The Villager Newspaper absolutely nails it in their new editorial opposing the massive proposed development on Gansevoort Street. Read the entire editorial – it makes a powerful argument for rejecting this application outright – but here are some highlights:
The proposal by William Gottlieb Real Estate and Aurora Capital Associates to redevelop a block of Gansevoort St. is nothing short of an assault on the city’s Landmarks Law. The Gansevoort Market Historic District, designated in 2003, is truly one of New York City’s most unique historic districts. What makes it so special is that it has preserved the unique built fabric of the once-teeming Meat Market…
It’s simply ridiculous — and a threat to the very spirit of the city’s Landmarks Law — for the developers to argue that much of this block, between Greenwich and Washington Sts., should be rebuilt to the height it was in the 1800s. What L.P.C. instead landmarked was the street as it has largely appeared since the mid-20th century, when the Meatpacking District was in its heyday.
Yes, the meatpackers are mostly gone now, save for those left in the city-owned Co-op building, which is protected by a deed restriction for market use dating back to when the Astors owned most of the Meat Market. But the built fabric that the meatpackers created — a unique assortment of modified buildings that were perfectly suited to their uses — remains. And again, that is what was landmarked…
This block, in short, is the last one in the district that features the historic low-scale one- and two-story structures with overhanging metal canopies that the district was once famous for. Many uses have come and gone: the meatpackers for the most part, the transgender hookers (who now mostly find their customers online), the sex clubs, the underground parties. But the built fabric remains. And that is what we must preserve….
In sum, the developers’ plan would, as Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation put it, “obliterate” this block and its history.
At its full board meeting last Thursday night, Community Board 2 voted unanimously to oppose the massive development planned for Gansevoort Street. This follows upon the CB 2 Landmarks Committee hearing on October 15 at which over 100 people attended to show their opposition to the project, and not a single person expressed support.
The CB 2 resolution spells out in detail the reasons that this proposal would have a disastrous impact on the character of the Gansevoort Market Historic District, and should be read in full. Here are some highlights:
The proposed project alters the very essence and distinct characteristics that deemed this district historic and worth preserving by designation. It alters the mass, scale and architectural details that are particular to this street and that represent the meatpacking district so well that it graces the cover of the LPC’s report…
The demolition of some buildings and the gigantic enlargement of the other buildings is overwhelming – not deferential and subservient in its impact on the historic architecture of the row, the streetscape, and the views from elsewhere in the district and beyond.
Taken together, Buildings 60-68 and 70-74 overwhelm the row; completely erasing any feeling of the important low rise, horizontal unity and the architectural treatment of the two lower stories of both buildings…
The proposal raises the profile of the new buildings to elevations (98 feet, 120 feet, 52’-5” feet including mechanicals) which obliterate any reference to the designated row as it now exists, almost perfectly preserved for 75 years…
There is nearly universal opposition from the community with statements against the application from Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and from an ad hoc committee – “Save Gansevoort”, individual members of the community who attended the meeting, and written statements from members of the community and docents for the High Line – together registering approximately 400 oppositions to the application.
The full text of the resolution can be read here.
The Community Board resolution is purely advisory; the actual decision will be made by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. The LPC hearing will be on November 10th at 1 Centre Street (at Chambers Street), 9th Floor. It will take place during the day; the time will be released a few days in advance. We need you to be there and make your opinions heard!
Our State Assemblymember Deborah Glick has written a powerful letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission opposing Aurora Capital’s proposed massive development on Gansevoort Street:
The plan includes the demolition of two landmarked buildings on that block and a staggering increase in height from the original two story buildings to new construction that is approximately 120 feet. This drastic increase in height and the removal of two buildings along the block that bears the historic district’s namesake is unnecessary and reprehensible over-development in a neighborhood we have fought hard to preserve.
