Facing Broad Opposition, Landmarks Balks at Plan for Massive Excavation and Alterations at 131 and 131 1/2 Charles Street

Exterior of 131 Charles Street (left), and proposed alterations to the site

We’re happy to report that at today’s Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing on the troubling and potentially dangerous proposed changes to the individually landmarked 131 and 131 1/2 Charles Street, the Commission refused to approve the plan. Village Preservation led off testimony from the public, slamming the plan and pointing out concerns about the danger of the proposed excavation — especially in light of recent destruction of the landmarked 14 Gay Street and 351-55 West 14th Street/44-54 Ninth Avenue — and the inappropriateness of many of the planned alterations. We were joined by fellow preservationists from across the city, neighbors, and scholars who all opposed the plan. Councilmember Erik Bottcher, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, and State Senator Brian Kavanagh submitted joint testimony objecting to some elements of the plan. The hundreds of letters received by Village Preservation members opposing the plan were also cited. Watch the hearing here.

The Commissioners cited many of the concerns we raised, some indicating they originally planned to approve the application, but had changed their minds. Some said they were entirely opposed to all elements of the application, while others said significant elements of it needed to be removed or changed for them to consider approval. In the end, the Commission sent the applicant back to the drawing board.

Thank YOU to everyone who sent letters and submitted testimony, and especially those who testified. It’s critical that we fight to protect our history and our landmarks like these, and YOUR support and assistance made a BIG difference.

We’ll be monitoring this application closely if and when it returns to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. 

January 10, 2023