Dual Demolitions

Two Cold Spring buildings to be razed

By Michael Turton

In a marathon session that lasted more than four hours, Cold Spring’s Historic District Review Board on Feb. 21 approved applications to demolish buildings at 35 Market St. and 126 Main St. to make way for new construction.

No objections to the demolitions were raised during public hearings.

Residents review plans on Feb. 21 for 35 Market St. (Photo by M. Turton)

Richard Krupp was granted permission to take down a cottage at 35 Market St. and construct a building of similar size and appearance.

Beth Sigler, of the Newburgh-based architectural firm, Sigler-Henderson Studio, said the cottage was in poor condition. She told the board that the new structure would be “in keeping with the iconic form of the [existing] building,” and reuse parts of it, such as portions of the board and batten. She said that the cottage dates to the 19th century but that its original use is not known.

The cottage at 35 Market St. (Photo by M. Turton)

SCGY Properties, the owner of 126 Main St., said it planned to raze the mixed-use structure, which most recently housed Carolyn’s Flower Shoppe, and construct a building with ground-level retail and a second-floor apartment. The parking area to the east of the building will also be upgraded.

Speaking for the owner, Cold Spring designer Karen Parks said the existing building appears on maps dating to 1853 and began as a bakery. But in the 165 years since, the frame has deteriorated badly due to dry rot and its integrity weakened by “many cuts and compromises,” she said. “Very little of the historic fabric of the building remains.”

The former site of Carolyn’s Flower Shoppe at 126 Main St. (Photo by M. Turton)

Parks said that the new building would not replicate the original but its design would fit with the village character while creating a more appealing storefront. Materials from the existing building will be used wherever possible, she said. A yarn shop will occupy the retail space.

The new building also will be built slightly to the east, creating a 5-foot gap between it and the Silver Spoon Cafe, to improve drainage. Currently the two buildings are about 6 inches apart.

4 Responses to "Dual Demolitions"

  1. Lauren Hall   February 25, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    It is very disappointing that two historic buildings dating from the 19th century, which is the period of significance noted in the designations for both the local historic district and the National Register district, will be razed. While designers promise to build new structures “in keeping” with the character of the historic, there is simply no replacement for the original.

    I sincerely hope this does not encourage other building owners within the village to claim “disrepair” as an excuse for demolition. We must care for and safeguard our historic buildings, otherwise the special character of this place that we all love so much will be lost.

  2. Kathleen E. Foley   February 26, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    I’d like to flesh out Michael’s article a bit.

    Cold Spring’s Historic District has been designated for nearly 40 years. Over the decades, thanks to the dedication, investment and hard work of property owners, most of our historic buildings have been rehabilitated, preserved, and continued in beneficial use. Thankfully, there have been very few demolitions since the District was established—our Village is often referred to as largely in-tact in comparison to neighboring Hudson Valley municipalities.

    We are at a stage in the District’s life where the “low-hanging fruit” of historic buildings has been plucked—the architectural standouts have had varying degrees of attention and are being well-cared for by their owners. Luckily, folks continue to want to live and do business here, so even buildings that aren’t in the best condition are now being bought and rehabilitated. Repair and replacement-in-kind is always the preferred method of treating historic structures, and that’s what happens with greatest frequency around the District. Demolition is certainly the least desirable and last-sought option. In contemplating demolition, the HDRB must consider a range of criteria, and property owners have to meet a very high bar to be given approval for demolition.

    Every application to the HDRB is considered on a case-by-case basis, though all projects are held up to the same criteria and standards. These criteria are laid out in our local preservation ordinance and, in the case of state and nationally-listed properties, the project must also be tested against the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards. The public can be assured that the decisions rendered by the HDRB for 126 Main and 35 Market were not taken lightly or without close scrutiny. It is the Board’s purpose the preserve not only character but also historic fabric, to the greatest degree possible, and to make sure that modifications to structures in the District are made in ways that are deferential and appropriate to their historic contexts.

