On Friday we shared details about the expansion of the proposed South Village Historic District to take in three sites GVSHP had fought to include — the row of ten 1840s houses at 130-148 Houston Street (MacDougal/Sullivan Streets) and two critical NYU sites — their low-rise Vanderbilt Hall Law School Building at 40 Washington Square South and the Kevorkian Center at 50 Washington Square South. We were thrilled that all three sites were added, but especially Vanderbilt Hall, given that under existing zoning, NYU could (and no doubt one day would) build as high as 300 feet tall on this site (see image at right).
There are many people to thank and acknowledge for this very important development -- The Preservation League of NY State, for helping to fund our South Village research and naming the South Village one of their 2012-13 "Seven to Save;" the Historic Districts Council, for joining us early in calling upon the City to include these sites; DOCOMOMO, for joining us in pushing for the inclusion of the Kevorkian Center; NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan, which joined us in pushing for the inclusion of these NYU buildings; and the six elected officials who wrote to the City supporting our call for including these three sites, and Speaker Quinn who additionally and critically reached out to the Mayor's office about this.
"Calendaring" of the district, which starts the official process of considering it for landmark designation, should follow soon, followed by a public hearing.
An important note of caution, however: while these three sites, along with the rest of the district, will now be officially considered for landmark designation, we will not know until the Landmarks Preservation Commission votes at the end of the year which sites will ultimately landmarked. GVSHP had called for the deal between the City Council and the City allowing the rezoning of Hudson Square to ensure that the entire South Village was landmarked concurrently with or before the rezoning was approved and took effect. Unfortunately, that is not what happened, and while Speaker Quinn and the City Council approved the rezoning in March, their deal does not require the ultimate decision on landmarking to take place until December.
GVSHP will keep pushing to get the entire South Village landmarked.