Reno completed at the Corbin Building

November 09, 2012 01:30PM

One of Lower Manhattan’s architectural gems — put in peril by the Fulton Street Transit Center — is finally emerging from its renovation, the New York Times reported. The Corbin Building, a nine-story Romanesque Revival tower finished in 1889, was almost destroyed when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority laid out its plans for its Fulton Street makeover.

But preservationist groups intervened with  SHoP Architects and Robert Silman Associates, a structural engineering firm, and successfully convinced the MTA to keep the building intact. As it turns out, it cost the MTA nearly $59 million to graft the Corbin building onto it’s new structure, but for many, restoring the stunning architecture example has been with worth the cost.

“I passed by a couple of days ago and was stunned,” Robert Tierney, the chairman of the landmarks commission, said. “I couldn’t have imagined a better outcome.”

Frank Sanchis III, formerly with the Municipal Art Society and now the United States program director of the World Monuments Fund commented upon seeing the renovation that: “It always amazes me that it’s such a struggle to get the preservation message across in the early stages of a project, when the end result is so obviously worthwhile.”

The building derives its name from  Austin Corbin, the man who combined Long Island tangled network of rail lines into today’s Long Island Railroad. It was designed by design by one of New York’s most acclaimed architects, Francis Hatch Kimball, known as  “the father of the skyscraper.” [NYT] —Christopher Cameron