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Schermerhorn Row

by Vladimir Tchikrizov

In 1971 the Schermerhorn Row buildings were listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places, and their reconstruction began in 1977. The city got a $5.3 million public works grant, and in 1980 a $20 million Urban Development Action Grant. The restoration was overseen by Mr. Pokorny of the Columbia University School of Architecture, who received a $9.6 million grant from the state’s Urban Development Corporation(Goodman). Even with that amount of money, the project was $700,000 over budget. By 1983 the reconstruction was complete more than halfway. More than $1 million in restoration efforts have been saved thanks to the “pickled” wooden foundation of the buildings, which did not deteriorate easily over the years(Goodman). However, replacement of other materials was expensive: manufacturing of custom bricks made to match the original in size, shape, and color was seven times more expensive than production of standard bricks used today. As a part of the reconstruction, steel reinforcements were placed to stabilize the sagging storefronts, concrete flooring was laid, sprinklers were installed, fire exits built and heating systems wee hidden behind former outhouses(Goodman). The purpose of the reconstruction was to enable the buildings to comply with the standards for comfort and safety, allowing for commercial and residential tenants. In 2003, creation of 25 000 sq. ft. of additional exhibit space - begun in 2000 , and intended to accommodate the museum’s art and historical artifact collection - was finished (Gray).

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