These three 19th century buildings at 47 East 12th Street (left) and 827-831 Broadway are slated to be replaced with a 300-foot-tall office tower. (Photo courtesy of GVSHP)
By Andrew Berman, Executive director, Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation
Previously unheard of development is streaming ahead in the blocks between Union Square and Astor Place, Fifth and Third Avenues. A 300 ft. tall luxury condo tower is rising on University Place and 12th Street. A 300 ft. tall office tower is planned for Broadway and 12th Street. A 120-room hotel for party-hopping millennials is going up on East 11th Street. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Why is this happening in a largely residential neighborhood known for its historic character and modest scale? Mostly because the area’s zoning dates to 1961, when the neighborhood was largely commercial, and tall towers rather than contextual development were in vogue. And although virtually everyone in the affected community, including elected officials, supports a rezoning we proposed that would put reasonable height limits in place, reinforce the area’s residential character, and add affordable housing incentives, the mayor adamantly opposes it.
Former Post Office space (pictured last January) (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
The developer of a planned residential building at the site of the old Peter Stuyvesant Post Office is still hoping to add an additional four stories to what was originally supposed to be an eight-story structure.
Benenson Capital Partners, whose request for a required zoning variance to do this was shot down in July by a committee of Community Board 3, will next be heading to the Board of Standards and Appeals.
While the community board’s unanimous vote in opposition to the variance was just advisory, a decision made by the BSA would be official.
The developer had previously argued that an additional few floors was necessary to make the project economically viable, due to costs related to underground water conditions at the site.
By Sabina Mollot
A bill pending in the City Council that would impose strict deadlines on applications for property landmark status has drawn concern from preservation groups who are blasting it as having a “do or die” policy. This is because any projects that aren’t decided upon by deadline would be barred from reconsideration for five years.
The bill, known as Intro 775, had a hearing in the Council on Wednesday with many speakers scheduled, but there wasn’t a vote on it. If passed, the Landmarks Preservation Commission would have to hold a public hearing on any potentially landmarked property or scenic landmark within 180 days of it going on the calendar and then make a decision on its status within 180 days of the hearing.
Historic districts up for designation would have to be discussed at a hearing within a year after being put on the calendar, with the LPC given a year after that to come to a decision.