How should a city manage residential development in a way that protects its historic manufacturing zones? Not surprisingly, perhaps, Donald Trump has exposed this planning dilemma with an opulent condominium-hotel tower designed by Handel Architects and David Rockwell, slated for a largely industrial block on the fringe of New York City’s trendy SoHo neighborhood.
The conundrum is as much architectural as it is economic. Although cities nationwide are welcoming residential development to create a 24/7 environment downtown, these projects often displace small-scale industrial uses that contribute greater tax revenues. Preservationists also complain that these buildings—usually glass-walled towers—are out of character with historic urban fabric.