FATE OF BURNED CITIBANK STILL UNCLEAR AS DAMAGED BUSINESSES BOUNCE BACK

111th
Photo of the Citibank fire via FDNY.

Questions remain about the fate of a Citibank at 111th street and Broadway following the fire there that started the morning of January 11 and lasted more than 24 hours.

Luckily, the safety deposit boxes in the bank were safe and sound. They have been moved off site so people can get their valuables, Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell says.

The cause of the fire remains a mystery, although Councilman Mark Levine tells us that the marshals suspect an electrical issue.

Businesses nearby were damaged in the fire but have begun to bounce back. Samad’s Deli is back up and running, and Pancho the neighborhood cat who hung out there is doing fine. Vareli, a restaurant that is also on the same block, has reopened. But the Heights Bar & Grill on the second floor is likely to be closed for weeks, Levine says.

But it’s still unclear whether the building itself could come down. The Columbia Spectator writes that Citibank has remained quiet about its plans for the site.

Neither Citibank nor the building’s owners have commented on whether the bank plans on returning to the location or if the building needs to be demolished.

“We will have more to say on our plans to serve local residents, students, faculty and staff soon,” Andrew Brent, a Citibank spokesperson, said in a statement Friday. “We are relieved the safe deposit boxes appear to be in good condition and we are optimistic about the condition of their contents.”

Clearly, the owner could profit handsomely if the squat two-story commercial building became a larger residential structure. Levine has expressed concern about that possibility.

NEWS | 5 comments | permalink
    1. Eric says:

      After days and days of silence on the whereabouts of our belongings I finally managed to learn that (at least some of) the boxes are at Citibank branch #22 on Park Ave. and 53rd St.

      I wonder how the Citibank managers in charge of these boxes would feel if a car they parked in a garage were moved to another location and for 10 days no one had ever called to tell them that the garage had burned down or notify them where their vehicle had been moved to.

      In any event, the TD Bank on 109th St. and Broadway has a spanking new vault with bigger boxes at much cheaper rates.

      • ScooterStan says:

        Re: “a spanking new vault with bigger boxes at much cheaper rates.”

        Oooh…sounds wonderfully kinky!

        A spanking vault at cheap rates!!

        Wow!

        🙂

    2. Constructing a new and larger building on the site would be the smartest option. The new building would be safer incorporating modern fireproof construction. A taller building could house additional small business space for community organizations, businesses and add additional needed housing. Combining adjoining properties would make the project more successful and efficient. The Councilman and Assemblyman could broker a deal to get this done. A good unprejudiced brainstorming session could provide needed suggestions and ideas for this process.

    3. JC says:

      Does anyone know what the zoning for that lot is? I keep hearing fears that a very tall building will get put up there, but it’s a very small lot, and I’m not sure either leghally or economically how high one could go. (Obviously, if a developer could combine adjacent lots, as the previous commenter suggests, that would change the calculation.)

      • Borough:MANHATTAN
        Block:1894 Lot:47
        Police Precinct:26
        Owner:2861-2865 BROADWAY LLC

        Address:2861 BROADWAY
        Lot Area:3782 sf
        Lot Frontage:50.42’Lot Depth:75
        Year Built:1930
        Number of Buildings:1
        Number of Floors:2
        Gross Floor Area:10,470 sf (estimated)
        Residential Units:0Total # of Units:1
        Land Use:Commercial and Office Buildings
        Zoning:R8
        Commercial Overlay:C1-4
        Zoning Map #:5c

        The new building has the same bulk regulations as that of the building the West Side Market is in. R8 allows approximately six times the lot area for the building’s square footage with 80% lot coverage for a corner lot on a wide avenue. The final height of the building will not be much different from those of the surrounding neighborhood