Revised facade renovation for SoHo store approved

New H&M storefront retains more of building’s original fabric than previous proposal. On September 7, 2010, Landmarks approved a revised proposal to replace the storefront of an 1860s-era building owned by H&M at 558 Broadway in the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District. Landmarks had previously rejected a proposal to replace the two-story building’s entire brick facade with layered panels of fiberglass-reinforced concrete. 7 CityLand 76 (June 15, 2010). H&M’s new proposal would only impact the ground floor, leaving the building’s decorative work and a large second floor tripartite window untouched. TEK Architects’ David Lee proposed removing the ground floor facade, which had been repeatedly altered over the years, and building a glass storefront with grey steel framing and a sixteen-inch- high kick plate running along the bottom. An entrance to H&M’s second-floor showroom would be located on the left side of the facade and separated from the main storefront by a steel column.

Manhattan Community Board 2’s Jane McCarthy testified that CB2 supported the new plan. The Historic District Council’s Nadezhda Williams urged Landmarks to deny the proposal, conceding that it was “not nearly as offensive” as the initial plan but arguing it created a facade of two distinct and unrelated parts.

Commissioner Stephen Byrns found the use of steel vertical I-beams acceptable for the district, but said the storefront’s asymmetrical composition would be inappropriate. Commissioner Roberta Washington said the first and second floors would be too disparate visually and suggested that the architects continue to work so that “you know you’re looking at one building when you stand in front of it.” Commissioner Libby Ryan said the new proposal would be acceptable because the existing storefront already utilized metal and glass. Commissioner Fred Bland noted that the new plan would improve the existing storefront. Chair Robert B. Tierney concurred, stating that it was a “vast and significant improvement” over the rejected plan.

Landmarks approved the proposal with Commissioners Byrns and Washington voting no.

LPC: 558 Broadway, Manhattan (11- 1542) (Sept. 7, 2010) (Architect: TEK Architects).

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