United Charities Building



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The United Charities Building, also known as United Charities Building Complex was originally built in 1893 by John S. Kennedy, a wealthy banker, in order to provide his favorite charities – the Charity Organization Society, the Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor, the Children's Aid Society, and the New York Mission and Tract Society a low cost location for their operations. Other charities at United Charities Building were allowed to rent space at below market rates.
R. H. Robertson who designed the building, assisted by the firm of Rowe and Baker, was selected by Kennedy as the architect because of his extensive experience with charitable buildings, including the YWCA on East 15th Street. James Baker, Robertson's nephew, may have worked on some of the original exterior, but did do the later additions to the building in 1897, when the original mansard roof was removed and three stories were added to the original seven, and in 1915, when a four story addition at 111 East 22nd was constructed.
Although the United Charities Building main building still houses some charitable organizations, such as the Community Service Society, today it is used for multiple purposes. The northern part of the main building, which had been partioned from the rest and renamed the Kennedy Building, is now apartments, while the 22nd Street extension became the headquarters for the Dockworkers' Union in 1946. The union sold the building in the 1980s and it was converted for commercial use.
The United Charities Building complex was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1991, and is part of a proposed extension to the Gramercy Park Historic District.