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Thread: Proposed Expansion of SoHo Cast Iron Historic District

  1. #1
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Default Proposed Expansion of SoHo Cast Iron Historic District

    A proposal has been set forth to expand the SoHo Cast Iron Historic District to include historically and architecturally important buildings that were not included when the existing District was designated on August 14, 1973.

    The proposal is outlined in an illustrated report (pdf) from the Victorian Society:

    SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District Report

    The proposed expansion includes buildings along the west side of West Broadway from Houston St. to just below Broome St., the east side of Crosby St. from just below String St. to Howard St. and the south side of Howard St. from just east of Crosby St. then west to Boradway.

    A map of the area and some of the buildings included in the proposed expansion (after opening the Attached Thumbnail ::click:: at lower-right to expand the image):

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  2. #2

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    very good news. I've always thought that the concept of a preservation district / conservation area has the drawback that stuff outside them can become open game.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Luca
    very good news. I've always thought that the concept of a preservation district / conservation area has the drawback that stuff outside them can become open game.
    A regularly-shaped boundary is better than the wiggly things we draw now. A regular boundary recognizes the primacy of the district as a whole rather than the individual buildings within the district. No point in allowing crap to be built in a gap in the historic district simply because there's crap there now, and therefore the boundary skirts it.

  4. #4
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    More from http://cityrealty.com/new_developments:

    Expansion of SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District urged 12-JUL-06

    The Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society in America has proposed an expansion of the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District.
    The expansion would consist of two areas directly adjacent to the existing district.

    One area would include the buildings on the west side of West Broadway from just below Broome Street to West Houston Street.

    The other area would include the buildings on the east side of Crosby Street from just below Spring Street to Howard Street and the south side of Howard Street between Broadway and Crosby Street.

    In 1973, the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the SoHo-Cast-Iron Historic District and “preserved the world’s largest concentration of Victorian full and partial cast-iron-fronted facades,” according to the document outlining the proposed expansion.

    “Spurred by the work of the indefatigable Margot Gayle, the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District protected not only the area’s cast-iron architecture, but also many outstanding masonry buildings. Over thirty years after designation, many of the cast-iron fronted and masonry buildings I the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District have been carefully restored, and the district is today one of New York City’s most architecturally renowned neighborhoods. While the designation of the…District ensured the protection of 26 blocks of nineteenth-century commercial and industrial structures, many similar and landmark-worthy buildings are situated just outside of the district’s boundaries. Indeed, the boundaries of the designated historic district do not reflect either the full complement of distinctive cast-iron-fronted buildings or the natural borders of the nineteen-century commercial district that gave rise to this and other characteristic architecture,” the document continued.

    At the requests of Ms. Gayle in early 2005, the Preservation Committee of the Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society undertook a survey of buildings on the periphery of the existing historic district and that survey, according to the document, “proves that the historic district’s boundaries are indeed arbitrary.”

    “As a matter of principle,” it added, “historic districts should include both sides of a street....Only including one side of the street for West Broadway and Crosby Street - especially when both sides of these streets contain buildings of the same period, materials, quality, and architectural style – destroys the inherent cohesiveness of the area. With development regulated within the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District, it is those buildings on the outside edges that are most at risk for inappropriate redevelopment. It is fortunate that over years after the designation of the Soho-Cast Iron Historic District, the areas that should have been originally been included within the boundaries of the district, but which were excluded, still retain much architectural integrity.”


  5. #5
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    I really don't understand why they haven't included the northern stretch of crosby from Spring up to Jersey St (the small street just below Houston) in the expansion proposal for SoHo.

    Some of the buildings on the east side of Crosby (from north to south):

    129 - 131 Crosby St.
    aka 292 - 296 Lafayette St.
    aka 1-5 jersey St.

    No Pic ... (former site of the Keith Haring POP Shop on Lafayette)


    115 - 127 Crosby St.
    aka 278 - 290 Lafayette St.
    aka 2 - 6 Jersey St.

    290 Lafayette



    125 Crosby St.



    117 Crosby



    107 - 113 Crosby
    aka 268 - 276 Lafayette
    aka 63 - 67 Prince



    70 Prince / 105 Crosby (Savoy)
    http://www.igougo.com/photogallery/t...PhotoID=192674


    91 Crosby (between Prince / Spring)
    IS Store - Roger Hirsch Architect


    Lots of googling but not many pics of the buildings on this stretch

    Gotta get that camera!

    These are the additional sites that I think should be included (attached) ...

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  6. #6
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    An article, from 5 years ago, shows how much things have changed along Crosby Street ...

