There’s good news and bad news from last Tuesday’s Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting on the proposed massive Gansevoort development project. A big thank you to everyone who wrote emails or attended the meeting! The LPC says that In the week leading up to the hearing they received an incredible 820 emails opposing the project, and over 30 community residents were in the audience to listen to the commissioners’ discussion (the public was not allowed to speak at this meeting).
At the first LPC hearing (last November), 150 people packed the meeting room in opposition. So many people testified against the project that time ran out and the hearing was adjourned before the commissioners had any opportunity to ask questions or make comments. We were left with no idea about what they thought of the proposal.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the commissioners finally had a chance to speak.
First, the bad news. With one exception, the commissioners unfortunately bought the developers’ argument that it was acceptable to replace existing one- and two-story market buildings on the Gansevoort block with new structures that replicated the size of the tenement buildings which had previously stood on the site. It is very disappointing that LPC is apparently willing to sacrifice the last intact block of one- and two-story market buildings in the Gansevoort Market Historic District. (Read our statement rebutting the developers’ arguments here, and also the response by Gregory Dietrich Preservation Consulting here.)
Now the good news. The commissioners heard our concerns about the height and scale of the proposed project. First, they took the developers’ argument to its logical conclusion, and said that if the developers replaced the low-scale market buildings at 60-68 Gansevoort with a new structure intended to replicate the previous tenement buildings, then the new structure should not be taller than the tenement buildings it is supposedly intended to replace. This means a significant reduction in the height of the proposed new building. The setback 6th story will have to be removed (which will lower the building by 15′), and the remaining structure will then have to be further reduced in height.
The commissioners also told the developers to remove the two setback stories from 74 Gansevoort Street (lowering the building by 29′). In addition, the commissioners expressed concern about the size of the new structure even with the two setback stories removed, and told the developer to “scale back” the building. Both the developer and the commissioners describe the new building planned for 74 Gansevoort Street as a “loft-style” building; such buildings are typically much lower than the structure currently proposed.
We’ll present more details about this shortly, and we need to make sure that the commissioners follow through and not approve any revised plan that fails to meet the requirements they described at Tuesday’s meeting.
Additionally, the commissioners said that the height of the new building planned for 50 Gansevoort Street should be substantially reduced, and several commissioners said they would like to see this building not exceed two stories.
The LPC asked the developers to revise their project to take the above considerations into account. When the developer completes these revisions (probably in 1-3 months), the LPC will hold another public meeting to consider the revised plan. At that future meeting, LPC will have the option of either voting to approve the new plan or sending it back to the developers for further revisions.
Video of the hearing can be viewed here. Stay tuned for more info!