Proponents of Meat Market Plan Prevail

60-68 Gansevoort Street, Manhattan. Image credit: HDC.

Landmarks Commission approved redevelopment of five buildings in the Gansevoort Market Historic District. On June 7, 2016, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the redevelopment of a block face of the Gansevoort Market Historic District between Greenwich and Washington Streets in Manhattan. The work, spanning five buildings, entailed the addition of three additional stories on a two-story building at 60-68 Gansevoort Street, a new 82-foot-high building  at the corner of Washington Street replacing a bus depot, and a new four-story building replacing a former market structure at 50 Gansevoort Street. The project also included the restoration of a Moderne-style market building, and the retention of historic facades. The developer, to gain approval, lowered the height of one building and altered facade arrangements to better integrate with historic architecture, following comments by commissioners at the initial hearing.   

The application was widely opposed by elected officials, area residents and preservation advocates.

Save Gansevoort LLC and the Historic Districts Council filed an article 78 petition challenging the approval. They argued that Landmarks permitted changes so significant that the changes altered not just the subject buildings, but the entire character of the historic district as a market district. The petitioners claimed that approving such work was tantamount to rescinding the historic district designation without going through the necessary procedures as defined in the Landmarks Law.

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Joan B. Lobis dismissed the petition. A court may only overturn the decision of a City agency if it is irrational, an abuse of discretion, or a violation of its legal duty. Judge Lobis noted that Landmarks held a hearing, that the commissioners discussed the project’s impact at length, and that the developers adopted changes to make the project’s design and scale more consistent with district.  The agency’s review was not cursory or irrational. Judge Lobis further noted that in a district composed of 104 buildings, the demolition of two did not amount to a rescission of the district’s designation.

Save Gansevoort LLC v. City, 2017 N.Y. Slip Op. 30563(U) (N.Y.Cty.Sup.Ct. Mar. 27, 2017) (Attorneys: Michael Hiller, for Save Gansevoort; Zachary W. Carter, Sheryl Neufeld, Mark W. Muschenheim, Mark A. Silberman, for City; Karen Binder, for Developers).

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