Tuesday, October 25, 2016

DNA Info: Pride Cleaners, Chatham 'Architectural Icon,' For Sale

Photo by Lee Bey
This is actually old news, but worth noting. This modernist design gem could be yours for $650K. If you had that much cash what would you like to do with it?

This building @ 558 E. 79th St had been built in 1959 and DNA Info provides some more history:
Pride Cleaners opened in a thriving community with many other black-owned businesses, but it's no longer black-owned. It's now on its fourth owner, who could not be reached for comment.

Sixth Ward Ald. Roderick Sawyer said he appreciated the legacy of the cleaners and admired the building's design.

“It was an architectural gem at the time,” he said. “It always had a distinctive look.”

Bey said that the dry cleaners had a Space Age look, which stood out on a strip that was still reminiscent of the 1920s. It was the “angled concrete hyperbolic paraboloid roof and free-standing marquee-like electric sign” that made Pride distinct from other businesses in the area.

Neighborhood resident Worlee Glover said when Pride Cleaners left black hands, it was just a part of the Chatham business corridor's transformation.

The area was once a “thriving community with businesses that people wanted to use,” Glover said. “Now it’s a bunch of businesses the community doesn't want.”
Lee Bey's forte has often been architecture. He added this considering the Chatham neighborhood:
Fortunately, the building is being marketed as an active, stable business and not a teardown, according to the listing brochure from Matanky Realty, meaning Pride Cleaners could continue to be preserved under new ownership.

But it's a thing that shouldn't be left to chance. Now is a good time for the city to step in and seek protected landmark status for Pride, its sign, and critical portions of the interior. The protections would make sure the building is safe from demolition and would help insure alterations would be in line with Siegwart's vision. It would also draw attention to Chatham's overall wealth of modernist residential and commercial architecture.
Our own Worlee Glover would like to see this as a clothing store or another dry cleaner. Perhaps this can be a welcome center to promote Chatham's architecture and history. Just one idea and consider that the Pride Cleaner's sign is used as inspiration for Chatham's branding
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