By Carter B. Horsley
Plans for the redevelopment of the southwest
corner of Broadway and 72nd Street, one of Manhattan's most important
intersections, were revised in late 2008 to call for a 19-story
building with 196 rental apartments rather
than residential condominiums.
The building, which was developed by the
Gotham Organization, also has about 48,000 square feet of retail
space on five levels.
The design of the building by Gary Handel was
been changed from a one-color, glass-clad structure to one with
stepped setbacks on its west and north facades on the top five
floors and the facades behind the setbacks is of a darker
glass than the rest of the building.
While the new facade design is more articulated,
it is, sadly, not a substantial improvement to the overall boxy
and uninspired design, which is out of context with its surroundings
at this very major Upper West Side intersection.
The apartments range from studios with
about 500 square feet to three-bedroom units with about 1,600
square feet. The building has a children's play area, a
gym, concierge service, a lounge and two outdoor decks.
The building's address is 2075 Broadway and
it is directly across Broadway from the southern section of the
72nd Street IRT subway station, an express stop, and across 72nd
Street from the handsome Alexandria apartment building.
The building, which also has an address of
200 West 72nd Street, replaced a 6-story building that was
originally the Colonial Club. Several preservation groups sought
unsuccessfully to have the former club building designated an
official city landmark.
An article on the Colonial Club by Christopher
Gray in the December 6, 1987 edition of The New York Times
said that "Founded in 1889 as the Occident Club, it changed
its name to the Colonial within a year, the new name deriving
from a stated endeavor 'to perpetuate the memory of Revolutionary
days,' including the retreat of Washington's army from Long Island
along the line of Broadway to Harlem Heights in 1776."
According to Mr. Gray, "Members first
met in an old rowhouse at 127 West 72d Street, but their number
grew to 400 in one year and this encouraged the club to erect
its own building at the junction of the West Side's two major
arteries in 1892." "Designed by Henry Kilburn, the clubhouse
was a sort of colonial palazzo," he continued, "mixing
rich renaissance forms with light Adam-style detailing....Inside,
the new clubhouse had a ballroom that was 82 feet long with 25-foot
ceilings, a cafe, apartments for members and smoking, dining,
writing and billiard rooms. The Colonial Club was unusual in that
it permitted women as guests of its male members. The separate
ladies' entrance and ladies' rooms in the building were actually
quite liberal innovations since men's clubs in midtown excluded
women altogether. There was also a ladies' bowling alley, with
a half partition that screened the women - but not their pins
- from the men, who used the adjacent lanes."
The club ran into financial difficulties and
was sold at auction in 1903 and three years later was converted
to offices and stores.