In New York City, commercial buildings constructed prior to 1961 are eligible for residential conversion under existing regulations. A citywide housing crisis has amplified a need for more housing in recent years and the Financial District neighborhood has seen a number of adaptive reuse projects.
To address demand for housing in New York City, Vanbarton Group first engaged Gensler in 2020 with a planning study to convert its 525,000-square-foot downtown office building into a premier residential building. The 588-unit building will include a mix of studios and one- and two-bedroom market-rate apartments — 45% of which will include a home office — and feature amenities such as a gym, coworking space, dining areas, bike storage, and more. In addition to preliminary building conversion planning, design services include building infrastructure, new lobbies, common spaces, and amenities.
The reconstruction includes the addition of five new floors atop the existing 24-story office tower as well as the creation of three new voids, which run the height of the existing building to permanently remove less desirable floor area for the new apartments. Substantial structural reinforcement through floor-to-ceiling diagonal bracing was required throughout the building. Construction at 160 Water Street is expected to be complete in mid-2024.