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 original appearance. 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.
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