Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Report: Landmarked former St. Denis Hotel selling for $100 million


[Image via Wikipedia Commons]

The Real Deal is reporting that Normandy Real Estate Partners is in contract to buy 797-799 Broadway at East 11th Street for somewhere in the $100 million ballpark.

The building is noteworthy for many reasons. It opened in 1853 as the St. Denis Hotel, which is where Ulysses S. Grant wrote his post-Civil War memoirs and Alexander Graham Bell provided the first demonstration of LinkNYC the telephone to New Yorkers.

Off the Grid, the blog of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, has a nice post on the building's history.

An excerpt:

In 1917, after 64 years of operation, it was announced that the St. Denis would be closing its doors to make way for a loft building. The reason for its demise was the surrounding neighborhood’s change in character and the manager’s inability to keep up with modern hotel-keeping ideas. In February 1920, the Renwick family finally sold the property, which had been in their family for 250 years, at auction.

“The changing of the St. Denis Hotel to an office building obliterates one of the oldest hotels in the city…The St. Denis Hotel was the fashionable headquarters half a century ago” said the New York Times. The hotel was converted into a modern store and office building and, during renovations, was stripped of its previous decorative front.

As we noted at the time: "Ah applesauce!" A few EVG readers figured the storefronts would attract yet another millinery shop.

Anyway! Here's a photo of the hotel in its glory days... (from the NYPL via Off the Grid)...



As for the future of the address, The Real Deal noted: "It was not immediately clear what Normandy plans to do with the building."

6 comments:

Gojira said...

Wouldn't it be nice if they put the original decorative front back on?

Michael Ivan said...

$100 mil has such a nice round feeling to it. The two bit (no offense) leases won't be renewed and a condo be coming.

Anonymous said...

The structural evolution of urban buildings through the ages is fascinating. I must've walked by this place a gazillion times and never thought about it having ANY sort of history. It's so plain and nondescript.

Aside from the street level part that retains the old-timey base, there is zilch about that building that resembles the former St. Denis Hotel, which was gorgeous. What good did the landmarking do?

Anonymous said...

So why is this land-marked?
Looks nothing like the building it claims to be.

Anonymous said...

I have had offices in the building for a long time. I don't know if it is landmarked or not, have heard different things over the years.

But - a lot of the beauty of the original building remains in details of the rooms and spaces -- my ceilings are about 12 feet high, there is crown molding everywhere, the proportions of rooms are nice, and then on the second/parlor floor, where the hotel public rooms used to be, there are especially beautiful spaces.

And - the layout is such that I can't see conversion to apartments making sense. It is a hotel layout so you'd have to either block up all windows on one whole side of the building or create apartments that were railroad-ish, no more than 15 feet deep I think, maybe less.

Virginia Kelley

Sharon Daly said...

i expect that Normandy Realty plans to upgrade in a big way to attract a very different kind of tenant (the kind with deep pockets). I've been subletting for 15 years at the St. Denis. It's been a wonderful place for a psychotherapy practice and a great community. I've always felt very blessed to be there. I spoke to a colleague whose practice is elsewhere and she said that there is nothing else quite like 80 East 11th. The rents have been affordable and that has made it possible to provide a reasonable sliding scale to patients. It's not going to be easy if we have to move.