Opposition to Hudson River Development & Support for South Village Landmarking

From the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, www.gvshp.org

GVSHP OPPOSES ‘VEGAS-ON-THE-HUDSON’ PROPOSAL: GVSHP has come out against Related Companies’ proposal for a 600,000 sq. ft., 10,000-seat, nearly $700 million multi-venue mega-entertainment complex on Pier 40 at Clarkson Street. Dubbed “Vegas-on-the-Hudson” by critics, GVSHP believes that Related’s ‘Performing Arts Center’ (PAC) proposal, which they describe as a “downtown Lincoln Center,” would overwhelm both the Hudson River Park and the surrounding West Village, Hudson Square, and SoHo neighborhoods, and attract an almost-entirely tourist clientele which would arrive largely by automobile. The PAC proposal would require approval not only by the Hudson River Park Trust, but by the City Council and the City Planning Commission, since the massive project would require zoning changes to get around the current 30 ft. height limit for this location (the PAC buildings could go as high as 160 feet). See GVSHP’s letter to City and State officials who will be part of the decision-making process for this proposal at www.gvshp.org/documents/pier40ltr04-23-07.pd f or www.gvshp.org/pier40ltr04-23-07.htm . See also the article in today’s New York Sun at www.nysun.com/pf.php?id=53312&v=5109767711 or www.nysun.com/article/53312 .

While GVSHP has historically not gotten involved in Hudson River Park development issues, the unprecedented scope and impact of the PAC proposal, particularly upon the neighboring inland areas, prompted us to act in this case. GVSHP is concerned that the Pier 40 plan, combined with the pending approval of Donald Trump’s 45-story “condo-hotel” at nearby Spring and Varick Streets, has the potential to turn the neighboring area into a high-density, high-rise, high-traffic-generating regional entertainment zone, and we have thus repeated our call (made since the Trump proposal first came to light) to consider zoning changes for the area to prevent inappropriate development.

GVSHP is working with a coalition of community groups opposing the PAC Plan for Pier 40, including the Pier, Park, and Playground Association. You can go to www.pier40.org / or www.hudsonriverpark.org/development/pier40dev.htm for more information about the PAC proposal.

COME TO THE PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED DEVELOPMENTS ON PIER 40 next Thursday, May 3rd, at 7 pm, at P S 41, 116 West 11th Street (btw. 6th and 7th Avenues) and SHOW YOUR OPPOSITION TO ‘VEGAS-ON-THE-HUDSON’!

HUGE SHOW OF SUPPORT AT SOUTH VILLAGE PUBLIC MEETING: More than 200 people turned out to the Community Board #2 public meeting Tuesday night to show support for the proposed South Village Historic District (www.gvshp.org/southvillagenews.htm ). After a presentation by GVSHP on the proposal (see www.gvshp.org/documents/sv-presentation.pdf ), the meeting was opened up to comments and questions from the public. More than two dozen merchants, property owners, community leaders, residents, and elected officials’ representatives spoke, nearly all in support of the proposed historic district. A show of hands indicated that more than 95% of attendees supported the proposed South Village Historic District.

The one exception was NYU. An NYU representative spoke to express NYU’s support for “a” historic district in the South Village. However, when pressed, the representative admitted that NYU did not support the proposed district, and would not specify any buildings or boundaries which NYU did support landmarking. In fact, she admitted, NYU only supported a “study” of the area, even though a study had been conducted by GVSHP for the past four years, and NYU had pledged to support its findings. In fact, several speakers recounted how NYU specifically pledged to support the proposed South Village Historic District boundaries in meeting held with community leaders four years ago and how they have now broken that pledge. To see NYU’s own letters to the Landmarks Preservation Commission undercutting the very South Village proposal they pledged to support, and stating how they support only a “study” of the area but no specific designations, go to www.gvshp.org/documents/SVHDNYUltrs.pdf ; see also www.thevillager.com/villager_206/nyusupportfornew.html and http://media.www.nyunews.com/media/storage/paper869/news/2007/04/23/News/Nyu-Pulls.Redistricting.Support-2874225.shtml for stories in The Villager and NYU’s own newspaper The Washington Square News about NYU withdrawing support for the proposed South Village Historic District.

While the turnout was huge and overwhelmingly in support of the proposed South Village Historic District, the Community Board deferred on voting on the proposal, saying instead that a vote will follow an as-yet-unscheduled second hearing. GVSHP is asking for the next hearing to be scheduled as soon as possible, and we will let the public know as soon as it has been set.

For more information on the South Village preservation effort, see www.gvshp.org/southvillage.htm .

Posted Under: Downzoning, Greenwich Village, South Village, Waterfront Development

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