Preservation Articles from around America


In This Issue:

  • ‘Everything Old in New Again: Conversation of Historic Properties In Lower Manhattan’
  • ‘State will not move forward with historic district designation of Gowanus due to overwhelming opposition’
  • Urban Renewal, No Bulldozer San Francisco Repurposes Old for the Future
  • For Kentile Floors Sign, Star of Brooklyn Skyline, the End Seems Near
  • 65-Story Tower Planned Near Grand Central Terminal
  • The Value of Land: How Community Land Trusts Maintain Housing Affordability


Preservationist around the world are thinking the same thing ‘why are you destroying good buildings?’ There can often be a case for and against demolishing/altering historic buildings depending on your point of view. There will never be a uniform way of viewing aesthetics. This is why we need preservation advocacy. Protecting our neighborhoods and utilizing existing structures is the easiest way to ensure that we maintain our historic streetscapes. Below are recently released articles and studies examining preservation around the United States.


Everything Old Is New Again: Conversions of Historic Properties in Lower Manhattan

Alliance for Downtown New York

Historic properties are being reimagined and preserved through significant new investment and changes in use. These projects show that preser­vation and economic development can be powerful partners. As new office space comes online across the district, historic former office buildings are being converted into new retail, hotel and residential spaces fitting for a 21st Century Downtown.


Click here to access the full report.


State will not move forward with historic district designation of Gowanus due to overwhelming opposition

Daily News By Natalie Musumeci

The state Historic Preservation Office has decided not to pursue the designation of a large swath of the neighborhood, an area that would have covered 422 properties near the notoriously polluted Gowanus Canal

“It’s very disturbing that people went door to door . . . bullying people to go against this and giving them misinformation,” said Linda Mariano, co-founder of Friends and Residents of Great Gowanus, a citizens group that has pushed for the creation of a historic district since the early 2000s.

Click here to read the whole article


 Urban Renewal, No Bulldozer San Francisco Repurposes Old for the Future

NY Times By Michael Kimmelman

It has gone widely unremarked, maybe because it’s so obvious to people here, that tech firms in San Francisco have not (yet) been moving into new buildings; they’ve been taking over old ones. Twitter has leased a onetime furniture mart on Market Street, and AirBnB has renovated a century-old industrial warehouse south of Market. Yelp occupies part of 140 New Montgomery downtown, the magnificent Art Deco former Pacific Telephone tower from the 1920s, lovingly revamped by Cathy Simon, an architect with Perkins & Will, and the developers Wilson Meany Sullivan.

Click here to read the whole article


For Kentile Floors Sign, Star of Brooklyn Skyline,

the End Seems Near

NYTimes By Andy Newman

The sign, an eight-story wonder proclaiming “Kentile Floors” in gorgeous serif letters, has loomed above the industrial badlands near the Gowanus Canal for half a century: first as the mark of a bustling tile factory, more recently as a widely worshiped signifier of Brooklyn cool.

News of its intended demise set off cries of say-it-ain’t-so across the borough and beyond.

The demolition plan had been approved weeks before, on April 17.Gothamist reported the plan on Wednesday.

Mr. Kanarek said he learned of the permit only on Wednesday.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” he said. “They know that they’re going to get a lot of backlash for this. Why would they take it down?”

The owners, including the principal owner, Ely Cohen, could not be reached on Thursday because they were observing the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, Mr. Kanarek said.


Click here to read the whole article


65-Story Tower Planned Near Grand Central Terminal

NY Times By Charles V. Bagli

City officials indicated that there were two other possible development sites: a Madison Avenue building owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the Roosevelt Hotel. Unlike SL Green, the owners of those buildings have not proposed new towers.

The city is starting work on a broader rezoning of the entire East Midtown area, which could take two years to gain approval. On Thursday, Mr. Weisbrod established a task force led by Gale Brewer, the Manhattan borough president, and Daniel R. Garodnick, the local councilman and a critic of the Bloomberg plan.

Click here to read the whole article


An Economic Defense of Old Buildings

Washington Post By Emily Badger

“For a long time, preservationists have been making the the cultural argument that these places feed our soul, and they connect us to our past,” says Stephanie Meeks, the president and CEO of the National Trust of the National Trust. “But this is the first time we’ve had empirical data to show that these places perform better economically and on many livability factors, as well.”

The report divided each city into a grid of 200-by-200-meter squares to allow comparison across neighborhoods (city blocks tend to be different sizes even across the same city, making that unit a poor measure).

Click here to read the whole article


 The Value of Land: How Community Land Trusts Maintain Housing Affordability

Urban Omnibus by Oksana Mironova

Affordable housing is on New York City’s mind. A critical mass of civic organizations, academic institutions, city agencies, advocacy groups, and others are pondering the essential and perennial issue of how to ensure that the city becomes affordable for the extraordinarily diverse population that makes it work. What’s more, the conversation is riding a new wave of perceived political support from the de Blasio administration, which has tapped leading academics and esteemed private and public sector figures to deliver on its ambitious promise to build or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing in ten years. With the details of the Mayor’s plan due to be released May 1st, we will undoubtedly be hearing a great deal of commentary about policy and implementation – development sites, low-income housing tax credits, preservation, NYCHA reforms – for weeks to come.


Click here to read the whole article



One Response to “Preservation Articles from around America”
  1. Historic Districts Council says:

    THe headline n the Daily News on Gowanus is just plain wrong. Please, can you not continue to tell the wrong story on what happened to the Gowanus Designated. Ther was not “overwhelming opposition”. The opposition fell well short of the 50% the state announced at the info meeting was necessary to stop the listing. And NO government official submitted a letter of opposition, not even the city government that asked for the 60 day extension.

    The listing was put aside by the state because of a few big-guns that swopped in on the SHPO office. Those few big guns did overwhelm the small state office with threatening legal attacks.

    We would appreciate help on getting out the actual story here. That a high powered Developer’s Lawyer and AKRF alone can shut down a historic listing through harassment.

    Marlene Donnelly

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