    Streetscapes / Crosby Street in SoHo

    A Tale of Two Designations: Landmarked and Not

    NY TIMES
    By CHRISTOPHER GRAY
    July 29, 2001

    ANYONE who likes the cozy thought that landmark designation ''saved SoHo'' must at some time ponder the conundrum of Crosby Street. A block east of busy Broadway, only one side of Crosby Street was included in the 1973 SoHo Cast-Iron Historic District designation. Now, even several years after fancy stores and restaurants have arrived on this quiet backwater, it is difficult to tell which side of Crosby Street has been protected for almost three decades and which has not.

    Crosby Street was built up with brick houses in the early 19th century, but factories moved in beginning in the 1850's and fire became a problem. In 1876, a blaze destroyed half the block between Broadway, Grand, Howard and Crosby, costing $3 million; it started in a warehouse at 10 Crosby Street.

    ...

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

    Full text at http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/29/re...d-and-not.html

    Last edited by Edward; July 22nd, 2011 at 07:43 PM. Reason: Removed full text

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    This brick beauty at 515-519 Broadway (between Spring / Broome) is almost finished with a very lengthy facade renovation. The protective netting is coming down, revealing the refurbished slate mansard roof, cleaned / re-pointed brick & stone work and refurbished decorative metal fire escapes. The cast iron / window trim has been painted in shades of dark greens.

    A real stunner ...


  8. #8

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    Streetscapes | SoHo Historic District

    Not Exactly the Wild West

    By CHRISTOPHER GRAY
    Published: May 11, 2008

    THE Landmarks Preservation Commission is reviewing a proposal from the local chapter of the Victorian Society in America to include the west side of West Broadway in the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District, and it would seem that the east side of that avenue — protected by the designation since 1973 — would provide an instructive architectural contrast.

    The west side has been in its natural, uncontrolled state all these years, during a white-hot period of real estate activity, so the fruits of preservation regulation should be clear enough. Yet the major dissimilarity that some might have expected is hard to find.

    ...

    E-mail: streetscapes@nytimes.com

    Full text at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/11/re...istrict&st=nyt

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
    Last edited by Edward; July 22nd, 2011 at 07:44 PM. Reason: Removed full text

  9. #9
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    LPC had a Public Hearing today on the SoHo expansion (and other proposed Districts). Lots of folks, both for and against the SoHo proposal, showed up to speak ...

    CurbedWire: A Historic Preservation Three-Pack!

    CURBED
    Tuesday, October 27, 2009, by Joey

    PROSPECT-LEFFERTS GARDENS—The Landmarks Preservation Commission continued its prolific output of late, approving the Ocean on the Park Historic District, a strip of 12 three-story row houses on Ocean Avenue between Lincoln Road and Parkside Avenue across from Prospect Park. The houses were built between 1909 and 1918 and one was owned by Brooklyn baseball baron Charles H. Ebbets, of field fame. [CurbedWire Inbox]

    GREENWICH VILLAGE, SOHO, UES, CROWN HEIGHTS—The LPC also held hearings on expanding three other historic districts and creating one more. On the road to expansion and protection, as previously mentioned at various times, are the Greenwich Village Historic District (aka the South Village), the Soho Cast-Iron Historic District and the Upper East Side Historic District. The new guy would be Crown Heights North, Phase II, which includes over 600 buildings. [CurbedWire Inbox]

    MIDTOWN, EAST VILLAGE— Of the individual landmarks calendared for landmark consideration, a couple of notables jump out. One is Times Square's Brill Building at 1619 Broadway, home to much post-Depression music history. The other is the East Village's Russian Orthodox Cathedral at 59 East 2nd Street, where a landmark designation would halt some crazy plans. [CurbedWire Inbox]

  10. #10
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    The Soho Extension proposal is before LPC tomorrow:

    LANDMARKS PRESERVATION COMMISSION PUBLIC MEETING ITEMS

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010
    CALENDAR [pdf]

    Public Meeting Item No. 2
    Time: 1:55 – 2:05 PM

    ITEM PROPOSED FOR DESIGNATION
    BOROUGH OF MANHATTAN
    LP-2363

    Proposed SoHo-CAST IRON HISTORIC DISTRICT EXTENSION

    Boundary Description

  11. #11
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    The headline isn't quite right.



    This gas station is a landmark?!


    SoHo boundary battle


    By ANNIE KARNI

    What’s so historic about a BP gas station?

    When the city in 2010 considered extending the historic district that protects SoHo’s ornate castiron buildings, the proposed new border included the unexceptional gas station at West Houston and Lafayette streets.

    Station owner Marcello Porcetti — who hoped to turn his 11,000squarefoot lot into a sevenstory condo development — pleaded with local officials to draw the boundaries of the proposed landmark neighborhood to leave him out.

    But the city ultimately voted to stamp the stinky gas pumps with historical significance, putting Porcetti’s development dreams on hold.


