827-831 Broadway, Threatened 1866 Lofts Once Home to de Kooning, Landmarked! Year and a Half Campaign Saves Historic Structures from Wrecking Ball and Planned Replacement with 300 ft. Tall Tower Owner Opposed Designation, Threatened Lawsuit

After a year and a half campaign by the GVSHP, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted today to landmark 827-831 Broadway (12th/13th Streets), which faced the wrecking ball and were slated to be replaced with a 300 ft. tall office tower.  Landmark designation takes immediate effect! 

These 1866 lofts were once home to Willem de Kooning and a vast array of influential art world figures, and were connected to critical figures in early American industry and commerce. When GVSHP discovered plans to demolish these buildings in early 2016, we began a campaign to save them, unearthing historic documentation of their significance which became the basis for their designation, lining up support for preservation among government officials and art world figures, placing an op-ed in the New York Times with Eric Rayman calling for the buildings to be saved, and generating thousands of letters to Mayor de Blasio and the LPC in support of designation. The LPC initially rejected GVSHP’s plea for landmark designation, but recently relented and calendared the buildings for designation, over opposition from the developer/owner. Read the full history of the buildings, and GVSHP’s landmarking proposal, here

At the hearing on landmarking the buildings earlier this month, the owners threatened to sue if the buildings were landmarked, claiming that designation would constitute a “hardship” for them given the amount they paid for the buildings.  But the owners previously publicly stated that the buildings were worth the purchase price for the value of the retail alone, belying this claim. The owners alternately threatened to apply for LPC approval for a large-scale addition to the building if it were landmarked, which would have to go through a public hearing and approval process.  GVSHP would be ready to mobilize the public and fight any proposal which would undermine the integrity of these uniquely valuable architectural and historic gems. 

In addition to the thousands of people who wrote letters and testified at hearings in support of landmarking these buildings, we wish to thank the elected officials, other preservation groups, and art world figures who came out in support of preserving these buildings, including Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who personally testified in favor at the LPC hearing. Your support made a difference!

But the battle isn’t overGiven the developer’s threat to seek to overturn or undermine their landmark designation, we need to continue to fight to protect these buildings.  And we still need to get the Mayor and city to support zoning and landmark protections for the surrounding area, which faces a flood of overdevelopment like what was planned at 827-831 Broadway.

GVSHP has helped secure landmark designation for over 1,250 buildings, and zoning protections for nearly one hundred blocks of our neighborhood – click here or below for details.

October 1, 2017