The Cast Iron Building at Broadway and 11th Street was the first large-scale renovation of a cast iron-front building. Collectively, these buildings represent one of the most important innovations of the 19th century, and a critical step in the development of building technology for modern construction and the skyscraper. After a fire destroyed much of the interior, the building was bought by Rockrose Associates. The original intent of the developer was to demolish the commercial shell and build a new high-rise apartment building. The community strongly supported preservation and motivated the Owner to save the structure. The intrinsic qualities of the building were resourcefully utilized in the renovation.
The handsome, oversized arched windows were retained, and the generous spacing of the cast-iron columns and high floor-to-floor dimensions were transformed into dynamic and dramatic spaces. The plans were carefully worked out within the geometry of the building, taking into account the party-wall conditions and the bays of the façade. No two units are identical, and each unit retains much of the original character of the neighborhood.
This project, completed in 1974, was the first to demonstrate that a cast-iron building could be converted into conventionally-financed housing, and subsequently scores of similar era buildings have been successfully renovated and preserved.