Our fight against the GLWD-QT development at 180 Sixth Avenue has been much in the news in the past year. The New York Times covered our challenge as early as May, with a report on the fight by journalist Ronda Kaysen (5/7/13). Not long after that, in mid-July, the Times reported on the development assaults to our neighborhood in a report by John Freeman Gill (8/13/13). And even the Times’ Real Estate section (10/20/13) — never known to frown on new luxury development — characterized the QT project as an “invasion”. Starting in January and throughout the year, we’ve had excellent coverage from The Villager. And, of course, the dangerous conditions at the building site were widely covered in late September, when 188 Sixth Avenue had to be evacuated due to hazardous conditions created by QT’s excavation work. We expect our legal challenge to be much in the news in 2014. Stay tuned.
ABC News was one of the first on the scene yesterday, when residents of 188 Sixth Avenue were evacuated after construction work next door on the Quinlan-Tavros luxury condominium development caused their building to shift. Within the hour reporters from all the network news channels and multiple radio and print venues were on hand.
This afternoon at around 3:30, the NYC Fire Department evacuated 17 neighbors living at 188 Sixth Avenue when foundation work next door at 180 Sixth Avenue caused shifting in their 19th-century tenement-style building. The NYPD cordoned off the sidewalks as Con Edison emergency vehicles arrived to check the gas lines when the building moved consequent to hazardous foundation work being done on the adjacent lot, owned by Quinlan-Tavros. The affected building at 188 Sixth sits on the lot line with the Quinlan-Tavros luxury condominium construction site. The A, C, and E subway lines, which run along the site were affected, as trains were told to slow down to reduce vibrations.
The neighbors at 188 Sixth reported that on Tuesday one tenant arrived home and couldn’t open her front door because the doorframe had shifted significantly. She called a locksmith who came and helped her get the door open. She also reported the problem to Triton Construction, the company doing the foundation work at the 180 Sixth Avenue site, who, she reports, told her not to worry. Triton has been been underpinning the foundation of the weight bearing south wall at 188 Sixth, which caused the shift in the building. The next day, as they observed additional cracking in their walls, the tenants at 188 Sixth called 311.
A Department of Buildings inspector visited the site and issued a stop work order. By mid-afternoon the FDNY was called to evacuate the residents, who then waited anxiously for 5 hours as news crews arrived to report on the situation. The Red Cross was also called in to make sure that the displaced residents would be sheltered in the event the building remained uninhabitable. Around 7pm Assembymember Deborah Glick arrived at the site to ensure that her displaced constituents could get back into the building to retrieve pets, medications, and other vital items. Incumbent City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who represents the district, said through her spokeswoman Allie Nudelman that they were “monitoring the situation.”
Ultimately, around 8:15 residents were allowed to return to their homes. DOB Inspector and structural engineer Timothy Lynch announced to a dozen news reporters that the building was safe enough to go back into service. When asked about the shifting in the building that had been severe enough to completely jam one apartment door, Inspector Lynch observed only that he had been able to open all the doors in the building that he had gone through, without directly addressing the structural shift that resulted in the tenant’s jammed door. Lynch continued, noting that the building dates back to approximately 1890, that it’s an old masonry building, and that it it is “ductile.” And for those of you who, like me, may not have “ductile” in your everyday vocabulary, it means “a solid material’s ability to deform under tensile stress.” In other words, the building is moving under the strain of the underpinning and mechanical excavation. A partial stop-work order remains in effect.
While we are relieved that our neighbors are back in their homes tonight, we are very concerned about the ongoing stability of 188 Sixth Avenue, and overall safety on the site. Since the earliest public hearings on this proposed development — as far back as November of last year — neighbors have testified regarding their concerns about the safety of the homes at 188 Sixth Avenue. The neighborhood remains deeply concerned.
The New York Times’ John Freeman Gill profiled the South Village this week, pointing out that unless the neighborhood is afforded landmark and other protections, its distinctive character may be crushed between impending Hudson Square developments and SoHo’s Cast Iron district. South Village neighbor Micki McGee was interviewed for the article and observed: “It’s hard to believe that right next to SoHo there’s this quiet, sweet little neighborhood. But pressures from north, south, east, and west on this triangle below Houston are so extraordinary that this neighborhood could just disappear.” Make sure that doesn’t happen: Support the South Village Neighbors today.
