[Photo: Will Femia]
We really can't get enough of 489 West Street, the crumbling former Gulf Coast restaurant that is surrounded on all sides by the new, high-end Far West Village. Owned by the reclusive Gottliebs, who control a lot of land in the area, the two-story time capsule has been especially troublesome for architect/developer Cary Tamarkin, who built the building next to it, and is now constructing a lovely new boutique condo building right behind it at 397 West 12th Street (note how the Gulf Coast has been replaced by trees in the rendering). Tamarkin really wanted to get his hands on the building, but the Gottliebs are the Gottliebs, so in the end he had to alter the design of 397 West 12th Street and hope for the best.
Here's an excerpt from a Real Deal interview with Tamarkin:
Your 12th Street building is adjacent to the Gottlieb parcel, where a Department of Buildings permit for a demolition originally issued in 2005 was renewed on May 13. What steps have you taken with the neighboring property?Meanwhile, blog Hunter-Gatherer is feeling nostalgic for the old Gulf Coast, and speaks with a former waiter at the '80s hot spot about the restaurant's history:
It is falling down. I assumed and thought it had been condemned and they had started dismantling it ... but there has been no action. I offered to buy it, I built my foundation away from it and I monitored it ... but Gottlieb is very difficult to get on the phone. I also offered to net-lease it from them for 99 years. The offers were submitted by mail but I did not get any response.
Do you expect something to be built there? Is that is why your building was designed with no windows facing the parcel?
I have designed the building with the idea that someday something will be there.
The era and environment was a key reason why the Gulf Coast became such a fab and Felliniesque combo platter of workers and clientele. Bikers sat with rock stars and promoters from any band that came to play at the Lone Star Cafe or Tramps. These 80’s era clubs promoted the Manhattan/Delta vibe that was so prevalent at N’Awlins JazzFest at the time as well as well as late 80’s Manhattan. In general, Gulf Coast morphed as did the neighborhood. Into yuppies from the upper West Side and into expensive studios as the gay clubs and hookers left.