In 2015, New York’s landmarks law turned 50 years old. Events and discussion panels were held across the city throughout the year. The Museum of the City of New York held the commemorative Saving Place exhibit. As YIMBY reported, six individual landmarks and four historic districts were designated during this period. However, last year also saw its fair share of demolitions. Here, we look back at a small selection from the dozens of buildings that met the wrecking ball over the course of 2015. These eight structures range from architectural masterpieces to eyesores and span across a variety of decades, styles, and uses – as diverse as the Big Apple’s built environment itself.
Last month, the leasehold interest of the 45-story, 468-key DoubleTree Suites hotel (by Hilton New York City – Times Square) was purchased for $540 million by Indianapolis-based Maefield Development, according to The Real Deal. The mixed-use building at 1568 Broadway, between West 46th and 47th Streets in Times Square, currently contains ground-floor retail space and the Palace Theatre, which was designated an interior landmark in 1987. Last November, YIMBY brought you news of the proposed retail and lobby expansions, and the restoration (and raising) of the Palace theater for entertainment purposes. The building is set to receive a significant overhaul, which includes the hotel portion as well as the installation of a new, state-of-the-art LED screen.
As SL Green is developing Midtown’s largest commercial property at One Vanderbilt across the street from Grand Central Terminal, the company is also building the neighborhood’s smallest ground-up project at 719 Seventh Avenue, just one block north of Times Square’s northern terminus. Despite its diminutive four-story size, the retail building will assert itself via a 150-foot-tall, 5,000-square-foot array of digital billboards. On-site demolition is complete, and excavation is well underway. Pavarini McGovern LLC is listed as the construction manager.
2015 will go down in New York’s storied retail history as the year when the city lost two of its flagship toy stores. At 6:00 p.m. on December 30, Toys “R” Us will shut down its Times Square store at West 44th Street and Broadway. The retail giant decided not to renew the lease due to ever-rising rents in the pedestrian-heavy neighborhood. Earlier in July, the company closed the famous FAO Schwarz store on at 767 Fifth Avenue, which had served the city since 1986.
Earlier this year, YIMBY reported on applications for a 29-story commercial building at 560 Seventh Avenue, between West 40th and 41st Streets near Times Square, and over the summer, the developer finished assembling the air rights. The Real Deal has the first glimpse of the planned Dream Hotel, which will include 167 units, per the latest filings. Retail space will total 15,463 square feet in the 118,508 square-foot building. Stonehill & Taylor Architects is designing and UAP North America is crafting a metal screen attachment for part of the three-story podium. Soho Properties, MHP Real Estate Services, and Hampshire Hotels Group are developing, and completion is expected in early 2018.
Last week, YIMBY brought you news that an entire Broadway theater – the Palace – will be raised up 29 feet. Well, it’s not the only theater that’s getting some work done. Two days before Thanksgiving, the Landmarks Preservation Commission also approved a renovation of the Helen Hayes Theater, located at 240 West 44th Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, and an expansion of its annex. While the changes aren’t as dramatic as moving an entire theater, they will be somewhat more apparent to those walking by.