There was a great turnout at last Thursday’s Community Board 2 hearing on the proposed 90′ tall towers at 85 Jane Street! Over 70 community residents appeared in opposition to the proposed 90′ tall towers at 85 Jane Street in the Greenwich Village historic District. Not one person spoke in favor of the project.
The developer finally released renderings of his proposed building. Although it is not clear from the pictures, the concrete tower and the glass tower are actually separate structures, connected with small footbridges:
Residents pointed out that the towers are completely out of character with the Greenwich Village Historic District, and that all of the comparable buildings cited by the developer in fact are situated outside of the Historic District.
Residents also expressed concern about the overbearing, uniform 41′ tall street wall, which will have a sterilizing effect on this charming low-scale block. (The developer claims that the zoning forces him to create this uniform 41′ street wall; however, an exemption from this requirement for buildings in historic districts can easily be obtained through a 74-711 process.)
The CB2 Landmarks Committee voted unanimously to oppose this application, and we expect that the full Community Board will shortly pass a strong resolution against this project.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission – which will make the actual decision to approve, modify, or deny this application – will hold its hearing some time in June. It is essential that as many community residents as possible attend and speak at the LPC hearing. Please contact preserveJaneSt@gmail.com in order to receive updates on the fight against this proposal and information about the LPC hearing as soon as it is scheduled.
For more information, go here.
UPDATE: Following is a report from the #preserveJaneSt coalition:
On Thursday, May 12th, Community Board 2 held a hearing on the proposed development at the former Pro Piano site at 85 – 89 Jane Street. This site sits squarely within the Greenwich Village Historic District.
The proposal includes a request to include two 90’ towers – one concrete, the other glass, lit at night like a beacon – to what is currently a 30’ tall building. The proposal also includes increasing the street façade of two existing low-rise structures to a uniform 41’ across the entire 110’ street frontage. The two structures date from the late 1800’s / early 1900’s and have had a variety of commercial uses over the years – ranging from horse stables to a garage to ice-cream manufacturing to a piano showroom most recently. The final structure would be a ~20,000 square foot single family home.
The meeting was standing-room only. A majority of the attendees proudly wore #preserveJaneSt stickers. Also present were:
· Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society of Historic Preservation
· Representatives of the Jane Street Block Association
· Representatives of #preserveJaneSt
· Representatives from the Greenwich Village Community Task Force
· Representatives from City Councilmember Corey Johnson’s office
The voice of opposition from the public was fierce, consistent and on-point. The crowd repeatedly noted that two 90’ towers had no place in the Greenwich Village Historic District. There is no precedent for such height, especially clad in glass, inside the District. The argument presented by the architect – that this design resembled smokestacks that were present on industrial structures outside of the Greenwich Village Historic District – was met with strong disapproval. Buildings outside of the Historic District are entirely irrelevant as precedents for construction within theDistrict.
Others raised concerns about increasing the street façade to 41’. While this increased height would be consistent with many of the neighboring townhouses, it would have a homogenizing effect and destroy the character of jagged skyline heights that Jane Street has enjoyed for decades. Many feared it would lead to a more soulless atmosphere. After some of the more passionate contributions made by the public, the crowd erupted into applause.
The Committee voted unanimously to oppose the proposal. We expect formal resolution language from CB2 next week.
This is win for the community. We expect the full Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing to occur in late June. The LPC meeting is where the important decision will be made on what can be built on the site. It is ESSENTIAL that everyone opposed to this plan attend that meeting.