Rendering courtesy of Robert A.M. Stern Architects, Acheson Doyle Partners, Hill West Architects
Two five-story apartment buildings in the Greenwich Village Historic District will be demolished to make way for a 213-foot-tall luxury condo tower. The Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday approved plans from Madison Realty Capital and City Urban Realty to raze 14-16 Fifth Avenue, an apartment building that sits just north of Washington Square Park. Preservationists campaigned against the demolition of the building since the project was first announced in 2017, citing the history of the 170-year-old structure as significant enough for protection.
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Streetview of 14-16 Fifth Avenue, Map data © 2020 Google; Painting of Henry Breevort via public domain, Photo of General Daniel Edgar Sickles courtesy of the Library of Congress, and photo of Celeste Holm via public domain
Madison Realty Capital filed plans last month to demolish 14-16 Fifth Avenue, a five-story apartment building constructed in 1848, and replace it with a 244-foot-tall tower. Because it is located within the Greenwich Village Historic District, it can only be demolished if the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission rules that the building itself is of no historic or architectural merit, and does not contribute to the character of the district (the public hearings where this would be debated and decided have not yet been scheduled). What may seem like a nondescript apartment building actually has an incredibly rich and varied history. Throughout its 170-year history, 14-16 Fifth Avenue was home to Civil War generals, Gold Rush writers, Oscar-winning actors, railroad magnates, pioneering industrialists, inventors, and politicians. What follows is just some of the history behind this easily-overlooked lower Fifth Avenue landmark.
One building, tons of history
Developer Madison Equities filed plans on Thursday to demolish two five-story buildings at 14-16 Fifth Avenue in favor of a 21-story, 244-foot luxury apartment tower. According to The Real Deal, Madison Equities bought the property with City Urban Realty in 2015 for $27.5 million and at the time cited plans to renovate the existing apartments. The buildings currently contain 20 units of “relatively affordable housing” while the proposed new building would comprise 18 “super-luxury” units. The Gothic Revival townhouses date back to 1848 and are landmarked within the Greenwich Village Historic District so the plans can only proceed with approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission.