Three of the Oldest Buildings on the Bowery Will Soon Fall

Posted on: May 8th, 2015 at 5:00 am by
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Three of the oldest surviving buildings on the Bowery – including a Federal style row-house dating back to the 1790s – will soon meet the wrecking ball. Demolition permits were filed with the Department of Buildings earlier this week for 138-142 Bowery, part of a portfolio that sold for $45 million last fall.

140 Bowery, in particular, is worth highlighting. This structure was built in the late eighteenth century and was originally owned by men associated with the butchering trade. As a testament to its perseverence, the architecture pretty much surivived more than 200 years unscathed. Until 2011, when the owner lopped off the trademark dormers to nullify any possibility of landmarking.

These contiguous properties were packaged as a “development site” and pitched as such beginning in February 2014. Some eight months later (i.e. last October) Montana-based law firm Max A. Hansen and Associates purchased the parcels for over $45 million as a 1031 exchange. The deed lists “REVX-660 LLC” as the buyer of record.

When taken together, the properties allow for some 77,000 square-feet of buildable real estate. That’s a monster; although it’s still technically subject to Special Little Italy District zoning, which limits overall heights to 85 feet and requires a front wall “predominantly of masonry.” Yet, we all know that developers have become sly in ducking those laws (i.e. Nolitan, Mott).

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Meanwhile, 134 and 136 Bowery – historic in their own right – are both spared for the time being; there are no demolition permits on file at the moment. These were built around 1798 for Samuel Delaplaine and during their long history housed the Carmel Chapel of Reverend Dooley, the New York City Mission and the art studios of Eva Hesse, Billy Apple and Gilda Pervin.

Councilwoman Margaret Chin should really intervene to ensure 134-136 Bowery aren’t summarily demolished. Oh wait, remember 135 Bowery?

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