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Landmarking Push Doesn’t Bother Shaoul - The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com


Landmarking Push Doesn’t Bother Shaoul


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buildingNoah Fecks East 10th Street. Ben Shaoul’s building is one over from right.

The developer that spurred the Landmarks Preservation Commission to expedite a public hearing for a proposed historic district on East 10th Street said today that the designation would not affect his plans for a building on the block along Tompkins Square Park.

“It doesn’t make a difference if it’s landmarked or not — we’re going to comply with whatever is set forth by the governing parties,” said Ben Shaoul, who recently bought the building at 315 East 10th Street. “We intend to fully restore the façade to its original state, anyway.”

It was Mr. Shaoul’s application with the Department of Buildings to build a rooftop addition to the property that garnered the attention of the Commission, which is considering protecting the exteriors of the 26 buildings on the north side of Tompkins Square Park. By law, the Commission can fast-track the landmarks process if proposed renovations to a property would affect the historic aesthetic of a district up for consideration.

buildingworkNoah Fecks Work at 315 East 10th Street.

Other rooftop renovations to properties owned by Mr. Shaoul have been criticized by local politicians and activist groups for flouting zoning laws. But Mr. Shaoul said the rooftop addition he was planning for East 10th Street would not be visible from the street — meaning it would comply with city guidelines for construction within landmark districts.

“If his intentions are to build it so it’s not visible from the street, it should be relatively easy to get approved — though not being able to see it from Tompkins Square Park makes it a little tricky,” said Richard Moses, a member of the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative.

In the meantime, Mr. Moses is rejoicing in the latest step forward in the push for historic districts in the neighborhood, which began in earnest earlier this year. “We’re extremely happy,” he said. “The concern is that with all the development in the East Village, it just makes sense to be cautious and move forward with designation.”

Kurt Cavanaugh, the managing director of the East Village Community Coalition echoed that sentiment. “I’m thrilled that the L.P.C. is moving forward with this one, and quickly.” He added that the much larger proposed district, revolving around Second Avenue, still has not been scheduled for a hearing.

As for the addition to 315 East 10th Street, Mr. Cavanaugh said it could have an affect if it were visible from the sidewalk. “Obviously, one story doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but the neighboring buildings are the same height — it would look a bit out of place.”