Back in March, I bid a sad farewell to the Dwyer Warehouse, standing partially demolished at 123rd Street and St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem. It had for years been my favorite building in New York City — a building that harkened back to a time when people invested serious money and care into the exterior appeal of a building so lowly as a warehouse. Weather-worn and neglected during the decades when nobody wanted to maintain a old warehouse in Harlem, it had fallen into disrepair until a nonprofit group called the International Communications Association began restoring it and converting into apartments. Tragically, a worker renovating the building fell to his death inside the water-damaged nine-story building on April 2, 2002. The City Department of Buildings ordered the building demolished, an order that the developer appealed in court. The developers lost their appeal, and had to tear down the old shell, which stood for three years in a netherworld of partial demolition as we waited for word on the site’s future.
That future has arrived in the form of a new apartment building that will recall the form and massing of the Dwyer Warehouse, its color, and its name. The new Dwyer looks like it will be an updated, post-industrial version of the old, right down to the bay windows at the obtuse-angle corner. Starts & Fits remains disappointed that the old warehouse had to go, but this new version is as close as one can come these days to a re-creation of that grand old building. It will be great to see life at the northeast corner of 123rd Street and St. Nicholas Avenue for the first time in many years, especially when it comes in the form of a mixed-use, infill building that fortifies the street wall. This new Dwyer is another example of the housing resurgence going on in Harlem, which is reinvigorating the neighborhood with infill buildings and rehabilitation on what seems like every block.