The Lafayette Hotel and Brisbane Building have canopied entryways along Washington Street. Not to be outdone, the former AM&As Department Store has added some street bling as well. This latest addition to the streetscape is about safety and not aesthetics however. Scaffolding has been placed along the sidewalk of the vacant building to protect pedestrians from a crumbling facade.
The 350,000 sq.ft. former department store is owned by Roslyn Heights-based New Horizons Acquisitions LLC. The development company purchased the property in September 2006 for $2,050,000 and announced a $60 million project to convert it into a mix of 180 apartments and ground floor retail.
City officials had been pressing New Horizons in Housing Court to move forward with redevelopment plans for the imposing downtown building. New Horizons previously undertook emergency façade ‘work’ in 2007 when masonry began raining onto sidewalks. Workers secured the store and warehouse buildings by chipping away loose terra cotta tile and bricks.
The main store complex, five historic buildings that were combined over time, has been a conundrum for a line of developers that have eyed AM&A’s and walked away. The most recent was Rocco Termini who had been planning a mixed-use converstion for the property.
Earlier this year the City removed a crumbling chimney from the building as an emergency measure.