    If one were to review the public record, one would see that important factors tipped the scale for approval of demolition at 35 Market and 126 Main. The Board reviewed these two proposals for nearly a year under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, which requires a deep dive on certain classes of action that impact structures within or substantially contiguous to the National Historic District. As required, the HDRB considered multiple mitigation scenarios along with demolition.

    Number 35 Market is a utilitarian building; it was not necessarily built to last in the first place. It’s remarkable that it has survived until now, particularly given many years of neglect. It has major structural failures and widespread material deterioration. Two consulting structural engineers agreed that it would not survive being moved to deal with underlying foundation problems. The community was already losing the structure, and the approved approach ensures that its form, scale and as much of its exterior fabric as possible will be preserved.

    Number 126 Main spent most of its life as the Village bakery. It had undergone multiple additions and modifications, and most of its historic fabric had been either removed or modified. There wasn’t even historic siding underneath the vinyl. This building, too, had suffered neglect for decades and was in very poor condition. Poor condition, of course, is not the single deciding factor in demolition. We all can think of deeply damaged buildings that have been resurrected—the Grove is an excellent local example. But in addition to condition, the HDRB must also consider integrity. The Grove had a high degree of material integrity; 126 Main did not. What survived at 126 Main were a few exterior and interior design elements and some structural beams, though many of the structural members had been compromised as well.

    Having said that, one can still “read” the history on 126 Main. What makes that possible are its form, mass, scale, and particular details like the parapet wall, the brackets and the side bay. The new building will echo those design elements, reusing the actual historic fabric to the greatest extent possible. The new storefront will “read” like the building we all know. It will be consistent with the surrounding character of Main Street, yet it will still be recognizable as a product of its own time. This is a primary goal of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for new construction.

    I invite everyone to review the documentation for 126 Main and 35 Market to understand the range of complex issues that the HDRB carefully considered in these decisions. More importantly, I hope the public will be engaged in review processes as they are being conducted. Over the last year, multiple publicly-noticed workshops and other discussions were held on both of these projects, including the final public hearing. Periodic press coverage of meetings also kept the projects on the public’s radar. Four neighbors and two other interested parties attended the final public hearings and commented; they asked informed questions and spoke in favor of the impact mitigations proposed. No written comment was received.

    The Historic District is a community resource, and we all need to participate in its ongoing maintenance, preservation and interpretation. The HDRB meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month; folks are welcome to observe and share their views.

    Kathleen E. Foley
    Vice Chair, Historic District Review Board

  3. Patty Villanova   February 27, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    It seems like the Board really did their homework with these two demolition projects, especially considering the age of the buildings and disrepair they have undergone over time. In a historic Village like Cold Spring, the equities have to be balanced — the rights of the property owner who has invested so much as well as the fact that the building they purchased is in a historic district.

    I look forward to seeing the transformation take place where Carolyn’s Flower Shoppe once stood, and the construction of a new, upscale retail space at street level. I’m sure the new owners will do a fantastic job after jumping through all the hoops that were part of the approval process. The yarn shop will be a welcome addition to the retail community.

    One other thing: I wish that there was something that could be done about the seedier-looking buildings that are not being torn down or renovated. There are a few such structures on Main Street that really need some TLC and at the very least, a bit of cosmetic work. I don’t understand why the owners of those buildings aren’t required to adhere to at least minimal standards for appearance and maintenance.

  4. Andrea Connor Hudson   February 28, 2018 at 10:24 am

    I would like to say thank you to our applicants. These applications were carefully reviewed for nearly a year and I appreciate the dedication, patience and cooperation of our applicants.

    I encourage members of the public to review the Environmental Assessment Forms for 126 Main and 35 Market, which are available on the village website. There is a copious amount of material available for review. I would suggest specifically reading Sections 3.03 and 3.12 of the 126 Main St. EAF. Section 3.03 is a report submitted by Silman Structural Engineers. Section 3.12 contains a report submitted by Carla Cielo, an historical preservationist. See coldspringny.gov

    Hudson is a member of the Historic District Review Board.


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