Thom Filicia Designs NYC’s First All-Green Luxury Residence at Riverhouse

thom filicia, j christopher daly, sheldrake, riverhouse

Popular ‘Queer Eye’ designer shows New Yorkers that in today’s world of luxury living, green is the new black

RISMEDIA, May 20, 2008-Proving environmentally responsible living and luxury need not be mutually exclusive, Sheldrake residential developer, J. Christopher Daly, and renowned interior designer, Thom Filicia, recently announced the launch of Manhattan’s first “top-to-bottom” green residence. Located inside Riverhouse, the LEED Gold condominium development overlooking Battery Park City’s waterfront promenade, this model apartment shows New Yorkers they don’t have to sacrifice personal design tastes in order to adopt a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

“It’s possible for New Yorkers to appreciate their own personal design flare while still utilizing environmentally responsible and energy efficient materials,” explains J. Christopher Daly, President of the Sheldrake Organization. “By creating this eco-friendly apartment, Thom Filicia is helping us to pioneer a new urban lifestyle that’s synonymous with luxury, style, and environmental health – this is the future of New York City living.”

From the apartment’s green home décor to its walk-in-closets, every last sustainable square inch is infused with Thom Filicia’s sophisticated and livable design philosophy. It reflects his and J. Christopher Daly’s shared belief

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that the term “luxury” doesn’t just mean “living the good life”…it now means “living the good life” while minimizing your carbon footprint.

The residence’s array of luxury green home furnishings has all been hand selected by Thom Filicia. “What’s great about this residence is that it features every shade of ‘green’,” he explains. “For those who adore antiques, we found incredible lighting fixtures made of recycled plumbing hardware and repurposed titanium jet engine parts.

For those who enjoy a more contemporary sensibility, we created a beautiful mahogany bed frame, using certifiably harvested wood, non-toxic glue, and water based lacquer; and for those who appreciate classic, traditional interiors, we incorporated wall coverings and flooring that are at once timeless and biodegradable.”

Additional Apartment Features Include:

– Dining room table with a paperstone tabletop and a FSC certified wood base wrapped in recycled zinc panels

– Bedroom mattresses made of 100% bamboo

– Sectional sofa made of FSC certified birch plywood frame with organic latex foam

– Wallpapers made from 100% Natural Sisal Grass and Wood Pulp paper with paper backing

– Bedroom dresser made from salvaged picture frames

– Bench made from FSC certified wood, natural latex foam cushion, recycled nail heads, low VOC paint finish

Meaningful amenities include oversized saltwater fish tanks in the double-height lobbies, children’s lighthouse, billiard room, gym and yoga room, and Hockney-inspired glass-tiled, 50′ swimming pool. Poets House, the New York Public Library and City Bakery will also call Riverhouse home. The charming Michael Van Valkenburgh designed Teardrop Park runs between the east and west wings of Riverhouse, creating a luscious “backyard” for residents.

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3 Nonprofit Groups Get a Manhattan Deal: $1 a Year

j christopher daly, j. christopher daly

Poets House, a comprehensive poetry library, with 50,000 books in its collection, has been squeezed into a tiny second-floor loft in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan for 16 years. It has been able to renew its lease at 72 Spring Street only in five-year intervals. So Lee Briccetti, the executive director of the group, has had to renegotiate the lease every few years.

“We’re poets, so this was an amazingly stressful situation for us,” said Ms. Briccetti, who is a published poet herself. She decided that securing the organization’s future “meant somehow getting off of the real estate treadmill.”

 

And that is exactly what Poets House will do next year, when it moves into a new space at the southern tip of Manhattan that will have sweeping views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The little nonprofit has signed a lease until 2069 for more than 12,000 square feet of raw space at Battery Park City. Poets House will pay $1 a year in rent.

 

This deal is all the more eye-popping because it is occurring as rents for street-level retail space in Manhattan are skyrocketing. That is somewhat less true in Battery Park City, which is not a major shopping district, said Alan Napack, a senior director in the retail services group at Cushman & Wakefield. Still, he estimated that street level space near the library’s future home might fetch $60 to $100 annually per square foot.

 

But Poets House was selected by the Battery Park City Authority as one of a handful of nonprofit groups to benefit from the authority’s public amenity program. All of them have been given leases with the same favorable terms — $1 a year rent until 2069.

 

“This is publicly owned land, and we think the public ought to continue to get some use of it,” said James E. Cavanaugh, president and chief executive of the Battery Park City Authority.

 

The 92 acres of land beneath Battery Park City, a surprisingly leafy residential neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, were created some 40 years ago out of landfill from the excavation for construction of the World Trade Center.

 

The Battery Park City Authority, a public agency with both city and state involvement, was created to manage the development of the reclaimed land. Today, developers own the buildings they put up there, but must lease the land beneath their buildings from the authority. These leases also run until 2069, exactly 100 years after the founding of the authority.

