Cracks Showing in Nouvel’s 100 11th

And we thought there were problems with the lobby at 100 11th Avenue. It turns out the entire Jean Nouvel building is riddled with problems, according to a feature in the new Real Deal, not least of which has to do with that lustrous facade.

Some current residents complain that ceiling panels have fallen and appear to be held in place with masking tape, improperly poured concrete gives ceilings the appearance of water damage, and scars are visible on the terrazzo floors were walls were moved. One resident also said a window in the curtain wall never fully shuts, leaving a constant one-inch gap so the wind howls through the apartment.

[Todd] Eberle, the photographer, said 40 Mercer is “built more solidly” than the Chelsea building. He has had leaks in the ceiling of his 100 Eleventh Avenue unit, but he’s more bothered by the rust on the steel beams he can see out his windows.

Yet 40 Mercer, Nouvel’s other big development in town, done for Andres Balazs and where Eberle also lived, did not run out of construction financing at the height of the recession, nor was it nearly as dynamic of a project.

The lengthy article describes how 100 11th came online at the peak of the real estate boom, nearly selling out before more than half of the buyers walked away, many via lawsuits, others even abandoning their deposits. More suits and complaints have since been filed by current residents over construction and other issues, and yet the building is once again 76 percent sold, with only 13 units remaining. (At least one recent buyer profiled by The Observer sees the building as a great investment, rivaling his former home at 15 Central Park West.)

The big question seems to be whether this is simply the price one pays to live in a building of such complexity and ambition–with 1,700 different windows, for gosh sakes–or whether the developers, Cape Advisors, cut corners wherever they could, both to increase profits and enable the project, which ran out of money on more than one occasion. Whatever the case, it could be a lot worse:

In many respects, 100 Eleventh Avenue is a success story. It could easily have stalled, like other ambitious starchitecture projects such as 56 Leonard Street, a Jenga-like tower by Herzog & de Meuron, and Dutch starchitect Ben van Berkel’s 5 Franklin Place.

Heck, even Frank Gehry has had problems with leaks before. It should be interesting to see how 8 Spruce Street fares.

mchaban [at] | @mc_nyo

Cracks Showing in Nouvel’s 100 11th