Thursday, March 8, 2018

End of days at the St. Denis

[Image via Wikipedia Commons]

The new-ish owners of the St. Denis at 797-799 Broadway at 11th Street have plans for the building that don't include its current small business owners (mostly psychotherapists, apparently).

Vanishing New York's Jeremiah Moss, himself a soon-to-be-former-tenant, wrote a feature titled "The Death and Life of a Great American Building" for The New York Review of Books.

Per Moss:

[In the summer of 2016], tenants received a letter from the new owners, announcing the purchase and assuring, “We look forward to continuing the strong, positive relationships enjoyed by tenants in the building.” But as leases expired, they were not renewed, except as short-term extensions rigged with sixty-day termination clauses. Some tenants saw the writing on the wall and moved out. Those who remained hoped that [Normandy Real Estate Partners'] plans — whatever they were — would fall through. Rumors circulated about the future of the St. Denis. It would be gutted, glossed, and given to a single corporation. It would be flipped and turned into condos. And the unimaginable? It would be demolished.

In the summer of 2017, tenants discovered architectural renderings on the Internet proposing to replace the St. Denis with a seventeen-story glass tower sheathed in white glass, as sterile as an operating table. On their website, the CetraRuddy firm claimed that their design will create “an office environment that addresses mental and physical well-being.”

Here's a look at CetraRuddy Architect's concept for the St. Denis (via CityRealty)...

Normandy Real Estate Partners have yet to publicly announce their plans for the property just yet. (Normandy has said that this idea was just allegedly conceptual.)

The 165-year-old 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 the telephone to New Yorkers.

However, the building is not landmarked... and it is not in a Historic District.

Back to the article:

Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, is advocating for a zoning to protect the area and its architectural jewels. “The Tech Hub is accelerating the changes,” he told me. What’s coming, he says, are more “high-end high-rise developments — condos, hotels, and tech office buildings.” And there is no limit to how high they can go, thanks to a current zoning that Berman says is “very generous to developers.”

Read the full article by Moss here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: Former St. Denis Hotel selling for $100 million


Anonymous said...

Big moneyed developers are chipping away at historical buildings and cultural future one building at a time. There is nobody in city government even trying to prevent them from doing this. Residents of this area seem to have been left out of any discussion, just shut up while we demolish you history and make big profits.

Anonymous said...

What's being done to this building OUGHT to be illegal. Throwing a LOT of small businesses out should be illegal, and proposing an ugly-AF glass tower OVERLOOKING the beautiful garden & buildings that comprise Grace Church's property should definitely be illegal.

But there you go! I can imagine the developer already writing the ads:
"First class luxury glass office space overlooking PROTECTED GARDEN VIEWS" - right?! The developer will wreck the neighborhood while using Grace Church's property as an "amenity".

Nobody in NYC government is going to stop this juggernaut, b/c too much $$$ from developers goes into the pockets of certain people.

cmarrtyy said...

I wonder if we paid Cherlaine De Blasio if she would stop the redevelopment?

Anonymous said...

wow how can the first place Bell demonstrated the telephone NOT be a historic landmark?

Donnie Moder said...

The story of New York.

Donnie Moder said...

Bell actually first demonstrated the telephone in Boston and then Philadelphia.

Cosmo said...

Just looking at that rendering damages my well-being. The building is toppling over. If there's anything I DON'T want to be reminded of while walking down the street, it's falling buildings. Do these architects think at all?

nutbeem said...

What a miserable, stupefyingly ugly development. That being said, the existing building has lost any architectural merit it once had, and I would be shocked if anything meaningful remains inside. The unfortunate reality here is that it will not be landmarked because there's nothing worth saving. Doesn't make the new design ok though.