Every so often a building collapse, a tipped over crane, or some other construction mishap will shake the city's nerves. (Perhaps this could inspire an alternate column: Look Out!). One block of Reade Street has the unfortunate distinction of two such occurrences. In 2009, a midblock section at 69 Reade collapsed, sending debris down the entire block. And back in late 2007, on the corner of Reade and Broadway, excavation on the adjacent L-shaped lot caused the already leaning landmarked cast-iron building to further tilt beyond the permitted four inches, prompting an immediate vacate order from the Department of Buildings. Now, more than three and a half years later, construction on the adjacent Reade57 is almost complete.
According to a New York Times article from 2008, the DOB believed that the building at 287 Broadway could be salvaged. Initially, temporary wood bracing was erected, which about a year later was replaced with large steel shoring. As Reade57 was erected, the new construction replaced the temporary supports, and now provides the required lateral bracing. New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission has also been an advocate for this structure, designating it a landmark in 1987; it too hopes that one day it will be stabilized, allowing for the owners to return to their property.
Called “prestigious” because of both its “mansard roof and early Otis elevator,” the building looks today much like it did in when it was built 1872, with the exception of the now abandoned pizza parlor on the ground floor. It was designed by the then prominent architect John B. Snook, is one of the few remaining examples of a combined Italianate and French Second Empire style that took a twist on the prevailing style of warehouse construction, making them more suitable for offices and hotels. For years the building was home to numerous law practices that served in the nearby courts, but with the final designation of this building still unresolved, it looks like the building itself will be the one in the courts.