Developer Sues GVSHP to Prevent Us from Defending Our Neighborhoods
As reported in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, developer Gregg Singer has filed a lawsuit claiming he has been “illegally blocked by a ‘conspiracy’ of local elected officials…[and] a preservation group” — GVSHP — from developing the former PS 64/Charas-El Bohio community/cultural center at 605 East 9th Street. Mr. Singer has sought to demolish and replace the building with a high-rise revolving-door ‘dormitory,’ and stripped the building of architectural ornament and left it open to the elements for years, in spite of its landmark status.
The lawsuit by Mr. Singer, who has been sued by his own business partners and investors, and who reportedly hired Donald Trump’s PR team to pay actors to pose as concerned neighbors supporting his development plans for the old P.S. 64 at a rally, is a blatant attempt to try to intimidate GVSHP out of carrying out our mission – fighting for our neighborhoods, defending our landmarks, and making sure that developers don’t skirt our laws meant to protect our communities.
Since acquiring this site two decades ago, Mr. Singer has repeatedly tried to get permits for uses which GVSHP and countless others have argued violated deed restrictions, zoning rules, landmarks regulations, and buildings codes. GVSHP and our allies have brought these violations to city officials’ attention, and demanded that the city enforce the law and deny Mr. Singer permits for those illegal uses. Because we have done this, and done it so effectively, Mr. Singer is now suing us.
But we won’t back down. Just like we didn’t back down when city officials refused to enforce the law against the Trump SoHo, and we eventually got hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines levied against it, helping to lead to the withdrawal of the Trump Organization. Or when the City and the Real Estate Board of New York opposed our successful push to extend landmark protections to the entire South Village. Or when we demanded and got restrictions against ‘air rights transfers’ from the Hudson River Park for the entire Greenwich Village waterfront. And we won’t back down in our opposition to the Mayor’s plans to turn Greenwich Village and the East Village into an extension of “Silicon Alley.”
It’s critical that we not let developer’s like Mr. Singer use the courts to intimidate GVSHP or any other group from carrying out their mission to advocate for our city’s history, character, and neighborhoods.
Help us continue to stand tall, and defend what we love about our city and neighborhoods.