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Preservationists Lose Battle to Landmark East 4th Street Rowhouses

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Earlier this week we attended a news conference in front of 326-328 East 4th Street, two 170 year old rowhouses that have been the focal point of a passionate preservation debate.  The Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation (GVSHP) gathered with elected officials and other neighborhood groups — urging the Landmarks Preservation Commission to protect the Greek Revival structures.

This morning we received an update from GVSHP Executive Director Andrew Berman:

Unfortunately, as we gathered in front of the houses on Tuesday to make this last appeal to the city to consider landmark designation, the city was issuing permits to the developer to allow the houses’ destruction, effectively foreclosing the possibility of landmark designation. This was a tragic mistake by the city, allowing these wonderful pieces of the East Village and the city’s history to be destroyed, especially given the very poor track record of the architect in this case.

The new owner of the buildings, Terrence Lowenberg, intends to renovate the interior and build two stories on top of the rowhouses. The Landmarks Commission decided the structures were not eligible for protection because they were in poor condition, and some of their original architectural features had been lost.

Berman said:

I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the elected officials, the preservationists, and the hundreds of individuals who wrote to the city in support of saving these buildings. Though the city chose to ignore our arguments in this case, I believe we did the right thing by standing up for protecting our neighborhood and our city’s history and character.

Tuesday’s news conference was attended by State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, State Senator Daniel Squadron, City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, the East Village Community Coalition and the LES Jewish Conservancy. Until 1970, the building was home to Congregation Hesed LeAvraham,

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