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Thread: A Prickly Mason-Dixon Line in the Village

  1. #1

    Default A Prickly Mason-Dixon Line in the Village

    November 3, 2002
    A Prickly Mason-Dixon Line in the Village

    Within a stretch of the far West Village known mostly to real-estate developers as Hudson Square, there exists a North and a South, and a small war is brewing between them. The North is filled with filmmakers and writers who cherish the quirky gentility of Greenwich Village. The South is occupied by artists and architects who feel more kinship with TriBeCa loft dwellers.

    And in a big city of small spaces, their ideas about a city proposal to rezone their shared turf has left many residents less than civil.

    Later this month, the City Planning Department is to begin hearings on a plan to rezone two small manufacturing areas in Hudson Square to reflect and encourage a more residential atmosphere, and possibly taller buildings. The six-block patch in the north lies west of Hudson Street between Barrow and Leroy Streets. The three-block patch in the south is bounded by Spring, Canal, Hudson and Washington Streets.

    In a big city buffeted by endless change, such zoning proposals may sound routine, but neighborhood sentiment is sharply split.

    Groups in the north, like the Greenwich Village Community Task Force, are upset because they fear that new zoning will push out the area's few remaining manufacturers and sacrifice architectural variety of warehouses and row houses for high-rise homogeneity.

    These groups also question whether the new rules will help control the high-rise development that is encroaching on the area. A notable example is a 28-story apartment building designed by Philip Johnson and financed by the restaurateur Antonio Vendome proposed last year for the corner of Spring and Washington Streets, within the southern patch that is up for rezoning.

    Zack Winestine, co-chairman of the Greenwich Village group, which represents a dozen block associations, said the new rules would do little to reduce the height or bulk of new buildings in the northern sector.

    "Residential development is a gold mine for real estate groups, so the manufacturing zoning has always been a partial protection for us," Mr. Winestine said. "These two areas they want to change are also significantly different."

    Groups in the southern section of Hudson Square, like the Friends of Hudson Park, say the zoning change is specifically intended to discourage rogue developers from sidestepping height restrictions by seeking zoning variances, which are given in manufacturing sections more often than in residential ones.

    "I am completely at odds with the people on the north on this one," said David Reck, president of Friends of Hudson Park.

    In fact, Mr. Reck is thrilled about a possible zoning change, which he said might curtail the influx of billboards, nightclubs, and residential towers. Mr. Vendome, for example, who is seeking a zoning variance for the Johnson building, recently scaled down its height to 11 stories.

    The first skirmish in the war in Hudson Square will take place at the City Planning Department's Nov. 14 hearing, at which a vocal turnout is expected.

    "But people need to know that the review process is going to take a while," said Aron Kirsch, a department spokesman, "so they will have plenty of opportunities throughout the year to have their say. Both sides."

    Copyright The New York Times Company

  2. #2
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village

    Default A Prickly Mason-Dixon Line in the Village

    The southern section they are referring to has a small but lively group of restaurants, clubs and bars - yet it is detached from the rest of the city by a few creepy blocks that keep most people from venturing there. The NIMBYs are dead wrong again. What this area needs is to be reconnected with the urban fabric with redevelopment, not scaled down projects and more restrictive zoning.

  3. #3


    Developer-Driven Rezoning Prepares to Enter Ring

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008, by Joey

    A group of developers looking to rezone a swath of the Far West Village just north of Hudson Square so that the 12-story office building at 627 Greenwich Street can be converted to residential from commercial use will get their day in front of the City Planning Commission tomorrow. But—and pardon us if you've heard this one before—some locals are vehemently protesting the proposal. The five-block area, between Barrow and Clarkson Streets west of Hudson Street, were already left out of a residential rezoning in 2003, as the neighborhood fought to preserve what remains of the area's industry (it was thought that residential development would raise property values and chase off small businesses).

    The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation is one of the groups leading the charge against the rezoning, and like a lot of things downtown, it all comes back to Trump Soho: "directly south of the proposed rezoning is a zoning district which includes the Trump SoHo Condo-Hotel and which allows 45-story buildings; GVSHP has urged the City to undertake a desperately-needed rezoning of this area, and they have thus far refused. To allow a developer-driven rezoning which is not wanted by the community while refusing to move on a community-requested rezoning in an adjacent area is especially problematic." Expect to see fireworks emanating from 22 Reade Street tomorrow 'round 10 a.m.

    Curbed 2008

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