This morning the New York Times covered the South Village Neighbors challenge to the GLWD-QT development scheme at 180 Sixth Avenue. It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to air our concerns in a public forum, particularly since we were shut-out of the City Planning Commission discussions, unrepresented by our Community Board, and ignored by our City Council representative, Christine C. Quinn, who is a longtime advocate for GLWD — at the expense of her residential constituents. That said, we were not surprised to see that 80% of the ink went to the GLWD position: GLWD has a powerful public relations machine, a celebrity-studded Board of Trustees, and the deep pockets of their new real estate developer pals. Check back in the next few days to hear more about what the neighbors are saying about this story.
A group of concerned South Village neighbors have banded together to challenge the proposed 15-story high-rise luxury condominium development planned by God’s Love We Deliver & QT Development at 180 Sixth Avenue.
The GLWD-QT monstrosity is at the heart of the proposed South Village Historic District and will dwarf the surrounding neighborhood and leave us to live in its shadows. It is totally out of character with the low-rise, low density buildings that we have come to appreciate as being part of the charm and warmth of our beloved South Village.
After consulting with a prominent land use attorney and zoning expert, South Village Neighbors has launched a legal fund campaign to mount a serious opposition to this latest example of overdevelopment in our neighborhood community. The goal is to raise $5,000 by the end of Valentine’s Day weekend. By standing together, we can stop, or seriously slow, the 180 Sixth Avenue overdevelopment disaster.
What neighbors say about the GLWD-QT Development:
I’m an artist. I’ve lived directly across the street from the GLWD site since l975. My wife and I have raised two children, here, and struggled mightily to create a home amidst the enormous pressures of economic and commercial hyper-development. This project is architecturally destructive to the brick-and-mortar nature of our neighborhood, and totally inconsiderate to those of us who actually live here. It is an invitation to developers far and wide to demolish our historical buildings, push us out of our homes, and allow rampant construction of ugly glass and aluminum buildings which are completely out of scale with the beautiful SoHo, which originally attracted artists and tourists. This neighborhood needs to be preserved, just as great European cities preserve their historical areas and landmarks. It is truly unfortunate that a reputable and positive charity such as God’s Love We Deliver has chosen to act as a stalking horse for some of the worst forces in our city.
– Harry Pincus
Our overburdened and outdated infrastructure and electrical grid can barely support current demands without adding more overdeveloped properties. We have enough new luxury condo space in the neighborhood which remains vacant.
– Crissy C.
Unrestricted development is destroying quality of life for millions of New York City residents. There is no sense of balance. New construction of residential and office space continues unabated with NO corresponding improvements to infrastructure to accommodate increasing numbers of residents and workers. In addition, the asethetics of entire neighborhoods are being destroyed with little or no concern for longtime residents or small business owners. For lack of a better word, I am disgusted and my vote in the upcoming Mayoral primary will reflect that disgust!
– David A.
Show God’s Love and QT what real neighborhood love looks like. Make a Valentine’s Day Legal Fund contribution today.
HOW TO CONTRIBUTE
|BY CHECK||VIA PAYPAL|
|1. Make a check to SoHo Alliance for $500, $300, $250, $100 or whatever you can afford (no contribution is too small).
2. Note “South Village Legal Fund” in the memo line.
3. Mail or drop off your check with Barbara North, who has kindly agreed to manage the bookkeeping on this and get your checks to SoHo Alliance:
100 Sullivan Street, Apt 1E
New York, NY 10012
|1. Visit http://www.sohoalliance.org/join.html.
2. Enter the amount you’d like to donate and click on “Pay Pal”.
3. Just before you pay you will have the opportunity to designate your donation for the legal fund. When you see the “Your order summary” page, enter “South Village Legal Fund” in the box for description. This will earmark your donation for 180 Sixth Avenue challenge.
Many thanks to SoHo Alliance, and their Executive Director Sean Sweeney, for agreeing to serve as a fiscal sponsor for the South Village Neighbors Legal Fund.