827-831 Broadway Past Campaign Updates

827-831 Broadway Plan Returns to Landmarks

After two rejections by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), a proposal to build additions atop 827-831 Broadway, the 1866 loft buildings GVSHP successfully led a campaign to landmark and save from demolition and replacement with a 300 ft. tall office tower, is returning to the Commission tomorrow.  The good news: the size of the proposed addition to 827-831 Broadway has again been substantially reduced, minimizing its visibility (the basis upon which the LPC must judge its ‘appropriateness’).  The bad news: the developer is now proposing a jarringly visible 7-story addition to the connected property at 47 E. 12th Street, which GVSHP had proposed for inclusion in the landmark designation (the three properties are of the same design and were all built in conjunction) but which the LPC refused to include (full application here).
GVSHP is opposing the revised application based upon the visibility of the proposed 7-story addition to the 12th Street building, and reminding the LPC that this 12th Street building should have been landmarked as well – read our letter here.
Help ensure the integrity of this landmark is protected:

May 14, 2018

LPC Says No to Crinkled Glass Topper for 827-831 Broadway

We are pleased to report that on Tuesday the Landmarks Preservation Commission did not approve a proposal for a 4-story crinkled glass addition atop 827-831 Broadway (12th/13th Streets), the 1866 lofts which once housed Willem de Kooning and many other notable artists, which GVSHP saved from the wrecking ball in 2017. GVSHP and our allies urged the Commission not to approve the plan, which we felt was too overwhelming in size and visibility, and too discordant in its design. The Commission’s comments largely mirrored those concerns. Thank you to all who showed up for the hearing, especially representatives of Councilmember Carlina Rivera and State Senators Liz Kruger and Brad Hoylman, and Community Board #2. Read coverage here and here, and see images here.

The applicant will now have to return with a revised proposal based upon the Commissioners feedback, which was to make the proposed addition shorter and/or to push it back further, and to make the proposed design “calmer” and more harmonious with the architecture of the existing building. An applicant is entitled to a “minimally visible” addition atop a landmarked building such as this, and at the discretion of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, can secure approval for a larger one, if deemed “appropriate.” We felt this design did not meet that standard, and are glad that the LPC seemed to (at least somewhat) agree. 

For more information on this application or to sign up for alerts about it, click here.

January 14, 2018

827-831 Broadway Oversized Addition Hearing Next Tuesday 1/9

The developer’s proposal to add an oversized, four-story glass addition to 827-831 Broadway, the 1866 loft structures which GVSHP recently led the successful campaign to landmark, is scheduled to be heard by the Landmarks Preservation Commission next Tuesday, January 9, starting at approximately 2pm.The developer claims that the proposed addition would be a tribute to Willem de Kooning and the many other artists who lived and worked (and in some cases still do!) in the building over the last six decades. We strongly disagree. The proposal was rejected by Community Board #2, but the Landmarks Preservation Commission will decide its fate.
Aside from the visually overwhelming nature of the proposed addition, there are several disturbing elements to the developer’s arguments for it. The developer claims that the building is a “cultural landmark only” and therefore does not warrant the same type or level of consideration regarding changes to the building that other landmarks do – a patently false claim. It also appears likely that the developer will seek permission from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to demolish all but the façade of the building, even though the application does not specify this. The developer claims he is entitled to do so and the LPC would have no authority to prohibit such demolition – another disturbing and false claim. 

We saved these uniquely significant structures from the wrecking ball.  It’s critical that we send a strong message to the Landmarks Preservation Commission that they not approve this proposal.

Please also attend and speak at the LPC hearing on Tuesday, or just come to show support. Use the above letter for sample testimony (verbal testimony is limited to 3 minutes; written comments can be any length).

January 4, 2018

Overwhelming Support at 827-831 Broadway Landmarking Hearing; Decision Oct. 31

GVSHP was joined by Councilmember Rosie Mendez, neighbors, and scores of supporters on Tuesday for the public hearing on our proposal to landmark 827-831 Broadway (12th/13th Streets). The 1866 lofts, formerly home to Willem de Kooning and other art world luminaries, had faced the wrecking ball.  Read GVSHP’s testimony here; watch video of the hearing here (this item begins at 16:20).

The proposal to landmark the buildings drew broad support.
 Members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), who will decide the building’s fate, also expressed strong support for designation, and stated that a vote would take place on October 31 (time TBD). Once the LPC votes to designate, the building is landmarked and protected, though temporary protections are in place now.

