11 Most Endangered Update: H. H. Richardson House Has a New Owner

Posted on: January 18th, 2008 by Preservation magazine

 

H.H. Richardson HouseMore New Orleans than New England, a 204-year-old house with a two-story veranda stands out in suburban Boston. The house at 25 Cottage Street in Brookline, Mass., is not one that a casual observer might link with the work of Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-1886), one of America's most important 19th-century architects. It was in this Federal-style house that Richardson spent the most productive years of his career, from 1874 to his death in 1886, designing masterpieces such as Boston's Trinity Church, which he could see from the house.

After being on the market for seven years, the house found a new owner last month. "I don't like to think what damage the house would incur if it were left unprotected another year," says Allan Galper, chair of the three-year-old Committee to Save the H.H. Richardson House. "We're glad a buyer has been found."

On Dec. 5, the H. H. Richardson Trust bought the property for $2.2 million. "It is an honor to have this opportunity to restore a precious piece of American history," said Michael Minkoff, a spokesman for that trust and owner of Washington, D.C.-based National Development Corp., in a statement. Minkoff has restored historic buildings in New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C., according to the Jan. 10 statement.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Notes from New Orleans: FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program

Posted on: January 17th, 2008 by Walter Gallas 1 Comment

 

Today, FEMA formally announced the opening of a 60-day exception period during which property owners who have completed or begun work that might qualify for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds will be reviewed and evaluated. This is a rare case of the feds allowing money to go to someone after the work is done and without review of the work at the front end. It’s a necessity, though, under the circumstances.

Many homeowners wanted to get ahead of the game as they repaired their homes, by retrofitting them for future storm protection, elevating outdoor AC compressors, or more ambitiously, elevating the entire house. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and other parties wanted to make sure that there would be a strenuous public outreach and education effort during this period to try to minimize really harmful effects upon historic properties. In preparation for this effort, FEMA drafted news releases and information sheets, which all of us reviewed. The Trust and the PRC will be working with FEMA on a workshop or two to offer to interested property owners between now and March 16, the close of the exception period.

No one knows how many properties this will affect.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Apollo Theater To Expand

Posted on: January 17th, 2008 by Margaret Foster

 

Apollo Theater interiorThe Harlem theater where Ella Fitzgerald got her start needs an infusion of millions to complete the final phase of its restoration and expansion.

Yesterday the nonprofit Apollo Theater Foundation, launched in 1991, announced a campaign to raise $45.5 million for the theater's restoration, which has been under way since 2001.

Built in 1914, the Apollo was closed to blacks until 1928. Today, with 1.3 million annual visitors, it's Harlem's most popular tourist attraction and New York City's third-most visited site.

So far, the nonprofit has spent $37 million to restore the Apollo's marquee and terra cotta exterior and upgrade its systems. For the last phase, architects from New York-based Beyer Blinder Belle will focus on the interior: widen the lobby, add a grand stairway and 4,000 square feet of space, and restore ornate details in the auditorium. ... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Lawsuit Dropped; Famous L.A. Nightclub To Fall

Posted on: January 16th, 2008 by Margaret Foster

 

Cocoanut GroveIt's a dark year for the Academy Awards. This March's event could be cancelled, and one of the nightclubs that hosted six Academy Awards ceremonies will be demolished this month.

The Cocoanut Grove was the nightclub of the 1921 Ambassador Hotel, which the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) tore down two years ago to make way for a new 4,200-student school, to open next year.

On Jan. 2, the Los Angeles Conservancy settled its lawsuit against the school district, which bought the Ambassador's 24-acre site in 2001, in exchange for its $4 million commitment to conserve 125 historic schools in the city.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Notes from New Orleans: A New Vision for B.W. Cooper

Posted on: January 16th, 2008 by Walter Gallas

 

I sat in on the presentation by KBK Enterprises of the results of B.W. Cooper residents’ visioning and planning for the redevelopment of the public housing site. About 45 residents saw the proposed site plan for Phase 1, which will accommodate 410 units. They were also shown nine different building types, which will contain one to four units each and will be placed around greens and backed by parking lanes on the interior of five large blocks.

Residents were told that Phase 2 will redevelop the block containing the 300 units currently occupied by B. W. Cooper residents. This phase won’t begin until residents are able to move into the new housing—which is scheduled for completion in September 2010. The residents were unanimously positive and supportive about what they saw and heard, hailing the new designs that the architect explained “have all the characteristics that a real house should have,” notably a defined front and back and generous porches. It’s hard to argue for preservation of the solid old brick buildings of B. W. Cooper to an audience that sees them as old-fashioned, cramped, dirty, and reminders of crime and violence.

A thirty-day comment period for the designs begins now. The designs are to be posted at the Housing Authority of New Orleans web site, at the B. W. Cooper and HANO offices, and at the New Orleans main public library. The designs aside, we will have an opportunity to discuss the progress of the redevelopment of the four public housing sites—and compliance with the agreements forged as a result of the Section 106 review process—at a meeting with HUD and HANO at the end of January. This progress meeting was one of the requirements built into the 106 agreements.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.