Friday, March 21, 2014

Another Old House Going Down

It's a sad fact that any old house in the Second Ward that survived the devastation of urban renewal in the 1970s is an easy target for demolition today. Today another abused survivor is going down: 12 North Second Street. It is a little known fact, apparently, that this house is/was a contributing structure in the locally designated Warren Street Historic District. No certificate of appropriateness was sought for its demolition.

In 2010, this house was on Bill Hughes' "wish list" of houses that could be demolished to build replacement units for Bliss Towers. Tax records indicate that the house was once part of Phil Gellert's "Northern Empire." In 2003, it was acquired by Galvan Partners, and in 2012, ownership was transferred from Galvan Partners to the not-for-profit Galvan Initiatives Foundation.

According to code enforcement officer Craig Haigh, this was an "emergency demolition," which bypassed the Historic Preservation Commission and was signed off on by Mayor Bill Hallenbeck and city attorney Carl Whitbeck. Presumably the emergency demolition was necessary because the house, which has been owned by Galvan for more than a decade, was falling apart and presented a public safety hazard.


  1. In the real world GALVAN should have been sued for 10 years of neglect and endangering the populace .

    1. Exactly, Demolition by Neglect is disgusting.

    2. By experience here in Hudson,there is too much I could say about this.I need to find out more,which I will.NYS Building and Fire Safety Codes dictate what Hudson,NY can and cannot do.Hudson is notorious for misusing "Eminent Danger" for sudden demolition ,which is the "Marshal Law "of Building Codes. It's a very serious Law for serious situations. It is abused as a convenience to bypass Law. This building was not struck by lightning or gutted by a fire last week.It resulted by neglect.As the new CEO has inherited the mess left by the former CEO, and a Municipal Government that has abused this Law for a long time., for it's and "special interests" they are vested in.

      What I would ask , is that the Train Depot is inspected now and cited for any structural problems and be enforced now and resolved, so that it does not meet this same fate ,by all the same people involved in this case.

  2. This is very sad, but where public safety is concerned I have full confidence in CEO Haigh's determination to bypass the HPC.

    The underlying issue which Vincent has already touched upon is that of "demolition by neglect," which has brought things to this point.

    "Allowing a building to fall into such a state of disrepair that it becomes necessary or desirable to demolish it. Property owners have been accused of permitting demolition by neglect on purpose, in order to save demolition costs" (City of Hudson Code §169-2).

    An interesting question is whether §169-2 can be applied to the Ferry Street Bridge, and whether it is the city itself that wants to see the bridge fall apart? I submit that the neglect of bridge, notwithstanding the identity of the party responsible for maintaining it, is a shared goal of the Office of the Mayor and the Common Council alike.

    But couldn't the impetus to have enforced §169-2 on 2nd Street have originated from any department or city office? In such a small city, why are we so compartmentalized?

    It would be interesting to learn whether Habitat for Humanity of Columbia County ever considered the 2nd Street house for refurbishment, although Habitat's director Brenda Adams reports that nowadays the group is sworn to build anew in every case.

    1. 12 N.2nd is a half block from Community Garden, where HCDPA sold half to Habitat for Humanity for $5,000 in Dec. Last year,(from Galvan site)
      "Galvan Foundation
      Round 1
      Habitat for Humanity 15,000
      Support for the development of single family homes on Columbia Street"

    2. A touch of irony; the factory at North dock that tricky Rick had condemned (and quickly raised) had four inch tongue and groove flooring made of hartwood pine. Could have been used to re-deck that bridge. Sold for scrap...

    3. But if the city wouldn't do anything differently today then there'd be no irony.

  3. Down to rubble now. As I drove past the site this afternoon, I witnessed a local resident asking a worker, basically, what had happened here? The worker answered from across the street, that they were there to work and beyond that, had no answer.

    I wonder, when a demolition like this takes place, is there a notice that goes out beforehand to let residents and businesses know what is to happen? When rubble and dust is created, this might be helpful to health issues by those around the site.

    What is the protocol to announce this event to neighbors?

  4. Simple solution: close HCF and move the high rise residents in. Leave the bars and gates to keep the poor safely tucked away. Problem solved.