Developer Doug Steiner’s plans to demolish the former Mary Help of Christians school and rectory, on East 12th Street in the East Village, will likely move forward unhindered, notwithstanding the opposition of neighborhood constituents, EV Grieve reported.
East Village community and preservation groups learned that a large cemetery was formerly found on the site at 436 East 12th Street and held a press conference on May 23, requesting a complete archaeological evaluation take place before Steiner can proceed. Steiner purchased the lot along with several other properties last fall for $41 million. Steiner reportedly has plans to develop an unspecified residential complex, according to Grieve.
“We did hear back from the Landmark Preservation Commission that they abdicated all responsibility to even require an archeological survey,” Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, told EV Grieve. “So Steiner may end up digging up bodies, and the public may never know.”
Options for preserving the church now, Berman said, are limited.
“Thus far common sense, decency, reasonable alternatives, and appeals to the Landmarks Preservation Commission to do their job have not stopped Steiner from moving ahead with his cemetery-condos plan,” he said.
The blog did not include comment from Steiner. [EV Grieve] – Julie Strickland