Archive upscaling with swank gym, pricey preschool

Photo by Clarissa-Jan Lim Crunch will be replaced by David Barton Gym in The Archive building, at Christopher and Greenwich Sts.
Photo by Clarissa-Jan Lim
Crunch will be replaced by David Barton Gym in The Archive building, at Christopher and Greenwich Sts.

BY CLARISSA-JAN LIM  | Come this fall, the landmark Archive building will see some new commercial tenants that will move it toward a more affluent position in the West Village.

Both the Mandell School and David Barton Gym will be The Archive’s newest tenants, replacing VillageCare’s first-floor office space and Crunch gym, respectively, according to Patricia Dunphy, senior vice president at Rockrose Development Corp., the group that originally converted The Archive into a residential building.

An imposing, elegant, solid mass filling a square block, between Christopher, Barrow, Greenwich and Washington Sts., The Archive building is a historical landmark that once housed federal archives. In 1988 it was converted into a residence that has since been home to, among others, Nobel Prize-winning poet Derek Walcott, actress Jennifer Connelly and Monica Lewinsky.

Rockrose initially intended for The Archive to be a “vibrant retail center for the community and the residents” when it took over the reconstruction project, said Dunphy. Under an agreement with Community Board 2, as a condition for converting the building, Rockrose created a $1 million fund for restoration projects for community organizations in the C.B. 2 district. The last of that fund was finally allocated a few years ago.

From those community-oriented origins, The Archive is now set to move into swankier territory. In Mandell, it will house an elite preschool whose annual fees range from $12,000 to $22,000.

Speaking on the change in tenants, Dunphy said, “We’re actually activating space that we wanted to activate 20 years ago.”

The Mandell preschool approached Rockrose about space in The Archive after its planned new Lower Manhattan space on Broad St. suffered water and electrical damage due to Hurricane Sandy.

The task of rebuilding and constructing safeguards against future storm damages on top of opening a new preschool proved too overwhelming, and the Mandell School instead decided to relocate to The Archive.

“They really wanted to be in the West Village,” said Dunphy. “There are so many families there.”

Slated for a fall 2013 opening, the preschool will occupy 10,000 square feet.

The replacement of Crunch with David Barton Gym will also add to the building’s tony sheen.

“David Barton Gym is a wonderful gym,” Dunphy said. “We really like their upscale image, and I think the residents are going to love it.”

The gym is offering a pre-opening membership deal at its new West Village location.

Howard Brodsky, David Barton C.E.O., wrote in an e-mail that there has been very “strong response from residents of The Archive and local buildings who are thrilled to finally have a DBG in their neighborhood. They couldn’t be more excited.”

David Barton will occupy a total of 12,950 square feet, with 7,650 square feet on the ground floor and 5,300 square feet in the basement. Renovations are currently underway.

As for VillageCare’s being pushed out of its first-floor space, Dunphy said, “I think, at the end of the day, they are much better off being in an office space in Lower Manhattan.”

The change in commercial tenants has been brought about due to the community’s desire for improvements, according to Dunphy.

“People are looking for a change,” she said.