Finger Will Be 14 Stories Tall

Wow – Brownstoner has it right when he says the Finger building is the gift that keeps giving. Ever since GFI Capital acquired the building last Spring, there has been speculation as to how they will actually build this thing. The BSA has cleared the way for a 16-story building, but the current skeleton stops at 10 (or 10 and a half – there is some steel sticking out the top). There were early rumors that said it would 10 stories, but these were immediately tamped down by GFI reps. Last week, Crain’s quoted a Yassky staff person as saying that it would – really, truly – only rise to 10 stories*. Now the Observer has the construction manager on site saying it will be 14 stories (which is pretty much in line with what GFI’s rep said last Spring). For context, the Observer interviews two retailers on North 7th Street that didn’t even exist when the Finger broke ground – that’s how long this saga has been going on.

There’s more interesting stuff in the Observer article, though – a quote from the manager of Planet Thailand that they are closing down next week. The manager says that “the scaffolding [on North 7th Street] has ‘really hurt this business’”. Of course Planet Thailand shuttered the Berry Street side of the restaurant some months ago – that would be the side that did not have a sidewalk shed in front of it. I think what really hurt Planet Thailand’s business was its increasing irrelevance in a neighborhood that has seen a huge increase in the number of quality restaurants over the 10 years that it has been at this location. When Planet Thailand was on Bedford and was a Thai restaurant, it was one of the only games in town and it served really good Thai food. When it moved to Berry, it adopted a pan-everything menu that didn’t do anything well and soon had to compete with the likes of Sea (who have essentially the same business model, but (for reasons that completely escape me) attract a ton of people).

[At the end of the article, the Observer says that BSA capped the building at 10 stories and that it was GFI that won the approval for 16 stories. If memory serves, DOB capped the development at 10 stories while the BSA and air rights cases were worked out. GFI only acquired the building a month before BSA ruled to let it rise to 16 stories – GFI (or HSBC) was along for the ride at that point. Or 14 stories. Whatever.]

* Curbed link because Crain’s is subscription only.