Talk:Richard Morris Hunt

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Hostelling International building[edit]

This--

The only one of Hunt's New York City buildings that has not been destroyed now houses Hostelling International – New York (formerly American Youth Hostels) on the east blockfront of Amsterdam Avenue between 103rd and 104th Streets in Manhattan. Erected in 1883 and entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, the red-brick building features dormer windows and a mansard roof similar to those Hunt used on his Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, pictured below on this page. This popular youth hostel was originally built for the Association for the Relief of Respectable Aged Indigent Females, a charity created in 1813 with the help of financier Peter G. Stuyvesant (a descendant of the Dutch colonial governor Peter Stuyvesant) and John J. Astor. In later years it was used as a nursing home, but by the 1970s was abandoned and became a burned-out "shooting gallery" used by drug dealers and derelicts. Its current use as a flagship youth hostel came into being in 1988. According to an article in The New York Times:

The project is a rare collaborative effort involving a West Side community group, a midtown developer, an international foundation, two Wall Street securities firms, seven government agencies and 300 profit-seeking investors in 30 states.....In 1980, the city's Office of Economic Development awarded a grant to Valley Restoration, which in turn hired the consulting firm of Buckhurst, Fish, Hutton & Katz to study the feasibility of converting the building into a hostel. The consultants concluded that a youth hostel containing 477 beds was feasible, along with a restaurant of 126 seats and a small theater. Efforts were then made to bring together community leaders, a youth hostel organization and a developer to put forward a plan.

The financing of this successful preservation and re-use project was unusual. According to the Times article:

The developer was Bertram Lewis, chairman of Sybedon, a group of Manhattan investment bankers specializing in high-stakes real estate deals....The terms of a 1984 agreement between the three groups had Valley Restoration buying the property from the city, which had acquired it in a 1978 tax foreclosure action. The $687,500 price was a payment to Valley from a limited partnership consisting of Sybedon and a group of investors. Last December a public offering of shares through Thomson McKinnon Securities raised $5.2 million from 300 investors in 30 states. The Metropolitan New York Council of American Youth Hostels agreed to manage the building and channel profits from the fees for the rooms back to the limited partnership to repay the investors.

--is way too much information for the RM Hunt article. What does the late-20th-century history of the effort to find investors for renovating the building have to do with Hunt? Perhaps the building needs its own article, where this info would be more relevant. For the purposes of this article, I'd suggest paring down to something along these lines:

The last surviving New York City building entirely by Hunt is the charity hospital he designed for the Association for the Relief of Respectable Aged Indigent Females (1883) on the east blockfront of Amsterdam Avenue between 103rd and 104th Streets in Manhattan. The red-brick building, which features dormer windows and a mansard roof similar to those Hunt used on his Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, was renovated in the late 20th century and is now a youth hostel. 206.208.105.129 (talk) 19:43, 14 October 2010 (UTC)

Agree with this change. Way too much of a piece on an architect was devoted to one of his lesser-known buildings. Thanks for paring it down. MarmadukePercy (talk) 21:04, 14 October 2010 (UTC)