[The proposed 3 St. Mark's Place as seen from Astor Place]
As expected on Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved developer Real Estate Equities Corporation's (REEC) plan to transfer air rights from the landmarked Hamilton-Holly House at 4 St. Mark's Place to add square footage to their office building coming to the northeast corner of Third Avenue and St. Mark's Place.
As previously reported, REEC wants to buy $4 million in air rights from the landmarked Hamilton-Holly House at 4 St. Mark's Place. According to terms of the deal, 5 percent of the $4 million — $200,000 — would go to maintaining No. 4, whose history includes being home to Alexander Hamilton's son and Trash & Vaudeville. The circa-1831 building was recently privy to a full gut renovation over the course of two years.
[4 St. Mark's Place as seen in January]
Here's Curbed with coverage from Tuesday:
LPC commissioners had reservations about the proposal, but ultimately relented and gave it the green light to ensure the continued maintenance of the Hamilton-Holly House.
“This is an important building to get right and I think it’s a tradeoff that we’re talking about,” said Frederick Bland, LPC vice chair, during the Tuesday vote. “We’re going to have that building, so let’s have the building with the landmark.”
Commissioners didn’t have say over the design of the building because it isn’t within a historic district; instead, they were tasked with reviewing restoration plans for the landmark and determining how “harmonious” a specific sliver of the new building created out of the air rights exchange is with the Hamilton-Holly House.
Gothamist was also at the meeting, and pointed out the opposition to this plan:
All told, the commission said it had received 390 emails campaigning against the project.
Despite that, of the 11 commissioners, only one voted against the transfer of air rights. Among the conditions that must be met for the city to grant the air rights is that the project must have a “harmonious relationship” with the landmarked site.
“I just can’t seem to wrap my head around this,” said Michael Goldblum, the commissioner who voted against the application. “The historical context of the landmark was a continuous row of three-to-four story buildings. That is the context in which this landmark has been seen for decades, at the very least.”
Goldblum added that he could not see how a building of this scale “could be deemed as a positive enhancement to the landmark.”
Up next: The project now moves before the City Planning Commission as part of the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. City Council will have the final say.
Even if the LPC had rejected the plan, REEC's office building with ground-floor retail would still happen — only without the extra square footage from the air-rights deal.
Previously on EV Grieve:
Demolition permits filed for northeast corner of 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place
End is nearing for the businesses on the northeast corner of 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place
New building plans revealed for 3rd Avenue and St. Mark's Place
Concern over potential air-rights transfer for new office building on St. Mark's Place and 3rd Avenue
Developers of 3 St. Mark's Place are looking to increase the size of their proposed office building at 3rd Avenue to 10 floors with air-rights deal
The lobbyists behind the air-rights transfer and zoning variance for 3 St. Mark's Place
Final demolition phase for 1 St. Mark's Place; more questions about lobbyists attached to project