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Important Update on the Gansevoort Lawsuit

photo: Djmutex
photo: Djmutex

There have been important developments in the past several weeks regarding the lawsuit brought by Save Gansevoort and the Historic Districts Council to stop the massive Gansevoort development.  Here’s an update.

On March 27th, the New York State Supreme Court ruled against our suit to overturn the Landmark Preservation Commission’s approval of Aurora Capital’s huge Gansevoort Street project.  In approving this proposal, the LPC essentially undid important elements of its own designation of the Gansevoort Market Historic District, a designation that occurred just 13 years ago in September 2003. 

We have filed an appeal of the lower court decision, and on April 4th the Appellate Court granted us an emergency stay to stop any exterior construction or demolition work at 60-68 Gansevoort Street and 70-74 Gansevoort Street.

This is great news, but we now need the Court to continue that stay through the appeal process – otherwise, two landmark, historic, irreplaceable market buildings will be destroyed, along with the heart of the Gansevoort Market Historic District.

It is our belief that the lower court decision failed to properly interpret New York City’s Landmarks law.  We are fighting to save one of the last surviving market districts in New York City, and our appeal has the potential to set important precedents for historic districts across the city.  We make multiple arguments, but here are three key points: 

1. Our appeal challenges the assertion that a “no-style” architectural designation automatically allows the Landmarks Preservation Commission to approve a building’s demolition.  In addition to architectural importance, the landmarks law lists eight other criteria of equal importance, such as historical and cultural significance.  These other eight criteria must also be considered before a building may be demolished.

2. Our appeal challenges the LPC’s absurd ruling that the history of the Gansevoort Market Historic District consists of four equally significant periods, and that the previously-existing tenement buildings were as important to the District’s history as the current low-lying market buildings.  This represents a complete misreading of the designation report. It would allow developers to “cherry pick” from any era in a district’s history to justify inappropriate new construction, even if that era was not the reason for the district’s designation.  This would put every historic district at risk. 

3. The lower court erred in determining that so long as the Landmarks Preservation Commission holds extensive hearings and requests at least one modification to a proposed design, its decisions are immune from court review.

The Save Gansevoort lawsuit is one of multiple lawsuits filed against the LPC and other agencies and commissions over a series of unprecedented decisions by the City to grant permission to private real estate developers to develop and convert landmark properties.  Not coincidentally, as with so many of the other controversial decisions by the City favoring real estate developers over the last two years, Capalino & Company was one of the registered lobbyists for the developer on this project, hired for the ostensible purpose of facilitating the approval that the LPC issued.

A copy of the affirmation we have filed in support of our request for a stay pending appeal can be found here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

If you would like to help support our fight, please make a donation here.

Here’s What Happened at the March 8 Court Hearing

justice

Here’s a brief report on the March 8th court hearing on our lawsuit to overturn the Landmark Preservation Commission’s approval of the massive Gansevoort development.

First, a big thank you to everyone who attended the hearing!  There was a GREAT turnout of community residents.  The court was completely packed, there wasn’t a free seat in the room.

The good news:  the judge dismissed the developer’s arguments about our standing to bring the lawsuit; that issue is now off the table, which is excellent.

Our lawyer, Michael Hiller, did a fine job of presenting our case, and then the lawyers for the city and the developer responded.  The judge seemed sympathetic to our arguments.  However, she also emphasized the limitations on the court’s ability to intervene in agency decisions, and indicated that she will take a narrow view of the court’s authority in these matters.

We expect that the judge will announce her decision within approximately 2 months, although it could be sooner.

More information about our lawsuit can be found here.

Join Us for the Big Court Hearing Wednesday March 8

photo: Djmutex
photo: Djmutex

This is the big one!  Our next court date is this coming Wednesday, March 8th, and it will be the hearing at which the real issues in our case will be argued.  Our lawyer will present our case for overturning the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s approval of massive new construction at 60-68 and 70-74 Gansevoort Street, and the city and the developer will present their responses.

Wednesday, March 8th, 2:15 PM
60 Centre Street Room 345 (at Foley Square)
(the hearing will start promptly; allow an extra 10 minutes to pass through security)

PLEASE JOIN US AT THE HEARING!  If you can only come to one hearing, this is the one to attend.  A good crowd is important to show the judge that there is strong community support for preserving the intact block of historic market buildings on Gansevoort Street.

More information about the lawsuit, including a copy of the arguments we have submitted to the court and supporting affidavits from various experts, can be found here.

Save Gansevoort Wins Important Preliminary Legal Victory!

justiceSave Gansevoort has won an important legal victory.  At a hearing on February 9th, a judge granted us a preliminary injunction that prevents the developer from doing any work on the exteriors of 60-68 and 70-74 Gansevoort Street  until the court reaches a decision on our case.
 
Preliminary injunctions are very difficult to obtain and are rarely granted, and yet the court granted us this relief.  It is exactly what we hoped to obtain at this point.  We are extremely gratified by the court’s decision.
 
The next (and possibly final) hearing, at which both sides will argue their case, is now scheduled for Wednesday, March 8th at 2:15 PM.  The hearing will again be at 60 Centre Street Room 345 (at Foley Square).
 
Please save the date and make every effort to attend!  We need a good turnout at the hearing to show the judge how strongly the community feels about saving Gansevoort Street.

The Villager has a good article about the injunction with some additional details.

