In a sad chapter of the story of New York City’s gentrification, sections of nine landmarked buildings, located at 44-54 Ninth Avenue and 351-55 West 14th Street, are being demolished, despite a battle between the Department of Buildings and the Greenwich Village Society For Historic Preservation. The row of homes, which are part of the Gansevoort Market Historic District, date back to the 1840s.
The announcement surrounding the demolition was sent out via an email, in which Village Preservation wrote that the “City has ordered the near-complete demolition of nine city, state, and federal landmarks on the northeast corner of 14th Street and 9th Avenue in the Gansevoort Market Historic District.”
The buildings, occupied by retail and dining tenants on the lower levels and by residential units on the upper levels, are some of the only surviving examples of pitched-roof row houses in Manhattan. Houses 44-54 were built between 1845 and 1846 by William Scott in the Greek Revival style and were originally part of “the Homestead Row.” In the storefronts were luncheonettes, cigar stores, and meat and produce shops. Adjacent to them is the Old Homestead Steakhouse, one of the oldest restaurants in New York City.
In an email to Untapped New York, Executive Director of Village Preservation Andrew Berman wrote, “It’s tragic to see these nine nearly two-century-old houses destroyed when this never had to happen. This reflects a callous disregard for our history and the purpose of our landmarks law by the city and this developer. We will now at best get a Disney-fied recreation of these buildings when the priority should have always been to preserve, maintain, and restore these historic landmarks. This should never have happened, and should never happen again.”
The homes are part of the Gansevoort Market Historic District, which occupies parts of 19 blocks within Greenwich Village and Chelsea. The District is composed of 140 contributing buildings, the High Line, and the historic street pattern of the neighborhood, as well as a lumber yard on W. 15th Street. Around the time of the area’s development, iron foundries, granite works, and lumber yards were major economic centers. Many tenements in the area were among the city’s first multi-family occupancies, attracting figures such as John Gottlieb Mathias Wendel, brother-in-law and business partner of John Jacob Astor I. Around 1880, the neighborhood began to rapidly change with the opening of two municipal markets: the open-air Farmers’ Market, which later became Gansevoort Market, and the West Washington Market.
The saga started in 2020, when real estate developer Tavros Holdings received permission to construct a tower behind and attached to the homes. This was met with some pushback from the Landmarks Preservation Commission, which reduced the size of the expected office tower, but those plans would change once construction actually began. BKSK Architects began construction on a shorter tower that removed one full floor from the original design, with a terra cotta facade featuring custom …….