Spring St. salt shed design sports some real sparkle


By Albert Amateau

The city’s 11-member Design Commission took just a quarter of an hour Monday morning to unanimously approve the Department of Sanitation’s design of the enclosed salt shed to be built in connection with Sanitation’s three-district garage at Spring and West Sts.

The design of the shed, which evolved over the past two years as part of the garage project, calls for a concrete structure 67 feet tall at its high end on West St. and 40 feet tall at its eastern end behind the Holland Tunnel ventilation tower. The facility’s entrance would be midblock between Washington and West Sts., east of the Holland Tunnel vent tower

The architect, Richard Dattner, Sanitation’s design consultant, who made the Nov. 15 presentation before the commission, said the shed, which is to replace the present one on Gansevoort Peninsula 19 blocks to the north, will be a minimum of 30 feet away from the tunnel ventilation tower. The shed exhaust will be from the roof on the high West St. side of the building.

Sanitation has engaged Reg Huff, whom Dattner described as “a world-renowned concrete guru,” to advise on concrete material and construction. The concrete will be glittery with mica and have little plugs of embedded glass.

Nighttime illumination will come from beneath the sidewalk from a glass moat covered with heavily textured glass around the building’s sides.

Michael Kramer, a member of the Community Sanitation Steering Committee — which has opposed the garage and salt shed project for more than three years — told the commission that the shed’s rooftop exhaust fans, at the windy corner of Canal and West Sts., would blow salt all over the Hudson Square and Tribeca neighborhoods. Kramer also said the tires of trucks hauling rock salt to street destinations would leave excess salt in the neighborhood. Regarding the nighttime illumination, Kramer said it could be a problem for residents on the south side of Canal St. whose bedroom windows would face the salt shed.

But James P. Stuckey, the Design Commission’s president, said the commission was concerned only with the project’s aesthetics.

The salt shed was first proposed for a location at Clarkson and Washington Sts. in 2007 but the site was relocated later to West St. between Canal and Spring Sts.