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Pride Cleaners, Chatham 'Architectural Icon,' For Sale

 The Pride Cleaners building is located at 558 E. 79th St.
The Pride Cleaners building is located at 558 E. 79th St.
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Matanky Realty Group

CHATHAM — Pride Cleaners, a building that made a mark in the architecture world when it was built in 1959, is for sale.

The 5,100-square-foot building at 558 E. 79th St.is listed for $650,000, according to Matanky Realty Group.

Pride Cleaners is located at 558 E. 79th St. [DNAinfo/Andrea V. Watson]

Architecture critic Lee Bey described the building as an architectural icon and “one of the city's finest and most exuberant examples of postwar modernism,” in the Urban Observer. It was designed by architect Gerald Siegwart and considered a state-of-the-art facility during its early days because of technology that made dry cleaning faster, Bey said.

Pride Cleaners opened in a thriving community with many other black-owned businesses, but it's no longer black-owned. It's now on its fourth owner, who could not be reached for comment. 

Sixth Ward Ald. Roderick Sawyer said he appreciated the legacy of the cleaners and admired the building's design. 

“It was an architectural gem at the time,” he said. “It always had a distinctive look.”

Bey said that the dry cleaners had a Space Age look, which stood out on a strip that was still reminiscent of the 1920s. It was the “angled concrete hyperbolic paraboloid roof and free-standing marquee-like electric sign” that made Pride distinct from other businesses in the area.

Neighborhood resident Worlee Glover said when Pride Cleaners left black hands, it was just a part of the Chatham business corridor's transformation.

The area was once a “thriving community with businesses that people wanted to use,” Glover said. “Now it’s a bunch of businesses the community doesn't want.”

He said he would like to see another black-owned dry cleaners at the location. If not that, then a clothes retailer; anything other than a dollar store or another hair salon, he said.

“I would like to see a nice retail store selling something that somebody wants,” he said. “Not any dollar store or T-shirt store that sells $3 white tees, but something with quality.”

Sawyer said he doesn’t know what will go at the Pride cleaners site next, but he’s working with the community and the city’s Planning Department to put something “productive and positive” there.

“I’m definitely interested in making sure we bring something useful to 79th Street,” he said.

Pride Cleaners is located at 558 E. 79th St. [DNAinfo/Andrea V. Watson]

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