Testimony by New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane before the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission's Hearing on Certificates of Appropriateness for 145 Perry Street aka 703-711 Washington Street

February 12, 2008

My name is Thomas K. Duane and I represent New York State's 29th Senate District, in which 145 Perry Street is located. Thank you for the opportunity to present testimony before the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) today.

The application before LPC is to garner a Certificate of Appropriateness for the demolition of a two-story stucco building, used as a freight loading station since 1938, and construction of a seven-story plus penthouse building in its place.

This hearing today is the culmination of several months of discussions concerning the development. After considerable community consultation, the applicant has made significant changes to the original plans. These include alterations to the facade, to make it more harmonious with the historic buildings in the area, and the elimination of five rooms, resulting in a reduction in the overall bulk and a decrease in the shadow over the adjacent courtyard. I and the community board are particularly appreciative of the reduction in the scale, the articulation of bays on the facade and the improved choice of materials, including terra cotta and added brick.

I do, however, still have reservations about the application before LPC today. Community Board Two (CB2) has laid out its critique with great eloquence and sensitivity to the community's concerns, which include scaling down the building to be more in line with the adjacent buildings in the Greenwich Village Historic District. I would like to offer my support for the CB2 resolution, and want to emphasize for LPC our shared reservations.

The plot under consideration today lies on the border of the Greenwich Village Historic District. This Historic District is characterized by a careful diversity of massing, which will be put off-balance by the construction of a large hotel in the place of a low-rise building. The current design of the building proposed for 145 Perry Street fits within the pattern of the block and blends well with the preexisting buildings on the street; however, to further enhance its integration, I would suggest that it be appropriately sized to maintain the historic character, scale, and harmony of the surrounding area.

Although I recognize that many of my constituents are concerned about the intended use of the building as a hotel and restaurant, and the impact it will have on the character of the neighborhood, especially in regards to truck, foot and car traffic, I understand that this is not within the purview of LPC. I have therefore focused my testimony on the issues of concern to LPC.

The development team and the architect for 145 Perry Street have shown a great degree of thoughtfulness and have been extremely solicitous of feedback throughout the last few months of negotiations, which is too rarely the case. The result has been a building which is appropriate in material makeup and design, if not in scale. I have always been, and remain, confident that the goals and mission of the community, the developers and LPC can be achieved during this process. Thank you for allowing me to testify today and for your consideration of my recommendations.

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