Developer Files Demo Plans for Super Luxury Tower at Greenwich Village

39 Fifth Avenue (1922), Greenwich Village, New York City
Greenwich Village Historic District (Credit: Spencer Means)

Land Developer Madison Equities filed an audacious new plan today – one that would demolish a structure in the Greenwich Village Historic District to make way for a luxury tower.

The plans would demolish two 1848 5-story houses at 14-16 Fifth Ave. and replace them with a 244 ft. luxury apartment tower. The existing buildings contain 20 units of affordable housing – some of the few affordable units left in an increasingly gentrified area. Meanwhile, the new development would have 18 super-luxury units.

The historical significance of the existing buildings cannot be overstated. The developer responsible for their construction was Henry Brevoort, one of New York’s most renowned early builders. At varying points, they were home to the artist Bret Harte, a civil war general, and a french baroness, among others.

Furthermore, the proposed new building would tower over the rest of the neighborhood. The average height of the buildings along Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village is 140 ft – over a hundred feet smaller than the planned apartment tower. It would also mark the first time that a building of that height has ever been approved in one of New York’s historic districts.

Assemblymember Deborah Glick (D-East Village, West Village) strongly disapproved of the plan, calling it an “unwelcome intrusion” in the historic district.

“It would be an unwelcome intrusion, entirely out of scale for that location,” said Glick. “Eliminating 20 units of reasonably affordable housing to make way for 18 units of super luxury housing is precisely what our community rejects.”

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer (D) concurred, pledging to oppose the plan every step of the way.

“I will oppose the plan to build an out-of-scale, too-tall luxury tower on the site of two townhouses with 20 affordable housing units in the Greenwich Village Historic District: period,” said Brewer.

Since the building is located within a landmarked district, the plan can only proceed after an extensive moderation process. The plan must be subject to several public hearings, after which the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission will decide whether the structure is appropriate for the historic district.

As of now, no hearings on the new plans have been scheduled.