By the mid-1920’s the rows of fashionable private residences that had lined West 72nd Street at the turn of the century were being replaced with commercial and modern residential buildings. In 1926 a group of investors, the 48-56 West 72nd Street Corp., hired the architectural firm of Sugarman & Berger to design a residential hotel on the former site of five high-stoop houses.
Residential hotels differed from apartment buildings in that they offered the services of a hotel—maid service, for instance—and did away with kitchens and dining rooms in the suites. Residents ate in a large restaurant-like dining room or had meals delivered to their rooms. The concept eliminated the need for most personal servants.
Called the Hotel Ogden, it was ready for occupancy in 1927. Sugarman & Berger’s 1920’s take on the Renaissance Revival style placed 15 stories clad in rough-faced brick upon a limestone base that held retail space. The second and third, and the top three floors, were given handsome terra cotta detailing in the form of elaborate pilasters, rows of shell-like corbels, and stylized shields within the tympani of the arches.