Merchant’s House Museum Files Lawsuit to Block 8-Story Hotel Development
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The Merchant’s House Museum is not going down without a fight. The landmark building on East 4th Street – the first to be designated as such in 1965 – two weeks ago filed a lawsuit to block the eight-story hotel proposed on its western flank, according to the Wall Street Journal.
As previously reported, this hotel would replace the one-story brick warehouse at 27 East Fourth Street that is currently a stable for food cart vendors. (The garage was built in 1945-46 by Herman Kron.) Museum staff and local preservationists remain concerned about the impact this major construction will invariably have on structural integrity. The Merchant’s House dates back to 1832 (home of the Tredwell family) and is considered New York City’s only 19th century family home that is preserved intact. Engineering and architectural experts have reportedly warned that the fragile site could potentially suffer irreversible damage if the hotel moves forward.
The legal filing names the Department of City Planning and developer Kalodop II Park as defendants, and alleges that DCP “violated state and city environmental quality laws by concluding that the construction of the hotel wouldn’t hurt the museum.” The lawsuit goes further, and alleges that Kalodop II Park, which owns the one-story garage next door, submitted false information to DCP in its environmental analysis about the effects of construction on the nearly 200-year-old structure.
Even though the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the hotel plans in 2015, the development must still circulate through the public review process, and ultimately requires approval from the City Planning Commission, City Council, and the mayor before any construction can begin.
“Given that the house is 186 years old, it’s fair to say that it’s extremely fragile,” Margaret Halsey Gardiner, executive director of the Merchant’s House Museum, told the paper. “It’s not going to be able to survive construction next door, I guarantee you.”