NEW YORK — About 100 people turned out for Tuesday’s Landmarks Preservation Commission meeting to debate the extensive Gansevoort Street development proposal.
Forty-five attendees voiced their concern, according to Zach Winestine, coorganizer of the Save Gansevoort campaign, which along with the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and Landmark West is trying to shield the historic neighborhood from a major commercial overhaul. Tuesday’s opposition was so strong that speakers took up three hours, which left no time for LPC members to ask questions, he said.
Aurora Capital Associates and William Gottlieb Real Estate are looking to develop nine buildings between 46 and 74 Gansevoort Street. Pending approval, the cobblestone block’s footprint would more than double from 47,500 square feet to 112,500 square feet. The greatest proposed addition is to add three stories plus a setback penthouse at 60-68 Gansevoort Street and the highest scale of the proposed development would be six stories plus a setback two-story penthouse at 70-74 Gansevoort Street.
More than 1,800 signatures were gathered for the petition that asked the LPC to reject the development plan submitted by Aurora Capital Associates and William Gottlieb Real Estate. Diane von Furstenberg and Julie Gilhart are among those who penned their support, as have Congressman Jerrold Nadler; Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer; State Senator Brad Hoylman; Assembly Member Deborah Glick, and City Council Member Corey Johnson, all of whom represent the Gansevoort Market Historic District. Representatives from the New York Landmarks Conservancy sent a letter to the LPC in opposition, according to a spokeswoman for the Save Gansevoort initiative.
The project falls within the Gansevoort Market historic district, which was landmarked in 2003. That status was achieved following a three-year campaign by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Winestine said, “The Gansevoort Block is defined by its unique market character and market history. Quite simply, the proposed development would obliterate this character and history.”
One supporter said, “The existing buildings are remnants of glorious buildings cut down during the Depression era. Why celebrate and preserve a time of economic downturn? Why preserve buildings that aren’t actively contributing to the look, feel or activity of the neighborhood? The proposed development will save Gansevoort and encourage more people to explore and shop in the district. “
He claimed that a petition signed by 800 residents in support of the project was also submitted by the LPC. Requests for comment Wednesday were not responded to by the LPC.
Last month about 100 supporters of the Save Gansevoort Street and Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation turned up at last week’s Community Board 2 meeting, which rejected the proposal in a nonbinding decision. The board’s ruling referenced that the project “alters the mass, scale and architectural details that are particular to this street,” among other things.
Once LPC members review the testimony from this week’s meeting and any written testimony that has been submitted, the LPC will schedule a public meeting at a yet-to-be-determined date, according to a LPC spokeswoman.