Breaking Ground, with the Department of Homeless Services (DHS), has proposed to convert the five-story former La Semana hotel at 25 West 24th Street, in the Flatiron District, into a 47-bed homeless shelter, DNAinfo reported. The facility would be an emergency shelter for street-homeless individuals. Housing there would be temporary until the city could move individuals to more sustainable living arrangements. After opposition from neighborhood residents grew before a recently scheduled meeting, officials decided to postpone the discussion until later this month. DHS doesn’t need the local Community Board’s approval and plans to move forward with the conversion as-of-right, according to its spokesperson. La Semana closed earlier this year after accumulating years of nightmarish reviews on TripAdvisor.
Just how in control of a historic district is the Landmarks Preservation Commission? The answer is very in control, as illustrated by one recent approval in the Flatiron District. Think of the commission as a curator.
A NoMad hotel will be getting a facelift. The Landmarks Preservation Commission recently approved work to be done at the Broadway Plaza Hotel, located at 1155 Broadway, in the Madison Square North Historic District.
As May came to an end, the New York City Fire Department was investigating the fire that gutted the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava, an individual landmark at 15 West 25th Street in the Flatiron District. Authorities and engineers were studying the structural integrity of the remains, and have now declared the church “too unstable to be left standing,” the New York Post reported. That means the main house of worship will be demolished. The rectory portion of the cathedral, which was unscathed during the fire, currently also has Landmarks protection, which should mean it won’t be demolished with the main structure. The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) has the option to de-designate the property, too, but we think, at the very least, the LPC will want to keep the rectory a landmark. The Executive Board of St. Sava will now decide if they will rebuild on the property or relocate. The site has 244,450 square feet of mixed-use development rights, minus the usable square-footage of the rectory.
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.