Friday, February 21, 2014

News from the HPC Meeting

The Historic Preservation Commission had a meeting this morning that lasted for a record-breaking three hours. The last projects to be considered in this marathon session were facade renovations to 364 Warren Street and a facade revision of 366 Warren Street--both buildings owned by the Galvan Initiatives Foundation.

The plan involves separating the two buildings completely and using them for different purposes. The building at 364 Warren Street is currently the site of "The Bridge," an alternative learning program for students from the Hudson City School District and Catskill Central School District. That use is expected to continue through the 2014-2015 school year. What it becomes after that is unknown. The building at 366 Warren Street is being prepared for retail use.

Much of the discussion of 364 Warren Street had to do with, as HPC member Phil Forman put it, the "target period." John O'Connell, the architect for the project, described the proposed renovation as "something that would be considered a 19th-century building." HPC member Tony Thompson called the time period evoked by the design "ambiguous," to which criticism O'Connell countered, "The building has some eccentricities to it already."

The building, which dates from 1805, originally had a gable. At some point, the gable disappeared, and the cornice was introduced. According to HPC counsel Carl Whitbeck, 364 Warren Street was "completely rebuilt" in 1980.

When the HPC voted on whether or not to grant a certificate of appropriateness, two members (Thompson and David Voorhees) voted no, and other four (Peggy Polenberg, Rick Rector, Forman, and Jack Alvarez) voted yes. Work on this building is expected to happen during the summer, when school is not in session.

[Note: The motion before the commission was to waive a public hearing and direct counsel to draft a certificate of appropriateness. Voorhees has since informed Gossips that he voted no to waiving the public hearing, because he felt the building was too important historically not to allow the public to comment on the proposed alterations.]

Although the historic photograph of 364 Warren Street shows a building to the right, the building now at 366 Warren Street is constructed of concrete blocks with an applied texture to make it appear to be brick. HPC architect member Jack Alvarez pointed out that textured concrete block like this was common in the 1920s and noted that the double windows proposed for this building were also typical of that era.

Alvarez asked if the fence shown in the renderings, which appears to be iron, was really going to be iron. There was no definitive answer. Although there is now a fence, which likely is iron, O'Connell said that they wanted to move the openings in the fence and indicated that the existing fence would probably be replaced.

The HPC voted unanimously to grant a certificate of appropriateness for the facade revision of 366 Warren Street.

Seeing the renderings of these two buildings devoid of trees no doubt strikes terror into the hearts of all who treasure the pin oaks on this site and know Galvan's penchant for felling trees. To allay these fears, Gossips reports that O'Connell explained it's hard to make trees look good in SketchUp.

Historic photograph of 364 Warren Street courtesy Historic Hudson


  1. 366 Warren & N 4th Sts. return to retail.
    Previously a "Chinese" laundry service, a "Little" bar, an upholstery shop & a mom & pop food/candy store in the 50's-70's.
    Could be a nice spot for dining, cocktails, coffee, etc.

  2. In true Doris Duke fashion the missing gable would be restored. Its not like Galvan doesn't have a surplus of period bricks to do the right thing.

    ... and those added eyebrow windows are ridiculous .

    1. Totally agree.Has Galloway ever been to Newport or Nantucket?Does he have any interest in architecture or history at all?
      He's going to to do and be allowed to do whatever he wants here, but why does he
      have to drag Doris Duke's Foundation into his Galvan "Mission Statement" Why pretend?

      And BTW, those"eyebrow windows" with fake shutters no less, are just absurd.

    2. To be fair, the shutters on the building now are fake. The shutters being proposed, according to the architect, John O'Connell, will be real--that is, reproductions mounted with the hardware required to make them functional. I'm assuming that applies to the shutters on the newly introduced eyebrow windows as well as the existing second story windows.

  3. Will the NYS Historical marker remain on the building?

  4. the architect's proposal makes an old building look like a suburban strip mall. can galvan try to get it right on this. the earlier buildings he did were better. this has no style at all, antique or otherwise.

  5. Don't forget to pick-up a few comment stones & toss 'em across the street towards the northeast corner of 4th & Warren.
    Is it even safe to walk past it?

    1. what a dump that place is - an embarrassment for a decade now ...