Owners getting tipped off about landmarking plans: report

Advance notice of preservation process leads to pre-emptive demolition of buildings

New York /
Jul.July 22, 2014 08:30 AM

A pro-preservation group is urging the city to stop giving landlords advanced notice that their building is being considered for landmarking, saying the leaks allow owners to circumvent the process.

A report commissioned by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation concludes that 20 buildings in New York City have been demolished in the last 12 years after landlords received tips from city officials, DNAinfo reported. Those tips allow landlords to push through demolitions before the landmarks process begins, the group’s executive director, Andrew Berman, told the website.

The report points to the Dakota Stables, where the landlord destroyed aspects of the building that were deemed significant architectural structures, thereby rendering preservation a moot point. Actor David Schwimmer also demolished a townhouse dating to 1852 after receiving two notices from the city, according to DNAinfo.

Earlier this month, the Real Estate Board of New York issued a report that claimed historic districts create barriers to building affordable housing, a premise Berman refuted.

In a statement cited by DNAinfo, the Landmarks Preservation Committee said, “Owner outreach and public involvement is of paramount importance to the commission, and the commission’s successful record of landmark designations can be attributed to our efforts to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of, and help build support for, historic district designations in their neighborhoods.” [DNAinfo] — Tom DiChristopher


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