HOTEL BELLECLAIRE PLANS TO RESTORE BROADWAY FACADE TO CENTURY-OLD LOOK

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A rendering posted in the lobby of the Hotel Belleclaire showing Broadway between 76th and 77th street after the facade is reconstructed.

The Hotel Belleclaire on the corner of 77th street and Broadway won approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to redesign the Broadway facade, making it look more like it did 100 years ago. The hotel plans to add a new limestone facade, decorative columnsĀ  and new wooden windows and doors. There would also eventually be another entrance to the Belleclaire on Broadway, according to a rendering. They’re also planning to reconstruct the 77th street side of the building, but the effect will be much less dramatic. The proposed Broadway changes are listed below.

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The full plans are detailed in this impressive report that shows pictures of the 1903 Emery-Roth-designed building through the years. It was approved at a Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting in February, according to Sean Khorsandi, the advocacy director for Landmarks West.

“The Architects are going to put the limestone base back on the facade!” he wrote. “It was removed more than 60 years ago and they are using historic photos to reconstruct the former openings, Art-Nouveau glass and lanterns. A replica of the canopy will be created but it will appear at a different bay than the original.”

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The block as it looks today.

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The block in 1914.

While Broadway is now a busy commercial block, it had few businesses in the early 20th century; builders mostly had planned to keep commercial enterprises out of the first-floor spaces of grand buildings, according to the New York Times. But as landlords saw the money-making possibilities of renting to businesses, those restrictions were lifted.

Up until recently, the block was bustling with commercial enterprises. The legendary Big Nick’s burger and pizza joint was once in one of the ground floor spots at the Belleclaire, and Bra Smyth just moved out of the corner spot. Mille Feuille Bakery replaced Big Nick’s (or half of it) and there’s still a magazine shop and a West Side Market there.

An employee at the Belleclaire told us that West Side Market, which appears to have been changed into a store named “Finley” in the rendering, isn’t actually expected to go away. The hotel’s general manager didn’t respond to our questions, and neither did the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The plan had received an icier reception when it was presented to Community Board 7 a couple of years ago, but the preservation commission gets the final say.

Top photo of rendering by Meredith Kurz.

HISTORY, NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 21 comments | permalink
    1. Tom says:

      Classy. I like it.

    2. jezbel says:

      Is the Belleclaire an SRO? Or is it a full hotel?

    3. AC says:

      Nice to see some nostalgia returned to B’way.

    4. mad says:

      The Bellclaire is not an SRO, although it does have some permanent tenants. It’s mostly a boutique hotel with lots of European guests. I believe it’s actually owned by a German hotel chain.

    5. Spence Halperin says:

      Looks beautiful! I hope we don’t lost Westside market though.

    6. Memory's Shaky says:

      The Belleclaire was seen prominently in an old* Woody Allen movie, though I don’t recall which one.
      ______
      *i.e, one of the funny ones

    7. anon says:

      very cool!

    8. NativeNYer says:

      Hannah and Her Sisters?

    9. Lisa says:

      Nice! It’s not often that you see someone actually returning something to its historical state. I wonder why the Community Board was not thrilled? Doesn’t make sense to me. Such an improvement to the block.

    10. kbmc says:

      Nice.

    11. pjrod says:

      OMG! No one is complaining.First sign of the apocalypse. Personally I would have preferred they make it a huge Duane Reade or Citibank (just kidding folks!!). I think it looks great.

    12. Steven says:

      About time we got a Finley store in this neighborhood!

    13. Amy says:

      Anybody else remember when it used to be the Banana Bungalow?

    14. David says:

      “Finley” marks the return of Big Nick’s

    15. richard roth jr. says:

      my grandfather would be delighted

    16. Nelson says:

      Fantastic!

    17. Lucien says:

      Wow~! great design. I think they will have no problem getting this approved.

    18. MarkM says:

      They kicked out Big Nick’s.
      We have recommended to friends from out of town that they stay anywhere else even though Belleclaire is closest to our apartment, and those friends have been happy.
      Belleclaire is not a good neighbor.

    19. Chris says:

      It looks good..
      I live right by there and they are bring this look back so they can get approvals to place a bar/lounge in the lobby.. The same reason they through out Big Nicks
      Old blue laws prohibit any entrance to a bar restaurant facing a school.. So they are trying to get the entrance off 77th st
      They will win approvals most likely. I just hope the new lounge bar is not too loud and doesn’t bring shady people or drunk people upsetting the area.

    20. dannyboy says:

      @Chris, Excellent investigative reporting! Thanks

    21. Sean says:

      More than likely it will not bring “shady and drunk people into the area”. It will have a bar that serves primarily the hotel’s guests as does the two other hotels nearby. Europeans love hotel bars. Historical note: the famed Disco Sally lived in this very hotel. If you do not know who she was, Google.