There have been disturbing reports in recent weeks about plans for demolition of landmarked structures and/or large scale new construction on sites owned by the Gottlieb Estate at 60-74 Gansevoort Street (Washington/Greenwich Streets) in the Gansevoort Market Historic District and 7-11 Weehawken Street/177 Christopher Street in the Weehawken Street Historic District. All of these sites are located within designated New York City historic (landmark) districts which GVSHP and many in the community fought hard to secure.
No building located within a landmark or historic district can be demolished, altered, or added to without the approval of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, and requires a long, public hearing and review process. Such approvals, which are rare, can only be granted if the applicant proves that the buildings in question do not make a contribution to the designated historic district and are not part of the reason why the district was designated, and/or that the proposed changes are consistent with the important historic character and features of the site and district.
No applications have been filed with the Landmarks Preservation Commission for either site, but GVSHP will be monitoring closely, as we do for all landmarks applications in our neighborhood. While we do not opine upon applications which have not been filed, all of these sites are important and integral parts of our historic districts, and GVSHP and many in the community would no doubt adamantly oppose any application to demolish or compromise these sites. Additionally, the Gansevoort Street sites are governed by a restrictive declaration which limits the types of uses and activities which can legally occupy these spaces, any change to which would require an additional lengthy public review and approval process, including approval by the New York City Council.
Aurora Capital and the Gottliebs – the people who brought you the giant “ice cube” addition now being constructed on top of the old Pastis building – have announced plans to develop the entire south side of Gansevoort Street between Greenwich and Washington Streets. The highlights, so to speak, are 111′ and 75′ (this last is a rough guess) towers on the western end of the block.
See this article in the Real Deal:
Any development will have to be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The developer has indicated they expect their landmarks application to be heard by CB2 in this September, and by LPC shortly thereafter. Needless to say, there is going to be huge opposition to Gansevoort Towers.
There is also a restrictive declaration on this lot which prohibits office use. The developer has indicated they plan to try to amend this declaration in order to allow office use, which we think they will need in order to make Gansevoort Towers profitable. This will require action by the City Planning Commission and by the City Council, and, as with the Landmarks application, there’s going to be a major fight.
The developer initiated a meeting with a group neighbors, but then abruptly cancelled it last week just 2 hours before it was to take place. Extremely unprofessional behavior, to say the least, but it indicates they are worried.
Neighbors have already started organizing to oppose Gansevoort Towers; stay tuned for developments.
Ever wonder how the Gansevoort Market Historic District (better known as the Meat Market) came to be created? The Villager newspaper has the story:
How the district’s landmarking came about was an improbable tale, about as hard to predict as the incredible transformation the neighborhood has undergone. Defying the odds, the Gansevoort Market Historic District was designated in 2003…
Though it may be hard to believe now, in the summer of 2000 the Meatpacking District was still very much a backwater. The neighborhood was pretty empty during most daylight hours. But when the sun went down, the clubs opened (of both the sex and dance variety), transgendered prostitutes worked the streets, and the meatpacking businesses opened their doors around 4 a.m. and started loading and unloading their products until around noon, when the cycle started all over again. The cobblestoned streets dripped with animal blood (and some other unsavory liquids), but the neighborhood had achieved a kind of equilibrium in which not much changed, and all parts seemed to coexist in relative harmony.