As we reported earlier this month, local activists have launched a campaign to preserve 139 Ludlow St., the future home of Soho House on the Lower East Side, as a city landmark. Now paperwork is starting to show up in the Department of Building’s online filing system for the renovation of the 1930 Neo-Gothic building.
A work approval application was filed February 13 for the “conversion and enlargement” of the three story building, as well as the cellar, adding a fourth floor and renovating the interior. Lee Levine Architects, which has handled Soho House renovations of other buildings, is overseeing the project. The additions to the building, amounting to more than 3,000 square feet, would result in a new building height of 71 feet (presently it’s 41 feet). The estimated cost of the job is $3.8 million.
Two local groups, the Friends of the Lower East Side and the East Village Community Coalition, submitted an application to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, in support of designating 139 Ludlow St. The groups have also advised the commission about Soho House’s recent Buildings Department filing. In a hearing before the State Liquor Authority last fall, Soho House attorney Donald Bernstein said the company was “agreeable to working with a local organization to landmark the facade (of 139 Ludlow).” The community groups met with Soho House representatives some time ago but have not heard from them lately.
The private members club fought a long battle for a liquor license before claiming victory. The fourth floor will consist of a glass-enclosed rooftop lounge and outdoor space. Soho House agreed to limit late night usage of the outdoor area. The company also plans to create a basement space for use by community groups. Landmark protection would only cover the building facade. The rooftop might meet with the approval of the commission, as long as it was unobtrusive.
The local groups have started an online petition to advocate for the landmark application.