2nd CB2 Hearing on West Coast Apts. Restrictive Declaration this Wednesday, July 13

RetailRent

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.

More info is here.

LPC Hearing on 85 Jane Street This Tuesday, July 12

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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.

What’s Happening to the Landmarks Preservation Commission?

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We’ve got an op-ed piece in Slant, the blog of City and State Magazine, reflecting on the significance of the Landmark Preservation Commission’s decision on massive Gansevoort development project.   In our biased opinion, it’s worth a read!

Just recently, the commission ruled that massive new buildings – one of them nearly six times as high as the market building it would replace – could be constructed on Gansevoort Street due to the fact that tenements existed on this block more than 75 years ago. That this argument, advanced by the developers, actually won out with the current commission is shocking. One could equally argue that, because this block was once the site of the Indian village of Sapokanikan, it should be rebuilt with one-story wooden longhouses, which stood here in the 17th century.

The commission’s verdict is a complete reversal from the decision made by the same agency under a different administration. After all, there was a reason why the area was designated as the Gansevoort Market Historic District and not the Gansevoort Tenement Historic District. Today’s commission has disregarded what its predecessors deemed as the most historically valuable aspect of this area – its market-style buildings – and all for the sake of development.

Without question, our community is distraught at the thought of losing what drew us all to this part of the city to begin with. But as New Yorkers who care about preserving the past, we are even more disturbed by the precedents set by the commission’s actions.

Read the entire piece here.

Save Gansevoort wins Preservation Award

It’s bittersweet, but here’s some good  news!  Save Gansevoort has won the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation’s 2016 Regina Kellerman Award for Outstanding Work in Preservation.

The award, along with GVSHP’s other Villager awards, will be given at a ceremony on June 14th at  the New School auditorium:
Tuesday, June 14th, 6:30 PM
66 West 12th Street (New School Auditorium)

Admission is free, but please RSVP here.  More information about the award is here.  We’re greatly honored, and thank GVSHP for this acknowledgement of our work!gvshp2

LPC Approves Revised Gansevoort Plan

At Tuesday’s public meeting, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to approve Aurora Capital’s revised plan for their Gansevoort development  (with two commissioners voting against approval).  Although this is the end of the Landmarks process, the battle is not yet over.  The developer will likely need to amend a restrictive declaration that currently exists on this site, and we will fight any attempt to do so.

Thanks to the efforts of the many people who have worked so hard to oppose this project, the final plan is significantly improved compared to the initial application.  50 Gansevoort Street will be restored rather than demolished, and the small set-back one-story addition is nicely done.   The revised design for 60-68 Gansevoort is a big improvement over the original proposal; in addition to the penthouse being removed, the building is  now significantly lower and  the facade is more appropriate to the character of the street.  The removal of the huge two-story penthouse from 74 Gansevoort is an important change for the better, and the design of the building has been somewhat improved.  However, we remain dismayed that the intact, low-rise market architecture of the block is not being preserved, and believe that the new buildings at 60-68 and particularly 74 Gansevoort are way too high.

It is deeply disturbing that in voting to approve this plan, the Landmarks  commissioners ignored the guidelines they had established at their previous meeting (read our analysis of why the heights of the buildings in the revised plan failed to meet these guidelines here).  They did acknowledge the 30 Department of Buildings records that we found showing 50-55′ tenement heights, but most of the commissioners now dismissed concerns about the exact height of the tenements and indicated that an increase of 6-8 feet above these heights was acceptable. They allowed the developer to leave the height of the base building at 74 Gansevoort essentially unchanged, and to justify that height by comparing the building to the largest warehouse buildings in the district, despite having previously instructed that the new building at 74 Gansevoort should be reduced in height and compared to the (significantly smaller) loft buildings in the district.

We had a great crowd at the Landmarks meeting and spirits were high, but the commissioners unfortunately paid no attention to our signs! (See photos below)

Save Gansevoort has released the following statement:

We are deeply disappointed in the Landmark Preservation Commission’s decision today to accept this massive building plan, disregarding the Gansevoort Market Historic District’s designation report and more than 75 years of history.  The Commission’s ruling will not only destroy the last intact block of one- and two-story, market-style structures in Manhattan, but it is also the latest sign that unrestricted development is killing the unique character of so many of our city’s most beautiful neighborhoods. In this day and age, it is disconcerting that even our landmarked areas are no longer protected.
Save Gansevoort will not give up the fight to protect our community. We urge the City Planning Commission and the City Council to block any amendments to the restrictive declaration on these sites that would permit the use of these buildings for office space. Preserving the restrictive declaration would prevent these developers from once again changing existing precedents to fit their bottom line and ensure that we can continue to save the Gansevoort Market Historic District.

