Buildings once housed Willem de Kooning home & studio,
faced wrecking ball & planned replacement by 300 ft. tall office tower

We’re thrilled to report that after a year-and-a-half campaign by GVSHP, the City has decided to calendar (i.e. begin the formal process of considering for landmark designation) 827-831 Broadway! These two 1866 cast-iron buildings originally housed and were built by some of the great innovators in American commerce and industry. In the mid-20th century, they were home to world-renowned artists like Willem de Kooning, Elaine de Kooning, and Paul Jenkins.  Additionally, the buildings were designed by prolific and influential architect Griffith Thomas, called “the most fashionable architect of his generation” by the American Institute of Architects. Read GVSHP’s entire history of the buildings, and our requests for the City to landmark them, here.

GVSHP first became aware of plans to demolish the building in 2016, when an application was filed for permits to build a 300 ft. tall office tower on the site. GVSHP requested that the City landmark the building at the time, but that request was initially denied. However, after GVSHP uncovered additional historic information about the buildings and their significance, and got additional support from elected officials, preservation organizations, the de Kooning Foundation, and many others, the City reconsidered.  This summer, the New York Times ran an op-ed by GVSHP and Eric Rayman calling upon the City to landmark the buildings, and hundreds of our members and supporters joined in sending letters to the City urging them to save the buildingsThank you to everyone who helped with this effort!

The City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission will vote to calendar the buildings on Tuesday at 9:30am, affording them preliminary protections against demolition or alteration. A public hearing and vote on landmark designation will follow at a later date (TBD). GVSHP will alert the public as soon as those dates have been set, and let you know how you can support designation (Tuesday’s vote does not include public testimony). 

Of course there is a broader context to this fight. The area between Union Square and Astor Place, Fifth and Third Avenues, currently faces tremendous development pressure, with multiple out-of-scale and otherwise inappropriate developments being planned or built right now.  This pressure will only multiply if the City moves ahead with plans to build a ‘Tech Hub’ on 14th Street which would help extend ‘Silicon Alley’ through this area. That is UNLESS we can get the City to also enact zoning protections for this neighborhood we have been fighting for.  Help us protect not only this site, but the entire endangered area, by reaching out to the Mayor urging him to link any approvals for the 14th Street Tech Hub to protections for this area.

September 16, 2017