Still no signs of movement from Mayor or Councilmember Rivera on comprehensive neighborhood protections Rivera originally promised as a condition of her Tech Hub support

The seven buildings landmarked today.
This morning the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to landmark 817, 826, 830, 832, 836, and 841 Broadway, after public hearings in December and February where the Commission faced criticism from neighborhood and preservation groups for not taking a broader approach to landmarking in the area. The vote is a huge disappointment, as the City has refused to consider landmark designation or any other substantial protections for the nearly 200 buildings on a dozen blocks of this part of Greenwich Village and the East Village, where historic buildings can and are being torn down to make way for large high-rise hotels, office towers, and condos. The landmarking of these seven buildings, none of which (unlike many of their neighbors) are currently endangered, comes nearly a year after the City Planning Commission and City Council approved the upzoning nearby for a ‘Tech Hub’ lobbied for and to be developed by the Mayor’s donors and fundraisers. Today’s action is also only a fraction of what Councilmember Rivera promised would come as part of her agreement with the Mayor to approve the upzoning, and is only a fraction of what she had promised to condition her support for the Tech Hub upon when she ran for office.

Support Real Landmark Protections in this Area – CLICK HERE

When Councilmember Rivera ran for City Council in 2017, she publicly committed in writing on a candidate questionnaire from Village Preservation that she would only approve the Mayor’s proposed Tech Hub on 14th Street if the Mayor agreed to the comprehensive landmark and zoning protections for the adjacent Greenwich Village/East Village neighborhood, saying “without the needed zoning protections for the neighborhood, [the Tech Hub] would lead to acceleration in out of scale development for the surrounding residential neighborhood.”  However, last summer, she led the City Council in approving the upzoning necessary for the Tech Hub with a pale shadow of the promised neighborhood protections as part of the announced deal. 
Almost a year later, most of what was promised in even that watered-down deal has not been enacted. That included:

A commitment to consider seven buildings on Broadway for landmark designation. This is the only part of the deal which has been done.  However, these seven buildings were out of a proposed historic district of 193 buildings, of which the seven buildings chosen for landmark designation amount to just 3.6%.
A commitment to “establish a protective zoning measure in neighborhoods
south of 14th Street that has proven to regulate commercial development.” No such zoning measures have been proposed or enacted.
A commitment to implement “a tenant-protection campaign headed by HPD in communities south of the project to ensure that tenants in rent-stabilized buildings know their rights and spot the signs of tenant harassment.  This will include community-wide forums, door-knocking campaigns, and priority status for Council District 2 residents who need assistance from the City’s new Tenant Protection Unit.  No such measures have been implemented or begun.
(l.) The now-demolished former St. Denis Hotel, and the tech office tower being built to replace it.
Since the City Council approved the Mayor’s upzoning for a Tech Hub on 14th Street directly adjacent to this area, one of the neighborhood’s most historic and beloved buildings has been demolished to make for a glass office tower for tech firms (now being constructed), illustrating the development pressure the area is facing and the impact the approval of the Tech Hub and upzoning is having.  The former St. Denis Hotel at 799 Broadway/80 E. 11th Street, built in 1853, was once one of the grandest hotels in America, whose guests included Mark Twain, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Buffalo Bill, and P.T. Barnum.  Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated his new invention, the telephone, there for the first time in New York, and in later years the revolutionary artist Marcel Duchamp had his studio there.  Over theprotests of Village Preservation and thousands of neighborhood residents, the City refused to even consider this or other historic buildings in the area for landmark designation.

Village Preservation and others have been very critical of the Tech Hub deal, which benefitted donors to and fundraisers for the Mayor, gave away valuable public land on 14th Street for private development for a song, and included no written record whatsoever of why the Mayor’s donors were chosen over any of the other proposals submitted for the site, which good government group Citizen Union criticized – read more here and here.
We are continuing to fight for comprehensive landmark protections for this area, which is incredibly rich in history and architecture. Let Councilmember Rivera, Mayor de Blasio, and the Landmarks Preservation Commission know that this is not enough – Greenwich Village and the East Village NEED AND DEMAND REAL LANDMARK PROTECTIONS.

 CLICK HERE to send a letter to city officials

For images of and information about the endangered historic area south of Union Square which Village Preservation is seeking to preserve, click below.
June 11, 2019