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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Nicholaus Building In Schenectady, New York... Can it Be Saved?

The Nicholaus Block, at State 
Street & Erie Boulevard was
built 80 years before the
1901 date was added to
its facade.

Built in 1820, along side of the Erie Canal, which ran through Schenectady at that time. Owners remodeled it 1901, in the old German style, and included that date on its exterior.

This turret has toured above
State Street & Erie Boulevard
for more than 100 years.

The Olender Mattress Building, next to to the Nicholaus Block, was taken down in March 2016 to make way for Electric City Apartments, a new housing and retail complex.

Previous unknown ghost 
signs were found on the 
side of the building. 

"Nicholaus Headquarters, Evans Ales Schlitz Milwaukee Lager" and "On Land or on Sea Une Bis," probably a Uneeda Biscuit advertisement were exposed to sunlight for the first time in many decades. 

By early April, the building

Cracks appeared on the first floor of the building.  A six inch separation opened up behind the bar of the Thai Thai Restaurant.  There were reports that the foundation had been compromised.

To ensure public safety, portions of State Street and Erie Boulevard were closed.  The Thai Thai Restaurant, on the first floor was closed.  Those living on the second and third floors were evacuated to a local hotel.

Our son, Adam, has been following this news story closely.  Ms. DeMasi bought Thai Thai Restaurant two-and-one-half years ago and has been working hard to run his favorite eatery.

Engineers created a plan to
"shore up" the building with
metal beams & concrete

After the Nicholaus Block was evacuated, locals shared their efforts to ensure that that plans made to preserve this historic building during construction of the Electric City Apartments with the local media.  Because the Nicholaus Block is not on the National List of Historic Places, it is not technically protected from demolition. Immediately after the building was stabilized in April, the City of Schenectady announced that there were no plans to demolish the building.  

The Thai Thai Restaurant  moved to the adjacent Town of Niskayuna and reopened.  The City is being sued by the restaurant's owner for property damage, loss of business and personal injury. Piyamas DeMasi is alleging that the City of Schenectady was negligent in the inspection of granting of permits for the demolition of the Olender Mattress Store.

I will be following this story closely...  I am hoping that the Nicholaus Block can be saved from the wrecking ball.

*May 24, 2016 Update:  The driving lanes adjacent to the Nicholaus Building on State Street and Erie Boulevard have been reopened.  The parking lane on Erie Boulevard, next to the structure remains closed.

*June 10, 2016 Update:  Owners of the Nicholaus Building, Viroj and Malinee Chompupong, are suing the City of Schenectady for damages to their building resulting from the demolition of the Olender Building next door and work done on the adjacent property.

*June 29, 2016 Update: Plank LLC is suing subcontractor DA Collins Construction for failing to supervise employees and using inappropriate equipment to drive pilings, destabilizing the Nicholaus Building.

*July 26, 2016 Update: A petition has been started in support of saving the Nicholaus Building.  The petition needs one hundred signatures, at this time.  It will be delivered to Gary Mayor McCarthy and City Council members.  Petition organizers want to pressure the City to make saving and preserving this historic building a priority.


ChuckD said...

Hi Ginny,
As someone who's family roots go right to the founders of Schenectady, I am also very interested in the political machinations of this city and how they'll handle this little mess.
There is an update from the Gazette (a sometime cheerleader for the casino this is related to). If the facts are accurate it does look like a bit of bullying going on against the owners. That would fit with the persona of Metroplex and its CEO.

Anonymous said...

Today is April 7th 2017 and they are tearing down this amazing building. I feel so sick to my stomach to watch this long standing building come down. Another piece of Schenectady gone and it will never come come back . I can't wrap around my head why these big greedy companies wann tear down and build new . You can't bring history back .