GVSHP has been thrilled that the city is considering the first third of our proposed South Village Historic District, a proposed 235-building extension of the Greenwich Village Historic District which, if enacted, would be the largest expansion of landmark protections in Greenwich Village since 1969. However, we also remain extremely concerned about the slow pace of the city’s movement, allowing numerous historic buildings and sites to be demolished or altered, and the lack of commitment to a timeframe for considering the entire district.
These concerns have been amplified by recent news from the city that in spite of overwhelming support expressed for designating the entire South Village at the October landmarks hearing, no vote on designating the first third is expected until the spring, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission has only begun to consider a part, rather than the entirety, of the remaining sections of the South Village. GVSHP has written to the Commission urging that they designate the first third of the South Village now under consideration right away, and that they move on to consider the entire remaining two-thirds of the South Village as soon as possible. We have also asked our local elected officials to do the same.
At 178 Bleecker Street, the site of an 1861 house in the heart of the South Village which the city refused to save from demolition, final plans have not yet been approved for a new, out-of-scale 8-story replacement building, but the city has said that the developer has gotten around “sliver law” restrictions limiting new development to 60 ft. (the approximate height of the demolished building) through a loophole in the law. GVSHP told the city that this violates the spirit and intention of the law, and has urged that the decision allowing an 8-story building here be overturned. We have also asked our local elected officials to make a similar request of the city, or to draft legislation which would close the supposed “loophole” in the law.