The restrictive declaration will be the next fight.  We believe that if the developer is unable to amend the declaration, he will have great difficulties making this project economically viable.  Stay tuned!LPC2LPC1

The LPC commissioners during the final vote:LPC4

30 Department of Buildings Documents Say the Proposed Gansevoort Buildings are Too Big!

We’ve just posted our analysis of the revised massive Gansevoort development proposal.  At its previous public meeting, the Landmarks Preservation Commission was very clear that the proposed building at 60-68 Gansevoort could be no taller than the previously existing tenements at this location, and that the height of the new building proposed for 74 Gansevoort (now 97 feet tall including mechanicals) needed to be significantly reduced.

Yet in the developer’s revised plan, 60-68 Gansevoort is still  about 10 feet higher than the old tenements, and the height of 74 Gansevoort (exclusive of the penthouse) was reduced by a mere two feet.

We’ve now found 30 Department of  Buildings records showing that the old tenements were between 50 and 55 feet high.

We strongly disagree with LPC’s decision at the previous meeting to arbitrarily reach back to an earlier stage in the district’s history in order to justify replacing existing low-rise market buildings with massive new construction.  Nonetheless, if the rationale is to return Gansevoort Street to its earlier tenement configuration, then the new buildings at 60-68 and 74 Gansevoort must conform to the size of their predecessors.  There is no excuse for allowing the developer to exceed the extremely generous guidelines which LPC previously established simply to increase his own profits.

Read the entire analysis here.

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Click to enlarge

Next LPC Meeting on Massive Gansevoort Development This Tuesday, June 7th, 9:30 AM

Municipal

The Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold its next public meeting on the proposed massive Gansevoort development this coming Tuesday, June 7th:

TUESDAY, JUNE 7TH, 9:30AM (arrive by 9:15 to allow time to pass through security; this item is first on the agenda so there will be no wait!)
1 CENTRE STREET, 9th Floor (at Chambers Street).  Entrance is at the south end of the building.

The Commissioners will question the developer about his revised proposal, and then either vote to accept the proposal or send it  back for further revisions. We strongly believe this proposal fails to meet the guidelines established by the commissioners at the previous public meeting on the Gansevoort application, and that the commissioners should insist it be further revised to significantly lower the heights of the proposed new buildings at 60-68 and 70-74 Gansevoort Street.

The public will be able to attend (but not speak at) this meeting. WE NEED A GOOD TURNOUT TO REMIND THE COMMISSIONERS HOW STRONGLY THE COMMUNITY OPPOSES THIS MASSIVE DEVELOPMENT. We will have stickers and signs so that the commissioners know that we want this project radically revised.

Whether or not you can attend the meeting, please send an email to LPC right now telling them why you oppose this project!

The facebook event is here.

See you at the meeting!

Great Letter from GVSHP Rips Revised Gansevoort Plan

The Greenwich Village Society for  Historic Preservation has sent a great letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission taking apart Aurora Capital’s revised massive Gansevoort development proposal. They point out that the revised plan fails to follow the instructions provided by the commissioners at the previous public meeting, and concludes:

As you know, this is a deeply controversial proposal, broadly opposed by the surrounding community.  While we disagreed with the Commission’s assertion that  pre-existing buildings on this site and other types of buildings served as suitable models for new construction on these sites, we nevertheless accept  the LPC’s judgment in these cases.  However, to allow the applicant to then twist and circumvent even that very generous directive would be an outrageous abridgment of the public’s trust and a  blow to the integrity of the process.  I urge you in the strongest of terms to hold firm to the Commissions previous feedback and not approve the proposed changes to 60-68 and 70-74 Gansevoort Street.

PDF with the full text of the letter is here. Click images below to  enlarge:
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Petition LPC: No Giant Buildings on Gansevoort Street!

