Officials Stonewall on Information Regarding Condition of Nine Landmarked Meatpacking District Houses, OK Demolition
City agencies have continued to refuse to provide information about the basis for deciding that nine landmarked 1840s houses at 44-54 Ninth Avenue/351-55 West 14th Street in the Meatpacking District are “unsafe” and in imminent danger of collapse unless demolished (all but the party walls), even though there are no signs of stress, cracking, listing, or other indications of imminent danger. Local elected officials such as Speaker Corey Johnson, Borough President Gale Brewer, State Senator Brad Hoylman, and Assemblymember Deborah Glick have been surprisingly mum, in spite of repeated requests by this and other organizations for assistance in securing necessary information. A report shared by the developer does little to prove the case that these houses are beyond hope, and couldn’t be restored with shoring and repairs.
That, however, seems incompatible with the developer’s plans to build an office tower behind the buildings and gut the historic buildings to transform them into an entry wing for the new structure. But it’s not the job of the City to accommodate such plans at the expense of historic buildings recognized at the city, state, and federal levels as landmarks. See coverage in The Village Sun, Patch, The Architect’s Newspaper, and The Real Deal, and listen to coverage on WBAI.
Village Preservation is working closely with allied community and preservation organizations to demand answers and a halt to any demolition until and unless the City can substantiate the need for such immediate action and the lack of safe, reasonable alternatives that we believe likely exist. Community Board 4 has also joined in calling for an immediate halt to work and more answers.