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Gas station-replacing West Village building needs revisions, says LPC

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Plans call for a six-story red brick building with 26 apartments

Morris Adjmi

Plans to convert a former gas station in the West Village into apartments will have to wait a little while longer, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission ruled on Tuesday. The Commission felt that the scale of architect Morris Adjmi’s proposal was a bit too large, that the design was a little too repetitive, and that it needed more details.

Renderings and plans for the project were revealed earlier this month as part of materials submitted to the Commission. They revealed a six-story red brick building with an undulating facade, and a metal-clad penthouse unit. Plans called for a 5,600-square-foot retail space on the ground floor, 552 square feet of community facilities, and 26 apartments above that.

In order to do that, the owner of the site, William Gottlieb Real Estate was proposing to demolish the the gas station at 540 Hudson Street and a garage building at no. 544. The Commission was on board with the demolition plans, and Commission Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan, who had recently walked by the site, said she felt the existing buildings didn’t add anything to the character of Greenwich Village.

The Commission however wasn’t fully convinced about the building set to replace it. The LPC’s decision to take no action on Tuesday followed over a dozen speakers’ testimonies, (mostly that of local residents), who were vehemently opposed to the project.

“I think a building of this size warrants the highest level of scrutiny,” Andrew Berman, the executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said in his testimony. “The proposed building feels overwhelming and monotonous.”

An additional 150 members of the GVSHP sent letters to the Commission in opposition to the project. Most local residents too weren’t in opposition to replacing the existing structures with a new building per se, they just didn’t feel this proposal was the right fit.

The developer and architect will now return with a revised proposal at a yet-to-be-determined date.