Greenwich Village Historic District Past Campaign Updates
Plan for 14-16 Fifth Avenue Demolition and Tower Replacement Returns; Hearing Feb. 16
The plan to demolish the 172 year old historic former townhouses at 14-16 Fifth Avenue in the Greenwich Village Historic District, and replace them with a high-rise tower, has returned and will be heard before Community Board 2’s Landmarks Committee on Tuesday, February 16 at 6:30pm. You can register for the Zoom meeting here (be sure to click on the drop-down for the Feb. 16 meeting, NOT the Feb. 11 meeting).
We strongly oppose this plan, which would involve the demolition of two altered but incredibly historically significant landmarked townhouses which were home to some of the greatest industrialists, artists, writers, actors, philanthropists, and jurists of the last two centuries and were key to the development of our neighborhood and our city. The proposed high-rise replacement, while decreased in size from prior 367 ft. tall and 21/story 244 ft. tall versions (the new version is 19 stories; we do not yet know its height or design), is nevertheless completely inappropriate. Most importantly, demolition of historically significant structures in landmarked areas should NEVER be allowed. Read more about the building’s historic significance, prior iterations and the plan, and our preservation efforts here, here, and here.
After the Community Board 2 hearing and advisory vote, the application will be scheduled for a hearing at the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which will ultimately decide if the proposal to demolish the existing buildings and replace them with a new tower will be approved. Once that has been scheduled, we will notify the public, and urge all to attend and testify in opposition.
Help Save An Iconic Landmarked West Village House
Please join us in urging the Landmarks Preservation Commission to REJECT a revised application to make significant and compromising changes to a unique house at 65 Horatio Street in the Greenwich Village Historic District.
This beloved semi-detached house has a rare visible bay window on its sidewall projecting into its sideyard, and an almost pristine 1845 Greek Revival roofline and cornice, as well as other details. The proposed changes, which include building a wall along Horatio Street blocking the view of the sideyard and bay window and a highly visible and intrusive rooftop addition, would mar the historic building’s unique qualities.
As we previously reported, the Landmarks Preservation Commission did not approve a prior version of this application, which we strongly opposed, telling the applicant to come back with revisions. They have, and the Horatio Street wall is virtually unchanged, while the proposed rooftop addition is different but no less intrusive, and possibly more so. Changes to landmarked buildings like this can be and are approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission if the city agency deems them “appropriate” to the historic character of the building and district, with a general rule of thumb being that changes should not make buildings less consistent with historic character, only more so, or be consistent with historic changes to comparable buildings in the area. This fits neither criteria.
Because this is not a public hearing with testimony, it’s crucial that you send comments to the Commission before a very tight deadline of noon Monday expressing your objections, before one of the most unique and charming houses in the Greenwich Village Historic District is marred forever.
See a copy of Village Preservation’s letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission here.
Find out more about our efforts to preserve the Greenwich Village Historic District here.
Fighting to Preserve the Unique Historic Qualities of a Landmarked West Village House
Monitoring, notifying the public about, and responding to applications for changes to landmarked properties in our neighborhood is one of our most important functions. This is especially important in neighborhoods with extensive landmark designations like the West Village. Every day we monitor 3,500 landmarked properties in our neighborhoods for such applications, review each one, and inform the public about them — something no other organization in the city does. Most applications are benign or even improvements. But some raise concerns.
A recent example is an application for both side and rear additions to one of the most unique houses in Greenwich Village, 65 Horatio Street. Built in 1845, it’s a rare Greenwich Village house that retains a side yard and bay window, as well as a wrap-around Greek Revival attic and cornice, making it one of the most special and distinctive buildings in the neighborhood, and an important part of what makes Greenwich Village Greenwich Village.
However, a new owner has applied to build out partly in the side yard, obscuring the historic bay window and side facade, as well as adding a rooftop addition. On Tuesday at the Landmarks Preservation Commission hearing, Village Preservation strongly opposed the plan, urging the Commissioners to reject it. They voted to defer a decision, asking the applicant to make changes to the plan, as they often do.
We will continue to closely monitor this application, as we do all landmarks applications in our neighborhood, and continue to notify the public about all such cases. You can review all local landmarks applications on our website here, sign up for notifications about particular addresses or blocks, and check your regular newsletters from us for a list of and link to all new applications in our neighborhoods.