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Historic Preservation

700 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

Designed in 1891 by architect George B. Post, the eight-story brick, brownstone and terra cotta building located at 700 Broadway was built in the style of a Romanesque Revival. Renovated in 1989 by then-owner National Audubon Society, 700 Broadway earned the distinction of being New York City’s first “green” building and continues to rank among the city’s greenest properties.

When a simple façade cleaning and repair project turned into an extensive deconstruction and restoration, the building owners and architect Philip Toscano turned to engineer Brian E. Flynn, P.E., and Seaboard Weatherproofing & Restoration to assist in restoring the historic building.

The façade was found to have extensive structural and surface damage caused by years of freeze-and-thaw cycles and constant vibrations from the nearby subway line. As work progressed, the project was complicated by structural damage that was more extensive than initially anticipated. Nearly 40 linear feet of load-bearing wall on the eighth floor had to be completely dismantled and carefully rebuilt. The wall was 32 inches thick and had large arched window openings encased with ornate terra cotta stones. An additional 100 linear feet of wall required removal of the terra cotta fascia and the face brick. This not only required Seaboard to repair and re-sculpt 900 terra cotta pieces, but also to patch brownstone, replace deteriorated terra cotta balustrades, install metal flashing and a liquid membrane on the cornice at roof level, and restore the sandstone entranceway.

Pipe scaffolding and sidewalk protection maintained pedestrian safety throughout the project. The pipe scaffold at the upper floor and the roof were completely enclosed and ‘winterized’ so that work could continue on the massive brick walls through the winter months. Delicate repairs to the terra cotta sculptures were done in heated interior spaces. The project team worked closely with the New York Landmarks Conservancy to ensure historic accuracy and comply with the building inspection requirements of New York City Local Law 11.


A craftsman repairs terra cotta sculptures.

During-Photo-3-sm-WEB (2).jpg

Work in progress at 700 Broadway.


Sculptures restored at 700 Broadway.


Completed work on 700 Broadway.

Start Date: 2007

Project Finished: 2008

Project Highlights:

  • Tagging, removing, cataloging, cleaning, repairing, and reinstalling approximately 900 pieces of terra cotta

  • Façade cleaning and repair, with matching of coloration and texture, bonding of brick, and repairing terra cotta onsite

  • Replacing and repairing stone balustrade railings using pre-cast concrete units molded to match the originals

  • Creative, real-time problem solving for unanticipated conditions, including extensive structural and façade damage, wall cracks, missing wall reinforcements, and temporary roof support

Project Team:

Architect, Philip Toscano, RA
Engineer, Brian E. Flynn, PE, PC
Restoration Contractor, Seaboard Weatherproofing & Restoration

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