Eyesore of the Week

The storefront at 121 Chambers Street, a landmarked, Civil War-era classic between Church and West Broadway, does not have to look as derelict as it does while owners develop two extra floors and restore the building. Taking down the awning structure and painting over the graffiti on the gates would make our travel down Chambers a bit brighter.

That said, they may have bigger problems to deal with at this site. In 2017, the Landmarks Commission approved a plan  for the addition of two stories atop the current structure, designed by Joseph Pell Lombardi. But a stop-work order was issued on the property in December for “failure to safeguard all persons and properties.” The next inspection is scheduled for this month. The building is a through-building with 103 Reade, and was built that way in 1860. There are currently four residential units (eventually eight with the added floors), one of which sold in 2017 for $2.3 million. The entire building was sold to the current owners in 2016 for $16.2 million.

From Yimby following the approval from the Landmarks Commission: “A couple of neighbors also testified against the proposal. A resident of 99 Reade Street called it “dangerous” while another person said it was “out of place” and accused the on-site mock-up of not accurately depicting the addition. The LPC staff member assigned to this application said he had verified its accuracy. Manhattan Community Board 1 recommended against approval, and the commission received five e-mails in opposition.”

The top three floors of 121 Chambers were converted in 1992; before that the building held a fancy goods emporium, a brewery and for about a decade – a saloon. The city’s C of O from 1962 permits a sign painter on the second floor and an “eating and drinking place” on the first floor. The building is part of the Tribeca South Historic District, and for good reason. See Tom Miller’s entry for 121 here.



  1. While it has gotten better recently, in my opinion both sides of Chambers St between Church and W. Broadway together constitute one of Tribeca’s worst maintained/ least restored street fronts.

    The idea that someone from 99 Reade would complain to LPC about a rooftop addition is silly. Look at that thing on top of 99 Reade; no attempt was made to set it back from the street front. Its style, to use the term loosely, to me looks like it was reused after being discarded by a former Soviet-bloc country in Eastern Europe.

    • James,

      I agree, the middle of Chambers between W. B’way and Church is horrendous. It is, unfortunately, somewhat of a party street so there is a lot of trash build up. The wind comes from both sides and it collects the trash in the middle of the block. I live next door to 121 Chambers and for obvious reasons I am not thrilled about the two-storey addition and party roof the developers have planned. In fact, such a large addition requires a height variance. One of the reasons given to by the developers to justify the variance is that they will restore the facade to its classic look. Maybe leaving it looking absolutely disgusting is a bit of blackmail on their part – give us our variance or it will look like this for a very long time. However, it seems more likely they just don’t care. And if that is the case, then they would not be good neighbors and they shouldn’t get the variance.

  2. With you.

  3. Why was Housing Works thrown out for a game store? HW did more good than this store ever could.