About Protect the Village Historic District (PVHD)

PROTECT THE VILLAGE HISTORIC DISTRICT (PVHD) was formed to advocate for the Greenwich Village community and its interests in the face of a massive and inappropriate development proposal from the Rudin Organization and St. Vincent's. PVHD seeks to significantly downsize and reshape this destructive proposal and to protect the Greenwich Village Historic District. We do not oppose the modernization of St. Vincent's. We do, however, consider it vital that any development respect our historic neighborhood, the City Landmark Preservation laws, and the values of our community. We support alternatives that accomplish these goals.

the PVHD challenge

The St. Vincent's campus consists of eight buildings on 11th and 12th Streets east of Seventh Avenue. On the opposite side Seventh Avenue, the O'Toole Building extends a block from 12th to 13th Street. All of these structures are in the Greenwich Village Historic District. St. Vincent's proposes to sell its existing buildings east of Seventh Avenue to a private developer, the Rudin Organization, and replace the O'Toole Building with a new hospital tower. The original proposal would have demolished all the existing buildings, including O'Toole, and replace them with two gigantic new structures — an outright annihilation of the landmark protections offered by the Historic District.

Thanks to the opposition of PVHD, the community, our elected officials and preservation groups, the Landmarks Preservation Commission rejected the original plan in May. As a result, the Rudins and St. Vincent's have recently agreed to preserve four of the existing buildings on the East Campus. This is a major advance and ensures that a majority of the handsome brick structures east of Seventh Avenue will be protected. PVHD thanks all who played a part in forcing this revision to the original proposal, including PVHD members who made much of this possible.

Unfortunately, in other respects, the revised plans offer no improvement over the original scheme. On the East Campus, four existing building would be demolished, making way for a luxury condominium glass box 235 feet high. Even worse, the architecturally distinguished O'Toole Building would be razed to make way for a 300-foot-high hospital tower (equivalent to 30 stories) that would overhang and overwhelm the surrounding communities and the northern section of the Greenwich Village Historic District.

The struggle continues. On May 6, 2008, the Landmarks Preservation Commission expressed unanimous disapproval of the Rudin/St. Vincent's plan. All commissioners cited the unique historic contribution of the O'Toole Building and the importance of the brick structures on the East Campus. The applicants' response was to propose reusing four of the existing brick buildings for residential purposes, but they have refused to explore alternatives to demolishing the O'Toole Building. Instead, St. Vincent's has claimed that "hardship" justifies its demolition, while the Rudins press a "revised" condo plan for a building that remains too tall, too dense and completely out of character with the Historic District. With your support, PVHD will continue the battle to maintain the integrity of the Historic District and protect against the outsized new structures.

To see our preliminary objections to the revised plan, click here ».

the proposal

Even as modified, the Rudin/St. Vincent's proposal calls for the largest development in the Village in 50 years. It would have a devastating impact on the Village and make a mockery of the City's Historic District protections. If approved, this development will irretrievably and forever change the character of our historic neighborhood. In the face of this threat, Protect the Village Historic District was formed in January 2008 and, together with many other neighborhood and community groups, has worked to defeat the proposal in its original configuration. PVHD will continue to oppose the demolition of O'Toole, its replacement with a high-rise tower, and the size and bulk of the Rudin development.

the PVHD Campaign

PVHD has mounted, and will continue to mount, an all-out campaign to challenge the St. Vincent's/Rudin development, politically and through the legal process. This includes hiring counsel and experts to support our case before the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), City Planning Commission and City Council and in other forums on the state and federal levels. The campaign includes outreach to key elected officials and community organizing to coordinate the efforts of the many groups and individuals who have already expressed their dismay about the development. The aim is to expand the base of this constituency across the Village and the city.

PVHD has retained the legal counsel of Albert K. Butzel, who previously led the fights against Westway and for the creation and funding of Hudson River Park. Mr. Butzel has helped organize and implement the political advocacy campaign and has developed and presented PVHD's case at the LPC hearings. He will pursue litigation for PVHD if this is necessary. At the same time, PVHD has initiated an organizing effort designed to broaden its membership and secure the support of other organizations concerned with the protection of historic districts and the fabric of neighborhoods generally. PVHD is guided by a Steering Committee that includes Delia Guazzo, Tom Molner, Brenda Murad, Susan Paston, Phil Schaeffer, Carl Stein, Gary Tomei, and Naomi Usher.

In order to support this effort, PVHD, with the generous help of many individuals and buildings, has raised significant funds for counsel and other professionals necessary for this effort. But much more will be necessary going forward, particularly if, as we expect, litigation must be pursued. We are asking donors to consider leadership contributions of $3,500-$5,000 for individual homeowners, $1,000-$2,500 for co-op and condo owners, and $5,000-$15,000 for co-op or condo boards. These leadership contributions are essential for PVHD to have an impact. Donations at any level will be greatly appreciated.

PVHD is fiscally sponsored by the Open Space Institute, Inc. , as part of its Citizen Action Program .

Fiscal sponsorship is a financial and legal system by which a legally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit (such as OSI) provides limited financial and legal oversight for a project initiated independently by a group. That project might be a one-time project or an organization that does not have its own 501(c)(3) status. Once sponsored in this way, the project is eligible to solicit and receive grants and tax-deductible contributions that are normally available only to 501(c)(3) organizations.

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To mail a pledge form, click here ».