DDG has been taking downtown by storm. The firm started out in the city doing small projects—a renovation in Gramercy, townhouses in Carroll Gardens—but has quickly graduated to larger projects. From 345 Meatpacking, the firm’s Yayoi Kusama-netted project on West 14th Street, to the cast aluminum Chocolate Factory building at 325 West Broadway, the fully integrated developer—they now do everything from design and financing to construction and property management—has quickly ramped up its offerings.
“If you look at the projects we’ve done to date,” DDG CEO Joe McMillan told The Observer when he gave us a tour last week of his maisonette at 41 Bond, “it’s proof of concept, and the business model hadn’t really been applied extensively before.” The “concept” varies, but bluestone seems to be a favorite material of DDG’s chief creative officer, Peter Guthrie—it defines the façade of 41 Bond and 24-26 Warren Street, and 12-14 Warren will be nearly identical, according to renderings on DDG’s site, to its sibling down the street.
And with hires in place, Mr. McMillan said, “now we can leverage the business model to undertake different types of projects,” citing master-planned and “more neighborhood-type” projects, including one the firm is working on in San Francisco.
“We have several projects in the pipeline that will go under construction in the next six to eight weeks,” Mr. McMillan said, “and we also have new projects in the pipeline that have not been announced yet.”
DDG may not have announced it yet, but at least one would-be project emerged this week: 60-64 Watts Street.
“The company,” The Real Deal reported, “along with Black Diamond Capital Real Estate, a Soho-based real estate investment and development firm, has approached the owners of three separate multi-family townhouses at 60-64 Watts Street in the Hudson Square area to see if they will sell.”
DDG is likely not pleased that one of the building owners leaked the details of the sale—Daniel Aquilante, a former New York Post music critic, was offered “up to $7 million” for his townhouse, according to TRD—but if the sales do go through, it would give the firm control of a solid 5,101 square feet of land in one of Manhattan’s hottest new (or at least, newly-named) neighborhoods.
The site’s prewar townhouses—albeit not particularly distinguished ones—are zoned for much higher density, and would almost certainly be tear-downs. The zoning allows for up to 45,909 square feet of development on the three lots, or up to 61,212 square feet if the developer set aside 20 percent of the units for affordable housing and took advantage of the city’s inclusionary zoning program.
As for future sites in New York, Mr. McMillan was tight-lipped when we spoke to him—our question about possible projects in Hudson Square, where the group is headquartered, elicited only a broad grin—but we did pry one morsel out of him: “We have projects in the pipeline that are uptown.”
So there you have it. Who said downtown gets to have all the fun?