Ridley’s Landmark Restoration and Penthouse Addition on Grand Street OK’d by CB3

Posted on: December 18th, 2015 at 5:00 am by

This image has been archived or removed.

The penthouse mockup atop 315 Grand St.

​That orange speck of two-by-fours atop 315 Grand Street (aka 66 Allen) is a prelude of a potential future for the Ridley & Sons department store landmark. A penthouse placement on the rooftop of the five-story former building. What you see is a mockup for illustrative purposes to help sway the Landmarks Preservation Commission into approval; Community Board 3 blessed the plan. However, the penthouse is not the main component of the proposal, merely the proverbial cherry on top.

As previously reported, the current owner and Bromley Caldari Architects hope to restore the building to its original 1886 grandeur. To a time before the department store closed (1901) and the ownership carved up the real estate for other uses.

Since the block-long Ridley’s complex is a certified city landmark, the owner’s representatives, architect, and Building Conservation Associates collectively appeared before CB3 Wednesday night for approval of the Certificate of Appropriateness application. It’s a three-part plan: restoration, zoning conversion to residential use on all five floors, and addition of a penthouse. (As it stands, there is only residential on the fifth floor.)

This image has been archived or removed.

The project will be extensive and expensive, with every intention (allegedly) of returning the dignity and former glory of the building. Architects are relying on the limited collection of archival photos to help get it “detailed and original as possible.”

Here are some of the design elements included in the overall proposal…

Grand Street facade. This facade is in pretty good historic condition. Nine of twelve window bays are intact, but unoriginal aluminum windows will be swapped with wooden replacements. Cracked cast-iron will be repaired and reinstalled; the existing fire escape will be removed; a new cast-iron cornice is planned to match neighboring building (319 Grand); stores updated and awnings replaced with stylized “signage bands.”

Allen Street facade. The design acknowledges the relatively modern, and altogether different, exterior on Allen, caused when the building was chopped to accommodate the street widening in 1931. Plans call for keeping the brick and cast-stone nature, but alleviating the “cut” nature of the corner. They’ll remove the “soiling” and stains from the masonry and replace brick where necessary. Building entrance will also receive a makeover – “monumental bronze” door and intercom system are both slated for upgrade.

This image has been archived or removed.

As for the 749 square-foot penthouse, the goal is to keep it as “invisible” as possible from street level. It’s billed as a light footprint. Indeed, its not visible standing out front, only when heading westward down Grand. The structure is set back from the cornice, and its plaster composition – bolstered by steel frame – matches the Allen facade.

Architects expressed the hope that owners of the adjoining Pink Building will follow by example. There were reportedly conversations to that effect, but owner Orchard Street Equities (aka Waterbridge Capital), who purchased the other two-thirds of Ridley’s for $27 million, has apparently fallen off the grid.

The CB3 Landmarks panel was impressed and excited about the restoration but did show some reservations about accuracy of the showroom windows on Grand. But that wasn’t enough in itself to impede the unanimous approval of the required Certificate of Appropriateness. Next stop on the tour bus, so to speak, is the LPC on January 5.

This image has been archived or removed.

Ownership will presumably return to the Land-use subcommittee at a future date to discuss the zoning change from commercial to residential.

They expect a two-year turnaround if and when work begins. In the meantime, below is the detailed deck for the overall project…

Ridley & Sons Landmark Restoration Proposal

Recent Stories

Aerial Photos Call into Question City’s Decision to Fully Demolish 70 Mulberry Street

On the evening of January 23, as Chinatown residents prepared for the Lunar New Year, a devastating five-alarm fire decimated the former PS23 at 70 Mulberry Street. Nearly five months later, many in the neighborhood continue to question the city’s choice to fully demolish the facility. Especially after the emergence of aerial photos showing the […]

‘La Flaca’ Shuts Down After Nearly a Decade on Grand Street

The novel coronavirus continues to decimate both life and business at will. La Flaca, the nearly ten-year-old Mexican restaurant on Grand Street, is apparently the latest permanent closure on the Lower East Side. A trend that will likely worsen as the city slowly emerges from lockdown. Branded signage was deposed from the corner establishment last […]

George Floyd Protestors Shattered Windows of B&H Dairy on Second Avenue

An East Village favorite became the target of violence during a night of rage and protest on Saturday, in response to the controversial death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police last week. B&H Dairy on Second Avenue had its front window smashed with a bottle. Another setback for a mom-and-pop business struggling […]

Fires, Looting, Unrest: Scenes from a Day of George Floyd Protests on the Lower East Side

On May 25, Minneapolis resident George Floyd was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill. Police arrested the 46-year-old black man, with one white officer pinning his knee into the suspect’s neck for eight minutes. Floyd was pronounced dead shortly after being taken into custody. This deadly response has plunged the country into unrest, sparking […]

Time to Demand Cuomo and de Blasio Protect Workers and Small Businesses in Reopening Plan (OP-ED)

The following editorial was written by Zishun Ning of the Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side. The New York City and State governments are still failing to protect people’s health and livelihood after two months of “PAUSE.” The number of deaths and infections remain high. Patients with COVID-19 are still turned away, despite […]