants were celebrating the victory of the Battle of Boyne of William III, the King of England and Prince of Orange, over James II. They were escorted by 1500 policemen and five regiments of the National Guard, a total of about 5,000 men. The protestant paraders were pelted with rocks and bricks and bottles whereby the militia men responded with musket fire. Shots were returned form the crowds of onlookers. The guardsmen then fired directly into the crowds without being ordered to do so.

The police followed up with charges on their mounts into the crowds. Over 60 people died in the clash, mostly Irish laborers and three guardsmen. Four policemen were also shot, though none fatally. It came to be known as the "Slaughter of Eighth Avenue".[5]


  1. NY Times - October 14, 2011
  2. Walk Score
  3. City Realty - Review
  4. Street Easy
  5. Wikipedia - Orange Riots

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