Monday, March 25, 2019

There's not much left of the former St. Denis Hotel on Broadway


[Photo by Dave on 7th]

Workers have been slowing bringing down the historic St. Denis building, 799 Broadway at 11th Street.

The above photo via Dave on 7th shows what's left. Workers started the demo prep work back in September.

Normandy Real Estate Partners bought the property for somewhere in the $100 million ballpark back in 2016.

On March 14, the city OK'd permits for the 12-story, "loft-style building" taking the place of the St. Denis. According to a news release about the address: "799 Broadway will feature floor-to-ceiling glass, private terraces, and 15 foot high ceilings. This combination of highly desirable location and state-of-the-art design will appeal to New York’s most progressive and creative companies."

And a rendering of the new building...


[Binyan Studios]

The nearly demolished structure, which was 165 years old, was 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 was not landmarked... and it was not in a Historic District.

For more history, Jeremiah Moss, who once worked in the St. Denis, wrote this feature titled "The Death and Life of a Great American Building" for The New York Review of Books in March 2018.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: Maps show that Midtown South does NOT include the East Village/Astor Place

Report: Former St. Denis Hotel selling for $100 million


[Image via Wikipedia Commons]

11 comments:

noble neolani said...

What a horrid city New York can be.

Donnie Moder said...

Just because it is possible to build a building that looks like a pile of glass, does not mean you should build it.

Anonymous said...

A real loss of a piece of American History the building itself nothing special. But Grant after leaving Office was broke and sick with cancer. His friend Mark Twain advised him to write his biography which he did in this Hotel. Twain helped him find a publisher it sold in great volumes securing Grant's ability to care for his family after his death. It is recognized as one of this examples of a American biography. What's next?

Anonymous said...

@11:01am: You say the building is "nothing special" - EXCEPT for the fact that it allowed numerous small businesses to exist and thrive there for decades. Is that "nothing"??

You know what else is "nothing special" inside - the Empire State Building! My optometrist had an office there for years, and inside is just "meh" - so maybe it's time to tear that down, too?

Anonymous said...

There’s not much left of the St. Denis- the same can be said of NYC. Between destroying historic neighborhoods with incongruous buildings and taking up huge swaths of land for a luxury mall, there is less and less of an iconic world class city.

Anonymous said...

@1:37pm: Agreed. It's Ayn Rand City now. Only cold, hard, sterile surfaces/buildings fit in: glass & metal, made as anti-human as possible in design. Actual humans need not apply, unless they are billionaires who need a pied-a-terre.

The buildings of this era will be known as the "glass Brutalist oligarch" style, AKA *fugly*.

Carol from East 5th Street said...

That new building does not belong in this neighborhood. It's a perfect example of how the corridor south of 14th St. needed landmark protection. The interior stairwell of the Hotel St. Denis was a vintage beauty. Only in America would this gem be destroyed. REBNY rules here.

Scuba Diva said...

noble neolani said...

What a horrid city New York can be.

Don't take it personally; it's all about the money.

Sarah said...

Ugh, what garbage. Completely out of touch with the rest of the neighborhood, too.

Anonymous said...

In saying "nothing special" I was speaking about it's architecture not it's commercial value to a few tenants. If it had value it would have received consideration by the Landmarks Commission. No fan of the current proposal it belongs more so in Hudson Yards. I was more touched by the unique history that took place inside. Perhaps a plaque outside at street would be appropriate.

Unknown said...

I've always liked that building, for its colour if nothing else. It's a bit different looking, what with its stripe; understated, but somehow elegant. The rendering of the new bldg is an eyesore, awful. More goddamn construction, more gaddamn scaffolding. For zero payoff.