Tag Archives: 180 Sixth Avenue

April Update: Save the Sunshine – Stop 180 Sixth Avenue

March was a productive month for our campaign to stop the God’s Love We Develop-Quinlan-Tavros scheme at 180 Sixth Avenue. Since our last update, the South Village Neighbors have: 

• retained a prominent land-use attorney to begin our legal challenge. On March 29th the core group involved in the Stop 180 Sixth campaign met and voted unanimously to hire land-use attorney and zoning expert Stuart A. Klein to challenge the GLWD-QT scheme. Stuart comes to us highly recommended by SoHo Alliance, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, and other neighborhood groups. SVN-STS-VPSSFFPA legal committee met with Stuart and one of his associates the following Wednesday to map out our approach, which will begin with a challenge to the legality of the air rights transfer. A research committee has been conducting the basic discovery/document retrieval to support our legal team’s work and keep our costs down. Last week they visited three archives and secured some obscure documents that support our efforts. Many thanks to these two committees!

• consulted with the Office of the Mayor/Department of Citywide Administrative Services on the status of the air rights transfer.  We have been in bi-weekly communication with the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, Division of Real Property, to follow the status of the proposed air rights transfer. As of this past Wednesday, there has been no progress on the sale of these air rights, which is, of course, great news for us. The fact that several members of our group testified eloquently on the inappropriateness of the air rights sale at the February 27th DCAS hearing seriously slowed down this process. Our contact at DCAS tells us that it could be several weeks until anything is resolved with regard to the air rights sale. Our legal challenge, which has only just begun, is expected to delay this matter even further; we hope, in perpetuity. So a huge thanks to the group who attended this meeting and/or testified! We also thank Andrew Berman, who alerted us to this hearing, and Stuart Klein, who encouraged us to have a strong presence there even before we had him officially onboard!

• secured additional news coverage of our legal challenge: the neighborhood news service dnainfo.com ran a favorable story about our work at the end of March. You can read that HERE. If you have press contacts who may be helpful to us in this challenge, please be in touch.

• set up a new list-serv/Google group for internal communication. At the March 29th meeting we identified the need for an internal communication mechanism to allow people to share information and ask questions of each other in a more horizontal way. Two folks on our team explored a number of options and arrived at the conclusion that a Google Group would be the best way to manage this. If you’re on our mailing list, later today or early tomorrow you’ll receive an invitation to join the group, and I encourage you to sign up. You will have the option of receiving news as it is posted, once a day, or once a week.  If you sign up with a Gmail account, you will have the additional option of being able to be able to access the discussion board and its online archive directly. This is helpful if you prefer to not receive emailed updates, or want to look back at past discussions.

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180 Sixth Avenue, April 14, 2013 12:04am

• witnessed the arrival of two unpleasant pieces of yellow equipment. Friday evening at 8pm a rather formidable looking piece of equipment (that appears to be a pile driver) arrived at 180 Sixth Avenue. And last night at midnight, QT treated us to midnight delivery of another Komatsu behemoth. Their rig blocked traffic on Sixth Avenue, with backed up cars honking for half an hour, waking up everyone. This is an unpleasant reminder of what our future could look like if we don’t continue our campaign to Stop 180 Sixth Avenue.

If you live in the neighborhood and have been alarmed by this development, please be aware that: (1) at this time no construction permits have been approved for the development (so nothing can be built at this time) and (2) the current unapproved plans for an 80,000 square foot building cannot be approved until the matter of the air rights transfer is resolved. The last time plans were filed (03/05/13) they were not approved. However QT does have an approved permit (filed 12/12/12) to demolish the single story structure at 178 Sixth Avenue (that used to be Sleepy’s). So they may begin pulling that building down. Tearing down this building has tax advantages for them as it will lower the property tax assessment on this lot. However this does not mean anything about the overall outcome of our challenge, which is – thanks to your support – stronger today than it has ever been. [Correction: After this posted, we learned that they have an approved application for demolition, but that no permits have yet been issued. Apologies for any confusion this may have caused. – The Editors.]

WHAT YOU CAN DO – UPCOMING EVENTS AND NEXT STEPS

ATTEND the Landmark Preservation Committee meeting on the South Village Historic District. On Monday, April 15th at 6:30pm there will be an important Landmark Preservation Committee informational meeting regarding the proposed South Village Historic District. The meeting will take place at the NYU Meyer Building, 4 Washington Place (at Broadway), Room 121. As this is an informational meeting, no testimony is heard, but questions can be asked. I strongly encourage you to attend. If you are a property owner in the neighborhood you will learn more about the implications of landmarking. And if you are not a property owner, you are still welcome to attend. Several of our group will attend, and we’ll hand out informational material about our Save the Sunshine/Stop 180 Sixth Avenue campaign. For additional information about this meeting, visit the GVSHP website HERE.

SIGN-UP for the South Village Neighbors email/listserv when you receive your invitation email, or visit HERE to request an invitation to the group.

CONTRIBUTE to the South Village Legal Fund. Thanks to your generosity, and the gracious fiscal sponsorship of SoHo Alliance, the Valentine’s Day campaign for the South Village Legal Fund has raised more than enough to kick off our legal challenge. Ultimately, this fight will may cost a good bit more than what we currently have on hand. If you have already supported the legal fund, many thanks for your support. If you haven’t yet had an opportunity to contribute to the fund, we encourage you to do so today.  It’s easy. You can find instructions on how to donate HERE.