Court Hearing on Save Gansevoort Lawsuit Now THURSDAY Feb. 9

 

photo: Djmutex
(photo: Djmutex)

Last Friday, February 3rd,  a judge granted Save Gansevoort a temporary restraining order which for the moment prohibits the developer from starting demolition at 60-68 and 70-74 Gansevoort Street.
 
The hearing originally scheduled for Tuesday, February 7th, has been laid over and is now scheduled for Thursday, February 9th:
 
Thursday, February 9, 2:15 PM
60 Centre Street, Room 345 (at Foley Square)
(the hearing will start promptly; allow an extra 10 minutes to pass through security)
 
At this hearing,  the court will be considering whether to grant a temporary injunction that would prevent the developer from doing any demolition or construction work on these two buildings for the duration of the court proceedings.  There will likely be discussion of the substantive issues underlying our lawsuit to overturn the decision by the Landmarks Preservation Commission approving the massive Gansevoort development.  It should be an informative afternoon!
 
We hope you can join us at this hearing.  A good crowd is important to show the judge that there is strong community support for preserving the intact block of historic market buildings on Gansevoort Street.

Court Hearing on Save Gansevoort Lawsuit Tuesday, February 7

60_CentreOn February 3rd, a judge granted Save Gansevoort a temporary restraining order which for the moment prohibits the developer from beginning demolition at 60-68 and 70-74 Gansevoort Street.

The next court date is this coming TUESDAY:
Tuesday, February 7, 2:30 PM
60 Centre Street, Room 345 (at Foley Square)
(allow an extra 10 minutes to pass through security)

At this hearing,  the court will be considering whether to continue to prevent the developer from doing any demolition or construction work on these two buildings for the duration of the court proceeding.  

Please join us at this hearing!  We need to let the judge know how strongly the community supports preserving the intact block of market buildings on Gansevoort Street between Greenwich and Washington Streets.

Town Meeting on Save Gansevoort’s lawsuit this Tuesday, November 1

 

westview

Save Gansevoort has filed suit to stop Aurora Capital’s massive Gansevoort development.  

Please come to our Town Hall meeting this Tuesday, November 1, for a discussion about the lawsuit with Michael Hiller, our lawyer.  Michael will give a presentation about the lawsuit, and will be happy to answer questions.

Please attend and bring your neighbors and friends:
Tuesday, November 1 at 7 pm.
22 Little West 12th Street, 2nd floor.  

We need everyone’s support to help defeat this massive development. Our lawsuit challenges the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s approval of this project last summer, which we believe represents a threat not only to the character of the Gansevoort Market Historic District but to Historic Districts across the city.   More information about the lawsuit can be found here.

Help us save our city, our community and our Landmark districts!  See you at the meeting!

Press Coverage of Save Gansevoort Lawsuit

save-gansevoort-2016-10-20-vvilprint_webweb-768x512

The Villager has an excellent article about our lawsuit to stop the massive Gansevoort project: Save Gansevoort files suit vs. Landmarks, developers; ‘Agency is not preserving’.   A quote from our lawyer, Michael Hiller:

“The Landmarks Preservation Commission has ceased to be a commission that engages in landmark preservation,” the attorney said. “Instead, it has become a city agency dedicated to justifying decisions favorable to real estate developers — even if it means that L.P.C. violates its own prior rulings and the language and history of the Landmarks Law.”

The lawsuit has also been covered by Curbed, The Real Deal, DNAinfo, and WCBS.

Save Gansevoort sues LPC to stop massive Gansevoort Development

1smallLineBSave Gansevoort has filed a lawsuit against the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to overturn its decision to allow a massive, out-of–character development in the Gansevoort Market Historic District.
 
Gansevoort Market, the West Village, Greenwich Village and other historic districts throughout NYC are under attack by developers. We hope this lawsuit will send a message to the Landmarks Preservation Commission that they must consistently and forcefully protect the historic districts and landmarks they are charged with preserving.
 
The LPC approved the massive development on Gansevoort in spite of overwhelming opposition by public officials, area residents and preservation groups.  Many of you were shocked and appalled by LPC’s decision and we will work together to continue this fight.
 
Save Gansevoort LLC is being represented by Michael S. Hiller of Hiller PC, a law firm that has successfully fought to overturn similarly misguided LPC decisions, most recently the Clocktower case at 346 Broadway in Tribeca.
 
Lawsuits are expensive and we need your continued support to fight this.  So far, Save Gansevoort has been funded by over 100 individuals.  We need everyone who has supported us to give again, and we need help from the hundreds of other people in our community who have voiced opposition to this project and who care about the future of our city.  Let’s join together to fight this decision and show City Hall that developers and lobbyists like Jim Cappalino who represents Aurora Capital – just as he also represented developers involved in the Rivington Street nursing home scandal – cannot continue to ruin the character of our city.
 
Please click here and give generously to this fight! Every donation counts, no matter how large or how small.  All donations are fully tax deductible.
 
We would also like to provide everyone a chance to meet our lawyer Michael Hiller, and on November 1st  we will be holding a town meeting where he can discuss the lawsuit and answer questions:
Tuesday, November 1 at 7 pm.
22 Little West 12th Street, 2nd floor.

More information about the lawsuit, including our petition to the New York State Supreme Court, can be found here.    
 
Thank you for helping to preserve the character of our beloved city.

CB 2 Hearing on 2-Story rooftop addition at 55 Gansevoort St. this Thursday, July 14

55Gans5box
Mockup of proposed addition (outlined by red box)

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.