 

Whenever the Battery Park City Authority puts an undeveloped parcel of land up for bid, itrequires developers to include public amenity space in their proposals. Developers must agree to donate this space to the authority to compete for the right to build.

 

For example, over the last few years, the authority required the developers of three luxury rental apartment buildings — the Solaire, the Verdesian and Tribeca Green — to build public restrooms, public meeting rooms and a workshop for the authority’s Parks Conservancy. But at Riverhouse, a residential development under construction in Battery Park City, the authority has leased all of the public amenity space in the building to outside cultural institutions.

 

Three nonprofit groups will occupy most of the first and second floors of Riverhouse, a huge horseshoe-shaped 32-story, 264-unit luxury condominium that should be ready for occupancy later this year.

 

Besides Poets House, the New York Public Library will open its first branch in Lower Manhattan. And Mercy Corps, a relief agency based in Portland, Ore., with field offices in dozens of countries, including Iraq and Sudan, will have a small exhibition space highlighting global hunger.

 

The amenity program is not exactly free for the nonprofits. They have had to raise millions of dollars to build their spaces. Goldman Sachs, which is building its new headquarters one block away, donated $3.5 million for the public library. Poets House has already reached the $5.5 million needed to build its space, and is still raising money

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for an endowment and operating expenses. And Mercy Corps has raised $2 million of the $5.4 million that it will need for construction.

 

Mr. Cavanaugh said the libraries and exhibition space should contribute to a well-rounded experience for Lower Manhattan residents and tourists alike. He said Riverhouse would be two blocks from the memorial planned for Ground Zero. “We already see a lot of tourists who come down here to look at Ground Zero,” Mr. Cavanaugh said.

 

The Sheldrake Organization, the New York City developer that is building Riverhouse at Two River Terrace, just steps away from the World Financial Center, has carved out more than 27,000 square feet on the first and second floors for the three nonprofits.

 

The only street-level retail space is leased to City Bakery, an organic cafe with a restaurant on West 18th Street in Manhattan.

 

As part of its winning bid, Sheldrake paid $60 million to the authority before breaking ground, and has leased the land below the building for $1 million a year until 2069. J. Christopher Daly, the founder and president of Sheldrake, said the company would also spend tens of millions of dollars building the space that it would donate to the authority.

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Thom Filicia makes a model apartment environmentally safe and stylish apartments

j christopher daly, thom filicia, sheldrake, riverhouse river house

Thom Filicia has an organic bone to pick with environmentally friendly interior design.

“People think green design has to have that same minimal, clean look,” says Filicia, star of Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” and author of “Thom Filicia Style,” a book coming out in October. “Even green cars all look like spaceships. They don’t have to. I set out to prove that green design doesn’t have to look like hemp world, that it can be luxurious and elegant with personality

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and color.”

Working with the Sheldrake Organization, who developed the LEED-certified Platinum Riverhouse condominium in Battery Park City, Filicia transformed a three-bedroom apartment on the eighth floor of the building’s east wing into one of the most modern examples of how to design interiors using nothing but environmentally safe and sustainable products.

There’s a lamp made of a recycled wine jug, with silk cords running electricity and wool strings for a shade. (Filicia designed that himself.) Benjamin Moore Eco Spec paint is used throughout. Linen-wrapped orange bed tables surround a bamboo-based sheet set and an organic mattress. The edges of antique frames come together to form a dresser in the guest bedroom.

In the dining area, recycled jet airplane parts compose a chandelier. Plumbing parts, such as nozzles and pipes, make a floor lamp. Ceramic side tables add stability to a multicolored wool and silk living room rug made of remnants of rejected carpet samples. There are no plastic or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) anywhere to be seen, or inhaled.

At the Riverhouse, Filicia used recycled nails on the custom-made furniture. There’s certified woods in the sofa and low-VOC adhesive for wallpaper glue. The dining room table is constructed with paper stone — recycled paper hardened with resin. Sea grass and bamboo combine to form the window treatments.

“Some things in the apartment tend to be more green than others,” says Filicia, whose new television show, “Dress My Nest,” airs on Wednesdays at 11 p.m. on the Style Network. “But that’s part of the decisions you have to make when designing green. You have to go as green as you can where you can. That’s all anyone can ask.”

The Riverhouse already counts as one of the more sensational green residences in the country. Actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio owns a large penthouse with Hudson River views and a private green roof. Tyra Banks also bought in the building. Twenty percent of residents have moved into the apartments, which average in cost around $2.5 million.

A City Bakery, Poet’s House and New York Public Library branch make up the building’s retail mix. A salt-water aquarium highlights the spacious lobby, slated to open next month.

The Sheldrake Organization carefully chose Filicia for the project, hoping his visibility and green philosophy would come through. With a reported budget of a couple of hundred thousand dollars, Filicia delivered.

“Our buyer can afford high-end design,” says J. Christopher Daly, owner of the New York-based Sheldrake Organization. “We met Thom [Filicia] at an open house at the building that he came to on his own. His work here shows that excellent design seamlessly blends into the green lifestyle our buyers are looking for….

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