An attorney for the developer who purchased the building for $60 million stated that the owner opposed landmark designation, and asserted that he would have a hardship case if the building were designated and he were not allowed to develop the site (the law enables owners of private property to be relieved of landmarks requirements if they can demonstrate, through a public hearing process, that they cannot make a “reasonable return” on the property while abiding by landmarks requirements).  The owner’s lawyer also said that, if the building is landmarked, they would seek approval from the LPC to build some sort of addition to the building in order to make a reasonable return (this too would require a public hearing and review process).

Read coverage of the hearing here and here

To help, send a letter in support of landmark designation.  

In a further positive development, just prior to the 827-831 Broadway hearing, the LPC voted to landmark the Salvation Army Headquarters at 120-130 West 14th Street – a designation GVSHP had strongly supported and which had been under consideration for many years.
October 18, 2017

827-831 Broadway Landmarks Hearing Tues., 10/17 at 9:45 am

The Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold its public hearing onGVSHP’s proposal to landmark 827-831 Broadway (12th/13th Streets), cast iron loft buildings constructed in 1866 which in the mid-to-late 20th century housed an array of influential artists and art world figures, including Willem de Kooning and Jules Olitski, this Tuesday, October 17th at 9:45 am.  We strongly urge you to attend to testify in support, and/or to send a letter supporting landmark designation. The hearing will take place in the LPC hearing room at the Municipal Building, One Centre Street (at Chambers St.), 9th floor. Bring photo ID.  

You can also use the text in the letter linked above as the basis for testimony.  Testimony is limited to 3 minutes, but written comments of any length can be submitted. Just sign up to speak when you arrive; someone from GVSHP will be there to direct you. We expect the hearing to last at least 2 hours, so you can arrive late and still sign up to testify. 

GVSHP has fought very hard to save these historic and architectural landmarks, which were slated for demolition and replacement by a 300 ft. tall office tower, from the wrecking ball – see more background and history here

The LPC may vote on designation on Tuesday, or may wait until a later date.  Thank you to the hundreds of you have already written letters in support of saving these buildings, and the elected officials, preservation organizations, and art world luminaries whose support has helped get us to this point. 

October 17, 2017

827-831 Broadway, Threatened 1866 Lofts Once Home to de Kooning, Landmarked! Year and a Half Campaign Saves Historic Structures from Wrecking Ball and Planned Replacement with 300 ft. Tall Tower Owner Opposed Designation, Threatened Lawsuit

After a year and a half campaign by the GVSHP, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) voted today to landmark 827-831 Broadway (12th/13th Streets), which faced the wrecking ball and were slated to be replaced with a 300 ft. tall office tower.  Landmark designation takes immediate effect! 

These 1866 lofts were once home to Willem de Kooning and a vast array of influential art world figures, and were connected to critical figures in early American industry and commerce. When GVSHP discovered plans to demolish these buildings in early 2016, we began a campaign to save them, unearthing historic documentation of their significance which became the basis for their designation, lining up support for preservation among government officials and art world figures, placing an op-ed in the New York Times with Eric Rayman calling for the buildings to be saved, and generating thousands of letters to Mayor de Blasio and the LPC in support of designation. The LPC initially rejected GVSHP’s plea for landmark designation, but recently relented and calendared the buildings for designation, over opposition from the developer/owner. Read the full history of the buildings, and GVSHP’s landmarking proposal, here

At the hearing on landmarking the buildings earlier this month, the owners threatened to sue if the buildings were landmarked, claiming that designation would constitute a “hardship” for them given the amount they paid for the buildings.  But the owners previously publicly stated that the buildings were worth the purchase price for the value of the retail alone, belying this claim. The owners alternately threatened to apply for LPC approval for a large-scale addition to the building if it were landmarked, which would have to go through a public hearing and approval process.  GVSHP would be ready to mobilize the public and fight any proposal which would undermine the integrity of these uniquely valuable architectural and historic gems. 

In addition to the thousands of people who wrote letters and testified at hearings in support of landmarking these buildings, we wish to thank the elected officials, other preservation groups, and art world figures who came out in support of preserving these buildings, including Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who personally testified in favor at the LPC hearing. Your support made a difference!

But the battle isn’t overGiven the developer’s threat to seek to overturn or undermine their landmark designation, we need to continue to fight to protect these buildings.  And we still need to get the Mayor and city to support zoning and landmark protections for the surrounding area, which faces a flood of overdevelopment like what was planned at 827-831 Broadway.

