Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Another Historic Building Coming Down

There's a building on North Fourth Street that is disappearing. When this picture was taken, on Sunday, September 15, the top floor was missing, and the building had been taken down to the marble lintels over the second-floor windows.

The building is in a locally designated historic district, but no certificate of appropriateness has been requested or granted for its demolition. The building is also one of several buildings that were supposed to become the Hudson River Hotel.

Back in March 2006--that's more than seven years ago--Richard Cohen presented to the Historic Preservation Commission his plans to transform 402 Warren Street and the adjacent buildings along North Fourth Street into a hotel. His presentation included a model of the proposed hotel--the model shown in this picture, which appeared in the Register-Star.

The plan for the hotel, which was never granted a certificate of appropriateness or given site plan approval by Planning Commission, involved demolishing two buildings. A very old building, which stood at 406 Warren Street, believed to have been late 18th century, had to go to make way for the proposed hotel entrance, with its accordion wall the second and third stories of which were to be a "waterfall facade."

The building at 406 Warren Street was demolished in late December 2006, with a demolition permit issued by code enforcement officer Peter Wurster but no certificate of appropriateness for the demolition from the Historic Preservation Commission. In spite of the fact that the preservation law (Chapter 169-8.B) clearly states that "In no case shall the time between demolition and commencement of new construction or lot improvement exceed six months," the lot at 406 Warren Street has been vacant now for seven years.

The caption accompanying the photograph below, which appeared in the Register-Star in March 2006, reminds us that the plan for the Hudson River Hotel also involved demolishing the building on Fourth Street immediately behind 402 Warren Street to create an entrance for vehicles to a courtyard and another entrance to the hotel, where guests would be dropped off and luggage unloaded. 

It seems that Cohen may now be pursuing his seven-year-old plan. It is not known if he has a demolition permit from the code enforcement office to take down the building, but it is absolutely certain that he does not have a certificate of appropriateness for the demolition.

In a city that owes its revival and current vitality to its historic architecture and character, it is stunning how little care and protection is shown to that valuable resource by Hudson officialdom.


  1. It seems that people realize the Preservation Commission and the Code Enforcement Office has no teeth and doesn't bite, so taking a lead from Galloway they are just going ahead and doing whatever they like. And
    officialdom just sits there.

  2. ...i wonder who owns this building now as it does not reflect the behavior of Mr. Cohen but rather the same modus operandi of another well known Hudson developer?...

  3. The back wall of that section has been rebuilt this summer with big steel 'I' beams and bricks.
    Maybe the top is also being rebuilt?
    Who knows.
    That place is a mystery waiting ...for god knows what.

  4. I'm personally bringing suit over a recent (August) violation within a National Register of Historic Places district in Hudson.

    With the sole exception of Mr. Lesawyer (above), no one in Hudson has shown any interest, let alone sympathy, for a case that's mine to win hands down.

    I was on the phone today with a technician at the NYS Office Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation for 45 minutes, however I can safely predict that the present comment will elicit no curiosity from anyone in Hudson who espouses an interest in historic preservation.

    It's nearly the same thing with our local ecology: miniscule islands of occasional concern surrounded by large numbers of apathetic posers of all ages.

    In Hudson it's every man for himself, the sort of community that's a beacon for "developers."

    We have pretty good laws in place, but you, fellow citizens, have no will whatsoever.