Legal Fund Presses Forward to Stop GLWD-QT Scheme

The South Village Neighbors Legal Fund has raised $3,400 in just two weeks.  Donations have ranged from $20 up to a $1,000 pledge that we will match. We are only $1,600 away from our goal of $5000 to retain a land use attorney to stop the God’s Love We Deliver-QT development scheme at 180 Sixth Avenue. Even with all of this great work, we have to remember that this is what we’re up against: an 80,000 square foot, 15-story luxury condominium tower and ground floor retail space, built at our expense.

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That’s why we’re redoubling our efforts:

  • Last week a group of South Village neighbors testified against the GLWD-QT Development scheme at the Office of Citywide Administrative Services. The folks from GLWD and QT were awfully surprised to see us there, and the representative from the Mayor’s Office seemed fairly impressed by our arguments. While this testimony may have little impact on the Mayor’s decision regarding the air rights deal, it is part of the public record if we ever wind up in court with our opponents. Read more about it here
  • Six hundred fundraising flyers about the South Village Legal Fund have been distributed in buildings and businesses around the neighborhood this weekend. If you receive a flyer and don’t need it, please consider asking your drycleaner, bakery, coffee shop, drugstore, newsstand, barber’s shop or grocer to post it. We’ve found that neighborhood merchants are eager to help when asked by the people they see all the time.
  • We’ve reached out to the Friends of Vesuvio Park for their support as the children’s pool at the playground will lose much of its summer sunshine if the GLWD-QT development proceeds as planned. Read more about this here. And next Sunday St. Anthony’s Church will include news about South Village Neighbors and our efforts in their parish bulletin.

If you have already supported the South Village Legal Fund, we thank you on behalf of the whole neighborhood. Perhaps you would consider speaking to a neighbor who hasn’t yet contributed? This is very much a grassroots, neighbor-to-neighbor effort to save our skyline, our playgrounds, and our sunshine across three affected public spaces: Vesuvio Playground (bet. Thompson/Sullivan), Soho Square (at Spring/Sixth) and Father Fagan Square (at Prince/Sixth).

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June 21st shadows on Vesuvio Playground from the Environmental Site Assessment commissioned by the developer.

And if you haven’t had a chance to give yet, we urge you to do so today. No contribution is too small. $300, $200, $100, $50 . . . it all helps. After the backhoes and pile drivers arrive, it may just be too late to stop them. We would not want you to regret that you didn’t act 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: Barbara North, 100 Sullivan Street, Apt 1E, New York, NY 10012.

1. Visit www.sohoalliance.org/join.html.

2. Enter the amount you’d like to donate and click on “PayPal”.

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.

Neighbors Testify Against God’s Love We Deliver–QT Sweetheart Deal

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This past Wednesday a group of South Village neighbors testified again, this time at the New York City Office of Citywide Administrative Services, where they spoke out against the sweetheart deal that God’s Love We Deliver wants to pass along to Quinlan-Tavros Development at the expense of the city and the neighborhood. They also released a recent rendering of the impact of the GLWD-QT development on the neighborhood’s skyline.

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Outlining the history and finances of the proposed development, one Sullivan Street neighbor pointed out that GLWD received an extremely favorable deal on the original purchase price of the 166 Sixth Avenue building, paying only $535,000 for the 18,000 square foot structure in 1993. The reduced price tag came with the stipulation that the air rights be held in perpetuity for community use. Specifically, the deed noted that the air rights could not be used for commercial development. Now, these same air rights are being sold for just that: a luxury condominium and retail high-rise development.

If that weren’t bad enough, GLWD is selling these air rights for less than market value to Quinlan-Tavros. The Wall Street Journal reported that GLWD will sell the valuable vertical real estate for $200-300 per square foot or for $5.5-6.5 million dollars. Comparable air rights in New York City go for $400-500 dollars per square foot, or up to $9 million dollars. Quinlan-Tavros is receiving a 30-50% discount on these air rights, saving between $3 and $4 million dollars, as GLWD passes along their sweet deal to private developers at the expense of the neighborhood and New York City’s taxpayers.

Meanwhile, the City is settling for just $765,000 as their share – taxpayer’s share, our share – of this deeply discounted deal. That’s less than the asking price for a studio apartment in the proposed condominium complex.

The neighbors have long known that the GLWD-QT scheme is bad for the neighborhood, which will lose sunlight at Vesuvio playground and at two other public spaces, but it seems it’s also a bad deal for all New York City taxpayers.

Save the Sunshine at Vesuvio Playground and Pool

developers-steal-sunshineFor decades neighborhood kids and their families have enjoyed Vesuvio Playground and its children’s swimming pool. Back when it was called Thompson Square Playground, many of us took our kids there – to swing, run around, splash and play in the sun. We’d like to preserve this treasured resource for today’s families and future generations. The GLWD-QT Development 180 Sixth Avenue towers will cast long shadows on the playground and pool — even on June 21st, the longest, sunniest day of the year. Their own shadow studies show it clearly.  Save the sunshine at Vesuvio — stop the 180 Sixth Avenue development by supporting our legal fund.

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The developers’ own studies show the Vesuvio Playground and Pool cast in shadow: June 21st shadows

News: South Village Neighbors Launch Legal Fund to Fight Out-of-Scale Development

unless-april-graphicA 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:
Barbara North
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.

In the News: Neighbors stand up to GLWD-QT Development debacle

Neighbors air their views on G.L.W.D. air-rights plan | The Villager Newspaper (November 21, 2012)

Soho neighbors demand a do-over on God’s Love vote | The Villager Newspaper (January 10, 2013)

Letters, Week of Nov. 29, 2012 | The Villager Newspaper