Throughout the Village, we have seen houses built, and houses demolished. But sometimes, we see something in between.
In some cases, new owners want more space than a traditional Village building can provide them. As a result, they will buy a couple of townhouses side-by-side or entire tenement buildings to combine internally, and create what some are calling “megamansions.” In these cases, though the interiors may change, the historic look of the buildings on the outside may more or less be maintained. But certainly, something very important has changed.
Here are a few examples of ones that have been built, and others that are potentially in the works.
In 2013, there was talk of converting this multi-family tenement in the South Village to a single-family residence. The South Village was historically an immigrant, working class community and this tenement was no exception. Originally built as an “old law” tenement in 1883, it housed twenty families, and though it lost its original cornice and had its ground floor altered, the façade and brick work remained largely the same. In 1927 the interior and the ground floor of this building were upgraded and a fire escape was added in 1941. If the planned conversion were undertaken, the building would then become a 5,000+ square foot single-family home. However, while this would be the first for the South Village, this is not the first example of a tenement-to-single-family residence conversion. There was a rather high-profile and bitter battle over the conversion of the tenement at 47 East 3rd Street to an 11,600 sq. ft. single-family home. So far, work does not appear to have moved ahead for the conversion of 9 Minetta.
Celebrity couple Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick is undertaking this latest conversion, which will combine these two properties into one unit. On the outside, this residence will appear to be two townhouses, but from the inside it will be one continuous interior between the two.
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Located between Greenwich and Washington Streets, a new owner has applied to replace the former Pro Piano showroom with an 80 ft. high, 5-story, 15,926 sq ft single family house. However, because the property is located within the confines of the Greenwich Village Historic District, any plans for demolition, alteration, and/or new construction has to go through public review by and gain approval of the Landmark Preservation Commission.
The last on our list is former Fire Patrol Building #2 and the current residence of journalist and TV personality Anderson Cooper. Cooper purchased the South Village firehouse back in 2010, and efforts by GVSHP prior had resulted in the structure being ruled eligible for the State & National Register of Historic Places as an example of “a highly intact early 20th century firehouse with Beaux-Arts Ornamentation.” As per our 2011 blog post:
Significant exterior ornamentation includes: rusticated piers, ornate capitals, and a keystone over the entrance with the face of the Roman god Mercury, the god of speed. By removing layers of dark red paint, the renovation showcases much of the original brick, limestone, and terra cotta details. Windows have been replaced and restored and the egg and dart detailing along the top of the building has been cleaned. Some of the original interior details that remained at the time of the NR report include: a herringbone-patterned brick floor, glass wall tiles, brass fire poles, a spiral stair, and ceiling beams/poles for drying canvases. According to Cooper’s architect, Cary Tamarkin, much of the interior, including the fire poles, was to be preserved.
In 2013 this and more than a dozen surrounding blocks were landmarked following a seven-year campaign by GVSHP, thus helping to ensure this building’s exterior will be preserved in perpetuity.