A Happily Ever After for 43 MacDougal Street?

A Happily Ever After for 43 MacDougal Street?
12-9-13

GVSHP photo taken on December 9, 2013.

Many longtime residents of the Village have wondered about the fate of 43 MacDougal Street, which has sat vacant for decades. Located at the corner of King Street on the eastern edge of the Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District, 43 MacDougal is a Greek Revival style townhouse that was built as part of a row in 1846.

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c. 1940 tax photo showing a vibrant storefront.

The Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District was designated in 1966, making it the oldest historic district in our neighborhoods and one of the oldest in the city (the Landmarks Law was enacted in 1965). According to the LPC’s designation report from that year, the storefront at 43 MacDougal Street “was built as a wine shop, and the wine cellars still exist beneath the shop.” The existence of its original shop front was noted as “a rare survival in the city.”

In the c. 1940 photograph shown here, that storefront is still visible. Even though the image is small, it is wonderful to see what the building once looked like, considering it has been covered in scaffolding for so long. With two street-facing facades, the building clearly has great potential. It sits in harmony with its fellow Greek Revival neighbors and preserves the human scale that is so cherished in the neighborhood.

Despite its vibrancy in the photograph, 43 MacDougal was eventually abandoned and left to deteriorate. Now, however, we are hopeful that the building will once again become an active part of the neighborhood. After years of GVSHP and the community pushing the LPC to take action against the then neglectful owner, a new owner stepped in and agreed to work with the LPC to restore the building.

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Part of the Certificate of Appropriateness application heard and approved at CB2 and LPC.

The approved work includes stabilizing walls and repointing brick, among other tasks. In addition, an application was filed to slightly raise the roof in order to create livable space on the top floor (the ceilings there are quite low). The addition will be minimally visible from the street.

With support from GVSHP, local block associations, and Community Board 2, the application was approved at an LPC public hearing on June 3 of this year. According to Michael Muroff, the project architect, the work is expected to take about twelve months. If you are interested in seeing this proposal, you can check out our Landmarks Applications Webpage to see photographs of the application.

In encouraging news, we just received word about the project’s status this morning from a neighbor who was able to speak to the architect (some people noted that work seemed to come to a halt these past few weeks). The project team is aiming to have the work at the roof completed by this winter and to have the entire renovation done by next summer. Fingers crossed for a happy ending here!

ETA: According to the LPC, the rear wall should be coming down very soon and then be built back up with CMU (concrete masonry units; AKA concrete blocks) behind the brick wall. This is part of the stabilization efforts.

Interested in reading more about the 43 MacDougal saga? See our past posts here, here, and here. You can also learn more about GVSHP’s efforts to bring this building back from the brink here.

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Amanda
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Amanda was GVSHP's Director of Preservation & Research from January 2012 to July 2015.

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