The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation

22 September 2014


Rally Wed. 9/24 at Noon
To Save Our Parks
From NYU

Plans Filed for 23-Story, 308 Ft. Tall Tower at 110 University Place

Trump SoHo Goes Into Foreclosure


Rally Wed. 9/24 at Noon To Save Our Parks From NYU

Please join GVSHP, the cast of Stomp, and our co-plaintiffs in our lawsuit against the NYU 2031 expansion plan for a rally and press conference this Wednesday, September 24th at noon at LaGuardia Park, LaGuardia Place between Bleecker and West 3rd Streets. The rally will precede our 2pm hearing in court where we will be fighting the appeal by NYU and the City of a judge's ruling which declared three important pieces of Greenwich Village green spaces parkland, thereby blocking much of NYU's plan. The cast of Stomp will perform, and we'll hear from elected officials and other leaders why it is so vital that our parkspace be preserved and the judge's ruling upheld. A flyer can be found here.

Please come to show your support for preserving our parkspace and against NYU's massive expansion plan. While we had previously encouraged the public to attend the court hearing at 2pm, because of the limited size of the courtroom, as well as for other reasons, we are now instead urging the public to attend the rally at noon as the best way to show support for the cause. Please spread the word and encourage friends, family, and neighbors to attend!

Plans Filed for 23-Story, 308 Ft. Tall Tower at 110 University Place
On Friday, William Macklowe filed plans to construct a 23-story, 308 ft. tall tower at 110 University Place (at 12th Street), the former home of Bowlmor Lanes. GVSHP is deeply disturbed by this, and has been in contact with Mr. Macklowe since this past March to urge him not to construct a tall tower on this site, but rather to pursue a contextual development that would be in scale and character with the neighborhood (read our letter here). Unfortunately as this site and much of its surroundings lie outside of the Greenwich Village Historic District, and as the zoning for this site allows towers of the planned height or greater, such a development may well be perfectly allowable under the law.

In response, GVSHP has again reached out to Mr. Macklowe to urge him to reconsider his plans (read our latest letter here). We are also working closely with local community leaders and elected officials to reach out to Mr. Macklowe and to examine all options available to us. We have also been working for some time with local leaders and elected officials on the possibility of putting forward proposals for zoning changes and expansions of landmark protections for this area. However, because such measures, if supported by the City, take many months at best to enact, there is little chance of their affecting a development at this site. Rather, we are pursuing such possibilities to more similar developments from taking place in the future.

There are many reasons why it would be more advantageous to a developer to construct a contextual building which relates to the character of the surrounding neighborhood at this site, rather than one which would stick out like a sore thumb and become a source of controversy. We are hopeful that Mr. Macklowe will recognize this and reconsider the current, preliminary plans which have been filed. As more information becomes available, we will keep you posted.

Trump SoHo Goes Into Foreclosure
It has been widely reported that the Trump SoHo Condo Hotel is going into foreclosure and will be sold. GVSHP, along with many other local community groups, strongly opposed the construction of the Trump SoHo, contending that it was illegal in light of the area's zoning prohibitions against residential or residential hotel development (such uses remain prohibited on this site, in spite of a recent rezoning).  

In response to GVSHP and others' contentions about the illegality of the development, the prior administration required that the development abide by a restrictive declaration that limited owner's stays to no more than 120 days per year, and 29 days per any 36 day period. The enforcement of such regulations was supposed to be made possible by close oversight by the City, including requiring the Trump SoHo to conduct annual audits of its records by an outside independent entity and submit those audits to the City for review. However, a Freedom of Information Request filed by GVSHP last year revealed that no audits had ever been submitted since the Trump SoHo opened, none had been requested by the City, and no penalties had been levied for the Trump SoHo's failure to do so.

In light of this, GVSHP has written to Mayor de Blasio and new Building Commissioner Chandler to urge that the close oversight promised but never delivered by the prior administration be undertaken at Trump SoHo, especially with a change in ownership on the horizon. Apparently the development's failure and foreclosure emanate from exactly the issues we raised -- that buyers do not want to be limited in their ability to stay in a unit they own, but rather want and expect to be able to live there as they please -- like a residence, which the zoning prohibits.

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