Monday, November 21, 2016

Lenox Lounge Demolition

Is it possible that the former Lenox Lounge will be completely demolished? *UPDATE: Yes--and here's what's coming.

New York Yimby notes: "An anonymous Midtown East-based LLC has filed applications for a four-story, 18,987-square-foot commercial building at 286 Lenox Avenue."

So, either two stories will be added to the existing building, or the whole thing will be torn down and replaced.

The Lenox Lounge closed on New Year's Eve 2013 after 73 years in Harlem. The landlord had doubled the rent from $10,000 to $20,000 and handed the lease to Richie Notar, the jet-setting entrepreneur behind the Nobu luxury restaurant chain. "I don’t want to change a thing about how it looks," Notar told the Daily News, adding that his renamed Notar Jazz Club would be "not too much different than what it is now."

But lounge owner Alvin Reed stripped the vintage facade before he left, rather than have its history co-opted. Someone spray-painted "1939 - 2012: 80 YEARS FOR THIS” across the plywood that covered the door.

The landlord sued Reed for stripping the place. Notar backed out of the deal, telling the Daily News, "the scope of the project (mostly the overall condition of the building) became bigger than anticipated."

The Lenox Lounge was left to rot.

"R.I.P. Lenox Lounge"

Meanwhile, across the street, a giant glass box has risen, infesting 125th Street with more chains, including one infamous for its power to give hyper-gentrification a shot in the arm: Whole Foods.

The Whole Foods Effect is powerful. The creators of real estate site Zillow revealed how Whole Foods moves in to neighborhoods where home values are rising more slowly than the rest of the city. “But as soon as the Whole Foods opened its doors,” they wrote, “these nearby homes’ values took off,” increasing at twice the speed of other properties. In the Post in 2016, one real estate broker reported that Harlem landlords were planning to raise rents as soon as the supermarket opened.

Already, the Lenox Lounge landlord has doubled the rent--again--to $40,000 per month. And now, it's possible that every last trace of the grand old Lenox will be vanished.

Across from Lenox Lounge


James said...

Yet I still play Fats Waller who hasn't been on the scene since 1943. We can no longer hold onto early 20th Century New York than we can reliably hold on to pre-Civil War New York. Memory is, nonetheless, the key and the talisman for hope that some things may eventually be returned.


Unknown said...

I loved going to Lenox Lounge with my former co workers after work. The atmosphere and staff was always nice and pleasant. I knew it was never coming back.


Andrew Porter said...

Glad you were able to make use of the link I sent you!

Jeremiah Moss said...

Thanks Andrew!

Mitch said...

Has the original owner given up reopening it somewhere else? I couldn't find anything online.

Jeremiah Moss said...

Mitch, I don't have an update on that. But I think so.