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Soho's Borders May Spread, Say Men With Visual Aids

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Soho may soon be growing more than almost anyone had expected. Last night Landmarks Preservation Commission head honcho Robert Tierney and the area's City Councilmember, Alan Gerson, announced to a packed room of curious downtowners that the LPC is strongly urging the expansion of the existing Soho Cast Iron Historic District (old borders here) on both its east and west sides. The big surprise was the inclusion in the expanded district of all the blocks on the east side of Crosby Street for its full length, from Houston to Howard Street.

Previous maps and articles indicated that only half the length of Crosby's east frontage would be included. This new eastern extension would also include full block-fronts of Lafayette Street between Houston and Spring, as well as the La Esquina block on the east side of Lafayette just below Lt. Petrosino Square. The extension to the west would include the western frontage of West Broadway, from Houston to just below Broome Street, a stretch of terrific buildings that had been left out of the district when it was originally designated in 1973.

The LPC plans to calendar the extension for its designation meeting on June 23rd, and any development proposals not in the pipeline by that date would come under the watchful eye of the commission. So landlords?tear down your buildings now! (Just kidding, folks.) Between now and then community members and property owners have the opportunity to chime in, and some have expressed the desire for an even larger expansion. One major concern is that during the five-week window running from Wednesday's announcement until the June calendar date, some building owners will try to make drastic changes that would run afoul of the preservation guidelines. At Wednesday's meeting it was made clear that, for the next few weeks at least, neighborhood residents and lovers of old buildings will have a sharp eye out for any dastardly types who might try to thwart the preservation of this historic 'hood.
· SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District Expansion Campaign [Victorian Society in America]
· Pushing the landmarks envelope in Soho [The Villager]
· Map: SoHo Cast Iron Historic District [LPC; PDF]