Send an email and help Save Gansevoort Market!   A developer is  proposing to build two massive buildings on historic Gansevoort Street in the landmarked Meatpacking District.   This project threatens Gansevoort’s unique character, its historic streetscape, low buildings and market-style architecture.  Sign our petition and it will send an email directly to the Landmarks Preservation Commission  (and please sign this even if you have already signed our old petition)!

Reduce the Height of Proposed Gansevoort Buildings!

Dear Chair Srinivasan -

The revised plans submitted by Aurora Capital for 46-74 Gansevoort Street fail to meet the conditions that you and the other commissioners set forth during the February 9th public meeting. The Landmarks Preservation Commission should require the applicant to submit a proposal that is consistent with your explicit comments on February 9th.

I strongly urge you to require that the height of the proposed buildings at 74 Gansevoort Street and 60-68 Gansevoort Street be further reduced, per your own instructions.

• Regarding 74 Gansevoort Street:

The developer has ignored the commissioners' directive that in addition to removing the penthouse, the height of this building should be significantly lowered. The revised building (exclusive of the penthouse) is a mere 2 feet lower than the previous proposal.

Furthermore, the commissioners were explicit that the height of this building should be evaluated in the context of the LOFT buildings in the district. However, the developer attempts to justify its size by referring to various large WAREHOUSE buildings in the district, which are in general considerably taller than the loft buildings specified by the commissioners.

The existing loft buildings in the district average about 55 feet in height. By contrast, the developer's revised building is 82 feet tall (97 feet tall when the large array of mechanicals is included). The proposed building at 74 Gansevoort Street should be lowered to about 55 feet in height so as to be comparable with the average loft building.

Additionally, it should be noted that 7 individual records from the Department of Buildings show that the pre-existing tenements at this site were between 50 and 55 feet tall; the developer's proposed building is thus nearly double the size of the previously existing structures.

• Regarding 60-68 Gansevoort Street:

The commissioners were clear that the new building at this site should be no higher than the previously existing tenements. 20 individual DOB records show that the tenements at this site were between 50 and 55 feet tall. However, the developer is now proposing a structure that would be 62 feet tall. The proposed new building at 60-68 Gansevoort should be lowered to a height of no more than 50-55 feet.

I am disappointed that LPC has arbitrarily reached back to an earlier stage in the district's history to justify replacing existing low-rise market buildings with massive new construction. Nonetheless, if the rationale is to return Gansevoort Street to its earlier tenement configuration, then the new buildings at 60-68 and 74 Gansevoort must conform to the size of their predecessors.

Sincerely,

[signature]

Share this with your friends: Tell Mayor de Blasio and LPC Chair Srinivasan to Save Gansevoort Street!

   

[The next LPC meeting on the massive Gansevoort development will be Tuesday, June 7th, 9:30 AM at 1 Centre Street.  Please come and show LPC you oppose this project!]

Dear Chair Srinivasan –
 
The revised plans submitted by Aurora Capital for 46-74 Gansevoort Street fail to meet the conditions that you and the other commissioners set forth during the February 9th public  meeting.  The  Landmarks Preservation Commission should require the applicant to submit a proposal that is consistent with your explicit comments on February 9th.
 
I strongly urge you to require that the height of the proposed buildings at 74 Gansevoort Street and 60-68 Gansevoort Street be further reduced, per your own instructions.
 
Regarding 74 Gansevoort Street:

The developer has ignored the commissioners’ directive that in addition to removing the penthouse, the height of this building should be significantly lowered.  The revised building (exclusive of the penthouse) is a mere 2 feet lower than the previous proposal.
 
Furthermore, the commissioners were explicit that the height of this building should be evaluated in the context of the LOFT buildings in the district.  However, the developer attempts to justify its size by referring to various large WAREHOUSE buildings in the district, which are in general considerably taller than the loft buildings specified by the commissioners.
 
The existing loft buildings in the district average about 55 feet in height.  By contrast, the developer’s revised building is 82 feet tall (97 feet tall when the large array of mechanicals is included).  The proposed building at 74 Gansevoort Street should be lowered to about 55 feet in height so as to be comparable with the average loft building.
 
