Not every building in a historic district is a thing of beauty. Such is the case at 1158 Broadway, in the Madison Square North Historic District, which is set to receive renovations to one of its storefronts.
The five-story building at the northeast corner with West 27th Street started life in 1880 as a rather handsome structure. In 1959, it and 1160 Broadway received a joint façade. The design concept, nothing fantastic to begin with, gave differing fenestration patterns to the two buildings. The pair fell under the LPC’s jurisdiction with the designation of the historic district in 2001.
Now a new tenant, the tea shop Cha Cha Matcha, is coming to occupy the ground floor retail space and will bring with it a new storefront. Brooklyn-based Clear Studios is responsible for the design, but it was presented to the LPC on Tuesday by preservation consultant Mary Dierickx.
Cha Cha Matcha will replace three different businesses on Broadway. There will be an entirely new fenestration and entryway pattern. There will also be a new pink awning and new signage.
The commissioners has no objections to the proposal. LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan noted that the building is heavily altered from its original state and Commissioner John Gustafsson pointed out that it is not one of the buildings for which the district was designated. Commissioner Michael Goldblum called it “lipstick on a pig.”
Manhattan Community Board 5 approved of the proposal. There was one piece of public testimony. Christabel Gough of the Society for the Architecture of the City was concerned that the renovation might damage a cast iron column encased at the building’s corner. Dierickx replied that while it won’t be possible to expose the column in the new storefront, “no cast iron columns will be harmed.”
In the end, the commissioners approved the proposal, without modification and with unanimity.