BY YANNIC RACK | In the fight for the future of Gansevoort St., local elected officials are throwing their weight behind the opposition to a developer’s plan that would supersize a historic, low-scale block in the Meatpacking District.
In a letter on Nov. 2, the politicians urged Meenakshi Srinivasan, chairperson of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, to reject the proposal, which they said is inconsistent with the neighborhood’s designation as a historic district in 2003.
“As currently proposed, this project would transform a historic block that embodies the character of the Gansevoort Market District into a shadowed block of out-of-scale buildings,” charged the letter, signed by Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, Borough President Gale Brewer, Councilmember Corey Johnson, state Senator Brad Hoylman and Assemblymember Deborah Glick.
“This development is in conflict with the historic, low-rise character that spurred its landmark designation in the first place,” declared the politicians, all of whose districts include Gansevoort St.
“It’s a grand slam!” proclaimed a celebratory post on the Web site Save Gansevoort, thanking the five politicians for their support.
The proposal by Aurora Capital Associates and William Gottlieb Real Estate calls for sweeping changes to the row of former Meat Market buildings between Washington and Greenwich Sts.
The plan, which faces staunch opposition from local residents, calls for demolishing two buildings, constructing two new ones — one of which would rise 122 feet — as well as adding three stories atop a row of two-story buildings.
Situated across the street from the southern end of the High Line and the new Whitney Museum of American Art, the gritty, low-slung block is one of the last true reminders of what the area once looked like, and the function it served, locals argue.
Under the Save Gansevoort banner, some residents have started a petition against the scheme. They received a boost when Community Board 2 unanimously rejected the proposal at its Oct. 22 full board meeting.
The developers claim they are merely restoring the block to what it looked like in the 1800s, when the buildings in its middle and at its western end rose considerably higher than they do now, before they were cut down when the area became a meat market.
“This market is about change. It’s about adaptive reuse,” said Cas Stachelberg, one of the architects of the plan, at the C.B. 2 meeting.
The letter comes less than a week before the next step in the battle over Gansevoort St.: on Tues., Oct. 10, the Landmarks Preservation Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal, which is expected to attract a large turnout of its critics.