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Commercial Buildings in NoHo: Then and Now

In late June, 2024, we celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the NoHo Historic District, which was designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on June 29th, 1999. The district includes nearly 130 buildings that were constructed between the 1830s and the 1910s. These buildings represent various phases of development, with the neighborhood beginning as an elite residential enclave, and transforming by the mid-19th century to a manufacturing district. All of the phases of development are explored on our virtual tour, which we have created in honor of the district’s 25th Anniversary.

Historically, NoHo, along with modern day SoHo and Eastern Tribeca, were all considered to be part of the “warehouse district,” named for the high concentration of commercial loft buildings. The name NoHo comes from it’s location North of Houston Street, and to distinguish the area from SoHo (South of Houston Street). The area picked up this name in 1970s when artists began moving into the loft buildings. Today, we will explore some of these historic manufacturing buildings that are included on our virtual tour.

631, 633 and 635 Broadway Landmarks Designation Photo, taken in 1999.

To begin, 631, 633, and 635 Broadway are the oldest surviving examples of purpose-built manufacturing buildings in the district. Constructed from 1853-54 for Peter Goelet, they indicate that it was around the middle of the 19th century that what’s now known as NoHo began to transform from a residential neighborhood to a commercial and manufacturing hub. Nos. 631, 633, and 635 Broadway were originally part of a group of four buildings (No. 637 was later demolished). These store and loft buildings are each composed of four bays, standing at five stories tall, and their primary facades are of brick with marble facing.

631, 633 and 635 Broadway, June 2024.

Some of the businesses operating out of the buildings in the 19th century included W.J.F. Dailey & Co., which opened at No. 631 in 1859 and sold decorated porcelain, china, and other novelties; and Delluc & Co., a French pharmaceutical company that opened in 1860 at 635 Broadway. Around 1985, the three structures were combined internally and converted to an apartment complex, along with the adjacent building at 200-204 Mercer Street, also within the historic district.

While NoHo’s southern counterpart SoHo is most well known for its high concentration cast-iron fronted manufacturing buildings, NoHo, too, has its share. The oldest surviving of these is located at 620 Broadway. Constructed in in 1858-1859 it was designed by architect John B. Snook, in the Renaissance Revival Style. Its cast iron facade was manufactured by Daniel D Badger of the D.D. Badger Company for millionaire landowner Henry Dolan.

620 Broadway Landmarks Designation Photo, 1999.
620 Broadway, June 2024

Another example of a manufacturing building in NoHo is 10-20 Astor Place, which was built in 1875-76 for prominent New York Democratic politician Orlando B. Potter, who had a number of other real estate holdings both within and outside the historic district. Potter achieved recognition for his national banking system that was adopted by Congress in 1863; in 1886, he founded the New York Architectural Terra-Cotta Company, which supplied materials for numerous buildings throughout New York City.

10-20 Astor Place Landmarks Designation Photo, 1999

This Neo-Grec loft building was designed by Griffith Thomas, originally as a factory and printing office. Manufacturing lofts above the first floor were in use until at least 1965. The upper floors have since been converted to office space, with a commercial ground floor.

10-20 Astor Place, June 2024

To learn more about these buildings, and many others located within the NoHo historic district, check out our virtual tour here.

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