November 2017
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Beefing Up the Market: The Drive to Save A Unique Historic Place

For over a year, MAS has been working with the Greenwich Village community on achieving designated historic district status for the Gansevoort Market area of the far West Village. The area (roughly bounded by 15th Street on the north, Horatio Street on the south, Ninth Avenue on the east and the Hudson River on the west) has for over a century been the home of meat wholesale and other food service related businesses and is currently zoned for manufacturing and commercial uses only. The recent migration to the neighborhood of art galleries, designer boutiques, and trendy clubs – all of which are compatible with market activities and are legal uses in a manufacturing zone – has inspired a great deal of speculation that residential uses will soon follow. Indeed, some property owners have hinted their desire to develop out-of-scale high-rise apartment buildings on Gansevoort’s gritty streetscapes. A proposal for a 32-story luxury condominium was heard this month by the City’s Board of Standards and Appeals, which is empowered to override zoning if it deems it appropriate. Development of this type will significantly and irrevocably alter the Gansevoort Market.

Under the leadership of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation the protection of this fascinating and fragile historic neighborhood has gained broad-based support and has attracted a large, active constituency. The Greenwich Village Society successfully persuaded the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to consider designation, and a potential historic district is now being reviewed by the agency. MAS agrees with advocates for the neighborhood that its historic architecture – a mix of early 19th century residential buildings that were converted to market use, mid-to-late 19th century manufacturing complexes, and early 20th century buildings – is matched in importance by its current zoning. Gansevoort’s supporters hope to save its unique physical character as well as its significant contributions to our City’s economy as a manufacturing, retail and commercial center.