CB3 Approves Castellano Upgrades to Landmark Jarmulowsky Hotel

Posted on: September 11th, 2012 at 6:18 am by
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The Certificate of Appropriateness needed for upgrades to the Jarmulowsky Bank Building sailed through the landmarks subcommittee of Community Board 3 without incident.

Ron Castallano and hired preservation consultant Ward Dennis were in the house last night to pitch the proposal for 54 Canal Street. One thing was crystal clear after an analog presentation to CB3 and the audience of press. Concerted effort for historically appropriate alterations – the plan is to restore the landmark to its former glory. Rather than sear your brain, here’s a quick list of structural upgrades that were voted on:

  • 54 Canal will be brought up to 2008 code.
  • Existing doorways will remain functional but doors to be replaced. Remove false floor on the main level.
  • The clock above the main entrance was stolen and will be replaced.
  • Repair stores and infill along the Canal facade.
  • Those photogenic fire escapes facing south will be removed and replaced with in-context balconies.
  • Windows along the elevator shaft will be bricked in accordance with current code.
  • Removal of aged rooftop mechanics to make way for new elevator bulkheads, cooling towers, and occupiable space.

There was also an addendum to the resolution “urging” architects to revive the dome and spire as it originally appeared. Meanwhile, other “slight” cosmetic changes, like balustrade upgrades, remain part of the plan but don’t require board approval.  They’re kicked up to “staff level” of the Landmarks Preservation Commission for consideration.

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That’s all well and good, but the elephant in the room was the hotel actually taking over the space.  Castellano and company only discussed the restoration of the exterior and its overall contextual appearance.  We’re more worried about the deep-pocketed operations to inhabit this neighborhood relic. When asked by the board about occupants, the talking point was the same – the space “hasn’t been programmed yet.” Translation – these aren’t the droids you’re looking for…

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Some of our readers are equally worried, like commenter Joey who notes:

In the grand scheme of things though (this Taavo Somer project) plus the Silkstone domination tunnel across the street will take our precious little pocket of quiet cool to the next level, and the rowdy douche will roam lower orchard/canal with no natural predators.

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