Clinton Court is a five-story apartment building at the northeast corner of 10th & Clinton with more history and less luck than we ever realized. For a good chunk of the first half of the 20th century, the Clinton Hotel stood at this location, running from Clinton to Cypress Street and rising seven stories. From what we can tell, there was a fire here, either in the late 1940s or the early 1950s, which resulted in the demolition of the building’s two upper floors. Either in the 1950s or the early 1960s, the building was converted into apartments.

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Former Clinton Hotel

But the building experienced more bad luck, we believe in the 1990s, as fire struck again, severely damaging the northern section of the building. That part of the structure came down in the late 1990s, and the unit count came down by about 50%. Since then, the building, now known as Clinton Court, has had apartments on Clinton Street and access to a small parking area from Cypress Street.

The remains of the hotel, now an apartment building
Rear area currently used for parking
Looking down Cypress Street

But this is the Washington Square West neighborhood, and a small parking lot for a rental apartment building is nowhere near the highest and best use for this incredibly desirable land. So we can’t say we’re the least bit surprised that the owners are looking to eliminate the parking lot and build some townhomes in its place. Even though the property is zoned for multi-family use, even the current unit count of 55 is more than is permitted, so the proposal to build 4 homes triggered a zoning refusal.

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Project rendering

Despite the variance triggered for height and density, the Washington Square West Civic didn’t oppose the project and it got approved at the ZBA. You can see in the rendering above from Harman Deutsch Ohler, the four homes will have white brick facades with fourth floor mansards, and garage fronts on Cypress Street. In general, garage front homes are not an ideal urbanist approach- but Cypress Street isn’t exactly a walker’s paradise, as both sides of the block consist of backs of buildings, with a ton of garages that access rear parking spots. Given the location and the incredible scarcity of new construction homes in the area, we imagine these homes will sell for top dollar, even with the garage fronts. And with zoning approval now out of the way, expect to see them arrive on the scene sometime in 2021.