A landmark dispute on Manhattan's Lower East Side is pitting some longtime residents against one another as a developer sets his sights on the neighborhood. NY1's Rebecca Spitz filed the following report..
They may not look like much, but to some, a cluster of 1830s row houses located at 326 and 328 East 4th Street mean a lot. The buildings currently house an arts collective, but they're moving out and a new developer is coming in — and that has some people worried.
"We're just concerned about inappropriate alterations to the building, or actual demolition itself because these are the only buildings that have ever been on these sites and it's so rare that a 170-year-old building is still around in the East Village," said Kurt Cavanaugh of the East Village Community Coalition.
A developer, who would not talk with NY1, has already signed an agreement to buy the buildings. He has also filed an application to build two new stories on top of the existing structures.
"To destroy them with a high rise or something crazy would be nuts," said one East Village resident
You can watch the video here.
It's a good piece, — I'm glad that word of this potential development is getting out there .... Here's a little more background on the two townhouses between Avenue C and Avenue D that hit the market back in March for $4.6 million. As the Times reported last month, this was home to "an artists’ collective and burial society called the Uranian Phalanstery and First New York Gnostic Lyceum Temple, was started in the East Village in the late 1950s by the artists Richard Oviet Tyler and Dorothea Tyler." Per Colin Moynihan's article, the group is faced with tax liens, and sold the building they have owned since 1974.
Meanwhile, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) and the East Village Community Coalition are working to to get landmark status here.
In any event, the historic townhouses are now in contract. The Corcoran listing shows they went for $3.95 million. The Times story last month noted that the developer is Terrence Lowenberg, who's also behind the work at Ninth Street and First Avenue. Curbed pointed out that the two-story rooftop additions are designed by architect Ramy Issac, "the neighborhood's most controversial tenement topper."
Previously on EV Grieve:
Historic East Fourth Street artists' collective soon to be condos
Two side-by-side townhouses on East Fourth Street await your renovation