    [Angel Chevrestt]

    “As the gateway to SoHo, West Houston Street was determined to be so critical to its character that the vacant lots there . . .ought to be under [the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s] purview,” said Landmarks spokeswoman Lisi de Bourbon.

    Because of the newfound “landmark” status that comes with being in a protected historic district, Porcetti now has to jump through hoops to get a project of any size off the ground. He even needed city approval to install new doors on a shed on his lot.

    Any largescale design changes will involve timeand costconsuming public hearings and community input. Any development on the lot needs approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission to move forward.

    “Commissioners make suggestions and can send you back to the drawing board,” said Mike Slattery, senior vice president of research at the Real Estate Board of New York.

    Porcetti, who would not comment about his property, has been caught up in a landmarking explosion across the city — a move that developers say shrinkwraps the city and hampers growth.
    And he’s just one among legions of property owners who face steep hurdles to development once the city locks them in historic territory.

    “Building in NYC can be very challenging,” said James Nelson, partner at Massey Knakal Realty Services.

    “Firsttime developers can be shocked by the amount of red tape to get things done. If they don’t have the right team in place, it could lead to a long, drawnout project.”

    Under the Bloomberg administration, the city has aggressively sought to preserve the character of old neighborhoods, with a significant push to create new historic districts in the outer boroughs as well as in Manhattan. And many developers claim the city is wrongly using the landmark designation of a building or a historic district as an urbanplanning tool to curb growth.

    “Including the gas station to control the entrance to SoHo — that’s just city planning, not landmarks,” said Slattery. “There’s no historic fabric and no SoHo character there. The gas station should have been left out and could have been left out, and it wasn’t.”

    The gas station was purchased by Porcetti’s father as a “Gaseteria” in the mid’ 70s and leased to BP in 2003.

    And it wasn’t the only property included in the historic district that doesn’t scream “SoHo.”

    In the 2010 expansion of the castiron district, 49.6 percent of the buildings included were vacant lots, garages or parking lots, according to REBNY.

    Porcetti has already modified his blueprints, sources said, hiring architect Rick Cook—the designer of the Bank of America tower at 1 Bryant Park — to build a smallerscale glass office building with retail on the ground floor. Porcetti is expected to present his plans to the commission in the coming weeks.

    And it won’t be the last time the Landmarks Preservation Commission has the power to decide the fate of development plans on an unremarkable site.

    The city is currently seeking to create or expand eight historic districts encompassing 3,162 more properties.

    In Manhattan, 300 buildings in the East Village and the Lower East Side would be considered “historic” artifacts, and another 745 buildings would be included on the Upper West Side, under the new plans.

    In Brooklyn, Park Slope’s historic district would be expanded to include an additional 577 buildings, and a new area of Crown Heights would lasso another 640 buildings under Landmarks control. The largest plan would landmark a swath of Ridgewood, Queens, to conserve 900 buildings.

    About 3 percent of all buildings in the five boroughs are currently considered official New York City landmarks. Most of those fall within the city’s 107 historic districts and 16 extensions, which the city has decided represent a specific period or style of architecture.

    But preservationists argue there’s still plenty of room for growth in Manhattan.

    There’s no danger of the entirety of the city becoming a giant landmark district,” said Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. “Critics would say landmarking hasn’t kept pace with rate of development. What one generation might not value, the next sees as charming or significant. Virtues of neighborhoods change over time.”

    Community leaders say neighborhoods need protection from overzealous developers.

    “We shouldn’t gerrymander historic districts to benefit developers,” said Sean Sweeney, president of the SoHo Alliance.

    “There’s a gas station in SoHo now, but maybe in 100 years it will be historic if they don’t build anything else there.”

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/t...#ixzz1rWVXRumx

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    One of the worst bits of reporting on the topics of Landmarks, EVER. Filled with inaccuracies (it's EAST Houston Street, not West Houston) and unverified statements that are blatantly false (REBNY Rep: "In the 2010 expansion of the castiron district, 49.6 percent of the buildings included were vacant lots, garages or parking lots ...").

    The property owner of the gas station site is doing just fine and will do very well in the future under LPC guidelines. Something new is coming ...

  13. #13

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    Annie Karni is confusing historic districts with landmarked buildings. She should look up non-contributory property. It's in the language of preservation laws throughout the country.

    And many developers claim the city is wrongly using the landmark designation of a building or a historic district as an urbanplanning tool to curb growth.
    It takes more effort to designate a district than change the zoning. Especially downzoning.

