The Real Deal New York

William Gottlieb loses to garden in community board vote

Developer's plans to construct five-story, 16-unit apartment building hit snag

October 15, 2014 03:05PM

vicki

137 Attorney Street on Lower East Side and HPD’s Vicki Been

William Gottlieb Real Estate’s plans to build a five-story, 16-unit building at Stanton and Attorney streets suffered a setback Tuesday when a local community board committee approved a resolution supporting a garden currently at the site instead.

Both Community Board and the Department of Housing and Preservation approved of William Gottlieb Real Estate’s plans to build on three lots at 137 and 139 Attorney Street and 181 Stanton Street in 2012, according to Curbed. Three of the 16 units would be for affordable housing.

Months later, area residents turned two of the lots — previously owned by HPD — into a community garden, complete with official status from the board.

Residents are waging a full-fledged fight against William Gottlieb Real Estate, seeking to make the garden a permanent one. In spite of pleas from an HPD representative, a community board committee voted to reject the developer’s application and transfer the garden to the Department of Parks and Recreation — thus making it harder for William Gottlieb to build, Curbed reported.

The full board is scheduled to vote on the resolution on Oct. 28.

High-end retailer Restoration Hardware recently signed a lease for roughly $250 million for 9-19 Ninth Avenue, which is owned by Gottlieb and Aurora Capital Associates, as previously reported. [Curbed]Shant Shahrigian

  • joe

    This is such a farce.

    The garden provides no value to the community . There is another community garden 5 lots west of this and another park directly south. We need the housing in the city, it will be sad to see some of the cool graffiti from Community 54 go though.

    • Monica McLaughlin

      The garden provides no value to the community? Are you kidding?

  • Crawdad

    There are a hundred private “community” (really only available to a few people with keys) gardens in this neighborhood. Isn’t new housing just a tad more important than giving away valuable city land for someone’s private vegetable patch?

  • 1. That photo is of the garden, 137 Attorney, pictured as it looks after the extremely hard work of the community to create a public green space. The property owner of 139 Attorney has done nothing since they bought that one lot in 1986 for $5,000 to beautify, maintain or abate the rat population.

    2. Community gardeners are responsible for safety and preservation of the land they are given license to access – therefore required to lock it up when no members are nearby to watch what happens (you want the gates left open for vandals and dealers?), and are required (if a Greenthumb garden, as is Siempre Verde) to keep the garden open for the public to enter for 20 hours a week from May through October. These are not private gardens. Siempre Verde Garden hosts educational programs for children who ask questions like “Why is there salad in the garden” because they have no idea where food comes from, never mind how to grow anything. The garden absorbs over 78,000 gallons of rainwater per year (as anyone who’s lived through the effects of Hurricane Sandy on our neighborhood knows is so important). The garden hosts yoga, weddings, birthday parties, composting, music, and the members and many neighbors have poured in countless hours of hard labor hauling in soil, woodchips, planters, and procuring/planting/maintaining the beautiful greenery.

    This is hardly some sort of clique or closed society. Do you live in the area? Come in and have a seat at the picnic table on the patio we built just for people like you who might wish to chill for a while in a peaceful and pretty setting. Bring some friends. Enjoy the hard work of your community to create and sustain this resource. Please leave the negative attitude outside the gate, thanks.

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