Additionally, it should be noted that 7 individual records from the Department of Buildings show that the pre-existing tenements at this site were between 50 and 55 feet tall; the developer’s proposed building is thus nearly double the size of the previously existing structures.

Regarding 60-68 Gansevoort Street:

The commissioners were clear that the new building at this site should be no higher than the previously existing tenements.  20 individual  DOB records show that the tenements at this location were between 50 and 55 feet tall.  However, the developer is now proposing a structure that would be 62 feet tall (70 feet including mechanicals). The proposed new building at 60-68 Gansevoort should be lowered to a height of no more than 50-55 feet.

I am disappointed that LPC has arbitrarily reached back to an earlier stage in the district’s history to justify replacing existing low-rise market buildings with massive new construction.  Nonetheless, if the rationale is to return Gansevoort Street to its earlier tenement configuration, then the new buildings at 60-68 and 74 Gansevoort must conform to the size of their predecessors.

Sincerely,

1smallLineBDeveloper’s revised plan

Gansevort StreetGansevoort Street as it currently exists – the last remaining intact block of one- and two-story market buildings in the Historic District

New Plans Released – Next LPC Meeting on Massive Gansevoort Project will be June 7th

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has just announced that their next public meeting on the massive Gansevoort Development project will be on Tuesday, June 7th, at 9:30 AM.  The meeting will be held at 1 Centre Street (at Chambers Street), 9th floor – the same location as the previous hearings.

The public will be able to attend (but not speak at) this meeting. WE NEED A GOOD TURNOUT TO REMIND THE COMMISSIONERS HOW STRONGLY THE COMMUNITY OPPOSES THIS MASSIVE DEVELOPMENT. We will have stickers so that the commissioners know that we want this project stopped.

Aurora Capital has submitted a revised plan for the development.  The new design can be viewed here.

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Revised proposal for 70-74 Gansevoort St.

Here’s a brief summary:

1.  The proposed building at 70-74 Gansevoort (see rendering above) is still WAY TOO BIG.  At the previous public meeting on February 9th, LPC told the developer to remove the penthouse structure and then reduce the size of the underlying building itself.  The penthouse structure has indeed been removed, but the base building is essentially the same height as before.  The total building height including some large mechanicals is now  97 feet.  This height needs to be significantly reduced.

A huge problem is that Aurora is justifying this height by comparing their proposed building to the existing warehouse buildings in the Gansevoort Market District.  However, at the February  9th public meeting LPC Chair Srinivasan was explicit that the height of 70-74 Gansevoort Street should be determined in the context of the “loft-style” buildings in the district.  The 7 existing loft buildings in the district are considerably lower than the warehouse buildings which Aurora is now citing as the “context” for their 97-foot-high proposal.

2.  The new design for 60-68 Gansevoort is an improvement over what was proposed in the original plan.  The  penthouse has been removed, and the new building is now 62 feet  to the top of the cornice (compared with approximately 70 feet in the old design).  There are some small mechanicals (really pretty unobtrusive)  on top of the building which bring total height to 70 feet, compared to 98 feet in the original plan. The design of the facade has also been improved.  HOWEVER, IT IS STILL TOO TALL.  LPC was explicit at the February 9th meeting that the new building should be no higher than the old tenements, and we have multiple documents from the Department of Buildings stating that the height of the original tenements was between 50-55 feet .  The height of this building needs to be reduced by an additional 7-11 feet to match what LPC mandated at the previous meeting.

3.  Last, the new design for 50 Gansevoort (on the eastern end of the block) has been greatly improved.  Instead of a weird three story building masquerading as a four-story building, it’s now a two story building matching the adjoining structures, with an unobtrusive set-back 3rd story addition.

We strongly disagree with LPC’s decision to arbitrarily reach back to an earlier stage in the district’s history to justify replacing existing low-rise market buildings with massive new construction.  Nonetheless, if the rationale is to return Gansevoort Street to its earlier tenement configuration, then the new buildings at 60-68 and 74 Gansevoort must conform to the size of their predecessors.

Please send an email to the Landmarks Preservation Commission asking the commissioners to hold fast to their guidelines and insist that the heights these buildings be further reduced.  It only takes one click!

Gansevort Street
Gansevoort Street as it currently exists – the last remaining intact block of one- and two-story market buildings in the historic district.