Until the arts group No Longer Empty opened up the Old Bronx Borough Courthouse with an installation in April, the grand landmark had been boarded up and abandoned since 1978. The art show has renewed interest in the building, and according to the Times, this is exactly what owner Henry Weinstein hoped for. "I think the building was very standoffish to the community because it's been closed for so many years," Weinstein told the Times. "We wanted a way to reintroduce the building to the community." Weinstein has owned the building since 1998, but he only recently began a $10 million renovation, the details of which have been largely unknown. It's still undecided what the courthouse will be used for, but the art show has prompted interest from "more than a dozen" parties, including schools, businesses, and community groups. Weinstein said the makeover was long-delayed because of the economy, and he hopes to permanently reopen the building by 2017.
After No Longer Empty's show wraps up at the end of this week, the courthouse will close once again so the renovation can be completed. The building will receive new windows and new mechanical systems, as well as three mezzanines. The attic and basement will also be fixed up to create a total of 115,000 square feet of space over nine floors.
Visitors have been asked to share their hopes and thoughts for what the building will becomeart museum, movie theater, library, and mall are among themand Weinstein told the Times that he is actually considering these as options.
The upper levels of the building currently sit unused, and little remains of the original courthouse interioryou'll find no rusted jail cells or judge's quarters, all of that is long gonebut hopefully the impressive barrel-vaulted ceilings and grand rotunda with terrazzo floors will be preserved.
· Seeking a Role for the Old Bronx Borough Courthouse [NYT]
· In the Bronx, Art Fills an Abandoned Neighborhood Landmark [Curbed]
· Old Bronx Borough Courthouse [Curbed]