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Developers Collude to Remake Huge Swath of Gansevoort St.

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In late June, developers Aurora Capital Associates and Neil Bender of William Gottlieb Real Estate filed plans for a massive redevelopment project along Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District. The project, called Gansevoort Row, aims to reestablish all nine buildings on the south side of the street between Ninth Avenue and Washington Street as three main lots with 111,000 of commercial space, The Real Deal reported back in June. Now The Villager reports that as more details of the plan come to light, neighborhood residents and preservationists have started to fear what might happen to the neighborhood should the changes to the historic meat market buildings that fall within the Gansevoort Market Historic District be okayed by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The Villager says that the proposal is seeking the demolition of nos. 50 and 70-74 Gansevoort Street. The developers want to erect a 111-foot, eight-story building at nos. 70-74. While that's not all that tall for New York City, it would tower over the street's tallest structure, which now measures a mighty 27 feet. The proposal also calls for three- and four-story additions to 60-68 Gansevoort Street. In all, the developers want to reconstitute the block as three lots: one at nos. 46-50, one at the original Gansevoort Market building at nos. 52-58, and then the last at nos. 60-74. It's unclear yet what the developers want to erect at no. 50. In June, the developers filed permits for renovation work, the combining of 60-74 Gansevoort Street, and for a change-of-use from commercial to business at the site.

According to The Villager, the entire swath of buildings can host a variety of uses under current zoning, but residential use is excluded. Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation told the Villager that a restrictive declaration in place on the street limits the kinds of retail allowed on the street, too.

Although nothing's been taken to the LPC yet, the Villager says that representatives for Gottlieb have been in touch with the commission. Neighborhood residents aren't happy. "It's dramatically out of scale," area resident Elaine Young told the paper, "We're used to air and light and we've spent a lot of energy trying to get the area landmarked. And now these guys come along and just try to smash it to bits. This isn't right, it's offensive." GVSHP's Andrew Berman followed up, "It would seem to almost obviate the notion of this being in a historic district at all."

Meanwhile, Restoration Hardware came forward with plans earlier this week to convert the building at 55 Gansevoort Street, on the street's north side, into a 14-key boutique hotel.
· Gottlieb Gansevoort St. plan would gut landmark protections, critics cry [The Villager]
· Aurora, Gottlieb file plans for Gansevoort Row development [TRD]
· Restoration Hardware Is Opening a Boutique Hotel In MePa [Curbed]