Landmarks Preservation Commission to Hear Revised Plan for 44-54 9th Ave/351-55 W 14th St After City Allows Developer to Partially Demolish 1840s Houses — Demand Office Tower Approvals Be Rescinded, Real Restoration Take Place
Next Tuesday, February 8, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) will hold a public hearing on and consider a revised plan for the partial demolition and restoration of nine landmarked 1840s houses at 44-54 Ninth Avenue/351-355 West 14th Street in the Meatpacking District — a previously approved project which also includes constructing a large office tower behind the buildings. Since that original approval in 2020, the developer has, with the City’s permission, partially demolished all nine buildings, after claiming that the buildings presented an imminent safety hazard only discovered after their work to alter the buildings to serve as an entryway for the large new office tower behind began. Village Preservation protested those approvals, citing the lack of clear evidence of such imminent safety hazards and consideration of less extreme alternatives to repair the buildings. The developer is now seeking LPC approval for a new plan that includes the already completed demolition of the facades of the buildings and their reconstruction and restoration.
Given that this plan is no longer the approved 2020 plan, which involved maintaining the facades and other elements of the buildings, the entire project should be reconsidered, and prior approvals no longer considered valid. We are instead calling for:
- Approvals for the tower behind the structures, which was issued when the plan included a much more robust preservation and restoration plan for the nine historic landmarked houses, to be rescinded.
- Requiring the developer to restore (using the original bricks) the intact 19th century painted signage on the buildings which were revealed when the nonhistoric stucco was removed.
- More stringent requirements than being offered by the developer for preserving and reusing dismantled brick from the facades of the buildings, to reconstruct them with historic material as much as possible.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing on this proposal will take place next Tuesday, February 8 (time to be announced late Friday). You can testify via Zoom at the virtual hearing and/or submit written testimony and comments.