When the Gansevoort Market Historic District was created in 2003, the aim was to ensure that the unique history of meatpacking industry, and advancements in manufacturing technologies had on this section of New York City were preserved for future generations. Substantial changes to the streetscape and feel of these iconic buildings would negate the purpose of the Gansevoort Market Historic District, and completely fail to ensure the buildings’ nature is preserved. In a recent meeting, the architects for the project made the argument that the proposed height of the new buildings would be more in line with the original building heights seen in the 19th Century.
Read the entire letter here. Thank you Deborah!
We’ve just received word that the all-important Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing on the proposed massive Gansevoort Street development has been postponed from October 27th until November 10th. It will still be held at 1 Centre Street (at Chambers Street) some time during the day; we won’t know the time until a few days in advance of the hearing.
This will be the big one – we need to pack the hearing room! So mark November 10th on your calendars, and be ready to come out and tell LPC how strongly the community opposes this plan!
There was a fantastic turnout for Thursday’s Community Board 2 hearing! More than 100 people attended; during two shows-of-hands in the course of the hearing, opposition to the proposed development was unanimous – not one single person indicated support of the proposal.
Lots of people gave rousing testimony opposed to this destructive project. Everyone clearly cared deeply about the issue and put a lot of thought into everything that was said. 18 docents from the High Line represented by one of their own presented letters strongly opposed to the project. Parents from the Horatio Street Nursery School voiced concern about the impacts of this development on their landmarked school. Andrew Berman of GVSHP advised Aurora to go back to the drawing board. Local media attended, including New York 1, The Villager, the Village Voice, and Curbed.com.
We hope and expect that CB 2 will now write a strong resolution opposing this project. Remember that CB 2’s role is purely advisory, and that the actual decision will be made by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
The NY 1 report can be viewed here; it summarizes the issues well and has video from the hearing. The developer’s rationale for his huge buildings: “What this district, this historic district, is largely about is about change.” Really? That’s a pretty weak argument, and could be used to justify the construction of literally anything anywhere in this landmarked historic district.
Curbed’s coverage is here. It’s mostly a rehash of the developer’s presentation, but the comments are lively.
The Village Voice article is here. It’s a decent article with a truly stupid headline!
The CB 2 hearing was great. Now it is essential that everyone show up to repeat the performance at the all-important Landmarks Preservation Commission Hearing on October 27th! The hearing will be at 1 Centre Street (at Chambers Street), 9th floor. It will take place some time during the day, but the exact time will not be released until a few days in advance. Check back for more updates.
Community Board 2 will be holding its hearing on the proposed massive Gansevoort Street development this coming Thursday:
Thursday, October 15, 6:30PM (note changed date)
PS 3 (490 Hudson just south of Christopher Street)
The Gansevoort proposal will be the only item on the agenda
We need a big crowd at this hearing – the size of the crowd and the opinions expressed will have a decisive effect on the CB 2 resolution. Please join us and tell CB 2 why you believe this plan for a massive transformation of landmarked Gansevoort Street would destroy the historic character of the district. We will have stickers for people to wear to display their opposition to this proposal.
Please invite your friends to the facebook event.
The Gansevoort development proposal will then be heard by the Landmarks Preservation Commission on October 27. This is the most important hearing; we will need to pack the LPC hearing room with the largest crowd possible. Even if you don’t speak, your presence will be important. The LPC hearing will be at 1 Centre Street; we don’t yet know if it will be in the morning or afternoon.
Save Gansevoort is pleased to announce that we have retained Christopher Rizzo, of Carter, Ledyard & Milburn LLP, to investigate all possible legal avenues for stopping Aurora Capital’s proposed Gansevoort Street development.
This article, “Five Things to Know About the Future of the Meatpacking District,” says just about everything one needs to know about the forces behind the massive development planned for Gansevoort Street:
1. Every single slice of the Meatpacking District is now real estate gold…
4. Expect a lot more chain stores…
5. Small businesses, like biker bar Hogs & Heifers, will increasingly feel the pressure of massive rent hikes.