A group of Soho artists have filed a lawsuit against the city Landmarks Preservation Commission demanding that the agency reverse an October decision allowing a developer to raze a MacLaren baby stroller store to build condominiums, DNAinfo reported. LPC approved the demolition on the grounds that the property, at 150 Wooster Street, “does not contribute to the historic district and its demolition will not detract from the special historic and architectural character of the historic district.”
As The Real Deal reported last year, the stroller store will give way to seven high-end residences and 6,300 square feet of retail. The developer behind the project is MTM Associates, an affiliate of MacLaren that has owned the property for decades.
The artists claim that new construction would change the block’s character, bring more foot traffic and block sunlight. “And if they build a store that large,” the plaintiffs allege in the suit, “it will be a mall-type store. We’re trying to keep more mall-type stores out of Soho.”
A Wooster Street artist named Joyce Kozloff told DNAinfo that the LPC has recently favored large developers over concerns of the community.
However, the city law department that represents the LPC disputed this claim.
“As the proceedings before the Landmarks Commission reflect, and as will be demonstrated to the court, the Commission’s actions with respect to this building have not only been consistent, but also appropriate to the special features of the Soho-Cast Iron Historic District,” senior counsel Pamela Koplik told DNAinfo in a statement. [DNAinfo]—Zachary Kussin