GVSHP Secures Ruling of Eligibility for Silver Towers Complex on State and National Register of Historic Places
After a five-year campaign, late last year GVSHP was able to secure landmark designation for the I.M. Pei-designed Silver Towers complex, its Picasso sculpture, and its landscaping. This ground-breaking decision not only honored a watershed modernist design, but provides a firewall against NYU’s proposal for a 40-story tower — which would be the Village’s tallest — on the complex’s open space along Bleecker Street.
Now in a continuation of that effort, GVSHP has secured a “determination of eligibility” for listing of the complex on the State and National Register of Historic Places. This is particularly noteworthy because sites must be at least 50 years old to be found eligible (the complex was built in 1966) UNLESS they are determined to be of “exceptional significance.,” In this case, we are happy to report, the NY State Historic Preservation Office agreed with GVSHP that the Silver Towers complex met that high standard.
In addition to recognizing the historic significance of this complex, the ruling will have important material affects. It will require an additional historic preservation review before any state or federal money can be used on site, thus providing another bulwark against possible inappropriate plans by NYU. It will also give the property owners (which in this case includes the affordable housing co-op at 505 LaGuardia Place, one of the complex’s three towers) the opportunity to seek special grants and tax breaks for renovation and restoration work only available for Register-listed properties.