The Real Deal New York

City Council subcommittee turns down Landmarks designation of 135 Bowery

September 15, 2011 04:52PM

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The designation of 135 Bowery as a landmark has been turned down by a
City Council Subcommittee, according to a post on Twitter by the
advocacy group Historic Districts Council. Earlier today, the Wall
Street Journal had reported that the three-story Federalist building
on the Bowery that dates to 1817 could be demolished because a City
Council member who had appeared to support the designation of the
building had decided to oppose it.

The building had been designated as a landmark in June by the
Landmarks Preservation Commission. But the City Council has a right to
review designations and in some cases rejects them. “There is
opportunity on the site to build commercial space that is so needed in
the Chinatown community for the small businesses,” City Councilmember
Margaret Chin said in an interview yesterday. She said she would urge
her council colleagues at a meeting today to vote against making
the building a landmark. In June, Chin’s chief of staff had expressed
support for the designation. Chin said in an interview that she was
ultimately impressed by the developer’s plans to use the site, which
could include a new seven-story building offering retail and office
space at below-market rates.

Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council,
said he is skeptical of the owner’s promise to fill the building with
below-market tenants. “We’ve got this owner saying, ‘Trust me, let me
knock this building down and I promise that what will be built up will
be good for the community,’” said Bankoff. “We’re saying that this
is a building that is almost 200 years old, that really is important
to the city of New York and to the Bowery and should be preserved.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that the owner of the building,
First American International Bank, which bought the then-vacant
building in 2007, had brought in an engineer and an architect who said
the building had been repeatedly modified over the years, starting in
the 1850s.

The full City Council will have to vote on the subcommittee’s recommendation later this month, according to The lo-Down.
[WSJ]  and [Twitter] and [The lo-Down]

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