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New York Daily Photo: Bleecker Tower
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Friday, 8 June 2007

Bleecker Tower

It's hard to imagine that this area of lower Broadway, part of what now is called NOHO (north of Houston), was pioneering ground in the early 1980s. The area was dominated by industrial businesses - leather distributors like Marap Leather who occupied an entire building at 678 Broadway or Commercial Plastics at 630 Broadway. In 1980, Unique Clothing Warehouse opened at 718 Broadway at Waverly Place (president Richard Wolland closed it and filed bankruptcy in 1991 with over $2 million in debt), beginning a wave of transition. In 1983, Tower Records opened at 4th Street and Broadway (recently closed). A few months later, the elegant Blue Willow restaurant opened at 644 Broadway in the building shown in the photo. Click here for more photos. This rock-cut brownstone, terra-cotta and brick structure was built in 1889 for the Manhattan Savings Institution (hence the monogram "MSI" at the top) and designed by Stephen D. Hatch. The building was in serious disrepair after years of neglect and in 1987 there was a complete restoration and conversion to residential loft apartments (known as the Bleecker Tower), already fetching millions of dollars in the late 1990s. It is alternately called the Atrium Building (not to be confused with The Atrium at 160 Bleecker), after clothing retailer Atrium who now occupies the ground floor. When safe to do so in NYC, remember to look up ...


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