GREENWICH VILLAGE (PIX11) — It’s one of the most historic streets in the Village.
Some of the structures on Gay Street date back to the 1820s. They’ve seen a lot in 200 years.
Two structures are now facing an uncertain future. City forensic engineers found the building at 14 Gay St. was in “immediate danger of collapse.”
The properties at 14 and 16 Gay Street recently changed ownership. The new developer had permits for some structural work in the basement.
Last week, some cracks on the exterior were reported to the city and inspectors visited the site. A spokesperson for NYC Buildings said emergency shoring work is underway to prevent damage to any neighboring buildings.
While on-site last week, city engineers said they found some other unapproved structural work.
The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation called this another example of a bigger trend that saw 10 historic structures recently demolished. Andrew Berman is the executive director and stood with elected officials and concerned citizens at a rally Monday afternoon along Gay Street.
“What was once a symbol of the dream of coming to New York from anywhere and achieving anything, has instead become a nightmarish symbol of greed, craven disregard for safety, and a dysfunctional New York City bureaucracy that can’t do its job. How much more of a warning did the city need?” asks Berman.
The preservation group pointed to other violations and complaints at neighboring buildings and at other sites owned by the landlord/developer.
Lionel Nazarian is the owner of the real estate development firm.
“Our plan was always to fix the many structural issues at 14 Gay Street we inherited from the previous owners. It’s an unfortunate situation and our team is working with the DOB to help save as much of 14 and 16 Gay Street as possible” he wrote in an e-mail to PIX11 News.
A statement from the NYC Landmarks and Preservation Commission called the emergency demolition an “unfortunate situation caused by a contractor’s failure to follow plans approved by the LPC and DOB for foundation work.”
The statement from NYC Department of Buildings said the owners have been ordered to “carefully dismantle” the unstable building.
The city and owner said they’re working to save the building next door, which is 16 Gay St.
A man who identified himself as a former resident of the building said there was a fire in the basement years ago and the former owner had some work done in the room.
The Buildings Department statement said unapproved construction work puts the public at risk and the responsible parties will be held accountable.