After a number of false starts?and six years of tilting some 30 inches to the west?the five-story cast iron co-op at 74 Grand Street is finally coming down. A new sidewalk shed has been erected to protect passersby, running along Grand and around the corner up Wooster Street, partially obscuring the big steel bracing that fills the corner lot and keeps this one from toppling over. Crews can be seen carefully disassembling pieces of cast iron which, under order from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, will be salvaged, crated and stored "in a secure warehouse accessible by LPC staff" with the idea that the facade will be re-installed on a new building at the site. Things were getting so bad here that the weight of this one had begun to pull other structures on the block out of line, and last winter the one-story building next door that housed the Deitch Projects gallery was put under a vacate order and may eventually need to come down as well.
The building went up in 1886, designed by architect George DaCunha. In the late 1800's the building served as a warehouse for a sponge importing business; by 1912 it housed the Pocketbook Manufacturing Company. By the mid-1980s Villas Boas, a purveyor of antiquities imported from Italy, had moved in, and the Paul Kasmin Gallery was here from 1992 until its move to West Chelsea in 1999. A photo from those simpler Soho days on Flickr shows the corner before the tilting troubles began. The main concern now is bringing down the weight of bricks, wood and iron at 74 Grand that are putting others at risk. Then the site will have its cellar filled to grade, with the hope of stabilizing nearby foundations. Residents who were forced out remain in limbo, with no clear indication when their homes and investments will rise again.
· 74 Grand Street coverage [Curbed]