Another Landmarked Building in Greenwich Village Endangered Due to City-Approved Work at 10 Fifth Avenue
On Saturday, city-approved work for the construction of a condo-tower at 14-16 Fifth Avenue caused serious damage to 10 Fifth Avenue, an incredibly historically significant 1848 former townhouse built by the Brevoort family which was part of a row that once included 14-16 Fifth Avenue. All sites in question are located within the Greenwich Village Historic District, and therefore landmarked and supposed to be protected from demolition. However, in 2021 over our vociferous protests, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) in a split vote approved demolition of the building, claiming it was not historically or architecturally significant, and approving the replacement tower (though the tower was reduced in height by 42% from the original proposal).
Saturday morning, visible cracks began to appear on the facade of 10 Fifth Avenue, and small pieces of that facade fell to the sidewalk. The Department of Buildings (DOB) and FDNY were called in, and work was halted at 14-16 Fifth when it became clear the construction was causing the cracks. No. 10 Fifth Avenue was evacuated of its 30 residents in 14 apartments. Village Preservation was quickly on the scene to inspect the building and reached out to LPC, DOB, and elected officials to urge that this and neighboring 12 Fifth Avenue be kept safe and intact. Over the course of the weekend, conditions were examined and whether or not the buildings would be found structurally unsound and in need of demolition was considered. As we go to press, we have been told is that 10 Fifth Avenue requires shoring; the party wall shared by 10 and 12 Fifth Avenue will need to be shored as well; and the stop work order remains in effect for 14-16 Fifth Avenue. So neither building has been deemed irreparable, for now. Village Preservation has been in touch with building tenants and Councilmember Erik Bottcher about conditions there. See coverage here and here.
The situation is outrageous, and part of a deeply disturbing pattern of landmarked historic buildings being damaged or destroyed on the city’s watch, including 10 in our neighborhood over the last year or so. Village Preservation has been calling for reforms to the city’s system of oversight to ensure this type of damage and destruction doesn’t take place, but the city has yet to implement such reforms. This case is especially troubling because the LPC should NEVER have allowed demolition of 14-16 Fifth Avenue, which along with the now-damaged and endangered 10 Fifth Avenue is the sole remnant of one of New York’s earliest and most important developments. Village Preservation is carefully monitoring the situation and advocating for the buildings’ repair and restoration, so residents’ homes and our history can be preserved.