Landmarks Preservation Commission Makes Another Disturbing Decision to Legalize Destruction at 105-107 Bank Street
In January, we reported on a disturbing case of a developer destroying two entire landmarked 1846 rowhouses, which had served as the home of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, except for their facades and party walls. We immediately reported the unpermitted destruction (the developer did have permits to make changes to the structures, but explicitly had to retain the upper floor of the rear walls) to the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) and Department of Buildings, expecting a swift response of enforcement and penalty against the owner.
What we instead got was a delayed and drawn-out response that took over a month, at the end of which the LPC told us they had decided to allow the owner to destroy the entire buildings except the facade and party walls, even though the permits approved after going through the extensive public review process (during which Village Preservation and many members of the public testified to preserve the back wall) did not allow it. The justification for the decision was specious arguments about the developer finding structural instability in the upper walls after work began, which strained credulity given the sequence of events and the fact that the developer had clearly sought from the beginning to destroy the entire buildings behind their facades. See our response to the LPC and demand for action here.
This is part of a disturbing and growing trend of the City allowing and facilitating the destruction of landmarked and other historic and residential properties. Village Preservation has blasted the city’s toothless response to these cases, and its seeming aid and comfort to developers who have destroyed landmarked buildings.