    In Brooklyn, Park Slope’s historic district would be expanded to include an additional 577 buildings, and a new area of Crown Heights would lasso another 640 buildings under Landmarks control. The largest plan would landmark a swath of Ridgewood, Queens, to conserve 900 buildings.
    "Lasso." "Swath." Yikes, how much property are we talking about?
    About 3 percent of all buildings in the five boroughs are currently considered official New York City landmarks.


    Porcetti has already modified his blueprints, sources said, hiring architect Rick Cook—the designer of the Bank of America tower at 1 Bryant Park — to build a smallerscale glass office building with retail on the ground floor. Porcetti is expected to present his plans to the commission in the coming weeks.
    We'll still get a building here, but now there's a good chance that it won't be crappy.

  14. #14
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    This article seems to be instigated by REBNY, perhaps in response to the the notice of an RFP for the very prominent property at 19 East Houston Street (to the west, just across Crosby Street), now up for sale by the City:

    http://www.nycedc.com/opportunity/mt...-manhattan-rfp

  15. #15
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    A few facts instead of shamelessly biased diatribe would be good.

    This Houston Street gas station is “protected” by the city’s far-too-broad historical-district laws.
    The gas station itself is not protected, no?

    Most properties in historic districts have no architectural value.
    What?

    Half of that district’s properties are vacant lots, garages or parking lots.
    Let's count them, shall we, just to be sure .

    Even so, it's what they will potentially be replaced with that's at issue from a Historic District perspective, no?


    As usual, balance and common sense aren't contributed from either side, and self-interest wins the day.



    ‘History’ v. housing

    Kill development, drive up rents

    by Stephen B. Meister

    The Bloomberg administration’s vast expansion of the city’s historic districts is at odds with the mayor’s expressed goal of increasing New York’s affordable-housing stock.

    As The Post reported Sunday, Deputy Mayor Patti Harris is seeking to create or expand another eight historic districts, encompassing 3,162 buildings: 300 in the East Village and the Lower East Side, 745 on the Upper West Side, 577 in Park Slope, 640 in Crown Heights and 900 in Ridgewood.

    As Mayor Bloomberg’s most trusted aide, Harris clearly has her boss’ approval. The mayor loves landmarking, with the number of historic districts growing from 64 to 107 on his watch.
    All this is a great victory for the housing haves over the housing have-nots.

    Consider: Most properties in historic districts have no architectural value, for example, the Houston Street gas station in Soho’s cast-iron district. Half of that district’s properties are vacant lots, garages or parking lots.

    But as a real-estate lawyer, I can tell you: Redeveloping such underused lots in a historic district is difficult and costly, because Landmark Preservation Commission approval is needed for even minor modifications to property.

    Residents eager to stop any change have long abused landmarking, killing proposed projects under the guise of historic preservation.

    That’s how, early last decade, Woody Allen blocked a planned 17-story building at 47 East 91st St., near his 92nd Street mansion, on what was then a one-story CitiBank building.

    No one thought the bank building was worth saving, yet Allen made a video calling the proposed building an “egregious mistake.” He claimed that a 17-story building would be out of character with the neighborhood — even though the surrounding buildings ran 12 to 18 stories, and a 45-story apartment tower sat between 89th and 90th Streets.

    Weak as his case was, Allen won. The Landmarks Commission rejected the project. Eventually, after years of costly delay, it approved a nine-story building for the lot.

    Allen could have bought the bank building, written a height restriction into the deed and sold the restricted property at a loss. But I suspect his “passion for preservation” wouldn’t have been as keen had that been his only route.

    But no one has to put his money where his mouth is if he’s fortunate enough to get his neighborhood designated a historic district. Then you can block tall buildings while “preserving” your view and property value.

    Meanwhile, city rents have skyrocketed. The average Manhattan apartment now rents for $3,309; the vacancy rate is below 1 percent.

    Designating so many neighborhoods as historic districts has played a big role in driving up rents and constraining the housing supply. By placing the development of any property in the district at the whim of LPC (which responds to people already living in the area), plans for new buildings are either thwarted or much downsized.

    The system protects the fortunate few who have apartments, and is heavily biased against newcomers.

    Yet for a decade, the mayor has touted his commitment to affordable housing, claiming his initiatives would create 165,000 affordable apartments.

    While private developers must complete expensive and time-consuming environmental-impact statements and traffic studies in order to build, the city government is free to ignore the effects of its own landmarking process.

    Yet this thwarting of development doesn’t just add to the housing shortage; it also reduces the property-tax base, pinching the taxpayers at both ends. The city has less money coming in, yet feels obliged to spend more money subsidizing housing — all of which leaves fewer public funds for basics like police and roads.

    The city can protect buildings of real architectural significance by landmarking them. It’s time to end the wholesale creation of historic districts — and start making reforms that can ameliorate the city’s soaring rents.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion...#ixzz1rh7DOAEc

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