crown CU Home > Libraries Home
[x] Close window

Columbia University Libraries Digital Collections: The Real Estate Record

Use your browser's Print function to print these pages.

Real estate record and builders' guide: [v. 89, no. 2288]: January 20, 1912

Real Estate Record page image for page ldpd_7031148_049_00000177

Text version:

Please note: this text may be incomplete. For more information about this OCR, view About OCR text.
0^ JANUARY 20, 19|2 NEW YORK'S PROPOSED CIVIC CENTER May Be Had At Less Thaa the Cost of the Old Tweed Court House, Which Added Nothing to Taxable Value of Adjacent Property—Post Office Should Go, T The County Court House of TAveed ring fame cost about $11,0(30,000. It added nothing to the taxable value of adjacent property. Like the Post Office, it was an unsightly encroachment on City Hall Park. It looks now as if both may be remoA'ed and the park restored to this uses for which it was originally intended. One has only to glance at some of the early prints of City Hall Park in Valen¬ tine's Manuals to appreciate the disfig¬ urement caused by the Post Office, the rear of which with its tangle of delivery wagons shuts in the old-time view from the broad steps of the City Hall. On the assured initiative of Senators O'Gorman and Root there is reason to believe that Congi-ess will vote to surrender the Post Office site in favor of a roomier situa¬ tion in or facing the contemplated civic center north of the park. From the expressions of approval wh):ch the projected civic center has met Avith in all quarters one might conclude that sentiment as regards park reservations has undergone a change since the post Oflice and the Tweed Court House were built. The change, however, has been not so much in the sentiment of the com¬ munity as in deference on the part of the municipal administration to public opinion. There have always been schemes on foot for despoiling City Hall Park, as well as every other park in the city. At one time, for example, it was proposed to erect in City Hall Park a reservoir for the distribution of water to be brought from the Bronx River; at an¬ other time the corporation actually voted land in the park lor the City Hospital. However, there seems to have been hut one period when the general statement held true that the city administration was willing to defy the preA'ailing senti¬ ment to ratify such schemes of spoliation. The plan now advocated is virtually to restore and to extend City Hall Park. It has grown out of the necessity of pro¬ viding- a modern County Court House More than a score of sites have been considered for tha new building. The final choice lay between the Chainbors street frontage opposite the park and ihe blocks bounded roughly by Leonard, La^ fayette, Baxter and Park streets and by ' the plaza formed by the junction of seA'"- eral streets to the southward. The Cham¬ bers street site would have lent itself better to artistic treatment in immediate connection with the park, but the cost of acquiring it was regarded as prohibitive The preference being given to the near¬ by cheaper site, the committee took a broad view of the needs of the city an.l rtcommended that ground be taken for other proposed structures besides the Court House. The civic center which the cummittee look forward to embraces sev¬ eral blocks and parts of blocks outside of the area roughly described above. The accompanying diagram brings out the de¬ tails of the committee's suggestions as to the land to be acquired. The entire civic center, inclusive of buildings, should not cost much more than the taxpayers were mulcted by the Tweed ring for the pvc?ent Court House. Here is a statement of the motives Avhich actuated the committee: "We have proceeded upon the assump¬ tion that no adequate treatment of this question can possibly be arrived at which dees not view the Court House as, in the first place, possessing good open .sur¬ roundings, and further as being part of an important group of public buildings which the city will undoubtedly be called upon to build in the not far distant future. "It is obvious that since such buildings AvU! all have to be placed in this general vicinity, it is better to group them, for convenience, for economy, and for the pr<,-i-l!gc of the city. Also that it is bet¬ ter business to make provision for them now, rather than to wait until the neces^ sity for them compels the acquiring of th^ir sites one by one. "Hence all the schemes presented here¬ with'tiontemplate such development,' now or at some future time, and although each one of them shows the minimum of area which would be required to pro¬ vide a mere site for the County Court House, it must be home in mind that we regard that as a temporary condition—a step in Ihe ultimate development," The area to be taken by the citv, both for the Court House and the incidental parking purposes, would be 120 city lots, or 300,000 square feet in all. The city already owns the triangular block be¬ tween Pearl, Duane, Center and Park streets, with an area of 7,277 square feet. OO. the Hall of Records bounded by Reade, Thomas. Elm and Lafayette streets. The committee also wishes to see the old Criminal Court House, which is now in a dilapidated condition, pulled down and a new one erected opposite the Tombs Prison on the other side of Center street and just to the north of the park. It is, hoAvever, estimated by the Real Estate Bureau of the Finance Depart¬ ment that the cost of .acquiring the prop¬ erty in condemnation proceedings would he from $(j,000,€(X> to $0,500,000. The committee suggests that as park space THE MUNICIPAL BUILDING AS IT IS TODAY. in n„^^„f?™''^'''"^ '■'^'^ photograph with the following one, the progress ou the buildmg Pn,.ir,=^ H, T "^^ '=?" ""^ "°,^®*'- ^°'^^ ""ie granite is yet to be set ou the buildins to Ti,™,f. '^"ejower stones, aud the upper portion of the tower still remains to be enclosed The hpi?i^^^Pv!,^Ti ^^'^'"^^''^,^'','"'^^ ^^'"^ ""'"-^ '■^^ exception of a few. hundred feet whitli is ivn^RH^iZ ' ^^ "alance of the granite, 3000.000 cubic feet is now stored under the Brook- / .%.'.,^ ?®^^/ ^? ^.t..%^'' ■'"^'^ ^^ ^°*"^ ^^ fie -iveather psrmils. The contract for tbe ^'k?. f= T J^ m April. 1910. This means that in a little over one year'and a half 700.000 i,^ii,?^. I 2,, .^'■^"''^^'1=^? "if^" quarried, cut, carved, and over half this ciuantity set in the Ouiidiug This IS admittedly the greatest record ever achieved iu the history o£ the busi¬ ness m the matter of preparing granite. or 2.9 city lots. The assessed valuation and new streets are to he provided a on the property to be taken is $4,42(3,500. certain portion of the cost should be Here are the figures by blocks; assessed locally on the property holders. Assessed the balance being met by the issue of 1 lot. Square Ft. Value, corporate stock. '^'LlflTette^'a"^'^' Sti^e ,,^^^3 figures do not cover . the addi- streets ............... 40 317 Sl 290 OOO t'o^al land reciuired for carrying out in Between Leonard, Worth ' ' ' ^^^^ the civic centre idea, but not em- Centre and Baxter sts. 69,063 1,184,500 braced in the Court House plan. Between Pearl, Worth, t^^,, (.nmmitfpe cavi' Elm and Centre sts... 23,346 -609 000 ..^t ^O'?}"""^^ says. Between Worth Pearl -Ju^.vuu ..-pj^g g,(g proposed Avould permit the Centre and Park sts,. 51,769 863,000 erection of the Court House Avithin what Between Pearl. Duane, ' ill effect would be a new city square. Lafayette and Centre with a noble approach from the south and q4i»t =„»;............J, '^■'^^^ 371,000 with open spaces to the west, enlarging portion' Sf bTo c"k ^"^ permitting the further development bounded by Duane of Avhat is now Mulberry Bend Park. Reade, Elm and La-^ The property that is taken is all rela- fayette streets .......105.026 310,000 lively cheap in character. The require- ^ , , -------- -—■-------^- ments of adequate light and air would be To^^l ................299,600 $4,436,500 satisfactorily met, the Court House placed Hence, it was thought well to buy for within easy access of the City Hall and future improA'ements the blocks behind the Hall of Records and the Municipal