ALERT: GVSHP on the Demolition of Superior Inks

From GVSHP (www.gvshp.org):

Dear Friend,

I thought you might be interested in this story appearing on NY 1 today regarding the beginning of demolition on the Superior Inks factory, the last remaining factory along the Greenwich Village waterfront. See http://www.ny1.com/ny1/content/index.jsp?stid=8&aid=64385 ; you can also see pictures of the factory’s smokestacks being dismantled at www.gvshp.org/supinkdem.htm

The loss of this historic building is a very sad occasion (see building history and photo at www.gvshp.org/block640.htm#bet ). GVSHP and many community groups fought hard to try to save this building from demolition, repeatedly calling upon the Landmarks Preservation Commission to landmark the building; State Senator Tom Duane and Assemblymember Deborah Glick also joined in that call. GVSHP and hundreds of neighbors and several of our elected officials were able to work with the City to get them to landmark and downzone a significant portion of this area between 2003 and 2006 (see www.gvshp.org/documents/mapApril2006.pdf ); that progress continues today with the City’s consideration earlier this week of three more buildings for landmark designation in the Far West Village (see www.gvshp.org/fwvindividuals.htm ). However, the City stubbornly refused to ever landmark Superior Ink, which had been purchased for development by well-connected developer Related Companies. In fact, over our protests, the City gave Related a very generous zoning change to allow them to build their planned residential high-rise at this site, which the prior zoning for this site did not allow.

There are a few brighter spots to this story. Related originally proposed a 270 ft. tall, 210,000 sq. ft. tall curving glass tower on the site (see www.gvshp.org/supinkview.pdf ). Working with other community groups, hundreds of neighbors and residents, and Congressman Nadler, State Senator Duane, City Councilmember Quinn, and Assemblymember Glick, we were able to get the height of the building reduced by almost 90 feet; the size of the building reduced by 50,000 sq. feet; and the curving glass design replaced by a more contextual masonry design. While it is still tragic that this wonderful piece of our history will be destroyed, at least its replacement will be significantly less destructive to the character of this neighborhood than it could have been.

Occasions such as this highlight the need to continue our fight to preserve the character and diversity of our neighborhoods. We have scored some incredible victories in the last few years, but we clearly have much more work to do. While losses like this can be discouraging, I am constantly spurred onward by imagining what our neighborhood would look like right now if we had not waged the many battles we have fought and won in the last few years.

Sincerely,

Andrew Berman, Executive Director
Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

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