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Building a Modern Hotel Adjacent to a NYC Landmark?

Real Estate Developments

In 2014, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved developers’ plans for an eight-story brick hotel building on a plot that is currently a single-story garage next to the Merchant’s House Museum, located at 29 East Fourth Street in Manhattan. The Museum, built in 1832, is a New York City interior and exterior landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places and as a National Historic Landmark. The Museum’s collection includes personal items of a wealthy merchant family who lived in the house from 1835 to 1933.[1] Due to the landmark’s rich history and delicate state, the Museum is reluctant for construction to take place on its border.

The Museum has published on their website a “call to arms” to gather support from the city to protect the landmark’s structural integrity and prevent the plans for the hotel development to go through. Margaret Halsey Gardiner, the executive director of the Museum explains that unfortunately “landmark status does not guarantee protection from adjacent construction.”[2] How can the city ensure that this landmark and others around New York are protected as neighborhoods evolve? Developers have ensured that they would take precautionary measures to prevent damaging the landmark next door, but despite the LPC’s approval of the project, groups are continuing to advocate against  the project. Members of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation explain that “the fragile site could potentially suffer irreversible damage if the project moves forward”.[3]

The Museum asserts that not only can the construction of the hotel damage the landmark, but the one-hundred foot tall proposal violates the City’s zoning resolution, it would block natural light to the Musuem’s garden, and the style is “incompatible” with the Noho Historic District.[4] For now, development cannot take place until the plan is granted final approval from City Planning Commission. Earlier this week the Community Board 2 held a public hearing on the issue.[5] In the meantime, the Museum is gathering signatures for their petition and calling on residents to write the City Planning Commission to block approval.

[1] Merchant’s House Museum. “About.” Available at: Accessed on April 12, 2018.

[2] Merchant’s House Museum. “A Call to Arms.” Available at: Accessed on April 12, 2018.

[3] Nonko, Emily. (April 10, 2018) “Merchant’s House-Adjacent Hotel Still a Thorn in Preservationists’ Side.” Curbed New York. Available at: Accessed on April 12, 2018. Per Bowery Boogie.

[4] Op. Cit. n2.

[5] Op. Cit. n3.

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