Tuesday, April 17, 2018

St. Denis Update

Last week, NY Yimby reported that permits have been filed to replace the historic St. Denis building with a new 12-story office building. The St. Denis is 165 years old, boasts an impressive history (Alexander Graham Bell, Ulysses S. Grant, W.E.B. Du Bois, and lots of communists) and was recently emptied of hundreds of small business people (myself included). You can read all about it here.

For those who hoped the St. Denis would not be demolished, this doesn't look good. But a look at the permits reveals an important note: "Development Challenge Process is pending Zoning Approval. For any issues, please contact the relevant borough office."

Does that mean there is hope to save this building?

The GVSHP put out an email to explain the situation:

"The bottom line is we are working very hard to get zoning or landmark protections for the University Place, Broadway, and 3rd and 4th Avenue corridors, which the Mayor continues to oppose. We are using the leverage provided by his desire to get approval of his 14th Street tech hub, which requires City Council approval. We are not there yet, but the wheels are turning.

What does this mean in terms of the St. Denis site? The short answer is no one can say yet. It is still very much possible for the city to adopt zoning or landmark protections that include that site and would affect what can happen there moving forward – either limiting the size and height of new development, or preventing demolition or significant alteration of the existing building. But that depends upon timing – of when such measures would be adopted, and when demolition or development on the site might begin."

GVSHP asks that you send these quick and easy pre-written letters to the Mayor, the Borough President, and Councilmember Carlina Rivera. Add a note to say that the St. Denis should be protected from total demolition. You can include this history to argue for protection.

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