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Meatpacking District Residents Protest Gansevoort Street Development Proposal

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Rendering courtesy of BKSK Architects

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If the Gansevoort Street Development proposal is approved, the new Whitney Museum won't be the only change to the Meatpacking District. According to WWD, Aurora Capital Associates and William Gottlieb Real Estate want to develop nine buildings between 46 and 74 Gansevoort Street, more than doubling the space on the historic cobblestone block from 47,500 square feet to 112,500 square feet —notably, with a Pastis that will replace the Gansevoort Market and a three-story, 45-foot tall building that will take the place of The Griffin.

Other jarring changes include adding three stories and a penthouse at 60-68 Gansevoort Street, as well as six stories and a setback two-story penthouse at 70-74 Gansevoort Street.

This proposal has been hotly contested, with more than 1,800 signatures — Diane von Furstenberg and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer among them — asking the Landmarks Preservation Committee to reject it. [Update: DVF has since pulled her support.] Organizations including Save Gansevoort and the Greenwich Society for Historic Preservation, also voiced their concerns to the committee at a meeting on Tuesday.

What does all of this mean for shopping in the neighborhood? It means that new attractions like the Whitney Museum and forthcoming ones like the Restoration Hardware hybrid showroom-hotel could be joined by a bevy of chain stores and high-end retailers, which would in turn raise rent prices and make it that much harder for existing small businesses to afford their spaces. Even still, those businesses who could afford to stay may close to make way for new development on its property.

"A lot of landmark buildings have been approved for air space," Owen boutique owner Phillip Salem told WWD in July, right before he closed his Washington Street store due to the developers' proposal. "All of these buildings are getting higher. [Meatpacking District is] turning into something I never expected it to turn into: something commercial."

On the other side of the coin: "The existing buildings are remnants of glorious buildings cut down during the Depression era," a supporter told the paper. "Why celebrate and preserve a time of economic downturn? Why preserve buildings that aren't actively contributing to the look, feel, or activity of the neighborhood? The proposed development will save Gansevoort and encourage more people to explore and shop in the district."