Nine buildings in Greenwich Village’s Gansevoort Market Historic District are slated for partial demolition, disturbing local preservation groups.
In 2020 a developer received permission to build an office tower attached to the back of the historic row homes at 44-54 Ninth Avenue and 351-55 West 14th Street. Once construction on the tower began, an engineer’s report indicated dangerous conditions at the row homes. Specifically, the engineer found that the front facades were separating from the rest of the buildings.
In response the Department of Buildings issued an emergency order allowing the contractors to demolish the brick facades. However, local preservation organization the Greenwich Village Society For Historic Preservation has argued that these brick facades are essential to the historic fabric of the district. In an email to Untapped Cities, Executive Director of Village Preservation Andrew Berman wrote, “This reflects a callous disregard for our history and the purpose of our landmarks law by the city and this developer. We will now at best get a Disney-fied recreation of these buildings when the priority should have always been to preserve, maintain, and restore these historic landmarks.”
Others have also protested the way the demolition decision was made. In a letter to Department of Buildings Commissioner Melanie La Rocca signed by Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer and New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, among others, advocates called on the developer to consider all options. “We have many questions regarding the state of the buildings and request that both agencies halt work at this site until the development team can have a conversation with the community and advocates and present options for preservation,” they wrote.
According to Patch, if the historic facades are demolished, the owners will be required to reconstruct using salvaged materials from the demolition.