Plans for Belle Reve building will be presented this month

I couldn’t wait on this till the CB1 Landmarks Committee meeting — scheduled for Thursday online at 6:30 — but it looks like there will be a discussion about the demolition of the little taxpayer that is the bar Belle Reve, at 32 Walker on the corner of Church.

The building that surrounds it — the L-shaped 34 Walker / 309 Church — was recently listed for sale after the longtime owners, the Paramount/Boltex Textile Company, decided to close shop. At the time I wondered what would then happen to Belle Reve, but we won’t have to wonder too much longer. This is what the agenda describes so far:

The proposal consists of merging two lots into a single entity: 34 Walker Street – an existing cast-iron building to remain and be refurbished, and 32 Walker Street – an existing two-story retail store to be demolished, and built in line with the cast-iron structure. This new development is set to provide a new 6-story cast-iron building.

More when I listen to the meeting. 34 Walker is still for sale. And of course we have to see exactly who is making this proposal, since city records do not reflect sales of either building…

When the L-shaped 34 Walker was listed, I of course wanted to see who owned Belle Reve building, since that seems like an obvious addition to the development. It remains a corporate entity out of Chinatown called Hop Yee that took the deed in 1981. The building is in the Tribeca East Historic District, but others would know better if it is protected. This from the Tribeca East designation report:

This two-story small commercial building extends 50 feet along Church Street and 25 feet along Walker Street. Designed by Brooklyn Heights architect Larry Meltzer, it was erected for the Surel Realty Corporation in 1953-54. Previously the site contained a five-story marble-fronted store and loft building, typical of the district, that was erected in 1867 and designed by John B. Snook for Thomas Lewis, both of whom were involved in many building projects in the area. Faced in brick (now painted), the exterior of the present building contains an expansive storefront of metal and glass with a recessed, chamfered entrance at the corner and multipane casement and fixed sash steel windows at the second story. A brightly colored, three-dimensional sign which extends across the two facades advertises the bar/restaurant located in the first story.



  1. It is highly unlikely that this 1954 two-story taxpayer is protected, i.e., deemed a building “contributing” to the historic district. One block north, for the 31 Lispenard Street redevelopment, the Landmarks Commission issued COFA-20-08419 on 03/20/20. In the certificate of appropriateness it states, “With regard to this proposal, the Commission found that the [one-story] building [erected in 1947] is not one of the buildings for which the historic district was designated, therefore its demolition will not detract from special historic and architectural character of the historic district[.]”

  2. Curious to hear the plans as they develop. I kind of like Belle Reve, though…at least they often play great music (to my tastes). I wonder if Belle Reve will return in some new form in the new building, or relocate, or just disappear.

    One benefit of higher building plan is that it will finally get rid of the eyesore spraypaint vandalism, visible in the photo.

  3. Any info on what happened to the original building?

    “Previously the site contained a five-story marble-fronted store and loft building, typical of the district, that was erected in 1867…”

    • A demolition permit was pulled in 1945.

      Also, from the “City Record” (p 1884, May 15, 1945):
      “Department of Housing and Buildings

      Proposals for Demolition of Unsafe Buildings

      Sealed bids will be received by the Department of Housing and Buildings, Room 2015, Municipal Building, Manhattan, N.Y. 7, as follows: […]

      Until 11 a.m. on
      TUESDAY, MAY 22, 1945
      For furnishing all necessary labor, equipment, tools, etc., for the demolition of the following premises: Borough of Manhattan: 32 Walker st. (also known as 307 Church st.) […]”

    • Noo! Not Belle Reve! This is my favorite bar.

  4. Nooo! I love Belle Rêve! Have been going there since the first week they opened. The food is great, service is lovely and it’s one of the last somewhat affordable places in our neighborhood.