Narrative for the C of A for Richard Cohen’s project at Fourth and Warren.
The Historic Preservation Commission is granting a Certificate of Appropriateness to
Richard Cohen based on the plans presented for the Hudson River Hotel Project on the
corner of 4th St. and Warren St. Our understanding of the plans and what we are
approving is summarized below.
The Project consists of three parts. The first part is the corner building at 4th and Warren,
402-404, which was originally the H. Rogers Emporium in the 19th Century, probably
built in the 1840’s, and much altered in the later 19th Century. This important corner
building will be the center of the Hotel Project. The building will be restored, with new
windows and a restored side entrance to North 4th following the original that was there,
with its pedimented hood repaired. While to roof itself will be raised to allow for livable
space on the fourth floor, the roof angle will be the same as it is currently so that it will
not be apparent from the street. Along Warren St. and wrapping around the corner on N.
4th St., will be about 135 feet of storefronts.
The second part of the project is 406 Warren St., an existing 19th Century storefront
building in quite poor condition, which will be demolished and replaced. The
Commission members have toured the building with the architect and satisfied
themselves that it is in such poor condition and has so little original fabric left, that its
loss will be more than made up should this project be built. 406 will be replaced by what
will be the entrance lobby to the Hotel, and is in effect an extension of 402-404 Warren,
in height and mass, but the façade will be folded back in order to create drama and
highlight the vertical sign they plan to advertise the hotel with, see plans attached and
photos of the model. The cornice of 402-404 will be continued along the folded back
façade of 406 so that it appears to be part of the same structure. Likewise the roofline
will be the same, although part of it will be glass skylights/ windows for the roof top pool
planned. The angle of the roof however will be same as at 402-404, so again a sense of
their belonging together will be maintained. The ground floor will have 19th Century
style storefront windows and doors, again matching those of 402-404, as per the drawings
submitted with the application.
The third part of the project is the row of three elegant brick townhouses in pure Greek
Revival style along North Fourth Street. The three townhouses will be rebuilt, keeping
the original facades and their details, doorways, cornice and window sizes and openings,
but again the roof will be raised to create spaces that meet current habitability codes, but
the roof angle and style will be maintained from the street so as to appear the same. Also
maintained will be the frieze band and eyebrow windows that give the row of houses its
distinctive Greek Revival look. The big change to these houses will be that number 8
North Fourth, the townhouse immediately abutting 402-404 Warren, will have its first
floor removed, to create an entrance to the hotel. This entrance will be a drive through
and under the second and third floors of the townhouse, so that cars will drive in, drop of
guests, and exit at Prison Alley. In order to keep the new entrance in keeping with the
style of the townhouses which are quite severe in their horizontal and simple decoration;
the Commission has requested that the entrance be a simple straight line, and any gate be
likewise. One of the options presented called for a pendimented gable over the entrance,
we felt that echoed too closely the original much smaller side entrance to 402, which they
plan to restore and confuse the two buildings styles. What is special about the row of
three townhouses is their pure modest Greek Revival style, softened only by a Victorian
cornice of fairly simple design, added later and being retained in this renovation.
Along Prison Alley, the townhouses on Fourth Street are being rebuilt and extended in
the back. Immediately behind the corner house will be an extension to it for a stair hall,
and a parking garage. The building will end at the driveway, which serves as the exit for
the entrance on North 4th St. The decorated cornice of North 4th will be duplicated on the
rear of the extended townhouses, so that the Prison Alley view of them will be
recognizable. There are roof gardens planned over the drive and rear entrance of the
hotel, so that the Prison Alley view will be softened by these plantings. The rear
windows of the hotel will match in style those of the front, except for some of them will
be larger. Also visible from the alley will be exterior stairs allowing access to a roof deck
on the top of the hotel to afford access to the spectacular views from it.
The Entrance on North 4th will require removing about 168 sq. ft. of the façade of number
8, in order to create the entrance, with the remaining façade being fully restored to its
This application is granted with the understanding that the attached plans, and the model
be adhered to, and the narrative from the architect be followed.