GVSHP has helped secure landmark designation for over 1,250 buildings, and zoning protections for nearly one hundred blocks of our neighborhood – click here or below for details.

October 1, 2017


Buildings once housed Willem de Kooning home & studio,
faced wrecking ball & planned replacement by 300 ft. tall office tower

We’re thrilled to report that after a year-and-a-half campaign by GVSHP, the City has decided to calendar (i.e. begin the formal process of considering for landmark designation) 827-831 Broadway! These two 1866 cast-iron buildings originally housed and were built by some of the great innovators in American commerce and industry. In the mid-20th century, they were home to world-renowned artists like Willem de Kooning, Elaine de Kooning, and Paul Jenkins.  Additionally, the buildings were designed by prolific and influential architect Griffith Thomas, called “the most fashionable architect of his generation” by the American Institute of Architects. Read GVSHP’s entire history of the buildings, and our requests for the City to landmark them, here.

GVSHP first became aware of plans to demolish the building in 2016, when an application was filed for permits to build a 300 ft. tall office tower on the site. GVSHP requested that the City landmark the building at the time, but that request was initially denied. However, after GVSHP uncovered additional historic information about the buildings and their significance, and got additional support from elected officials, preservation organizations, the de Kooning Foundation, and many others, the City reconsidered.  This summer, the New York Times ran an op-ed by GVSHP and Eric Rayman calling upon the City to landmark the buildings, and hundreds of our members and supporters joined in sending letters to the City urging them to save the buildingsThank you to everyone who helped with this effort!

The City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission will vote to calendar the buildings on Tuesday at 9:30am, affording them preliminary protections against demolition or alteration. A public hearing and vote on landmark designation will follow at a later date (TBD). GVSHP will alert the public as soon as those dates have been set, and let you know how you can support designation (Tuesday’s vote does not include public testimony). 

Of course there is a broader context to this fight. The area between Union Square and Astor Place, Fifth and Third Avenues, currently faces tremendous development pressure, with multiple out-of-scale and otherwise inappropriate developments being planned or built right now.  This pressure will only multiply if the City moves ahead with plans to build a ‘Tech Hub’ on 14th Street which would help extend ‘Silicon Alley’ through this area. That is UNLESS we can get the City to also enact zoning protections for this neighborhood we have been fighting for.  Help us protect not only this site, but the entire endangered area, by reaching out to the Mayor urging him to link any approvals for the 14th Street Tech Hub to protections for this area.

September 16, 2017


(l. to r.) 47 E. 12th Street and 827 and 831 Broadway.

For well over a year, GVSHP has been fighting to save the beautiful, century-and-a-half old cast-iron and masonry buildings at 827-831 Broadway and 47 East 12th Street, which are threatened with planned demolition and replacement by a 300 ft. tall office tower.

After the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) rejected a request by GVSHP to consider the buildings for designation in 2016, we did additional research and found a wealth of historically significant information about the buildings, including that artists Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Paul Jenkins, and Larry Poons, among many others, lived and painted here; that the construction and early occupancy of the building was connected to some of the leading names in American industry; and that the building were home to the “antique dealer to the stars” for decades (read the full history and GVSHP’s submissions here).  GVSHP submitted a revised request to the LPC to consider the buildings for landmark designation, and received support from leading government officialspreservationists, and architecture critics and art world notables.

Yesterday, our op-ed with lawyer and neighbor Eric Rayman urging the LPC to move ahead with landmark designation appeared in the New York Times – read it here.

The good news – the LPC is actively considering our request for landmark designation based upon this research.  And while it is under consideration, the developer has withdrawn their application to demolish the buildings!

But this is far from over.  We need the LPC to take the formal step of “calendaring” the buildings for consideration for landmark designation, holding a public hearing, and voting to landmark them.


Urge the Mayor and his LPC Chair to move ahead and protect this vital piece of NYC history.

Rendering (l.) and diagram of proposed 300 ft. tall office tower to replace the historic 4-story buildings.

*Special thanks to Borough President Gale Brewer, Councilmember Rosie Mendez, State Senator Liz Kruger, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Community Board #2, the Municipal Art Society, the NY Landmarks Conservancy, the Historic Districts Council, the de Kooning Foundation, the Estate of Paul Jenkins, Kurt Andersen, Tony Hiss, Tom Fontana, Frederick Brosen and many others for their help and support.

August 3, 2017