Yesterday, the Historic Preservation Commission continued its review of the plans to convert the buildings at Warren and North Fourth Street into a hotel to be known as "Hudson Public." At its previous meeting on December 16, the HPC expressed concern particularly about the proposed third floor to be added to the two Greek Revival rowhouses facing North Fourth Street. What was proposed would create a gambrel roof on the buildings.
On Friday, Walter Chatham, one of the architects for the project, presented a revised design for the addition to these buildings, one that involved a mansard roof. The infill building being proposed also has a mansard roof, to accommodate the override for the two elevators that will be located in this new building.
Chatham offered the mansard roof at the back of 6 West Court Street as the model for what is now being proposed for 10 and 12 North Fourth Street and described a mansard roof as "a traditional way to add on to a historic building."
The change to a mansard roof on the buildings eliminates one of the two gambrel roof profiles that will be seen from Prison Alley. Chatham maintained that the second broader gambrel roof, which is farther from North Fourth Street, will always be seen in parallax, and that will compress its size.
Responding to the proposed change, HPC member Miranda Barry acknowledged that a mansard roof was a common solution but expressed reservations. "These are old and beautiful rowhouses," she told Chatham, "and you are changing the profile." Chatham explained that it was necessary to add a floor to these buildings "to justify the capital investment." He also maintained that the buildings were not elegant rowhouses but rather tenements. He went on to say, "The scale of many buildings in Hudson is a little crazy," and asserted, "To make this work, somebody has to add on to it."
The houses at 10 and 12 North Fourth Street appear at the right in this historic photograph from the Evelyn and Robert Monthie Collection at the Columbia County Historical Society.
Commenting on Zoom, Matt McGhee, a regular follower and critic of the HPC, postulated that 402 Warren Street and the rowhouses were constructed as a unit and were "incredibly expensive to build." He noted the marble details and other architectural elements of the buildings and concluded, "You are underestimating what this building is." McGhee asserted that the building was "the work of a very fine architect" and suggested that architect was A. J. Davis, best known in Hudson for his association with the Dr. Oliver Bronson House.
The HPC is scheduling a public hearing on the project to take place on Friday, January 27, at 10:00 a.m., at which time McGhee is likely to present more information derived from his study of the buildings.
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