The Real Deal New York

Madison Equities proposes demolition of Jane Jacobs’ West Village Houses

Facing reduced options for warding off impending taxes hikes, the 1,000-person housing community is taking stock of their options
November 05, 2017 02:28PM

Robert Gladstone CEO of Madison Equities, front; urbanist Jane Jacobs, back (Front photo by Studio Scrivo; back photo: New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection, Library of Congress)

UPDATED November 7, 2017 with statement from the West Village Houses’ board.

An offer on the West Village Houses by developer Madison Equities would tear down the complex’s 42 five-story buildings, designed by Jane Jacobs and Perkins + Will in the 1960s and 1970s, in order to build high-rise housing.

Madison Equities’ offer was made this fall and residents of the 420 units in the complex have been meeting to discuss it and West Village Houses’ board of directors have decided to solicit other offers before making a final decision, according to the Architect’s Newspaper. The developer would not comment on the details of the offer, while the board stated they did not solicit it.

The West Village House’s tax abatement expires in March of next year so the board and residents have been looking at how the community can stay affordable in the face of coming tax increases which the board qualified as “a financially untenable situation for many of our residents,” in a statement to The Real Deal.

However, many residents and preservationists familiar with the work of renowned urbanist Jacobs are horrified the proposal was made to begin with, and that it continues to be considered.

“We find ourselves horrified that such a proposal would be put forward,” one group of residents wrote in a statement to the Architect’s Newspaper. “We wonder why anyone would want to destroy the fruits of Jane Jacobs’ dream. We know that we have the greatest luxury of all, right here, right now; the luxury of living in the world Jane Jacobs imagined.”

The board views the consideration of Madison Equities’ proposal part of their legal duties, according to their statement: “We have a fiduciary responsibility to share that type of information with all shareholders, and our recent meetings have been a way for us to get feedback on what people think about the concepts put forth in the proposal.”

[The Architect’s Newspaper] — E.K. Hudson