A Manhattan Supreme Court Justice has delivered another defeat to a developer's long-delayed plan to turn a century-old school in the East Village into a massive dormitory. You may recall the heated controversy surrounding developer Gregg Singer's plans to build a 19-story university dorm where a five-story school on East 9th Street stands—the school, finished in 1906 and abandoned by the Department of Education in the '70s, had been revived as the vibrant Charas community arts center.
There was enormous protest when Singer bought the building for $3.15 million and evicted Charas in December 2001, and his plans for the building have been repeatedly stymied by the Department of Buildings and the Landmarks Preservation Commission [LPC], which designated the school a landmark in 2006.
In an attempt to thwart the landmark designation, Singer proceeded to strip the facade of much of its ornamentation, and then went to court to argue that his changes, voilà, made the French Renaissance Revival building a landmark no more. But in a ruling made public yesterday, Judge Shirley Kornreich dealt Singer another defeat by upholding the landmark designation. In a statement, LPC Chair Robert Tierney said, "Property owners ought to think twice before removing a building’s architectural details to thwart landmark designation."