Expansion of NoHo Historic District approved

Landmarks declines to exempt Metro Sixteen Hotel from district. On May 13, 2008, Landmarks voted unanimously to designate the NoHo Historic District Extension, increasing the number of protected buildings from 167 to 223. The extension is bounded by Lafayette Street to the west, Bowery to the east, East 4th Street to the north, and Bond Street to the south.

The extension includes a historically commercial neighborhood characterized by mid-19th century loft buildings and tenements built to house workers. Following a decline in manufacturing after World War II, artists such as Chuck Close began to convert abandoned lofts into studios and living spaces in the 1960s.

At Landmarks’ public hearing in March, the owner of the Metro Sixteen Hotel, a former “flophouse” located at 338 Bowery, testified against the extension, arguing that it would make it impossible for the hotel to modernize and earn a reasonable profit because designation would require the hotel to maintain its existing facade. The owner of the hotel also argued that the Bowery’s commercial corridor had a separate identity from the rest of NoHo and, therefore, should not be included in the NoHo Historic District. 5 CityLand 42 (Apr. 15, 2008).

At the hearing on May 13, 2008, Landmarks Chair Robert B. Tierney opened by stating that the neighborhood “richly cries out for designation for many different reasons.” Commissioner Margery Perlmutter noted that the neighborhood was a worthy example of the adaptive reuse of existing buildings over time, from industrial and commercial uses to residential ones. She also urged that the Metro Sixteen Hotel be included in the district because similar buildings were integral to the history of the Bowery. Commissioner Stephen Byrns echoed Perlmutter’s comments, noting that the hotel should be preserved for its steel windows and “interesting Arts and Crafts style” design. Landmarks then voted unanimously to approve the designation.

LPC: NoHo Historic District Extension, Manhattan (LP-2287) (May 13, 2008).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.