The Community Board 2 Landmarks Committee will be hearing an application by Restoration Hardware to build a two-story rooftop addition on top of 55 Gansevoort Street, directly across the street from Aurora Capital’s massive Gansevoort project, this coming Thursday: Thursday, July 14, 6:30 PM NYU Silver Building, 32 Waverly Place, Room 520 (near the Northeast corner of Washington Sq. Park) Restoration Hardware is planning to open a boutique hotel at 55 Gansevoort to complement the flagship store they are building at the old Pastis site at 9-19th Ninth Avenue, which they have leased from Aurora Capital. This addition is very large, and very visible both from Gansevoort Plaza, from Washington Street, and from the High Line. CB2 should recommend rejection of the application, or at least recommend that the addition be significantly reduced in size and visibility.
Once again, there is a James Capolino connection. Aurora Capital was represented by lobbyist James Capolino when they got Landmarks permission for the huge addition on top of the old Pastis building which will be the site of the Restoration Hardware store, and Aurora’s massive Gansevoort project is also represented by Capolino.
The Community Board 2 Land Use Committee will be holding another hearing this coming Wednesday on TF Cornerstone’s application to amend the restrictive declaration (RD-93) on the northwest corner of the West Coast Apartments building (the currently vacant 4700 sq/ft ground floor space at the corner of Gansevoort and West Street):
Wednesday, July 13, 6:30pm NYU Silver Building, 32 Waverly Place, Room 520 (near the Northeast corner of Washington Sq Park)
Their goal is to combine this space with an adjacent vacant space to the east to create an 8,100 sq/ft space (plus another 3,500 sq/ft in the basement) which would be leased for a HUGE restaurant operation – we’re talking a capacity of several hundred seats! A year ago, TF Cornerstone attempted to illegally lease this space for restaurant use in violation of the restrictive declaration.
We have previously said that we would oppose market-rate retail or restaurant uses in this location, but would support amending the restrictive declaration to allow uses by non-profit organizations. TF Cornerstone is apparently going to offer a deal whereby in return for lifting the restrictive declaration on the 4700 sq/ft space at Gansevoort and West, they would make a significantly smaller space in the West Coast building fronting Horatio Street available for non-profit use.
The lobbyist that TF Cornerstone has hired to push this application is James Capalino, who has been involved in other attempts to remove property restrictions which were intended to benefit the community. He represented the companies involved in the recent Rivington Street nursing home scandal; he is also the lobbyist for Aurora Capital, which has said that it will apply to change the restrictive declaration limiting uses on the site of its massive Gansevoort development project.
This hearing is an opportunity to send a message that the community must be fully engaged in the process of negotiating any future attempts to change restrictive declarations, such as the one governing Aurora’s Gansevoort site, and that any changes should only be permitted if they benefit the community and the community agrees to them.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold its hearing on the proposal to build two 90′ tall towers at 85-89 Jane Street – just two blocks South of Gansevoort Street – this coming Tuesday, July 12th, at 1 Centre Street, 9th floor (at Chambers Street). LPC estimates that this application will be heard at 2:45 PM, but recommends coming one hour early in case the previous items end early. It’s important that as many people as possible attend the hearing and testify briefly about why the proposed buildings would be completely out-of-character with the Greenwich Village Historic District. Furthermore, the proposed facade additions would create an overbearing, uniform 41′ tall street wall, which would have a sterilizing effect on this charming low-scale block. If you are not comfortable testifying, please come anyway and hold a sign! Also, if you haven’t already done so, please send a message to LPC here.
This project is represented by James Capolino and Company, the same lobbying and PR firm that represents Aurora Capital’s massive Gansevoort development.