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Learn About the Windermere's Rich Past and Exciting Future

Discover the Fascinating History of the Windermere Building, from a Luxurious Residential Hotel to Affordable Housing.

Illustration of the Windermere Building

Located at 400 West 57th Street in Hell's Kitchen, the Windermere Building is a historic New York City landmark that has stood the test of time. Built in 1881, the building originally served as a residential hotel for wealthy New Yorkers who were drawn to the neighborhood's proximity to Central Park. Over the years, the building has been renovated and repurposed, but its distinctive architecture and rich history have made it a beloved icon of the city.

Designed by architect Theophilus G. Smith in the Queen Anne style, which was popular in the late 19th century. The building's most striking features are its ornate brick and terra cotta facade, with intricate details such as corbelled brickwork, arched windows, and carved stone accents. The building is eight stories tall and features a mansard roof, and it had one of the very first elevators in the city. The interior was designed to be luxurious and elegant, with spacious suites that were outfitted with the latest amenities of the time, such as gas lighting, steam heat, and elevator service. The building's lobby featured a grand staircase and elaborate moldings, which are still preserved today.

Historic picture of the windmere with a car in the front
The Windmere. Circa 1940

When it first opened, the Windermere Building was one of the most luxurious residential hotels in New York City. Over the years, the building's fortunes changed, and it fell into disrepair. In the 1970s, it was purchased by a developer who planned to demolish it and build a modern high-rise in its place. However, the building's status as a New York City landmark saved it from destruction.

In the 1980s, the Windermere Building was renovated and converted into affordable housing. In 200, city agencies determined that the building was no longer fit for habitation and ordered that it be vacated. The previous owner opted to sell the building instead of repairing it, but today, after more than a decade, renovation plans are beginning.

The plans entail expanding the eighth floor and adding a new partial ninth floor to the building, resulting in a total height of approximately 103 feet above ground level. The southern end's one-story wing would extend towards the west and north, while the central court would be divided into two open areas. The western property's light well would be reconstructed, along with an inner court recess that previously existed along the western boundary.

If approved, the project could be completed and operational by the end of 2023, following 24 months of construction.

picture of the windmere building

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