As this month got underway, we brought you the unfortunate news regarding the landmark Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava at 15 West 25th Street, designed by Richard Upjohn, the architect of the Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan. The 1855 building, which was the city’s only house of prayer servicing the Serbian Orthodox community, was reduced to a charred stone shell on the evening of May 1, just hours after the Orthodox Easter celebration. While the church is collecting donations for reconstruction, the authorities are investigating the fenced-off site for the cause of the conflagration, while engineers keep an eye on the ruined building’s stability. The building is a New York City landmark and is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Although the city’s laws protect the building from further demolition, the stone shell may be torn down if ultimately deemed dangerously unstable. Fortunately, the walls appear to be structurally sound for the time being, though serious reinforcement work would be permitted only after the investigations are complete.
In January, the 32-story BAM South tower at 300 Ashland Place (then known as 286 Ashland Place), in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, topped out. Since then, nearly all of the façade pieces have been installed, as seen in photos by our friend Tectonic.
A WPA-era park in the Bronx is getting a bit of an update. Last Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved construction of a new entrance and pathway at the Crotona Play Center, located on the grounds of Crotona Park with the address 1700 Fulton Avenue.
Early last year, the Newark City Council approved plans to build a 2.5-acre park in the city’s downtown. It would connect Prudential Center to the Ironbound’s Peter Francisco Park by bridging over Newark Penn Station, but it would also serve as the centerpiece of a multi-building mixed-use development of the surrounding vacant blocks. Last week, the city of Newark struck a deal with Edison Properties and J&L Parking Corporation to development the buildings, Newark Patch reports. Details on the new buildings are sparse, but there will be a significant number of residential units, retail space, and possible office space. Construction is expected to commence later this year and completion is tentatively set for July of 2018. The Newark Community Economic Development Corporation will head the construction of the park, being designed by MKW + Associates.
New York University’s 1.6-million-square-foot expansion looms on the horizon, in anticipation of its distant 2035 completion. However, well ahead of any significant redevelopment, a smaller overhaul of street-adjacent community space is already underway. NYU is collaborating with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation to upgrade two linear, street-facing plazas at LaGuardia Place and Bleecker Street.
Back in October, the Landmarks Preservation Commission heard a proposal that would remake a good chunk of West 29th Street between Broadway and Fifth Avenue. It would include restoring two landmarks and construction of a 64-story mixed-use tower. The hearing in October was paused because of the late hour and lack of quorum, and when it resumed on Tuesday, it became clear that one aspect of it was the big stumbling block.